Private Tuition Blog: Archive for December 2011
Posted on 27th December 2011
January will be upon us before you can say ‘leftover turkey sandwiches’ backwards, which means that very soon it will be time for many of you to sit school entrance exams. Hopefully you will already have been doing some past papers in preparation for the exams, but so that you make the most of the last couple of weeks before sitting the 11+, here are some tips to make sure you’re on top form.
1. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself is to try a variety of past 11+ papers. Some schools will give out sample papers and they are also easily available from many bookshops. Don’t stick to just one book, as some are harder than others. You need to get used to doing all sorts of papers so that you are prepared for whatever the examiners might give you on the big day.
2. Do the past papers under timed conditions. It’s no good knowing that you can get full marks if you take three hours, but can only get through three questions in the actual allotted time. If the thought of doing a paper in only an hour fills you with dread then build up to the specified time in stages. Try doing a paper in an hour and a half, then one and a quarter and so on, until you whittle it down to just an hour.
3. Learn from your mistakes! This is very important indeed… It’s all very well doing plenty of practice papers but you need to go through the mark scheme and your answers afterwards to find out what you’ve got wrong. Once you’ve identified common mistakes and gaps in your knowledge you can revise these areas.
4. For the creative writing part of the exam it is harder to ‘revise’ in a traditional way like you can for maths. Instead you should be working on improving your vocabulary and the quality of your ideas. Read lots of different things over the next few weeks and pick up new words that interest you. Maybe you could keep a little list of new words and then try and work them into sentences. Enjoy Education always posts a ‘word of the day’ on Twitter, so follow us and pick up the words we suggest as well as finding your own. Set yourself small writing tasks each day so that describing things and thinking creatively starts to feel more natural.
5. If you have an interview as well as an exam then have a think about the sorts of questions they might want to ask you. The interviewer will probably want to know a bit about you, your hobbies and why you like the school, so make sure you feel confident talking about these things.
6. Try to stay relaxed! Obviously you need to work hard over the next few weeks, but you should also try and remain calm and not get too anxious. If you’re very stressed then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do your best.
Remember that you can always call Enjoy Education and ask for some advice. Our tutors have helped thousands of pupils sit their entrance exams and we’d love to help you too if you’re in need of an extra boost.
Posted on 26th December 2011
It is very tempting to spend the entire Christmas holiday watching films, eating food and generally not doing very much at all. When it’s cold and dark outside it can be difficult to find the energy to do much more than get snuggled up on the sofa. After a little while this may get a bit repetitive and you’ll start to feel unbelievably sluggish. While it’s great to relax and indulge yourself over the festive period, it’s important to remember that the school/university term will begin again in January and you’ll need to be prepared. Here are some tips for how to have a relaxing, but also effective Christmas holiday. We promise you’ll thank us!
1.Try and get some exercise to keep your body and brain happy. You need plenty of oxygen to function properly and you will feel so much better if you go for a walk or jog through the park. You could get some friends together and play football, take the dog out for a ramble or try a dance class to pick up some new moves. Doing a physical activity will improve your fitness and in the long term give you more energy and lift your spirits.
2. When you don’t have to attend classes all day it’s a great time to catch up on some reading. Maybe you’ve got some books for school to look at, or just have some novels that have been on your bedside table for a while.
3. Get organised! Take an hour or two to sort out your bedroom, make sure all your work from last term is in order and check that you’ve got everything you need for next term. You don’t want to wait until the night before term starts to discover that you have lost all your pens, broken your lunchbox and have a hole in your trainers. It won’t take long to go through everything and if you do need stuff then you can pick it up in the sales before school begins again.
4. Think about your resolutions: how can you make 2012 even better and more successful than 2011? Maybe you’re going to get up half an hour earlier to squeeze in some music practice or learn some French vocab? Perhaps you want to get a Saturday job in order to get some work experience. Or maybe you could start doing your homework on the day that it’s set rather than the night before it’s due in so that the quality of your work is better and you avoid last minute panics.
5. Think about the future. Next year might bring major exams, the end of school, university applications, job applications… all sorts of things. Plan when you’re going to start revising/looking at universities/writing your CV. If you do have big decisions and/or changes coming up next year, then now is a good time to think about how you are going to approach them so that you are well prepared and can do your best.
Posted on 26th December 2011
Christmas isn’t Christmas without mince pies. Personally, I can’t wait until December arrives and it becomes acceptable to tuck into those little pastry parcels of deliciousness. Although mince pies often appear in the shops in November- if not before - I think it’s best to wait until a couple of weeks before Christmas to treat yourself to one, so that they feel extra special. After that you can munch as many as you like!
There are lots of very tasty pies on offer for you to buy, but you can’t beat making them yourself. Baking with friends and family is also a really nice thing to do over the festive period. If you’re not yet totally stuffed with turkey and Christmas pudding, why not put on an apron and have a go at making some of these. If you’re too full to eat them yourself, you could always put them in a pretty box and give them as gifts.
The first thing to do is make the pastry. This is very easy indeed and is particularly speedy if you have a food processor. Take 250g of plain flour, 125g of chilled and cubed butter and 20g icing sugar and put all three ingredients into the food processor. Mix until a clump of dough forms. Alternatively you could put everything in a mixing bowl and use your fingers to crumble the butter into the flour and bring it together into a ball.
The next step is to wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge or freezer for a little while to chill. Then preheat the oven to 200C. While the pastry is chilling and the oven is heating up take a jar of mincemeat. There’s no shame in using a jar bought from the shop as the basis for your filling (or at least that’s what I tell myself). To jazz it up a bit you can mix in some extra dried fruit, a splash of orange juice and/or zest or some chopped nuts.
Take a cupcake tin and butter the wells so that the pastry doesn’t stick when it cooks.
You’re now ready to get your pastry out and roll it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry until it is about as thick as a one-pound coin. Then take a biscuit cutter and cut out circles of pastry and put them into the cupcake tin. Now spoon in a bit of the mincemeat mixture. When I make mince pies I don’t often make a full lid, but instead take a star shaped biscuit cutter, cut out a star from the pastry and put that on top of the mincemeat so that the pies look a bit special. Occasionally the mincemeat bubbles over the gaps, but in my opinion this makes them more ‘rustic’.
When they’re ready for the oven, bake the pies for about 12 minutes or so, or until the pastry is lightly golden. Allow to cool and then devour with a cup of tea or mug of hot chocolate on the side. Delicious!
Posted on 26th December 2011
After years of not having a clue why Boxing Day is called ‘Boxing Day’, I finally decided to do a bit of research and find out about the 26th December…
Apparently there are a number of different arguments for the etymology of ‘Boxing Day’, and no one is quite sure which is the definitive. Since the Middle Ages metal boxes were placed outside churches after Christmas in order to collect offerings for the poor. Another theory is that wealthy employers used to give their staff boxes of gifts after Christmas as well as the day off so that they could visit their families.
Around the world Boxing Day has different names; in Ireland it’s called Saint Stephen’s Day, in South Africa it is known as the Day of Goodwill and in many European countries it is known as the Second Christmas Day. In America most people refer to December 26th as simply ‘the day after Christmas’, although they do have an established tradition of giving a gift (usually of a small amount of Scotch) to people who make deliveries to their house.
In the UK Boxing Day is famous for the sales. I’ve never really understood the need to rush out to the shops after buying so many Christmas presents and treats, but at some point it became established for retailers to open their doors immediately after Christmas and cut the prices of their wares. Thousands of people flood to the shops on Boxing Day and it is an extremely lucrative day for lots of shops.
Many people prefer to play sport than go shopping on Boxing Day and rugby, cricket, ice hockey and fox hunting are all popular Boxing Day activities. After eating lots of turkey on Christmas Day, it’s probably a very sensible idea to get outside and play something rather than remaining on the sofa.
Whatever you’re up to today, we hope you’re having a lovely day and enjoying leftovers from yesterday!
Posted on 23rd December 2011
We’re big fans of fun facts here at Enjoy Education and if you follow us on Twitter you’ll be able to pick up all sorts of great trivia to impress your family and friends with.
Since it’s almost Christmas Eve, we thought we’d give you a bumper fun facts blog full of all sorts of things about Christmas. Enjoy!
The precise day of Christ’s birth id actually unknown, but during the 4th Century the Western Christian Church placed Christmas on December 25th.
Father Christmas is also known around the world as Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas and Kris Kingle.
The word ‘Christmas’ is derived from the Old English word ‘Cristesmaesse’ (first recorded in 1038).
Christmas is celebrated all over the world, however it is not a formal holiday in China (except Hong Kong), Japan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Thailand, Nepal, Iran, Turkey and North Korea.
People have decorated their houses in celebration of Christmas for hundreds of years. Nativity scenes were first put up in 10th Century Rome.
Christmas trees were originally put up in order to celebrate pagan traditions, such as the rituals around the Winter Solstice.
The poinsettia plant is originally from Mexico.
The first English Christmas carols were written in 1426. Most are based on medieval chord patterns.
In Sicily it is traditional to serve 12 different types of fish on Christmas Eve.
The ingredients for mince pies were first introduced in England when European crusaders brought them from the Middle East.
In many European countries goose and pork are the favourite Christmas meats.
Sir Henry Cole produced the first commercial Christmas card in London in 1843.
Mistletoe was used by Druid priests hundreds of years before the birth of Christ as they believed the plant had miracle healing powers. Scandinavians associate mistletoe with Frigga, the goddess of love (which may be how it gained its association with kissing…).
Holly was originally put up in houses in order to scare away bad spirits and demons.
Boxing day is known as St. Stephen’s day in many Catholic countries.
In 1377 King Richard II held a Christmas feast at which 28 oxen and 300 sheep were eaten.
Christmas was first declared a federal holiday in America in 1870.
The modern practice of having a decorated Christmas tree inside originated in Germany in the 18th century.
Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on ‘Twelfth Night’ (5th January).
Posted on 23rd December 2011
On the first day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…. A dictionary of literary terms and theory
On the second day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Two mnemonics to remember how to spell ‘rhythm’ and ‘rhyme’.
On the third day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me… Three essay questions to answer
On the fourth day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Four tips on how to do well in an interview
On the fifth day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Five French sentences to translate
On the sixth day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Six different suggestions for how to
begin a new paragraph
On the seventh day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Seven coloured highlighters
On the eighth day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…A cartoon to remember the layout of the periodic table
On the ninth day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Nine quadratic equations to solve
On the tenth day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Ten difficult words to spell
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Eleven key pieces of revision advice
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my tutor gave to me…Twelve gold stars for being an excellent tutee this year
Happy Christmas from all of the Enjoy Education team!
Posted on 22nd December 2011
Here are the answers to our general knowledge quiz.
How many did you get right?
1. The Nile
2. In ancient Rome and now in theatres
4. Sir George Everest
5. New Amsterdam
6. 8th September
7. Humphrey Davy
8. Vitamin C
10. Olive oil
12. The mouse
13. About an inch
14. Half an hour
15. The dragonfly
16. The hummingbird, the loon, the swift, the kingfisher and the grebe
17. Freshly cut cucumbers
18. Edgar Allen Poe
19. A porters’ lodge
21. John Roand Reuel
22. 14th Century
24. The owl and the pussycat
28. A breed of pig
31. Someone who sells alcohol illegally
32. St Peter
33. On the island of Corsica
39. An apple
40. Dom Perignon
41. A farrier
45. Fang and Fluffy
48. Westminster Abbey
Posted on 22nd December 2011
If you’re already bored of Christmas television and have overdone the family board games, why not try our special Enjoy Education general knowledge quiz? The answers will be in the next blog.
1. What is the longest river in the world called?
2. Where would you find a vomitarium?
3. Which city is known as the ‘city of canals’?
4. Who was Mount Everest named after?
5. What was New York originally called?
6. When is world literacy day celebrated?
7. Who invented the light bulb?
8. What is the common name for ascorbic acid?
9. Which side of a ship is starboard?
10. What did the ancient Greeks use instead of soap?
11. Where do brazil nuts come from?
12. What is the most common mammal in America?
13. How long is a newborn kangaroo?
14. How long can iguanas stay under water for without coming up for air?
15. What are the fastest travelling insects?
16. Which birds can’t walk?
17. What does a copperhead snake smell of?
18. Who wrote ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’?
19. What is a ‘plodge’?
20. In ancient mythology, what was Minerva the goddess of?
21. What do J.R.R. Tolkien’s initials stand for?
22. In which century were the Canterbury Tales written?
23. What did Sherlock Holmes keep in the toe of his Persian slipper?
24. Who sailed to the land where the bong tree grows?
25. What is the correct name for a rabbit’s tail?
26. How many hearts does an octopus have?
27. Which planet is closest to the sun?
28. What is a Wessex Saddleback?
29. Which organ uses 25% of our oxygen supply?
30. What was Apollo 11’s landing module called?
31. What is a Bootlegger?
32. Who was the first pope?
33. Where was Napoleon born?
34. How many of Henry VIII’s wives were called Catherine?
35. What is the main vegetable in Borscht?
36. Which country produces 70% of the world’s olive oil?
37. Which nuts are used to make marzipan?
38. Which fruit is a cross between a peach and a plum?
39. What is a Blenheim orange?
40. Which Benedictine monk is credited with inventing champagne?
41. What is a person who makes horseshoes called?
42. What is Gordon Sumner’s stage name?
43. How many members of Abba were Swedish?
44. Who is Captain Hook’s first mate in the film Peter Pan?
45. Name both the dogs owned by Hagrid in Harry Potter.
46. What is the capital of Venezuela?
47. Which cheese shares its name with a gorge?
48. Where would you find Poet’s Corner?
49. Where is the Vatican City?
50. In England, you are never more than 75 miles from…?
Posted on 22nd December 2011
With academic journals so readily available online, it’s hardly surprising that plagiarism is on the rise. Students who are not fully committed to their work are easily able to copy and paste other people’s ideas from the internet and pass them off as their own. While there are some who may get away with it (although they’re really doing themselves a disservice in the long run), universities are using sophisticated technology to hunt down those guilty of plagiarising material, and the loops are getting harder to dodge as institutions crack down on students who cheat.
According to James Titcomb’s article in the Evening Standard this week, in the past five years over 16,000 students at London universities have been accused of cheating in assessments and examinations. This is an extremely worrying figure and academic institutions need to do their best to discourage people from plagiarising others’ work.
In the past, cheating was much harder than it is today. Now, with smart phones and memory sticks, wily students can look things up and save data on USB sticks. Cutting and pasting from other people’s work is so easy that desperate students are easily tempted into breaking the rules.
Universities and colleges take plagiarism extremely seriously and they are able to track down plagiarising students using advanced detection software. Hundreds of students have been expelled as a result of being found guilty of plagiarism. It is also often very easy for tutors and lecturers who are familiar with their pupils’ essays to notice when they have copied other people’s work. Everyone has his or her own unique writing style and copied material tends to stick out like a sore thumb.
Quoting books and academics is absolutely fine, but you must attribute the material to its source to avoid being guilty of plagiarism. Moreover, you must never buy essays from websites who offer to give you ‘inspirational’ material to help you with your work. Handing in essays written by other people could cost you your place and you are likely to be expelled.
If you are worried about how to reference and footnote adequately then talk to your teacher or tutor, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to give you further advice.
Posted on 19th December 2011
As my school and university days grow further away from me every day I often wonder whether my ability to learn new things is slowing down, as my brain is not being stretched, challenged and tested as much as it used to be. I also long for the days that would be packed with all sorts of exciting things ranging from learning different languages to playing in a school band and going to dance classes. As you get older you tend to narrow your fields of expertise as you settle for a certain career choice, but you also come to understand how many amazing things there are in the world that you could potentially find out about.
I recently read an article about the increased demand for short courses, particularly among adults. There are lots of great colleges and institutions in London and the rest of the UK that offer a whole host of exciting courses. You can take an introductory course in a range of languages, or learn how to make jewellery, bind books, cook Italian food… pretty much anything really.
School-leavers who are planning gap years might want to have a think about doing an extra course in their year out. You may want to start a new hobby, or perhaps you want to brush up certain skill in order to boost your CV. Graduates who are missing the demands of university could well take up something news to keep their brains stimulated, and adults who are curious about choral singing/painting/Japanese might be interested in joining a local course. You can take a course just for fun, or it might even lead to a career change. Who knows!
There’s the old saying ‘you cant teach an old dog new tricks’, but I think this isn’t true at all and that it’s never too late to learn new things and expand your interests. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/dec/19/adult-learning-courses-career-change
">Click here for further information about the increase in short courses and to get some inspiration why not take a look athttp://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/
"> Morley College’s brochure. They offer all sorts of wonderful things.