Ben W. GCSE English tutor, GCSE Philosophy tutor, A Level Philosophy ...

Ben W.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bachelors) - Durham University

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About me

Hi, I'm Ben and I study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Durham University! I have fostered ambitions to become a teacher for sometime now and would love the chance to work with you to try and get the best out of your academic exploits. Something About Me: Despite being a PPE student at Durham University, I quite bizarrely did English, Physics and Maths at A Level! I have a real passion for English and Philosophy, but I also really enjoyed Physics and Maths as they were something quite different. I was blessed to have brilliant teachers who really instilled a love of the subjects in me when I was at school and I hope my tutorials can provide you with something like that too! I am very patient and friendly, something that probably enabled my aspirations to become a teacher to persevere even after mentoring a group of 12 kids at Blundell’s School for a week! I am an avid sports fan, particularly rugby, and love to travel whenever I can. The Sessions: In the time we have, I personally think the content should be driven by you; stuff you’re struggling with, want clarification of or simply want to bounce off another person is all perfectly fine by me. This should help to maximise both the academic rewards and the enjoyment from the sessions. English and Philosophy are highly subjective studies, having someone to engage with in academic discussion can be enormously important. Unlike many academics I do not have corduroy trousers or elbow patched blazers, but these are, I’m told, not actually a pre-requisite for intellect… We can discuss exam questions, themes or general ideas if you so wish. Again, I’d like this to be driven by your needs, but being someone who went from quite disappointing grades in English to full marks at A Level I do have a few personal tricks up my sleeve even without an elbow patch! In Physics it is imperative that you gain an understanding of the key concepts and I am keen to include diagrams, annotations and analogies until you can explain it back to front, inside out and through interpretive dance if you feel the need… I’m applying to Oxford… Any advice? Despite not being accepted by Oxford, I did reach the interview stage at Pembroke College for PPE. This does mean I will gladly provide assistance with Personal Statements and the TSA should you desire. I would say, though, that if, in the end, you are unsuccessful like me you will be happy wherever you end up! What Next? If you have any questions, send me a 'WebMail' or book a 'Meet the Tutor Session'! (both accessible through this website). Remember to tell me your exam board and what you'd like me to help you with. I look forward to meeting you!

Subjects offered

English GCSE £18 /hr
Maths GCSE £18 /hr
English 13 Plus £18 /hr
English 11 Plus £18 /hr
-Personal Statements- Mentoring £22 /hr
.TSA. Oxford. Uni Admissions Test £25 /hr


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Questions Ben has answered

How would you approach a poetry essay?

It is absolutely imperative that you read the poem through first at least twice. I would suggest that you whisper it to yourself, even in exams, because poetry is a highly experiential literary form and this allows you to really get a feel of what the poet is trying to convey. It also helps a ...

It is absolutely imperative that you read the poem through first at least twice. I would suggest that you whisper it to yourself, even in exams, because poetry is a highly experiential literary form and this allows you to really get a feel of what the poet is trying to convey. It also helps a great deal with locating literary techniques such as sybillance and plosive sounds. Next it is key to go through and annotate the poem so that you have a line-by-line breakdown of the techniques used. This makes your life a lot easier when it comes to writing the essay.

I cannot stress enough how important it can then be to plan your essay - it can be really dull to hear it said over and over again by teachers, but realising the importance of planning drastically raised my grades as time went by. I would write the question at the top of the page and think to yourself "what are they actually asking me?" because then you focus on the key words in the title themselves rather than your take on what it means. You want to remain as focussed on the question as you possibly can in your essays and this will really help you do so. 

If the question were 'Explore how Seamus Heaney present attitudes towards a parent in ‘Follower'.' Then the necessity for realising the title's key words becomes apparent. The key notion to explore is attitudes towards parents, not exploring parents themselves. It seems petty, but it can affect the relevance of your essay dramatically and lose you marks if you make incorrect assumptions about what the question is asking.

The next step that really helped me was to locate a line of argument; a preliminary gut reaction to the question. Using the previous example this might be as simple as "Heaney juxtaposes a childish sense of admiration and adoration at the poem's beginning with an adult sense of frustration by the end". This is purely as a personal guide for you such that when you are writing your essay you can check back and think 'does my argument correlate with my initial line of argument?'. This should really help you to present an argument that the marker can follow with ease - a sure way to maximise your AO1 writer's craft mark.

Next in the planning stage comes separating the paragraphs you intend to write. You could do this in the given example as 'admiration', 'adoration' and 'frustration'. Then pick lines, clauses and key words that endorse these attitudes towards parents. You can then draw on your intitial annotations when you start to write to really secure the marks for AO2 following the classic formula: Point, Evidence, Analysis. The analysis should really focus on techniques that back up your intitial point and should be relevant to the quote you used as evidence. This is also the time in which you can cite relevant AO3 and AO4 so drawing comparisons to other texts if faced with a question that asks you to do that and including context from the time that may justify an attitude you have analysed. These are very important to gain the top marks and should not be neglected.

Introduction and conclusion can be down to personal preference. I would stress that the first line should really grab the reader's attention; waffle is useless to a marker who is reading their twentieth essay of the day. Grab their attention! Then lay out what you are going to argue and signpost your paragraphs eg: 'Examination of the poem's initial sense of adoration and admiration, juxtaposed with the frustration present at the poem's conclusion should effectively illuminate how Heaney presents attitudes to parentsin this poem'. You would then write paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 on adoration, admiration and frustration respectively.

The conclusion should not recap the essay. The person has just read it! Instead you should be looking to close out the essay concisely and reiterate the argument itself, not the points. To do this I would bring in one further point that you haven't made in the essay.

Using this structured approach to my English studies really helped me to go from really quite disappointing marks to the top grades. Try and make your argument as clear as you can to the person marking your essay and the marks will come; people want you to do well!

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1 year ago

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