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Chris R.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall University

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About me

Hey! I'm Chris, I'm a graduate from Oxford University, having studied English Language and Literature. I am currently studying for Masters Degree in Early Modern literature. Whether you're struggling with polishing off your exam essays, or getting the structure for that perfect personal statement, you've come to the right place. Language and argument are my passions, and I find teaching them to be a very rewarding experience. I am highly experienced at tutoring both A-Level students and UCAS applicants, having tutored students both online and in person for more than four years. I boast a high success rate, and I can say with confidence that every student I have tutored has improved immeasurably

About my sessions

My Teaching Style: Imagine a cross between David Tennant's Doctor and Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption; that'll give you a pretty clear picture of my teaching style. I believe the best way for students to learn is through active participation, and so seek to encourage free-thinking involvement in my tutorials. I often take a leaf out of the Oxford tutorial system, with a focus on wider concepts, as well as on specific problems. I am experienced at tutoring students for A-Level exams and coursework, helping them with specific issues as well as basic skills in language analysis, argument and interpretation. I am particularly skilled at helping students to receive and interact with material on their own terms, encouraging active participation in a way that will improve not only exam technique, but general enjoyment and understanding of the material. Indeed, many of my teaching techniques are based off those I myself have received in the one-on-one style tutorials at my college, Lady Margaret Hall. By following a teaching style similar to that of the Oxford classroom, I educate students in a manner that will prepare them for and enhance their interaction with university level work. Such a style of learning goes beyond that of the A-level and GCSE syllabus, which is often too linear to prepare students for an academic future. Moreover, my particular brand of teaching complements that received in the classroom, allowing students to view their exam material in new and exciting ways, that will greatly boost their marks. University Applications: My primary talents lie in UCAS and University application, where I have aided a number of students in making stellar applications. Not only have over 80% of my students received offers from their first choice universities, they have also gained a newfound appreciation for their subject in doing so. Personal Statements are my particular strong point. Students often struggle with these, yet they are perhaps the most important thing you will write at A-level. I can help students understand how to write a personal statement from the ground up, helping them to craft a personal voice that will entice admissions tutors. Personal statements often need re-drafting several times, and I encourage students to do so between tutorials so that we can really polish the statement into something truly special. There is little information available on the ELAT TEST either, and it is a notoriously difficult exam - I offer a unique angle which encourages students to improve their close reading abilities in a way that will wow examiners. Finally, if you're looking for help with admissions interviews, I can provide both practice interviews and feedback so as to prepare you for the real thing. My experience with the Oxford tutorial system means I am perfectly suited to guiding students through this one-on-one process, and can give you an experience that accurately simulates how these interviews are likely to unfold. Contact me: If you're wondering whether I'm right for you, drop me a line telling me about yourself and your difficulties - we can book a 'Meet the Tutor' session and discuss things in more detail.

Subjects offered

English A Level £36 /hr
English Language A Level £36 /hr
English Literature A Level £36 /hr
English and World Literature A Level £36 /hr
English GCSE £36 /hr
English Language GCSE £36 /hr
English Literature GCSE £36 /hr
English and World Literature GCSE £36 /hr
-Oxbridge Preparation- Mentoring £36 /hr
-Personal Statements- Mentoring £36 /hr
.ELAT Uni Admissions Test £36 /hr


English LiteratureA-levelA2A*
English LanguageA-levelA2A*
Disclosure and Barring Service

CRB/DBS Standard


CRB/DBS Enhanced


General Availability

Currently unavailable: for new students

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Ratings and reviews

5from 67 customer reviews

Tim (Parent)

Very good indeed for providing pointers on a personal statements.

Rue (Student) June 6 2017

excellent feedback and tutorials

Petra (Parent) April 29 2017

Chris has been a fantastic tutor for my son, inspiring him and helping him to think more clearly about both his current work and his future options. His knowledge of literature is impressive, and his teaching style is fun and engaging. I thoroughly recommend him.

Deborah (Student) April 2 2017

Very clear explanations, goes over technique and structure of essays very well. Proof-reads brilliantly & goes at the pace of the student. Excellent.
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Questions Chris has answered

How should I plan and structure a personal statement?

Personal statements are tricky: for someone who hasn't written one before, it's often difficult to work out what you should say, and how you should say it. Moreover, there's no 'one correct way' of writing them. Nevertheless, there are certain stylistic structures and formulas which you can ap...

Personal statements are tricky: for someone who hasn't written one before, it's often difficult to work out what you should say, and how you should say it. Moreover, there's no 'one correct way' of writing them. Nevertheless, there are certain stylistic structures and formulas which you can apply when writing them, to aid you.

I believe that the primary purpose of a personal statement is to demonstrate a love for, and familiarity with your subject outside of the classroom. Everyone applying to university has sat A-Levels and GCSEs - you need to present yourself as someone who has engaged with your subject on a deeper level. For example, a student applying for English Literature courses will need to demonstrate an ability to engage with literary texts; meanwhile, a student applying for a philosophy course will need to demonstrate an enjoyment and understanding of certain philosophical issues. You don't need to seem like an expert - but you do need to seem like a nerd. 

How do you do this? Well, there are four main elements you can use to show off your - for lack of a better word - nerdiness. 

Firstly, you need to show a direct engagement with the subject itself. For an English student, this will involve discussing  literary texts you have read outside the classroom, such as Hamlet or Pride and Prejudice. For a scientist or a mathematician? You need to show an understanding of your subject beyond your syllabus - discuss what interests your about your subject in particular. This is a chance to show that you enjoy your subject, and to show that you can discuss it in an academic manner

Secondly, you need to show that you have activley pursued an interest in the subject. This is where you discuss the clubs, societies, and activities that are particularly relevant to your subject. An English student may discuss their involvement in a literary magazine. A Philosophy student may discuss the debating society. A medic may discuss work experience or volunteer work. 

Thirdly, you need to discuss how the interests and experiences demonstrated in elements one and two have shaped you as a student and improve your ability to learn. Here you will discuss key talents you have, such as oranisational skills, leadership abilities, analytical thought, argumentative talents, interpersonal skills etc. 

Fourthly, you need to show an awareness of the overarching issues and abilities that are necessary to an understanding of your subject. For an English student, these might include the ability to understand the language of a text, the ability to engage with critics, the ability to compare texts with one another, and the ability to place texts in context. For a philosopher these might include the ability to understand and analyse other people's arguments, the ability to make your own arguments, and the ability to relate philosophical issues to the real world.

Now, how should these four elements be used? 

Generally, you should structure your personal statement so that each paragraph or issue you discuss contains one of these points. In one paragraph of my own personal statement, for example, I wrote: 

"Due to their enthralling nature, emotional tales are inherently persuasive and lend power to the arguments within; never is the cause of liberty better championed than in Animal Farm, where Orwell’s false neutrality and allegorical style persuade us to his view on totalitarianism. My study of Philosophy complements this aspect of my learning, and I plan to continue it alongside my study of literature, due to the insight it provides; the works of J.S Mill, for example, have led me to better understand Orwell’s 1984. Observing Winston’s tragic struggle for hope, I could not agree that dystopic fiction was “depressingly nihilistic” and went on to argue so in my Extended Project, relishing the opportunity for independent research; this experience has further inspired me, through sheer enjoyment, to take up literature at degree level."

Note how in this particular paragraph, I use all four elements in concert. I begin by discussing the emotion power of literary texts, a general issue that is important to much of literary criticism (4). I then move on to discuss and analyse 1984 and Animal Farm, showing a direct engagement with specific texts (1). Here, I discuss Orwell's "allegorical style" in order to demonstrate my ability to analyse language (3/4 - it's a talent, but also an overarching issue). I then show how I have related my literary texts to philosophical texts, an activity undertaken outside the classroom (2/3 - it demonstrates the active pursuit of my subject (2) but also the ability to discuss textual arguments (3)). I then directly discuss my texts again (1) before moving on to discuss my use of them in my Extended Project (2), and finally mention how my EP has developed my abilites as a student. 

Note how I keep elements 1-4 in play throughout the paragraphy, including multiple instances of each (the relation to philosophical texts and the undertaking of an Extended Project are both instances of 2), and relating them to one another so as to ensure a discursive flow (I use my disagreement with the phrase "depressinly nihilisitc" (1) to springboard into my EP (2), before flowing smoothly into my personal development (2).

Each paragraph can be structured in this manner (with slight variations for introductions and conclusions), relating the four elements to demonstrate interest, engagement, undersanding, and ability. When structuring your personal statement as a whole, then, make sure to break your interests and experiences into categories one and two, creating a list for each. Then create a list of skills important to your subject for 3, and a list of overarching issues you consider important. Then organise a number of discussion topics, each of which should ideally contain one of each element (there's some leeway to use your own judgement, however). 

These topics will form the basis of your individual paragraphs. With this skeleton in mind, you can then progess to structuring each paragraph in detail. There are certain tricks to doing this - for example, 4 works VERY well as a means of providing each paragraph with an overarching theme, while 3 works as a very good means of closing off paragraphss. 

I can discuss these tricks in more detail during an online lesson, providing detailed stylistic support, and structural advice. I can also explain why - unless your instincts tell you otherwise - you should always, ALWAYS begin a discussion topic with element number one...  

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1 year ago

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