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Exam Technique

Exam Technique

In my experience, students commonly have two concerns when they or their parents seek private tuition. The first concerns factual recall. The second concerns exam technique. I intend to deal briefly with both of these issues here, providing tips to aid factual recall and improve essay writing ability in particular.

Psychological studies have consistently shown that our brains work in very different ways. Some people learn through repeating examples again and again. Some learn through visual aids. Others learn best through sound. Each individual has very different memory functions from the next and we, in the private tuition industry, are conscious of this fact. The following list introduces some of the best techniques and strategies to help improve memory. Of course, it will differ from person to person.


  1. Focus – in order to consolidate learning it is necessary to have complete focus, removing oneself from all distractions.

  3. Organisation – by organising and structuring the material you are studying you can take advantage of the natural fact that our minds organise information in related clusters. Grouping similar concepts together is one example.

  5. Relate to existing memories – by relating new information and ideas to information already memorised, it dramatically increases the chances of recalling the new information.

  7. Mnemonics – this is a light-hearted way of memorising information which works by using positive imagery or a catchy play on words and associating this with the material you want to learn.

  9. Teach others – reading material out loud significantly helps improve recall. Working with others is a fun and challenging way to do this.

  11. Do not cram – memories take time to cement themselves in the human mind. Regular, structured study helps to achieve this better than an all-night session the night before an exam.

  13. Focus on difficult information – we have a tendency to take the path of least resistance and focus on the easy materials that we know. It is vital to tackle the difficult information before the easy information – the order in which we take in this information plays a big part in how we remember it.

  15. Elaborate and rehearse – a great way to improve long term memory is to start with a basic idea and build upon it each time you consider the matter.

  17. Variation – variation of study routine, such as studying in a different place, makes it that little bit more interesting. Research shows that this helps improve long term memory.

  19. Visualisation – visualisation of charts and diagrams acts as a great cue to factual recall. Using pens with different coloured ink is a simple but effective idea when making notes.

Exam technique can be tricky but once it has been mastered there is no looking back. One of the simplest ways of structuring an essay is to use the PEEL technique. Point – make the point you want to make. Explain – explain the point you have just made. Example – provide an example which backs up what you have just said; it makes it much more persuasive. Link – link everything you have just said to the question you have been asked. This lets the examiner know you are answering the question and makes it easy for them to give you the marks.

This very simple technique can be used as the basis of any essay up to undergraduate level. Once the individual has developed the intellectual confidence to stand by their ideas and express them clearly they can develop a more sophisticated technique suitable to them.


Melodie Argi
Melodie Argi
08:14 18 Oct 19
Tavistock tutors is by far the best tutor agency is London. The tutor selection is of the highest quality. Handpicked from the British intellectual elite in all sorts of disciplines. The staff is wonderfully helpful as well as being extremely attentive to feedback.read more
Henry Smith
Henry Smith
22:27 17 Oct 19
I have been employed as a tutor with Tavistock Tutors for over 5 years. I tutor mathematics and also help people with job preparation for different career routes (cv, cover letter, interview preparation and online test prep). They are simply a wonderful team of individuals who work collectively and strive to deliver the best possible service to both clients and their tutors. They work doggedly to achieve results. They are particularly honest and their feedback to tutors on how to improve is tailored, concise and always highly constructive. Even after 5 yrs, they only put me forward as a tutor if they think I am the absolute best they can find otherwise they are honest with me and explain why I was not put forward. I think this transparency is a huge reason for their success and keeps the best tutors on their books for years. Their communication on what a client wants is also clinically precise and effective and the team go out of their way to provide potential interests/passions of the client to help the tutor prepare accordingly for the lessons and nurture that interaction. Simply the finest agency and I have tutored with some of the best. World-class tutors and utmost confidentiality with respect to their clientele. I cannot be happier to work for them, a dream job with a team whose capacity for kindness, empathy and boundless intellect never ceases to amaze me. Their work ethic inspires me to relentlessly push myself to be a better tutor with their encouragement and constructive feedback.read more
Albert Tam
Albert Tam
20:50 17 Oct 19
Best tutors in London! Great experience and amazing customer service. Highly recommend, my tutors were all fantastic and a huge help. Really recommend Tavistock Tutors as I never had to worry about not getting the highest quality tutors unlike other agencies and online tutors.read more
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I’ve used Tavistock multiple times and they never disappoint! I used them for myself secondary school, whilst at university and even now whilst working. Their service is second to none as are their tutors. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to better themselves academically or personally.read more
13:22 06 Oct 19
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Jonathan Aaron
Jonathan Aaron
16:39 01 Aug 19
Amazing experience, the tutor was reliable, knowledgeable and reasonably priced and the company was both professional and reliable. Definitely will be using them again!read more
David T
David T
16:34 01 Aug 19
I used Tavistock for some Corporate Finance and Financial Modelling training at my firm. They were extremely helpful and the trainer, Simon, was of top quality, experience and charged a fair price. Thank you!read more
Olivia Pluss
Olivia Pluss
11:05 13 Jun 19
I had a fantastic experience with my tutor Elena and Tavistock Tutors. They were very well organized and made the entire experience so seamless and easy for me. I passed my assignment with great marks and the experience was much less stressful than if I had tried to complete the assignment without Elena's help.read more
J Mathews
J Mathews
11:27 22 May 19
My child used Glenda for HL biology. Glenda was outstanding. I would not hesitate to recommend her. Extremely intelligent, always prepared, knows how to teach/very helpful, and also just a nice person. Also, I would use Tavistock again for sure because we had such success with Glenda.read more
Alan Radford
Alan Radford
09:34 09 May 19
Tavistock Tutors were a delight to deal with, and highly professional at all times. They provided my daughter with an excellent tutor at very short notice - after my having approached them on a Thursday urgently requesting a tutor for that weekend. Tavistock Tutors immediately gave the matter their attention; they appreciated the urgency and responded quickly and efficiently, and helped to set my daughter up with exactly the right sort of tutor. Fantastic!read more
Sophie Taieb
Sophie Taieb
12:55 29 Mar 19
Very happy with Tavistock tutors services. They provide a wide range of tutors, from all backgrounds and for all types of needs. My uni son needed some help in research and methodology. We found a perfectly suited tutor in less than 3 days. He is very knowledgeable, punctual, open minded and brings the support needed to my son. I would definitely recommend Tavistock tutorsread more
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