I flew out to sunny Ibiza to work with a 10 year old student over 3 weeks. He had been studying at international school but was now applying to Eton so wanted some specific preparation for the pre-test which is sat by all applicants. My approach was to revise all key areas of the English and maths curriculum whilst also introducing him to strategies for problem solving when tackling the verbal and perceptual challenges encountered in the pre-test, which is taken on a computer.

Although the student spoke English at school and at home, there was some work to be done improving his vocabulary and so reading and discussions about the meanings of words formed a central part of our work together. Once we had recapped the English and maths curriculum it was time to look at some more complex material, to stretch his understanding and help develop his ability to look carefully at the questions being posed in order to work out exactly what is being asked. Many bright students end up with incorrect answers because they do not take the time to carefully read the question.

We made use of paper tests and workbooks and also online test generators to ensure he had experience of a wide range of question formats and styles of examination. It’s not possible to know what will come up on a test, so the best approach is to encourage confidence and an ability to stay calm and think clearly when initially unfamiliar questions appear. My student made excellent progress and his scores improved steadily over the three weeks. We worked for two hours in the morning then again in the afternoon. It’s important to rest too, especially when it gets so hot! At the end of the three weeks we made a plan together for continued practice. I stressed how important it was to keep reading books and how making a note of new words and their meanings is the single most effective way to develop vocabulary. I have every faith that the student, who worked hard and was curious to investigate new words and ways of solving problems, will feel more confident and capable when sitting his exam.

Here are some photos from my time in Ibiza:

Ibiza Market

Ibiza Rocks

In my free time, I visited the beach and watched the sun setting on the magical island!

Ibiza Beach

Ibiza Sunset


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