HSC Maths Tutoring: A Better System?
You are here either because
1. You are a student who is thinking of going tutoring
2. You are a student who already goes to tutoring
3. You are a parent who is thinking of sending your child to tutoring
4. You are a parent who already has a child going to tutoring
No matter which category you belong to, this article will be of value to you.
Perhaps some of you might have questions as to who works “behind the scenes” for HSC101. To answer that, the team here at HSC101 is a special in-house group assembled from EIM Tuition. HSC101 has been in the works for a long time now and part of the reason why it took so long is because we wanted to share as much of our knowledge and experience with you guys as possible. The platform is designed to be easy to use, and to offer an efficient solution for categorising and searching specific content. We have no doubt it will be an HSC student’s most invaluable study resource.
Before we continue, let us digress to introduce you to EIM. EIM is a boutique tutoring agency, based in Hurstville, specialising in senior Mathematics (Year 11 and 12 Advanced / Extension 1 / Extension 2) and Year 10 Mathematics Advanced. We are not selective with our students and operate on the principle of delivering real results for students whilst ensuring an amazing learning experience. Over the years, we have helped thousands of HSC students in achieving 90+ in Mathematics Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1 and Mathematics Extension 2, giving them a huge boost in their final ATAR. Statistically, over 85% of our graduates achieve the top performance band in Mathematics. This is quite an achievement considering that we are not selective with our students.
Our team is always working to refine our personal teaching skills, with the aim of making difficult concepts easier for students to understand. But no matter how easy we make the content to absorb, the students still need to internalise the content by going home to practise themselves. While some students can do this perfectly fine, we also realised that many other students often struggle with their homework because going home and doing this work alone is very different to taking down notes when we teach the content in a simple-to-understand manner. This is one of the weird things about maths. While we may feel comfortable with the content when the solution is readily available, we are not always comfortable with tackling the problem ourselves. So when the students are at home, stuck on a problem and they don’t have anything to turn towards, they often become discouraged and it makes the whole subject feel like it’s a bit of a drag. Things get even more complicated over time as maths is a subject where topics build on top of each other. Hence, if a student is weaker in the foundation topics, then naturally they will also find the later topics difficult. At least more difficult than what it should be.
This is one of the fundamental problems associated with the standard “teacher-blackboard” or the “one size fits all” kind of approach. After investigating alternative solutions to see how we can make the student’s life easier, we came up with the concept for HSC101. We wanted an easy to use platform that can be loaded up with a lot of content. Today, there are over 1,200 videos, with over 130 hours of content, covering every facet of Mathematics Advanced and Extension 1. One of its key functions is to help students out when they are stuck on something while they are at home. The content we ended up producing is so comprehensive that it covers the complete Board of Studies syllabus plus a tonne of examples to demonstrate how to apply the theory. If students are stuck on a question, they can just find a similar one on our platform, watch the corresponding video and that should give them an idea on how to tackle the original problem they were stuck with. The platform also functions as a solid study tool when it comes to revision time for assessments, as students can watch whole sections of content that they are less familiar or confident with.
Our Year 12 students, who were using the platform, reported that they felt much more confident after using HSC101 for topics they were not as well prepared for. Subsequently, we were also able to confirm improvement in their marks for those topics in our internal mock trials. Ultimately, given the overwhelmingly positive response we have received from our users, we would say that we have succeeded in creating a great solution.
However, we noticed something else. Our internal users revealed that they were also able to learn new content, not previously learnt, effectively off the platform and that watching the videos for a topic is just like “attending a lesson”. This wasn’t a real surprise given that we always designed our content to be comprehensive and explanation to be as clear as possible. But that got us thinking. We can also use this platform to step things up a notch. This is why in 2017, we are offering a brand new revised program for Year 11/12 Mathematics Advanced/Extension 1 that is dramatically different from any other style of tuition.
For students enrolled in our program, we prescribe a few videos for them to watch before every lesson as preliminary preparation. If done consistently, this is not a lot of work for a weekly basis but the benefit reaped is significant. Students can now come to class with an idea of what is going on. They will be able to focus much better in class and take on a more proactive approach to learning. Discussions will be more dynamic and they can ask about anything they don’t fully grasp for more clarification. Furthermore, we are able to have a specific focus on the kind of examples students need help on and we work on those examples with the students so that they have the ability and confidence to practise them for homework. This system is thus an effective improvement on the traditional teacher-blackboard “one size fits all” kind of approach.
The small class size of our classes means that we are able to provide a highly personalised learning experience for the students. Tutors monitor progress closely, through interactions in class and homework, and will identify issues that students are not so good with. We will then work with the students until they are comfortable with those topics. We can also cover any topic before the students learn it at school. This is as opposed to a traditional fixed schedule which may or may not coincide with the order that school does things, and can potentially increase the amount of stress students are exposed to.
To top everything off, we also offer our students unlimited access to our maths workshops. Workshops are available Monday to Saturday throughout our teaching hours. They are a great environment for studying and completing your homework. Tutors are readily available on hand to assist with anything you need, whether it’s school work, EIM work or revision for an assessment. Our students are encouraged to attend our workshops as much as possible, even if they don’t have questions.
All these features are part of our first of its kind learning system for Mathematics Advanced and Mathematics Extension 1. The learning experience it offers will be truly unique.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. If you need more information, feel free to visit the EIM website by clicking here. You can also express your interest online and a member of our team will get in touch within 24 hours.
The EIM Team