Entrance exams are the gateway to the some of the best-performing schools in England. We all know that having a great education will improve your child’s life chances, so it’s no wonder that many parents invest in tuition to help their children prepare for their entrance exam. In fact, according to the Sutton Trust, 41% of London children aged 11-16 received private tuition in 2019.

With competition for the best schools being fierce, you’d think deciding whether to hire a tutor would be the easiest decision ever, but tuition won’t be right for every child. So, in this article we’ll discuss the pros and cons of private tuition to help parents like you answer the question – “Does my child need a tutor for their entrance exam?”

What are the disadvantages of hiring a tutor for my child’s entrance exam?


There’s no two ways about it – tuition will create a lot of extra work for your child. Some tutors will set as many as four pieces of homework a week on top of your child’s usual school homework. Add onto that the time spent in with the tutor themselves, and that’s around 5 hours per week, every week. Your child is already in school for 30 hours per week, so the extra time taken up by tuition will eat into their precious free time. Your child may resent that, especially if it affects their friendships and hobbies.


Beyond resentment and FOMO, the extra work can affect your child’s mental state too. Piling extra demands onto them can create a great deal of stress and anxiety, which will have a damaging effect on their exam performance as well as their quality of life. Remember, having down time to simply process what they’ve done in class is an essential part of the learning process. Your child is a child, and the freedom to enjoy their childhood matters every bit as much to their development as their education does.


Tuition isn’t free, and when it comes to hiring a private tutor, it really is a case of you get what you pay for. Small group tuition may cost far less than individual lessons, but these group sessions aren’t as effective as individual lessons because they aren’t tailored to your child’s specific learning needs, they merely deliver information and techniques. Individual tutoring with an experienced tutor helps any child learn faster (and more effectively) than anything else.

What are the benefits of hiring a tutor for my child’s entrance exam?

You don’t have to play teacher

You might be a maths whizz, you may speak 6 languages, but you are still your child’s parent, and that’s the most important thing you can be for them. Not every parent has the time, patience, or knowledge to tutor their own child for an entrance exam. But more than that, if you have to guide your child through timed tests and difficult new material, it can place a huge strain on your relationship. Arguments, tears, and frustration will affect the whole family, and ultimately that won’t help your child. Hiring a tutor puts vital space between family time and learning time, and even though you can still play an active part in the tuition process, parenting can be your priority, not teaching.

Tuition can improve your child’s exam technique

Exam success is as much about technique as it is knowledge. For many children, the entrance exams they sit at age 11 will be their first real experience of sitting a test in exam conditions. They’ll have to answer questions in unfamiliar formats, such as multiple-choice questions, tackle unfamiliar subjects such as verbal/non-verbal reasoning, and keep on track of time so they can answer all the questions fully. After all, it’s no good answering one question perfectly if you don’t have time to finish the others. A tutor can support your child with their exam technique, using past papers and mock tests to help them practice their timings and approach, so they feel more confident going into the exam.

Tuition can build self-confidence and self-belief

Private tuition isn’t just about passing entrance exams. A good private tutor will support your child to grow in confidence and teach them valuable transferable skills that will help in life way beyond the classroom. When it comes to subjects like maths, many of the barriers to learning are psychological – children believe that they can’t do maths, and so they lose confidence. The lack of confidence affects their learning, which in turn makes them even less confident. It’s a vicious cycle, and tuition can help break that cycle. An experienced tutor will take the time to get to know your child, and build a trusting, supportive relationship that helps your child make progress, develop self-confidence, and self-awareness, and rediscover the joy in learning.


George Alexander Tuition is a specialist maths tutoring service based in London. We offer 1-1 tuition for entrance exams, and the 11+ and 13+ exams. To find out how we can help unlock your child’s future, contact us on info@gatuition.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to check out our YouTube channel for our FREE maths tutorial videos, and follow us on Instagram for our latest news and maths tips.


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