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Things to Look for in an A Level Economics Tutor

By Lucy, published on 16/07/2018 Blog > Academia > Economics > What to Consider When Choosing An Economics Tutor

So you’ve decided that you need help with your economics course, and would like to hire an economics tutor to help you improve your academic performance. That’s great news!

Before you go ahead and hire your dream tutor, you need to make sure that you’re getting the best instructor possible. This is because:

  • Choosing a knowledgeable instructor can save you money in the long run;
  • The best tutor for you will give you study skills to succeed in exams; and
  • You can develop your confidence and a long-term working relationship with the right tutor

As shown above, taking a bit of extra time to research and find the right tutor for you can really benefit you in the long-term and pave the way for academic success. That’s why we’ve put together some tips below to help you choose a great A-level economics educator.

How Much Experience Does Your Prospective Economics Teacher Have?

One of the first questions you should ask when looking for an economics tutor is how long your prospective online tutor has been active in the tutoring scene.

Although length of time in the profession isn’t necessarily an indication of how successful they are as a tutor, as a relatively new economics tutor can be just as efficient, if not better than a tutor that has been teaching for years, the longer a tutor has provided tutoring services then the better they may be at helping students excel in their homework, coursework, and exams.

Aside from the length of time tutoring, another thing to look at when choosing an economics tutor is that tutor’s qualifications. For example, is your tutor also a qualified teacher? Or does your prospective tutor have an undergrad degree in economics, or a master or PhD? It may even be the case that your tutor only has an A-level in economics.

Whilst the final decision on how to ask to be your economics tutor is down to you, it’s good to have an idea of just how far your tutor’s economics education went. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re looking for the best tutors, you should choose an instructor that has graduated university with at least an undergrad economics degree, although a master or PhD would be even better.

Equally, a tutor that currently works as an economist would be a great prospective tutor for students on an economics course.

Overall, it’s always best to look at a tutor’s profile in detail, for example on Superprof, to really understand that tutor’s background and teaching experience, as this will help you make a more informed decision on which tutor to approach.

An online degree. There are lot of ways to take economics classes at home. It’s best to check what qualifications your economics tutor has. (Source: CC BY-SA 2.0, bluefieldphotos bp, Flickr)

How Many Economics Classes Do You Want?

The other key consideration for choosing a home tutor is how many lessons, and how much tuition, you’re actually looking for.

This is because you should be able to tell any prospective tutor how long you may need their services for. This not only gives the tutor up-front notice of how long tuition may last, but it also gives the tutor an opportunity to check their schedule and ensure they have the capacity to help with your educational needs.

The period of time that you’ll need an economics tutor for will depend on the ultimate purpose of you having tuition in the first place.

Recommended Timetable for Economics Tuition

The below table provides a rough guide to how long you should expect to have economics tuition to achieve your educational goal:

Purpose of TuitionAmount of Suggested TuitionMethod of Tuition
Improve overall academic performanceFull academic yearProgressive study
Improve knowledge of specific syllabus topics1-3 months (intensive) /
Full academic year (progressive)
Intensive or progressive study
Oxbridge interview preparation1-2 monthsIntensive study
Improve exam performance1-3 monthsIntensive study

Of course, the above table is just a guide. For example, if you want to work on your exam technique, but would rather receive exam and study strategies throughout the year, then you’re better off having tuition over a longer-term period, rather than an intensive period of tuition focused on how to excel in exams at the end of the year.

It’s also a good idea to think about how long you would like your tutoring sessions to be, and the pace at which classes go. It may be that you prefer one-hour sessions if you plan on seeing your tutor every week throughout the academic year.

However, if you think intensive study might be right for you, it may be better to hire a tutor for two-hour economics online tutoring sessions, so that you get the most out of the short time that you’re working with the tutor.

Once you’ve set an expectation for how long, and how often, you would like to have tuition, you should take a moment to see whether you also have the time to commit to home tutoring and your proposed tuition schedule.

For instance, if you know that you have extra-curricular commitments coming up that might impact your instruction, either let your prospective tutor know in advance so they can plan your sessions around them, or consider having a more intensive tuition programme when you have more free time.

Economics Tutors Have Different Specialisms

Another important aspect of choosing a economics tutor London comes down to the tutor’s preferences themselves. Specifically, you should ensure that what you want to be taught aligns with what that tutor specialises in.

Check What Qualifications They Teach

Although most tutors will have at least an A-level in economics, and many more will have an economics degree, the fact is that tutors also have their own preferences when it comes to what kind of students they like to teach.

Some economics tutors, for example, like to only teach GCSE and below, whilst others prefer adult learners or university students.

As a result, it’s imperative that you find a tutor that is both happy and confident teaching an AS or A-level student about economics. Otherwise, you may not achieve the most successful learning outcome for you.

Normally, a tutor states on their profile what age groups or qualification levels they are comfortable teaching, so it’s a great idea to double check any prospective tutor’s page to confirm whether they’re a great fit.

A student studying books for their economics lessons. A great tutor can improve your performance in economics classes. (Source: CC0 1.0, Wokandapix, Pixabay)

Confirm If Your Tutor Has Any Special Interest Subjects

Just as you have certain topics that you prefer learning about, tutors also often have particular areas that they specialise in. For example, your tutor might be passionate about:

  • Macroeconomics;
  • International trade; or
  • Economic history

If you know that you’re struggling on a particular area, perhaps on monetary policyKeynesian economic principles, microeconomics, or certain mathematical approaches, then it may be worthwhile finding a tutor that has been trained in those fields.

Equally, if you let you tutor know in advance of the topic areas you need extra help on, they can come to lessons fully prepared for the subject and can provide you with valuable, effective learning skills and learning strategies that will help you when it comes to exam time.

Additionally, one way to get ahead of the curve and learn more about a specific economic theory, equation, or principle is to learn about them at home. Self-study is a great way to supplement your economics classes, both at school and with your tutor.

A roll of UK notes. Doing well in economics classes could benefit you financially in the long-term. Your economics tutor may have a specialism, such as monetary policy. (Source: CC0 1.0, Anna Langova, Public Domain Pictures)

Where Do You Want Your Economics Lessons?

The final thing you should think about before hiring an economics educator is the way in which you’d like your economics classes to be delivered.

There is a wide range of tutoring options. For example, you may, as a learner, prefer to have your economics tuition delivered remotely. Online tuition is very popular, as it allows for one on one tutoring remotely, which means that you can study whenever and wherever best suits you, provided your tutor can also keep to your schedule.

However, you don’t have to use a tutor online. You can always choose to have one to one tutoring in person, perhaps by having the private tutor come to your home once a week or by meeting at an agreed location to work on writing assignments or your latest essay.

If private tutoring or home tuition isn’t for you, you could also have tuition in a small study group. Not only do study groups help reduce the cost of tuition, but both you and your friends can benefit from additional academic help at the same time.

Of course, always check with your tutor whether they are happy to conduct their classes online, in person, or in a group, and they may have their own preferred teaching style as well.

Overall, there are a few things that are worth thinking about when you choose an A-level economics tutor. Primarily, you should ensure that:

  • Your tutor has sufficient experience and knowledge, with an economics A-level or economics degree of their own;
  • Both you and your tutor have the availability to commit to the amount of tutoring you need;
  • You know whether you would like to have online tutoring or in-person tutoring; and
  • You know whether you want one on one classes or if you prefer to solve problems in a study group

Once you’ve thought about all these variables, you’ll be in the best place to find a supportive tutor that matches your needs. This should put you in a great position to succeed in exams and achieve your academic goals.

Once you’re ready to look for your next economics tutor, you can use sites such as Superprof to search through a number of qualified and experienced tutors that are happy to work for students and help you on your learning journey.

How Much Do You Want To Pay For Your Economics Instructor?

Have you ever noticed that the price of tutors varies greatly? And have you ever wondered why the industry can get away with this? Well, when you think about it, there are a number of very valid reasons that affect the affordability of lessons.

When you look for a private tutor, you need to take into account the factors why prices vary in order so that you can find the best, most suitably-priced tutor for you.

There are plenty of factors that can change the price of academic support and private tutorials, including:

  • Place

Where you are based can have a big impact on how much tutors in your area charge. Different towns and cities have different average rates. For example, tutors working in London or any of the other major UK cities can quite rightly charge more for the services. It could be that they need to bump up the price of their tuition to cover expensive tube ticket prices or to recompense them for the time they take to travel across the capital and reach you. On the other hand, professionals working in London could be sought after in the big smoke for their advanced level qualifications. With a high calibre of students in certain areas of London, tutors may target their prices at these pupils who seeking the best of the best. It’s hardly surprising that the rates for private tutorials are higher in the capital since the cost of living is, too.

  • Experience

Personal tutors vary from self-taught experts to professionally-trained teachers with a lifetime of experience. Their qualifications and experience, as touched upon above, will affect the price of the tutorials, of course. It’s unlikely that a tutor just starting out will charge the same rates as a tutor with 20 years of experience.

  • The Subject

The subject or the specialisation you require can have a huge bearing on the price you pay, all thanks to supply and demand. For instance, a tutor highly specified in a niche area may find it hard to find enough tuition work to satisfy their financial needs and therefore may need to take on other work to make up for this shortfall. In order to free up some time in their diary and teach you about their specialism, they may need to charge more to make it worth their while. Not to mention the fact that having a specialism makes their knowledge that bit more valuable too as it’s not something that can commonly be found anywhere.

  • Level

Whether at primary school, secondary school, looking for A level tutors, university, or adult tutors, you can get help at any stage of your life. Yet, the level at which you seek academic help can affect the rates for private tutorials. Tutoring jobs are usually paid more highly if they require more work. For example, you’ll pay less if you find a one to one tutor to help you with your homework or assignment in comparison to someone helping to prepare you for vital exams and needing to put together additional revision and exercise sheets as support.

How Can You Save On Tuition Fees?

Private, one-to-one tutorials can work out quite expensive if you don’t use sessions sparingly, yet more and more students rely on external help to get them through their schooling and exams and gain better prospects for the future. Nevertheless, there are a few ways to keep tutor prices down:

  • opt for group lessons in order to divide the cost of the tutorials between you, this way a number of you can benefit from a better price. We’re not saying that a tutor will still charge you £15 p/h for a class of three, as he/she would have done for a single pupil, because remember that there is more work involved in teaching and listening to multiple students. Nevertheless, most tutors would offer a discounted fee for a group session where they can make more money themselves for only a fraction more work.
  • reduce the frequency of tutorials by choosing to spread them out over a longer period of time rather than following an intensive schedule. This isn’t suitable for everyone though, as many pupils rely on tutors to help them keep on track with their curriculum on a regular basis.
  • ramp up your independent study between the tutorials in order to maximise the effect of your in-home tutor’s teaching
  • choose a tutor with fewer qualifications. This doesn’t mean they’re any less capable however you then aren’t overpaying for expertise that you don’t necessarily need or benefit from at your stage in education.

Economics Career Prospects

Economics is not a straightforward subject when it comes to careers. The professions undertaken by economics graduates range quite a lot, in fact, they go from jobs in food and agriculture industries to business roles and banking posts.

An economics degree will help you develop analytical skills and boost your employability regardless of the industry you work within.

That said, below are a range of popular careers for those who study economics, courtesy of the Top Universities website.

  • Economist
  • Financial risk analyst
  • Data analyst
  • Financial planner
  • Accountant
  • Economic researcher
  • Financial consultant
  • Investment analyst
  • Actuary
  • Public sector roles

Economics Student Case Study

Because it can be hard to visualise going down a certain career path when there are so many to choose from, it’s often helpful to hear or read about what others in your shoes winded up doing with their qualifications. See below, for example. This is a case study offered by Prospects.ac.uk which details what one student went on to do with his MSc in Development Economics.

Assistant Economist — Cameron Levy

“Cameron studied for an MSc in Development Economics at SOAS, University of London and now works for the Department for Transport (DfT)

What do you do at the DfT?

I currently work in the department’s aviation directorate, specifically on matters related to airport capacity. As an economist, this means doing analytical work such as cost-benefit analysis to support policy decisions across the directorate, and communicating the results in a straightforward, comprehensible matter.

My previous rotation was in the department’s central analytical unit. I was involved in some of the department’s most high-profile business cases, providing economic advice on projects such as HS2 and the Lower Thames Crossing.

You applied through the Civil Service Fast Stream – what did you make of the process?

It’s definitely not for the fainthearted. There were five stages to pass over the course of four months. The apex of this is the infamous Fast Stream assessment centre, where you’re tested in various ways from decision-making in groups, to role-play as a team leader managing a government project.

As an economist, you do a further assessment testing your technical skills, which is where doing an MSc in Development Economics at SOAS really came in handy.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The culture of learning and development.

It cannot be overstated how much emphasis people put on training within the department, with line managers making sure you dedicate a good amount of time each month to improving your skills. For example, I am currently on a VBA (coding for Microsoft Office) course, having identified this as a development need for my current role. Training isn’t confined to hard skills. Many of my colleagues attend courses on programme management, team leadership and communication with ministers. I’ve also been able to shape my work to help me develop these skills on the job.

How did your studies help you in your chosen field?

I doubt I would have been able to cope with the technical aspects of my role without having been to SOAS, with the modules in quantitative methods really bringing me up to the level needed to be a professional economist.

The culture of challenging the status quo at SOAS has also helped immensely in both my roles at DfT, in terms of knowing when to make a point and how to back it up with robust evidence.

Any advice for those thinking of going down the same route?

Something I’m very glad I did even before sending off my application was sit down and really think about where I wanted to apply to, and why. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who wait until the last minute to send off applications, and end up either missing the deadline or filling in an application that isn’t up to scratch. Something as simple as sitting down the summer before applications open and writing down where you want to apply to, what the deadline is, and how long you’re going to dedicate to each application can do wonders.

Don’t forget to use all the resources at your disposal – I had my application read-over by the SOAS careers service and had a practice interview before the assessment centre, without which I doubt I would have been accepted onto the Fast Stream.”

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