I'm a Cambridge graduate and an experienced private tutor. I help ambitious students stand out from the crowd with insightful analysis, original arguments, and exceptional essays.
- Which subject(s) do you teach?
I teach broadly across the Humanities, but I specialise in:
- Essay & Dissertation writing (argument construction, writing style, structure, grammar)
- Oxbridge interview preparation (trained interviewer with Oxbridge Interviews)
- English Language & Literature (8+ - Masters)
- Religious Studies/ Philosophy (GCSE - Undergraduate)
- History (GCSE - Undergraduate)
I also teach many Law, Business, Sociology, Psychology, and Education Studies students at Undergraduate level, and I frequently work with professionals who have writing requirements, including Social Workers, Lawyers, PR and Marketing professionals and Psychologists. My parallel career as a Branding & Communications consultant helps me draw on valuable commercial insights where necessary, which is often very valuable for professional students.
- Tell me about your qualifications.
I hold the following academic qualifications:
English BA, 2:1; Christ's College, Cambridge University (EE offer)
3 A-levels: English, History, Art - all at A grade
4 AS-Levels: English, History, Art & RS - all at A grade (including 100% in RS)
10 GCSEs: 7 A*s, 3 As
I also received an unconditional offer to study English at Christ's College, Cambridge University.
- How much do you charge?
My charges vary depending on subject/level - this is a flat charge that remains the same for individuals or groups of students. This cost is reflective of the skill, experience and commitment I bring to my students.
I also offer every new student a complimentary 30 minute session.
If travel is covered by my weekly railcard within zones 1 and 2, there will of course be no extra charge for travel, but if it is costly to reach a student I will ask for fare to be covered. If travel takes more than half an hour I generally ask for a 20% fee for every half hour charged.
If students book in ten-hour blocks, they will receive one complimentary hour.
Because I do my best to see as many students as possible, I have a 24 hour cancellation policy - if this is broken I will ask that a one hour fee is covered.
- Where do you teach?
I live in Clapham, South West London, and I am happy to travel around London as long as there is accessible transport and travel is covered according to the terms above. I teach in my flat, at students' homes, and in mutually convenient spaces e.g coffee shops, libraries etc. depending on the student's needs.
- When are you available?
I currently tutor full-time; I teach flexibly during the week and during the weekend. I try to work with as many students as possible.
- Which ages and levels do you teach?
I've worked with an incredibly broad range of students - the youngest being 9, and the oldest 45!
I teach students all ages ranging from 11+ - Masters degrees and any other adult qualifications.
- Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
- Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
I conduct online sessions using Skype and over email to send detailed edits, commentaries and advice on essays.
- Do you have a personal message for students?
I help my students be the best they can be with a deeply supportive but rigorous learning experience.
As a Cambridge graduate, I understand the pressures students are facing and what it takes to suceed in this competitive academic environment. All my lessons are designed to help students get away from prescriptive rote-learning and instead start to grapple with the big ideas, dig deeper, and develop independent perspectives.
I use my unusual blend of academic and commercial experience to make learning relevant and engaging, using a wide variety of techniques and exam-ready frameworks. My parallel career as a writer and brand consultant for the last four years means I am able to draw links between academic theory and real-world insights, creating a fresh approach which is valuable for students looking for a more unusual route into learning.
As a trained interviewer for Oxbridge Interviews, I can also offer students rigorous Oxbridge interview preparation, as well as support for University entrance and professional roles.
Most of the time students have never had intensive help with their essay technique; I go through essays with students line by line so that they have absolute clarity on how they can improve. Variety is important - discussion is a great way to understand themes and build their arguments. It's about getting students interested in what they're studying again by putting them back in touch with the bigger picture - why it's important, what's fascinating about it, how it's still relevant today - and then giving them the tools and the confidence to build strong answers, underpinned by writing exercises, essay planning practice, and more visual aids like mind-mapping. Together, all these things should create a solid base of knowledge, good results and confident students.
- What kind of experience do you have?
I've tutored students of all ages, requirements and capabilities. In the last four years I've gained over 1,000 hours of tutoring experience.
I am particularly experienced in:
- Students competing for an Oxbridge offer.
- Students who need that special something to stand out at interview.
- Students struggling with severe self-esteem and confidence issues.
- Students who struggle to get their ideas down on paper and need some fail-safe techniques for constructing essays and arguments under pressure.
I have experience with learning difficulties, especially dyslexia, which I have helped my brother to cope with through his studies for the last few years. To me, it just means having to find another way to approach the information and make it accessible.
Though I'm not formally qualified as TEFL teacher, I've had several foreign students who needed to learn both formal and conversational English from a very basic level of understanding.
- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
Oxbridge Interviews: a philanthropic organisation offering intensive practice Oxbridge interviews to students from all backgrounds and capabilities.
Teach First mentor: I mentor disadvantaged students through the Oxbridge application process to build confidence and capability and improve access.
- Tell me about some of your current students.
Imogen Ashfield: English BA, Edinburgh University (August 2011 - June 2015)
Result: Fail to a 2:1
Imogen came to me as an English undergraduate student who was suffering with really debilitating anxiety issues. I began working with Imogen after she failed her first year exams; her general anxiety through the year and panic attacks in pressurised situations had left her poorly equipped with the analytical skills she needed, paralysed by essay writing, and physically unable to sit the exams themselves. Her grades in general were either a Fail or an Incomplete. She loved English, but by that point she had completely forgotten what she enjoyed and how to see her studies as anything other than a huge source of stress. Over the course of four years, I worked with her to overcome her anxiety issues, rekindle her love of literature, and slowly rebuild her confidence in her own skills, which had been a major barrier to her participation in class or in her written work.
Working backward from major learning landmarks through the year - coursework submissions and exams - we created a schedule for her based around specific papers and skills, to give her a sense of control again over her learning. By quickly building and close and very supportive relationship, I was able to give Imogen the environment she needed to break the cycle of stress that learning had become associated with.
I encouraged her to take a new, low-pressure approach to her texts, breaking them down into manageable chunks and focusing on smart, time-efficient techniques based on cross-genre thematic learning, rather than letting her get overwhelmed by the volume of reading. She quickly began to re-engage with the ideas, responding really well to new methods like active reading, mind mapping and unusual historical sources like video, art and photography, to give a more detailed historical context to the texts she was studying.
To break her essay paralysis, I made her own writing a core part of our lessons; using her essays as a basis to approach the texts' thematic ideas and close reading, while take a detailed look at her essay skills; going through them line-by-line, she was able to see underlying problems, focus on her articulation, and get to grips with a simple, exam-ready structure that allowed her to express her ideas without panicking. We worked together intensively on her final dissertation from concept to completion, to ensure that the additional length and depth of study wasn't a barrier.
To ensure that Imogen continued to progress when the pressures of term started again, we stayed in close contact, with 2-3 sessions a week. After working together for 10 months, Imogen was able to re-sit her first year exams successfully and remembered how to enjoy her subject! This June she finally graduated with a 2:1 in both her dissertation and her exams overall.
'I can't recommend Bex enough. She is a very talented teacher, kind and understanding, and highly skilled in supportive structured learning. My anxiety meant I failed my 2nd year exams. After seeing Bex since 2011, I started to enjoy my subject again. She is equally excellent at broader themes and technical analysis, critiquing work line by line, which is unlike any help I have received before. Thanks to Bex's ongoing support I have just graduated with a 2:1!'
Helen Harvey: English A-Level & Oxbridge Interview Prep (July 2012 - July 2013)
Result: C - A* & place at Oxford
Helen needed to raise her English A-Level grade from a predicted C to an A to have a chance at her dream of studying at Oxford. She was depressed by her consistently low grades and the lack of support she was getting from her teachers, which her parents were convinced was the major issue. However, after conducting my own assessment of her work and teacher feedback, there was clearly a considerable skills gap which needed to be addressed, especially as she was sitting the challenging Cambridge English paper, which requires a much more rigorous style of working.
Having established that Helen's key weaknesses lay in the depth of her analysis, grasp of stylistic context (so key for unseen paper) and clarity of expression, I created a context-heavy plan based around key learning landmarks and skills. We worked together intensively over the course of the year to dramatically strengthen her expression and essay structure, improve her independent analytical skills, and broaden her textual understanding by studying her texts from interesting new perspectives. Line-by-line analysis, iterative thematic learning, robust debate, essay-planning and mind-mapping were all key tools.
After working together for four months on a bi-weekly basis and sufficiently raising her predicted grades from C to A, Helen secured an Oxford interview to study Theology. I ran a series of test interviews with her, which dramatically improved her the quality, confidence, and eloquence of her responses.
After our working together for 12 months, she achieved an A* and won her place at Oxford.
'With Bex's help, I moved from a predicted C grade at A-Level English to an A*. With Bex, it was so easy to see where I was going wrong. We read through set texts and â€œunseensâ€ together in depth, and discussed their context to improve my understanding. Our discussions helped me organise complex ideas and I felt so much more confident. She was such a support.'
Phoebe Jordan: English & History A-Level, (June 2014 - July 2015)
Coursework: B – A
Predicted Grades: C - A (results pending)
Phoebe came to me after failing to meet her expected grades at AS-Level. As a high achieving GCSE student, she was experiencing the common problem of stepping up the demands of A-Level, but her confidence had been severely knocked and her parents felt she needed some support to get back on track if she was going to compete to study Law. After conducting my own assessment, there was clearly some considerable work to be done on her vocabulary, expression, analysis and essay structure.
Phoebe's confidence issues meant she was prone to respond too quickly in order to save face, and struggled to admit when she hadn't grasped an idea. Because of this, I created a learning plan based around go-to exam-ready frameworks and iterative learning which forced her to take ownership of the ideas in both spoken and written form. We focused on depth learning key topics to begin with, broadening our horizons to include more complex theory and contextual details when the core skills were in place.
After working together for a year, and overcoming several bouts of stress as the exams drew nearer, Phoebe's predicted grades were up to A's, which she was regularly attaining in class and in her extended written work.
"Bex was really responsive to all my needs, especially in short spaces of time with last minute requests. All my essays were more thoroughly marked than a typical teacher would, and backed up with close analysis and an explanation to give the student an understanding of what they're getting wrong and how they can improve. I found the support around grammar and learning new words helpful as I didn't feel like an idiot when asking for the definitions. The price was definitely amazing value for the teaching you're getting in return."
Nadia Iqbal: English A-Level, (Oct 2014 - July 2015)
Coursework C - A*
Predicted Grades: B/C - A (results pending)
Nadia was struggling to get above a low B in her written work and attain the A she needed for her coursework in order to secure her place to study Education at Kent University. She was frustrated by the limited teaching in her school, which, believing everything else was 'too confusing', only gave her the analytical and writing skills to attain a B at the highest. After conducting a thorough assessment on her written work, and with an initial coursework focus in the lead up to the December deadline, I identified a number of core issues preventing her from attaining top grades; including her analytical depth, her thematic understanding, her use of context, and her lack of written clarity.
Over the course of 10 months we worked together on a weekly basis to completely rework her coursework, deepen her understanding of literary style and context, clarify her expression, and give her the confidence to build strong, thematic essay structures which allowed her to explore her texts comparatively, and in real depth. She progressed quickly, using mind-mapping, essay-planning drills and iterative, discussion based learning.
Nadia gained an A* on her coursework and was predicted an A in her July exams.
Will Lovell: A-Level Religious Studies (December 2014 - July 2015)
I worked with Will during his A-Level year, providing intensive 4-day revision sessions at key points in the academic year. Will was really disengaged by his RS course and keen not to repeat his D grade at A-Level - but he was confused and frustrated, and felt like he was starting from scratch. He needed detailed re-learning (and often brand new learning) across his challenging Philosophy and Religion paper; to work in the most efficient way and equip him with a truly independent grasp of these difficult concepts in a manner that would stick, I focused on a learning programme that combined iterative discussion with written work to consolidate each section, in order to help him to take ownership of the ideas and articulate them in his own words. We followed up each period of learning with exhaustive essay planning to ensure he quickly put his learning into practice.
He found the sessions incredibly helpful, and as a result we repeated the process a three key points during the year before his exams.
'To start with, the lessons are very, very helpful and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who needs some extra help. Bex was really good at keeping me focused on the work at hand and also really patient; anything that needed explaining again she would do so until I understood it, which is exactly what I needed. The intensity is very high - but in a good way!'
Liberty Vallance: English & History A-Level (January 2015 - July 2015)
Coursework C - A
Predicted grades C - A/B
Liberty's dyslexia meant she was having real problems with translating her ideas onto the page, and her humanities grades were suffering. Her confusion on the page was also symptomatic of underlying confusion around the key themes and texts being examined, so she needed a two tiered approach - input and output - to help her gain the grades she was capable of.
She needed to gain depth in her ideas, confidence in her independent analysis and expression, and written clarity provided by strong thematic essay frameworks. Working together once a week, we focused on a combination of unseen texts, set extracts, and previous essays. To help her overcome the challenge of unseen poetry, we focused on using analytical tools like the Content-form-structure Triangle, which gave her the ability to analyse in depth and organise her thoughts, before working together to structure these thoughts into a coherent essay plan. She was also very nervous about her ability to understand the archaic poetry because of the language, so we focused on quickly translating them into modern narratives and bringing them to life with art and historical context. After two months, she was working independently in this area with confidence, and we moved onto more complex comparative essays and genre-focused essays, again using clear essay frameworks. Having built up her close reading skills, she was now more receptive to the broader thematic analysis of these papers and able to weave the macro and micro together to develop clear and confident essays.
By the time of her exam, she was feeling dramatically happier and far more able to use her learning to its best advantage.
"Working with Bex helped my confidence so much, and especially with my writing. It was also really helpful to look at my texts with a different perspective. Bex was so kind and sweet and made me feel confident with the work that I did; she especially really helped me gain skill in my unseen work."
• Cambridge University, English BA, 2:1
• Fully DRB checked
I would thoroughly recommend Rebecca Felton as a tutor, she is both inspiring and totally professional. She encouraged our daughter to work things out for herself with a few well guided suggestions and the results were incredible.
With Bex's help, I moved from a predicted C grade at A-Level English to an A*. With Bex, it was so easy to see where I was going wrong. We read through set texts and 'unseens' together in depth, and discussed their context to improve my understanding. Our discussions helped me organise complex ideas.
Bex made me believe in myself. She was a vital support force through the trauma A levels and her support helped me win my place at Oxford.
I can't recommend Bex enough. She is a very talented teacher, kind and understanding, and highly skilled in supportive structured learning.
My anxiety meant I failed my 2nd year exams. After seeing Bex since 2012, I started to enjoy my subject again. She is equally excellent at broader themes and technical analysis, critiquing work line by line, which is unlike any help I have received before.
Thanks to Bex's ongoing support I have just graduated with a 2:1!
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