A: Yes! We’ll help your child to get back on track by identifying where they’re struggling and where there are holes in their knowledge and understanding, and then making it simple and even fun. So they’ll walk out with a smile. We’ll also give your child tips about how to study and revise effectively and how to tackle exams confidently.
A: Yes! Sven explains: “For a student who is already brilliant, maybe they just want that little extra shine, to get an A or A*. I find the flaws in their knowledge, and I challenge the student to prove me wrong. We also look at past exam papers and go through some of the more difficult questions. They only come to me once in a while, not every week, and they leave smiling.” All our tutors work that way.
Q3: What subjects do you offer tutoring in?
Q4: What courses do you offer tutoring in?
A: We know all the ins and outs of these courses and what the examiners are looking for:
International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB Dip)
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP)
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)
International Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)
Q5: What happens in the introductory lesson?
A: We always encourage at least one parent to come along with the student for the initial meeting, so we can get to know the parent and the student together, because we’ll be sending regular feedback to the parent about how the student is doing.
We’ll have a short conversation with the student about the subject, with the parent present, to show them how we work. Then, once we’ve identified a particular topic or challenging area to work on, the student and the tutor will go to another room for some private, one-on-one tutoring. The parent can sit and read a newspaper, or go away for a coffee and come back in 45 minutes.
Then we’ll have another discussion with the parent and the student to give our initial assessment about what the student needs to do, and even whether they need us at all. If we all agree that “the chemistry” is working, we’ll set up a tutoring plan.
And here’s our guarantee: We’re so confident of a student’s success that the introductory lesson will be FREE if the student or the parent is not 100% satisfied by the end of that lesson
Q6: What happens in a typical lesson?
A: We start with a brief chat about what’s been happening at school and in the student’s life since the last class. Then, if a student is struggling in their school classes, we’ll identify where they’re struggling and fill in “the black holes” in their understanding. We don’t want to waste time on things they already know.
We’ll also look at what they’ll be doing in their classes at school during the following week, so they get a head start. We want to facilitate their learning at school, not maximise the number of hours they spend with us.
As well as covering the specifics of the subject, we also give the students tips about how to get the most out of their school lessons, do their homework, and revise for and tackle their exams effectively. For example, we encourage them to:
Highlight important content in their textbooks
Ask questions in class
Manage their time and energy wisely
Get enough sleep
Review past exam papers if possible
Put their books away, relax and have fun!
Read the exam paper carefully, note the marking system, and allocate their time wisely
Some students benefit from a double lesson (two hours) with us if needed, especially before an exam or an important test.
We don’t give lots of homework – the students already get more than enough homework from school!
We invite students to text or email us in between lessons if they have any problems with their homework (but we don’t tell them the answers!).
Q7. Does my child have to come for a lesson every week?
A: We won’t drag your child in for a lesson just to clock up lots of hours. Sometimes we’ll even tell them not to come if we feel they need a break.
Q8: How much do you charge?
A: A one-hour lesson is HK$650 (that’s less than most of the other tutoring centres around town), and we invoice the parent(s) monthly.
Q9: Do we have to commit to a package of lessons over a few months?
A: No, we don’t expect you to sign a complicated, long-term contract. To keep things simple, a student can make appointments week by week, as required. The tutor might advise the student to come in for an extra session, or even to take a break for a week, depending on what’s in the student’s best interests.
Q10: Can you guarantee that my child will pass the exam?
A: No, sorry, we can’t and won’t make that guarantee. What we CAN guarantee is that your child will feel much more confident about his or her knowledge of the subject, and will gain study skills and some valuable strategies for tackling exam papers. That’s important, because they’ll be competing with students from Thailand, Korea, the UK, the USA and many other countries for places in the same universities.
Q11: Will the tutor come to our home, or does the student have to come to your venue?
A: All our students come to our tutoring centre in Central (it’s very close to Central and Sheung Wan MTR stations).
Q12: Do you offer group lessons, or do you only teach one-on-one?
A: Almost all of our lessons are one-on-one, for personal, confidential attention. We find that’s an extremely efficient way to help a student improve their understanding of a subject, develop effective study habits and tackle their exams confidently. It also doubles the efficiency of the student’s classes at school.
Very occasionally, we offer group lessons. We could teach two or three students together, but only if they’re all at roughly the same level of knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Q13. Do you only teach secondary-school students?
A: Almost all of our students are secondary-school students. However we do sometimes teach primary-school students too. And we’re happy to teach university students too if they need help to fill any gaps in their knowledge and understanding of any of the subjects we offer. We know that some students find the transition from secondary school to university difficult – they don’t cope well with the long lectures, so they need some extra support to get through their first year.
Q14: Do you have any experience of teaching ADHD students?
A: Yes, Sven does teach some ADHD students, and he has some smart strategies for keeping them focused, engaged and interested. One of the students even said “The hour sped by!”
Q15: What languages do you teach in?
A: We teach in English, but we can work with German and French textbooks if necessary.
Q16. Why do you spell ToppTutor with a double p?
A: It’s not a spelling mistake! We spell it with a double p because the founder and CEO of ToppTutor is Mr Sven Topp, from Norway.
Q17: I’d like to be a tutor at ToppTutor. What should I do?