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Tutor Of The Month: Joshua Boucher

 Joshua Boucher

Joshua is our September 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Joshua matriculated from Hyde Park High School in 2015 with great results all-round. He is currently in his 2nd year of a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Law at the University of Johannesburg, and hopes to become a Lawyer or work in the industry once he qualifies. Joshua joined BrightSparkz last year, and has worked with seven of our clients at BrightSparkz Tutors, and has received amazing feedback! He also has previous tutoring experience, having assisted a learner with Maths at Grade 7 level, and has been actively involved in mentoring and managing large groups of youth during his high school career. Joshua received his half colours in academics throughout high school, and has also received colours for multiple sports that he was involved in during his school years.

He is a confident and patient young man, and has proven himself as an experienced and dedicated tutor at BrightSparkz, having assisted the following learners: Two Grade 8 learners with Physical Science, a Grade 9 learner with Physical Science, a Grade 12 learner with Physical Science and a Grade 12 learner with Life Science, all with incredible feedback from both client and learner. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing and watching sport, as well as socializing with his friends.

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Jade van Biljon

 Jade van Biljon

Jade is our August 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Jade is currently studying a BSc. in Information Technology at the Pearson Institute for Higher Education, and last year she completed a Higher Certificate in Systems Engineering at the same institution. She achieved 5 distinctions for Matric, graduating Cum Laude. Jade has been tutoring primarily IT and Maths to our learners since the start of 2016, and we’ve had excellent feedback from her clients. Jade is always friendly and helpful, and willing to assist her clients. She is a bubbly person, with a real passion for tutoring.

Her advice for students? “Develop a passion for learning – when you do, it will never cease to grow!”

Erin’s clients have the following to say about her: 

“Unaisah loved working with Jade, she is amazing.”
“Lisa has done very well in her IT – 94%, and we are very thankful to Jade.”

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Erin Miller

 Get your own amazing tutor!

Erin is our July 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Erin matriculated from St Andrews School for Girls in 2014 with excellent results all-round, and is currently in her 3rd year of a BA Psychology degree at the University of Pretoria. She is truly passionate about education and would like to teach special needs children once she qualifies. Erin joined BrightSparkz Tutors in 2016 and has gone over and above to prove herself as both an incredibly reliable, focussed and enthusiastic tutor and Concession Facilitator. She is always willing to help, even at short notice, and is constantly going the extra mile for her learners and clients. Erin has worked with more than seven of our clients (tutoring and exam concession clients) over the past year. All of her clients have been immediately willing to provide wonderful feedback and phenomenal testimonies for Erin as an outstanding tutor, as well as a mentor to their children. Erin – thank you for being exceptional! We are so proud to have you as part of our dynamic team!

Erin’s clients have the following to say about her: 

“As always the facilitators were punctual and very professional. Once again a pleasant experience liaising with all!”

“My concession facilitators were very friendly, kind and professional. They made me comfortable and calm when I was anxious about tests and exams. Your team is perfect!”

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Concession Facilitators: Making exams less stressful!

What does a Concession Facilitator do?

At BrightSparkz, our Concession Facilitators (readers, scribes and prompters) ensure that all students have simple, smooth, and stress-free test and exam periods. By providing direct and personalized instruction alongside high-end proficiency in transcribing talent, a BrightSparkz Concession Facilitator ensures that your knowledge is truly reflected in the written component of your test or exam and that every aspect is addressed in a detailed and transparent manner. Concessions Facilitators also ensure that the instructions, questions, and any additional, relevant information are all highlighted and effectively presented to maximize academic performance.

Readers

  • They dictate questions, sources, and instructions to ensure clarity and comprehension.
  • Having a reader will ensure that you hear every aspect of question! This reduces the chance of mistakes and skipping parts of questions, and improves your ability to answer optimally.
  • Readers are a great help for any students with dyslexia, in addition to those with other special needs conditions that impair textual and visual reception.

Scribes

  • These highly skilled writers will transcribe your dictated work in a neat and professional manner, therefore ensuring you peace of mind.
  • Having a scribe will allow you to focus entirely on constructing your answer. You then simply dictate your words to the scribe who writes it down diligently and efficiently.
  • Scribes provide invaluable assistance to any students who qualify for writing allowances, including cases of arm and hand injuries.

Book a Concession Facilitator today!

Endless Benefits!

BrightSparkz Tutors can provide you with experienced and talented Concession Facilitators to ensure that your tests and examinations reflect your true capability. With over 10 years of tutor-matching experience, BrightSparkz has assisted with more than 500 hours of concessions facilitation over the past 2 years. Learners have experienced a substantial increase in their academic performance and marks, as well as reduced stress levels. This has resulted in learners and students excelling at their studies in a way that highlights their true potential, and even exceeding expectation. Book a Concession Facilitator now.

What our Clients have to say

Friday’s exam went well. Both Munira and Nwabisa were waiting for Taryn and Kayla when they arrived at college. They both read well and clearly. Kayla mentioned that it was Nwabisa’s first time reading as she had only scribed previously, and that her reading was good and very clear. Both my girls felt very comfortable with them.

– Rowena, Durban North

Overall I give BrightSparkz a perfect 10/10 rating! The admin team were amazing as was my Writer. The test went really well and the admin team got back to me super quickly and assured me of a Writer. Amazing service and I couldn’t ask for better. 10/10! 🙂

– Aiden, Sandton

Written By: Filipp Stoliarov, BrightSparkz Tutor & Concessions Facilitator – Cape Town

Tutor Of The Month: Genna Moss

 Genna Moss - June 2017 Tutor of the Month

Genna is our June 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Genna is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology and Chemistry at UCT and matriculated from Wynberg Girls’ High School in 2013, having received 4 distinctions in Maths, Biology, Geography and Life Orientation. While still in high school she worked as a peer tutor and has been tutoring for BrightSparkz since 2016. She has been assisting quite a few of our learners since starting with us, two of whom are sponsored learners, and has had several short term or once off learners in the past, who all loved working with her. Genna is always on the ball and super friendly towards the BrightSparkz team and the families she tutors, and we can always count on her to assist a learner in need. When she is not tutoring or studying, she is out on the trails, taking part in mountain biking challenges, or in the water, working towards completing her advanced open diving course. 

Genna’s clients have the following to say about her: 

​”BINGO!!! Genna was a hit. My daughter worked hard for the test but she also says she really enjoyed her lesson with Genna very much … and scored 86% WOOHOO!​” 

“You can see she understands what she is talking about and is very excited about the subject. She didn’t just learn the content parrot fashion and instead came to teach it to me.”​​​

​”The match was great. She is bubbly but firm and he liked the fact that she wasn’t there to try to make a friend. She had a job to do, did it very well and got down to business very quickly.​​”

“Genna had called me prior to meeting us and I had the opportunity to discuss some of my concerns and she took this info and planned the lesson and gave me feedback after the lesson on what my son needs.​ This is the first time a tutor has been forthcoming with any information / feedback, so well done!​”

​”Genna is awesome and her and my son have connected nicely.​”

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Mark Bessinger

 

Mark is our May 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Mark matriculated in 2011 with outstanding results, including 2 distinctions. He is currently a 6th year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Pretoria, and after having been awarded a bursary, he plans to work for Eskom once he has completed his studies. He is one of our one of our highly recommended tutors, having worked with many learners. Mark has a passion for teaching and it is still something he considers as a possible career, having thoroughly enjoyed his experience in tutoring so far.

His advice for students is to “work hard and work smart while keeping a positive attitude”.

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Before You Break! Why Study Breaks Are Important

The Benefits of Study Breaks and How to Use Them Effectively

When faced with looming exams, it can often be a student’s first instinct to cram, pull all-nighters, or study for long periods of time uninterrupted. While this may work for a few students, studies find that studying without regular breaks can actually decrease academic performance and results. In addition, it can lead to anxiety, depression and insomnia! Research suggests that short mental breaks, doing something completely different, will actually help you to focus. Study breaks can improve retention and understanding over longer periods, as well as relax your mind.

Making study breaks successful

• Make a note of where you are stopping
• Set a time limit to your break, and stick to it
• Change your scenery
• Know yourself, and don’t start any activity that you could easily get lost in
• Get back to work as soon as your break ends, without stressing about how much there is left to do or procrastinating

What not to do in a study break

• Update your Facebook
• Phone or message a friend
• Anything to do with the subject you’re studying
• Start a new series
• The same thing you did in your last break!

What to do instead

• Exercise: take a walk, kick a ball around, or dance to your favourite song
• Meditate
• Nap for 10-20 minutes (any longer and you’ll just feel drowsy!)
• Make a (healthy) snack
• Read a book or magazine

How can BrightSparkz help?

Ask your tutor to help you plan your study timetable, as well as advice on what study methods you should use based on your Learning Styles Assessment. If you need extra lessons to help cement in some of the concepts you need to know for your exams, either contact your tutor, or get in touch with your BrightSparkz office to book extra lessons today (email Cape Town or Joburg). If you’re totally at a loss for how to study, book a Study Skills Crash Course with our Educoach! Click here to find out more.

Written By: Tessa Cooper, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

Surviving the NBTs: What you need to know

What you need to know about the National Benchmark Tests

The National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) are South Africa’s version of the SAT’s. These tests determine your academic readiness to enter university. The NBTs are necessary because of the variety of school curricula in South Africa, as well as the differences in the level of education provided country-wide. These tests therefore provide an even playing field – a national benchmark against which to score students. University admission and placement are determined by the NBTs.

There are two types of NBTs, and which test/s you need to take is determined by the university course you are applying for (most universities have this information available on their websites). The Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) Test needs to be written by all applicants. The AQL tests language and mathematical literacy skills, and may be taken in both English and Afrikaans. The Mathematics (MAT) Test tests only mathematical skills. Both tests are multiple choice, and you will have 3 hours to write each test.

The National Benchmark Tests test your ability to apply prior knowledge in a way designed to test problem-solving and lateral thinking. The results will indicate your likelihood of being able to succeed academically at tertiary level. These results are sent directly to the university/universities you have applied to. As a result, you will only need to write one set of tests, even for multiple applications. For more information on what is in the tests, click here.

When do I need to write?

This will be determined by the date that the course you are applying for needs the results by (this will be on the university’s website). The NBT test schedule provides the date that each test’s results will be sent to the various universities. This normally takes about a month, so make sure you plan ahead!

Where can I write?

There are a variety of venues in each province that host the tests, as well as in most countries neighbouring South Africa. For a full list, please see venues. If you live in a remote location, you will need to apply to the NBT Project to have a venue set up near you, or you can apply to be a remote writer.

What are the costs involved?

To write one NBT costs R80. To write both (must be written on the same day) will cost R160. You can pay on the EasyPay website, or you can visit an EasyPay Paypoint (like Pick N Pay, Shoprite or Checkers). You will need to register for the NBTs before you can pay.

How can BrightSparkz Tutors help?

While no past or sample papers are available for the NBTs, and specific course material is not available, extra tutoring lessons in maths and languages can help you! If you want lessons specifically for this reason, please let your BrightSparkz client consultant know, so that they can find the best tutor for your needs. Find a tutor here.

If you live in a remote location, and need to write a remote test, BrightSparkz can also help you to find an invigilator to oversee your NBTs. Find an invigilator here.

 

Written By: Tessa Cooper, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

Matric Rewrites (Supplementary Exams)

All is not lost…

If you’re a 2016 Matriculant looking to be accepted into a tertiary institution or hoping to become employed, passing Matric and receiving your certificate is one of the essentials. However, due to various circumstances, Matric exams may have been an overwhelming struggle for you, resulting in you not meeting the minimum requirements to pass Grade 12 and step into your planned future.

But all is not lost – you may qualify for a supplementary examination (i.e. a Matric rewrite), allowing you a second chance to pass your failed subject/s.

 

Do I qualify?

According to the Department of Education you qualify for a supplementary exam:

  • If you did not pass Grade 12 but need to pass 2 subjects to obtain your NSC. You can register a maximum of 2 subjects for your supplementary exam. However, the candidate needs to have written these subjects during their final year exam.
  • If the candidate is medically unfit or other special reasons for the candidate’s absence, he or she may register for the supplementary examination.
  • If there is a death in the immediate family of the candidate, or other special reasons for the candidate’s absence, he or she may register for the supplementary examination.
  • If the candidate provides evidence that they qualify for admission to a higher education institution but do not satisfy the higher education faculty requirements or for an occupation, as well as candidates who are one requirement short in meeting the minimum admission requirements for higher certificate, diploma and bachelor degree programs, can register for supplementary exams. However, a candidate is only allowed to register for a maximum of 2 subjects.
  • In a case where an irregularity is being investigated, provisional enrolment for supplementary examination may be granted to the candidate concerned, pending the outcome of the investigation.
  • A candidate who was unable to write or complete one or more of the National Senior Certificate examination question papers for reasons other than illness or injury may apply to write the supplementary examination, provided that a written report is submitted by the principal of the school to the Head of the assessment body.

If you meet the above criteria, and would like to register for a rewrite, please contact the Department of Education, via your school. The closing date for applications is the 19 January 2017. But avoid any further stress and register as soon as possible, after receiving your results.

The supplementary examinations usually take place in February and March, however, the 2016 dates have not yet been finalised so keep an eye on the media releases posted on the Department of Education website, as well as updates posted via our BrightSparkzSA Twitter page.

 

2016 NCS EXAMINATION RESULTS WILL BE BROADCAST LIVE

04 JANUARY 2017  I  18H00  I  SABC 1  I  eNCA  I

Individual results available at schools and www.education.gov.za

05 JANUARY 2017

If you’d like to receive an instant E-mail or SMS as soon as your results are released, sign up via the eNCA website – the official partners of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) for 2016 Matric results.

 

*For more information on qualifying rewrite conditions, dates, pricing etc. visit: http://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/NationalSeniorCertificate(NSC)Examinations/Releaseof2016NSCResults.aspx

*For answers to other frequently asked questions about rewrites, visit: http://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/NationalSeniorCertificate(NSC)Examinations/tabid/338/Default.aspx

 

How do I prepare?

  • Past Exam Papers

Past exam papers are some of the best form of revision. Get access to a number of papers for various subjects via YOU Online or directly from the Department of Education’s examinations page.

  • Tutoring

This is also an excellent time to consider tutoring. Our tutors will assist you with those difficult sections of work you just can’t seem to grasp on your own, and will help ensure you cover all the material needed before your rewrite. By getting support systems in place well in advance, you will improve your chances of improving your marks and passing your failed subject/s.

Get in touch with us via our rewrite page and we’ll set you up with a tutor who will be there with you every step of the way.

We want to see you succeed, and assist you in achieving the marks that you not only need, but are capable of.

 

Written By: Ashleigh de Jager, BrightSparkz Blog Writer (containing inserts from the DoE website)

Holiday Tutoring: Helping your child rest, without regressing

School holidays are on the horizon, and there is no doubt that children’s minds are already filled with the many fun activities they’re planning to spend all their free time on – one of which we can be sure, is not extra tutoring. Though it may appear to parents as if their children are like sponges and can soak up any amount of extra information over the break, the reality is that the holidays are there for a reason. They are intended to give their young minds a rest. However, the operative word here is rest – not a complete brain shutdown.

Studies have shown that learners, particularly young children, actually display a dip in their academic abilities after extended periods of relaxation, such as long holidays. Upon returning to school, learners are expected to continue on the same, if not a higher level, however, teachers speak of a noticeable backslide in all subjects, as well as in reading and handwriting levels – all being at an even poorer level than prior to the break.

This is due to the fact that young minds need to be continuously stimulated. Children will find something to do with their holidays, but the question is: are these activities actually going to benefit them, or simply allow for academic regress?

How holiday tutoring helps to avoid the regress and make progress:

 

  1. It keeps a general structure

Most people, although we sometimes resent it, need structure in their lives, and children even more so. Without it, a certain level of anxiety can begin to set in – nothing is as it usually is and there is a level of unpredictability that a large percentage of learners (as well as their parents) don’t deal with well. Learners go from a strict and organized schedule of classes, tests, and homework, to weeks of PlayStation games, sleeping in, and countless hours to fill.

Holiday tutoring allows both parent and child to feel as though the academic realm of life is still under control. This also then allows for the other 70% of the holiday time to actually be enjoyed as resting time, as opposed to subconscious stressing time – knowing that the break will at some point end and that they are not at all ready for the new workload that awaits them.

Having your child sit down with a tutor at regular intervals throughout the holiday (even for as little as 1 lesson per week) will provide just enough structure to help your child keep their focus on academics, as well as ease the transition back into the new term.

  1. It allows time to go back to the basics

All subjects, particularly Maths and Science have their basic building blocks, and as I can recall from my own Maths struggles at school, as soon as you’ve missed a set of basics, it is near impossible to make sense of anything that comes after that. Whether your child has missed a few too many days at school, or has just had absolutely no understanding up to this point, the holiday is a great time to use to catch up on concepts missed, and fill the understanding gaps. Once learners start the new term, there will be even more new work to get to grips with.

  1. It gives learners the time they actually need

Without the pressure of class tests and assignments constantly creeping up on them, the break allows learners to feel as though they actually have the time to spend fully grasping various concepts. Additionally, because children are generally more relaxed in the holidays, they are able to retain more information and are afforded the time to actually process it before too quickly moving right onto something new, as is most often the case at school.

  1. It allows you to pick the best time, not just what is left of the time

Extra lessons by nature are forced to take place after school hours when very often a learner is already so drained that all they want to do is something mindless such as kicking a ball outside or staring into a television screen. Yet, after a full academic day, parents and tutors expect them to take in an extra load of information – a lot of which is often entirely lost. Of course, there is not much that can be done about this, but that’s what makes the holidays such an ideal time for tutoring. Learners can have lessons in the morning when their minds are still fresh and are able to process and retain information, particularly new information, more effectively.

  1. It helps to alleviate test and exam anxiety

Most people have some degree of test anxiety, which is most often due to the fact that they never feel completely ready for what they’re about to be tested on. Tests make up a large part of a learner’s grade and it is therefore essential that they are able to perform in this area. A holiday tutor can use the time to not only help your child better prepare for future tests and exams, but also improve on study skills as whole – teaching a learner how to more effectively study and prepare throughout the year, even when not accompanied by a tutor.

  1. It lightens a parent’s load

While children seem to spend more time on holiday than they do at school, parents most often still need to be at work. So when their child is sent home with holiday homework and assignments, it can be a challenge finding time to help them get these done. Thank goodness for tutors, who can not only be the ones making sure that the holiday work is completed, but also that your child actually understands the content of the work and is still learning from it.

  1. It is a time to re-evaluate and set new goals

Tutors are great motivators of inspiring and encouraging their learners to constantly achieve better results. Why not make the most of the accountability relationship your child develops with a tutor and allow them to spend time together in the holidays, not only for the sake of working on school material, but to help them set academic goals for the new term, allowing them to start the new term feeling inspired and driven to achieve them.

  1. It teaches learners to step-up

Holiday tutoring is not mandatory. Therefore, learners who are spending that little bit of extra academic time during the holidays are learning the value of taking charge of their situation, as opposed to being a victim of their academic struggles, or still improving on their average marks and pushing for distinctions. Holiday tutoring instills discipline and teaches the value of doing what others don’t, in order to achieve what others won’t. There is no doubt that learners will see the positive outcomes of their hard-work when returning to school with a greater confidence and understanding.

Myth Busters!

Many parents may assume that it is only necessary to make use of a tutor if their child is struggling, and some even wait until the child has already failed before it feels acceptable to seek the help of a tutor. However, tutoring can be beneficial to every kind of child – whether they are a failing student desperate to pass, or an average one chasing distinctions.

“Research suggests that 30 minutes, 3 – 5 times a week is a very effective way of helping children catch up, maintain or even excel in their academic abilities, especially if they are given one-to-one input, and is the best way to ensure they get the most out of their education”.

 

While an intense boot-camp style tutoring schedule will inevitably burn your child out before the new term has even begun, there are many benefits to having a tutor help your child keep up with a moderate level of academic stimulation throughout the holiday. It will set them up for the best Term 2 possible – and help them actually achieve those marks you’ve been praying about.

How BrightSparkz can help:

  • Private tutoring

BrightSparkz Tutors offers one-on-one, subject specific tutoring that takes place in the comfort of your own home or a venue of your choice. Tutors aim to identify the gaps in knowledge, while simultaneously facilitating learning through lots of practice, revision of theory, and interactive discussion of the subject matter.

Our tutors are unique individuals, who are selected carefully based on their specific strengths in their chosen subjects.  They not only have excellent knowledge of the subjects they tutor, but also a passion for tutoring and helping learners reach their potential.

  • BrightSparkz App

BrightSparkz Online is an award-winning online Maths and Science App tailored to South African learners from Grade 8 – 12. It covers all content for Maths, Natural Science, Physical Science and Chemistry, and is suitable for both CAPS and IEB learners. The platform provides top quality resources, breaks up these curriculum into manageable sections, and is an excellent way to supplement your child’s one-on-one lessons.

  • Study Skills Workshops

BrightSparkz Tutors has partnered with an outstanding, specialist Educational Psychologist with a tutoring and teaching background in order to provide yet another value added service that our learners can benefit from, in order to make the most of their tutoring, and go into the exam period feeling like everything is manageable. For more information on when and where our holiday workshops will take place, please contact us on edupsych@brightsparkz.co.za.

 

If a holiday tutor sounds like just what you need, BrightSparkz Tutors are ready to help. Just click here, provide us with your details, and we’ll get right onto looking for the most suitable tutor for your learner’s needs.

 

Written by Ashleigh de Jager, BrightSparkz Blog Writer