Is it worth getting a tutor for GCSE?

February 14, 2022

Are GCSEs becoming a painful word in your house? Are they causing stress and anxiety for all involved? Do you have a niggling feeling that more needs to be done to get your teen through this next hurdle?

I am biased when I say, ‘yes of course it’s worth getting a GCSE tutor!’, but allow me to explain. Having a professional tutor can really make a difference in:

  • your teen’s confidence
  • their knowledge of the course
  • their final grade
  • your peace of mind

These are the first exams that employers will ask to see. They are an entry point to the working world and will open up doors of opportunity for your teenager. Therefore investing time, money and effort right now can have a long term pay off in the years ahead.


GCSE student raising her hand


Should I get a tutor for GCSE?

The question is less ‘is it worth getting a tutor for GCSE exams’ but more ‘do we need a tutor?’ 


  • Has your teen been forecast grades that match their potential?
  • Are they comfortable with the skills covered in the course?
  • Are they confident sitting exams?
  • Do they know how to revise?


If the answer to all of these is yes, then it sounds like your teen is on track to do well with the exams and extra intervention may not be necessary. However, if you are concerned about any of these areas, now is the time to act. Year 11 goes very quickly and, as with many skills, time is needed to build confidence, hone skills and fill knowledge gaps. 


Teacher and GCSE student writing on a white board

How GCSE tutors can help

A good GCSE tutor will have current knowledge and experience of the exams your teen is sitting. For example, if you are studying a foreign language, look for a native speaker. If you are seeking support in maths make sure your maths tutor got top grades themselves. They will listen to your concerns, identify areas of difficulty and coach exam techniques to ensure your teen gets the best grades.


What they can help with

Many students feel that their individual needs are not consistently met in the classroom. A tutor is an ideal way of spending focused time on the topics that you’d like covered in more depth. Tutoring offers support with:

  •  increasing grades
  •  developing confidence
  •  reducing anxiety around the exam



Revision skills – Tuition can support study skills and help add structure to revision if this is something that your child struggles with.

Reducing pressure – Students can feel significant stress and pressure to do well in their exams. A tutor can help reduce this anxiety by supporting them to have a structured approach to their learning, demonstrating that they can succeed and breaking down material into bite size pieces to avoid overwhelm.

Better results – Of course this is the ultimate objective. A good tutor will spot where your teen can make small changes to gain more marks. They will guide on exam techniques and what sections of the exam they should spend more time on. 

Support with challenge areas – If there are elements of the syllabus that your child is lacking confidence in or feel that they haven’t mastered, a tutor can spend time coaching these skills.

Individual attention – In large classes it can be difficult for teachers to give individualised support to each child. Your tutor can really get to understand your teen’s needs and make them feel valued.

Tailored support – Your tutor should be able to fit around your needs and schedule. If there is one particular area that is causing you concern then your tutor should be able to give examples and techniques to be able to solve the problems.



Motivation – whilst a tutor will coach with enthusiasm and do all they can to boost self-esteem, they cannot make a teen want to study. Your child needs to be willing to work with their tutor.

Limited touch points – a focused hour or two each week can really make the difference but there will be times when your teen needs to be self-reliant in their study.

It’s an exam – the painful nature of exams is not knowing how your teen will feel on the day, whether they will be thrown by a particular question or suffer anxiety. A tutor can pre-empt and support these feelings but will not be there on the day.


GCSE students talking in the classroom

Who needs a GCSE tutor?

If your teen is motivated to do well in their exam but lacks confidence, has gaps in knowledge or struggles with exam questions or technique, a GCSE tutor will be able to make a valuable contribution to their learning.

If your teen is struggling with their mental health, is disengaged from the learning process or generally having difficulty in thriving at school then you need to take a step back. Trying to get your teen through an exam when they are in such a difficult place is going to be a battle. Much better to focus on their wellbeing and use the support of school and local mental health services to get them in a good place first before tackling exams. 


What to expect from GCSE tutoring

GCSE tutoring is about passing an exam. This means that all the work covered should be relevant to the exam board and syllabus that your teen is sitting. Home tutoring and online tutoring are most common at GCSE level.

Tutors will take different approaches but a good first step is for them to assess your teen’s capabilities, either through looking at feedback and mock exam results from school or doing an initial assessment. They then use this information to make a study plan.

Tuition should be focused on your teen’s individual needs and most tutors will encourage their tutees to take ownership of the session, bringing with them areas of difficulty that have cropped up in class. Tuition will also focus on exam techniques and guiding your teen in the best way to revise.

Each session should bring your child closer to passing their exam with a good grade that reflects their ability.


How much does a GCSE tutor cost?

In the UK, the average cost of tuition for GCSE ranges between £30-£60 per hour. However, not all private tuition experiences are like for like. 


At Explore Learning, we offer a GCSE maths programme for a monthly fee of £149. This includes:

  • 1 x 1:1 tutoring session each week
  • Unlimited access to revision resources, exam-style questions and practice papers relevant to your exam boards
  • Digital progress dashboard
  • Weekly email update (when 5 or more maths activities have been completed)
  • Parents meetings and advise from course managers


What makes a good GCSE tutor? 

People make the difference. Especially when it comes to learning.

A good tutor can make a lifelong impact on your teen, not only in their academic skills but also in the development of their self-esteem. They will listen to your teen’s needs and concerns, ensuring they understand the challenges they are facing. 


Here’s a little checklist of what to look out for:

  • Communication – a good tutor will articulate ideas clearly, listen to their tutee and check for understanding.
  • Passion – good tutors are passionate about learning and strive to bring out their student’s passion too!
  • Trust and respect – your tutor should create a culture of trust and mutual respect with your teen.
  • Positive attitude – taking a positive approach to successes and mistakes helps to build trusting relationships with students. 
  • Knowledge – your tutor should have a detailed understanding of the subject they are coaching. They might be a qualified teacher, or a student themselves. The most important thing is that their knowledge is current.
  • Inspiration – whether in their teaching style or the way they connect with your teen, a good tutor should be inspirational. 
  • Structured learning – your tutor should have a plan for each session and be able to communicate that to your teen so they know what is expected and how to get the most out of it.
  • Adaptable – sometimes a different approach is required. A good tutor will be able to spot when they need to change the way they are teaching to suit their tutees needs.


Choosing the right GCSE tutor

Before you start private tutoring for GCSE ask your teen these questions:


  • What do they most need support with?
  • What is their preferred working style?
  • How long are they willing to commit to studying each week?


Then choose a tutor that best meets your family’s requirements and demonstrates good tutoring qualities. 

If you are looking for extra support with your maths GCSE then look no further than Explore Learning. 


Explore Learning tutor


Why choose Explore Learning for GCSE tuition?

Explore Learning has 20 years experience supporting children to unlock their potential in maths and English. We combine brilliant tutors with high quality learning resources to meet each child’s unique needs. Following high levels of demand, Explore Learning has extended it’s offering, previously for 4-14 year olds, to include those students studying for their maths GCSE (Year 9 to 11). We offer one-to-one online maths tuition delivered by dedicated GCSE tutors.


Delivered by expert GCSE tutors

Explore is renowned for recruiting and developing only the highest quality tutors and providing exceptional levels of safety. 

When you work with Explore you can be sure that your teenager will be supported by highly experienced maths tutors using a private and secure platform. Take the worry out of the GCSE Maths exam. 


Our specialist GCSE maths tuition programme will help your child get the GCSE grades they need and deserve.


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