Our First Yellow Brick Code School Holiday Program

Over the September school holidays, we held out first Yellow Brick Code coding workshop! Twenty students, aged from 5-8 joined us on an adventure through the fictional world of Codeland with our friendly code block characters. Using a combination of story telling, games and activities, we introduced students to the fundamental skills that they need to create their own fun video games. And, best of all, we all had a great time!

Today, we thought we’d share some of the highlights of each day.

Day 1: On the first day, students were introduced to the four code blocks, Kieran, Christina, Chloe, and Cody, who invited them on an adventure across Codeland to retrieve 9 magic batteries. In order to find these batteries, students had to complete various challenges across the 3 days. First, students had to travel through the Forest of Bugs, and learn valuable debugging skills. Then, they had to brave Mount Persistence, where they learned the importance of not giving up when faced with difficult problems. We also learned the importance of responsible computer use, and how to avoid sharing personal information online. Then it was time for a game!

Using a fun game, we taught students how to direct a character through a maze, using simple direction blocks. Once students got the hang of it, we showed them how to they could use this skill to program a character to move around their computer screen.

Day 2: On the second day, we used our coding skills to help an old lady find her missing diamonds. In order to do so, we had to learn how to “loop” or repeat coding commands. We then used these skills to draw images using only code! By this point, everyone was getting the hang of coding.

We then played “my robot friend,” a game that required students to pretend to be robots and follow simple instructions. This was a fun way understanding the concept of “events,” which are actions that cause something else to happen in a computer program. Once we all understood the concept of “events,” we had a go making an animated story starring a playful puppy!

Day 3: On day 3, the code blocks met a brave knight and a fearsome dragon. Students had to use all of their skills and cunning to program a computer game in which the knight ran around collecting flags, while avoiding the dangerous dragon. It was a lot of fun making a video game from scratch, but we made sure we took lots of breaks to get some fresh air and play some games outside.

By the end of the 3 days, our students helped the code blocks find all of the 9 magic batteries. To celebrate their impressive efforts, each of our students received a certificate, recognising their impressive persistence and coding abilities. We were so impressed with how much progress our students made over just 3 days!

We all had so much fun at Yellow Brick Code that we’re currently planning our next school holiday coding program for the summer holidays. If you’d like to know more, click here to join our mailing list, and we’ll send you the first chapter of our Yellow Brick Code picture book!

Why Every Child Should Learn To Code

Have you ever wondered why we teach our children to read, write, ride bikes, play musical instruments, or swim at such an early age? Probably not. After all, it’s commonly accepted that these are important or necessary skills that will help children throughout their lives. Furthermore, we all know how quickly young kids pick up new skills. So it makes sense that if a skill is important for your child’s future, you should help them learn it as early as possible, right?

So why aren’t we teaching our kids to code?

This may sound like a silly question. After all, many people of our generation consider coding to be a niche skill, only important if you want a career in IT. But, in the coming decades, digital literacy will become one of the most sought-after skills in the job market. Last year LinkedIn’s list of top 10 most important career skills included data analysis, web development, mobile development, SEO marketing, information security and user interface design. And, with the rise of automation, these skills are going to become even more vital to your child’s ability to secure a stable and rewarding career. Simply put, now is the perfect time to start teaching our kids to code.

As Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, writes: “In fifteen years, we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing… and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner.” So why wait?

What Are The Benefits Of Teaching Your Child To Code?

Aside from just improving your child’s future job prospect, the development of digital literacy offers a number of other benefits. Kids who learn to code at an early age also develop the following skills:

  • Logical thinking – coding requires students to use logical thinking to solve problems
  • Creativity – student are required to come up with unique solutions to achieve a goal
  • Mathematics – coding offers a chance to apply mathematical concepts to concrete situations
  • Perseverance – the ability to persevere when faced with unexpected or difficult situations in central to coding
  • Communication – coding is the language of the 21st century, and allows students to to interact with the world around them
  • Responsibility – the sooner students learn how to safely navigate the internet, and the more aware they are of the risks or online spaces, the more secure and responsible they will be

What Can We Do To Help?

Despite the innumerable benefits of teaching kids to code, the Australian education system is still taking its time to catch up. In Victoria, coding is often only taught at a high school level, and then often only as an elective subject. So what do you do if you want to give your child a leg up?

That’s where we come in! We have created Yellow Brick Code, a fun, interactive school holiday program to be run during the upcoming September school holidays. It is designed to introduce students aged 5-8 to the exciting world of computer science, while giving them the opportunity to meet some wonderful new friends over their school holiday break! Over 3 days, your child will learn skills in algorithmic thinking, programming and creative expression through stories, videos, hands on physical activities, games, fun programming challenges, and a group of colourful characters like Kieran the code block.

So, if you want to give your child an invaluable first step into the world of coding and digital literacy, as well as a fun and engaging way to spend their school holidays, check out Yellow Brick Code today!


Questions To Ask Yourself If Your Child Is Considering Sitting A Selective Schools Exam

Over the past few years, we have worked with countless students and parents to help them prepare for the Selective Schools Exam. Successfully gaining a place within a Selective School is obviously a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that can have a phenomenal impact on the educational possibilities of the lucky students who are selected. That said, with all the pressure surrounding Selective Schools, it is often easy to forget that Selective Schools are, quite simply, not the best choice for every child. While Spectrum Tuition obviously encourages all of our students to strive for their potential, we also think it’s important that parents and students give serious consideration to the difficulties that come with applying for, and even receiving a place in, a Selective School. In that spirit, here are four questions you should ask yourself if your child is considering sitting a Selective Schools Exam.


Does My Child Thrive In Competitive Environments?

For a lot of students, attending a Selective School can come as a crude shock. When they start, most Selective School students are used to being top of their class, and have generally found their schoolwork easy. However, once they start attending a Selective School, they suddenly find themselves surrounded by other extremely talented and motivated students. As a result, Selective Schools are often very competitive environments. Some students respond well to such environments; competition motivates them to work harder. However, some students can be demotivated. It’s worth considering how your child responds to challenges before you sign them up for a Selective Schools Exam.


How Far Will My Child Have To Travel To Attend A Selective School?

The other things to consider is practicality. If your child does get selected to attend Melbourne High School, Suzanne Cory or Mac Rob, how far will they have to travel? This may sounds like a silly question, but an extra hour or two of commute time each day can have a dramatic impact on your child’s ability to do their homework, participate in extracurricular activities and get a good night’s sleep.


Is My Child Ready For The Pressure Of A Selective Schools Exam?

Finally, you should also consider whether your child is ready for the pressures of a Selective Schools Exam. Students who sit the Selective Schools Exam have to tackle one of the most complex and competitive challenges ever faced by a high school student. The exam requires students to write essays and narratives under extremely strict times limits, tackle complex logical problems, and demonstrate a familiarity with mathematical concepts that are often not taught until later years. While the exam presents an opportunity for talented and committed students, it can also be a very stressful obstacle.

This is not to say that we mean to discourage students from sitting the Selective Schools Exam; on the contrary, we at Spectrum Tuition believe that all students deserve the chance to pursue their goals. But we also think that it’s important for people to go into these exams as informed as possible about the challenges that lay ahead. If you would like to have a conversation about whether the Selective Schools Exam is right for your child, or if you would like to know more about how you can help your child prepare for this exam, feel free to email us at enquiries@spectrumtuition.com or call us free on 1800 668 177.

Why Strong Readers Are Not Necessarily Strong Writers

There is a very common misconception that students who read a lot will automatically become good writers. On the surface level, it makes sense. After all, reading extensively allows students to develop a large vocabulary, appreciate different perspectives and gain an understanding of how different texts are structured. As with any skill, the first step towards becoming proficient is to watch a professional at work.

On the other hand, nobody learns to drive a car by watching their mum drive; nobody learns how to shoot baskets by watching basketball on television; and nobody learns how to bake a perfect souffle by just reading recipe books. In all these situations, practise is the key. While this all seems obvious, to be a strong English student, people often forget the importance of practising writing. Like any skill, writing requires constant practise. Here are some skills that you can only get from practising writing…

1. Practising writing builds muscle memory

Students often forget that writing is not just a mental task; it is a physical one as well. When students sit their VCE exams, or if they sit a Selective Schools or Scholarship test, they are required to write long, well thought out essays or creative narratives under a strict time limit. Quite often, under these situations, students’ hands get tired before their brains do. Students who haven’t practised writing essays or narratives on a regular basis will find it hard to write quickly enough, or for long enough, to get all of their great ideas on the page. On the other hand, students who recognise that writing (like all tasks) needs practise, are much more likely to have the physical and mental skills they need to succeed.

2. Learning to read and learning to write are two completely different skills

Reading is obviously a wonderful skill for building imagination in students; but it is, in the end, largely a passive activity. When you are learning to read for the first time, you need to recognise the shapes of letters and words and decode them using your knowledge of sounds and phonics. Then when you have built up the required skills to read a story, you get to sit back and let the author take you on a journey.

When it’s your turn to do the writing, suddenly your job becomes a lot more difficult. How do you even start? What is the right word to use to communicate the right message? How can you grab and maintain your reader’s attention? How do you conclude in a satisfactory way? What about grammar/ spelling/ punctuation? You’re given an empty page that you’re supposed to fill with ideas. This can be incredibly stressful, and many students face writer’s block as a result. Learning specific writing skills and practising writing is a good way to get better at generating your own ideas, so you can succeed every time. The more you practise, the less intimidating the empty page will look, and the more techniques you will learn for generating ideas in order to become a successful writer.

3. Practising writing demystifies the art of writing

Have you ever read a great essay or a great story and thought, “How on Earth did they do that?” It’s a common experience, and it’s part of the fun of reading. When we read good writing, we’re not necessarily trying to figure out how the author is doing what they’re doing, we’re just enjoying their work. This is one of the reasons why it’s not enough to just read extensively if you want to learn to write well. Put simply: reading good writing doesn’t teach you how to be a good writer yourself. On the other hand, when you practise writing regularly, you start to notice the patterns, the little tricks that you can use again and again to make your writing successful. Practising writing allows you to look behind the curtain and seeing the mechanisms that make up a successful piece of writing.

Of course, practising is hard. And it’s not the kind of thing you can just do without guidance. That’s where we come in. If you or your child wants more guidance on how to practise their writing, feel free to email us at enquiries@spectrumtuition.com or call us on 1800 668 177 to book a free assessment. Alternatively, you can book online by clicking here.

If your child is preparing for a Scholarship or Selective Schools Exam, you might also want to check out our custom Writing Bundle. This bundle contains our best selling persuasive essay book and narrative book.  After reading these books your child will have the skills required to write a compelling and well structured narrative and persuasive essay!

Spectrum Tuition Victorian Selective Schools Mock Exam 2017: Open For Enrolments

Want to practice your exam taking skills under realistic test conditions before the actual selective schools exam? Then this is what you’ve been waiting for!

Our 2017 Victorian selective schools mock exam is now open for enrollments.

We will be holding our 2017 selective schools mock exam for students sitting the Victorian Selective Schools Exam on Sunday 14th May (mock exam) and Sunday 21st May (workshop).

Why Sit Our Mock Exam?

Are you worried your child isn’t ‘exam ready?’ Do you want to know how they’ll perform under realistic time constraints and exam conditions? If so, you’ll want to enrol in our mock exam programme.

Our mock exam is aimed at helping students get a realistic sense of how they’ll perform under the intense pressure of a 3-hour exam. We then follow up with a 4-hour workshop that’ll go through the most common problems student had with the mock exam questions.

To ensure that students get the maximum value from the workshop we limit our intake to 45 students.  We don’t fill out the hall with hundreds of students and then run a generic workshop. We tailor our program based on the data generated from the actual mock exam.

How Does It Work?

The exam will begin at 9am and will be held at Footscray North Primary School (map). The exam will be held in the school hall.

We will then hold a 4 HOUR interactive workshop the very next Sunday outlining the most common errors and provide tips on how to improve your performance on exam day. We also encourage parents of students who have sat the mock exam to sit in on the workshop, so that they can fully understand what their child needs to do to prepare in the last few weeks before the exam.

Places are strictly limited to 45 places – so register today to secure your spot.

This is your only chance for your child to sit a full-length exam in a similar style and format as the actual test BEFORE the day AND get feedback on your performance!

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Register by 22nd April and get $50 off! 7 hours of test preparation normally $325, now just $275!


Eventbrite - Spectrum Tuition | The Selective Schools Mock Exam 2017


What Does It Take To Gain Entry To A Selective School? The Results Might Surprise You!

One of the most common questions we receive from parents and students regarding the Victorian Selective Schools exam is:

“What marks do I need to gain entry?” or “How many superiors do I need?”

The answer to these types of questions is complex. In previous years, different combinations have resulted in students gaining entry to the selective school of their choice. In this video, we will discuss some of these results to give you an insight to what different students achieved when they received their offers. We also describe how these students used the results after sitting our mock exam to help them focus their study in the few short weeks leading up to the actual exam.

In the video, we’ll share a short case study of 3 students who attended classes at Spectrum Tuition, completed our annual mock exam and then subsequently gained entry into a selective school. If you would like to have a go at this mock exam and watch the accompanying workshop video which offers tips and outlines common mistakes, please click here. Full worked solutions for every question is also included with this mock exam package.

The important thing to note about the above video is that there is no set formula on how many ‘superiors’ you need to gain entry to a Selective School. Having said this, it is unlikely that you will be offered a place if you score a ‘low’ in any of the tests.

If you have any questions please feel free to add them below in the comments and we’ll endeavour to answer them.


Top Maths, English, & NAPLAN Tutors in Hoppers Crossing

The Spectrum Hoppers Crossing campus is a symbol of how excellent educational services can help any student to achieve their goals. We believe that Spectrum Tuition students from the Western suburbs should not have to travel too far or otherwise struggle unfairly for their education, and have always been committed to providing for them and their families through our campus in Footscray. More recently, we have brought our proven methods and exclusive curriculum to more students with the Spectrum Hoppers Crossing campus.

A Prime Campus Location with Great Facilities On-site

At The Grange P-12 College (site of our new Hoppers Crossing campus), we are situated in the M block which features large air conditioned and heated classrooms. We also have a fantastic space outside for students to play during supervised breaks in their maths or English tutoring.

Bringing Academic Excellence to the Western Suburbs

Spectrum Tuition provide, trusted, acclaimed tutoring services to help students at any level of achievement and any point in their education reach their maximum potential. We hire only the best English, Science, and Maths tutors, star students themselves, who can impart our dynamic, exclusive curriculum to students with confidence.

We’re glad that we’ll now be better able to service families in the Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit, Point Cook and Truganina areas. If you have any questions or would like to book a FREE assessment at our Hoppers Crossing campus please feel free to call us on 1800 668 177.

Information About Our Hoppers Crossing Campus

Classes Offered: Grade 3 to Year 10 Maths and English, Scholarship (ACER and EDUTEST) and Selective Schools Exam Preparation (for entry into Melbourne High, MacRob, Suzanne Cory High and Nossal High).

Hours of Operation: Saturday, 9.00am – 4.45pm

Location: The Grange P-12 College (Senior Campus), Hoppers Crossing – Bethany Road Entrance (type 66 Bethany Road into your GPS. The entrance to the campus is located across the road from this address).

Contact Details: 1800 668 177

mathematics classes

4 Ways To Prepare Your Child For VCE

With the VCE exams currently taking place, a lot of students in years 9 and 10 will no doubt be nervously looking ahead to their own futures and the challenges that lay ahead of them. I have had a lot of experience helping students with the transition into VCE. One thing I have noticed is that this transition is easier for some students that for others. Some students take to VCE like ducks to water, scoring consistently high marks on their SACs from the start of the year. For others, the first few months of VCE are a blind panic, as they struggle to keep their head above water as they figure out how to organise their notes, manage their time and structure their own revision. So, what’s the reason behind this? What makes some students so much more suited for VCE than others? More importantly, what can you do to ensure that, come the start of year 11, your child is one of the students who thrives?

1. Encourage Their Independence

One of the biggest shocks that students encounter when they start VCE is how independent they are required to be. No longer will teachers walk them through every concept, tell them how to revise for tests, or give exact instructions about what homework needs to be done each week. While your child will still get assigned homework, this constitutes only a small fraction of the total work they need to be doing if they want to achieve good marks; the rest is made up of individual and self-determined study and revision. In order to prepare your child for this, it is a good idea to encourage their independence from an early age. Instead of telling them exactly what homework they need to do and when they need to do it, ask them what they need to achieve and encourage them to develop their own plans for how they will get the necessary work done. While they may need your guidance from time to time, the more you can teach your child to plan and structure their own study time, the more they will be prepared for the challenges ahead.

2. Foster A Love Of Reading

If you are going to perform well in VCE, you need to be able to read quickly, efficiently and productively for extended periods of time. Of course, this is most important in subjects like English, where students are expected to read and interpret novels and articles. Students who struggle to make it through their novels before it comes time to discuss them in class will inevitably have a disadvantage. However, the ability to read well also affects basically every other subject. Whether it be revising a difficult concept in a Maths Methods textbook, remembering definitions for a Psychology SAC, revising a big stack of old Physics notes or interpreting a difficult question on an Accounting exam, good reading skills are vital. Fortunately, if you get in early, this is a skill that you can easily help your child develop. All you need to do is ensure that they regularly have access to books and distraction-free spare time; all they need to do is to read as much and as widely as possible!

Demystifying the ATAR Score

On the 20th of December this year, thousands of VCE students across Victoria will receive their ATAR score. For these students, for better or for worse, their VCE journey is at an end; they have worked hard, studied for hours on end and (hopefully) received the results required to gain them entry to their desired University course.

For students commencing year 11 or 12 in 2014, the journey has only just begun. And often, for these students and their parents, the task of achieving a high ATAR score can seem like a scary, daunting and complicated process. What makes matters worse is  how many parents and students don’t even know how the ATAR score is calculated.

If this sounds like you, then read on. Today, I will be explaining how the ATAR is calculated and, based on this explanation, giving some tips on how you and your child can maximise their chances of ATAR success!

How Is The ATAR Calculated?

1. Firstly, each student will usually complete between 4-6 subjects. Based on their exam and SAC scores, they will receive an ATAR Subject Score out of 50 for each of their subjects. This is not a simple score, but a ranking, in which a score of 50 indicates the highest performing students and 30 is the average.

2. Next, because some subjects may be more competitive than others, some subjects will be “scaled up” and some may be “scaled down.” This means that a certain number of points will be added on to, or subtracted from, the raw ATAR Subject Score. It is worth noting that higher performing students will not have their scores scaled down. The degree to which each subject is scaled is determined on a yearly basis. To check out the extent to which subjects were scaled in 2012, check out this link!

3. The ATAR Aggregate is then calculated. It is found by adding

-Your best ATAR Subject Score in any one of the English studies

-The ATAR Subject Scores of your next best three studies

-10 per cent of the ATAR Subject Score for a fifth study (where available),

-10 per cent of the ATAR Subject Score for a sixth study (where available)

(It is worth noting that, as shown, an English subject MUST be one of your top 4 subjects)

4. The ATAR Aggregate is then used to rank all students. The final ATAR score is an indication of the students rank within their year. For example, a score of 97 indicates that the student has performed better than 97% of students. ATAR scores are given in intervals of 0.05, and the highest possible score is 99.95.

What does this mean?

This may seem complicated, but there are a few useful pieces of advice that you can get from understanding the way in which the ATAR system works…

1.    Do not neglect English.

English is the only subject that MUST be one of your child’s top 4 subjects. As such, a poor performance in English will affect your child’s score dramatically. English is also one of the more difficult subjects, as it requires students to think in different and complex ways about a particular text. At Spectrum Tuition, we spend all year preparing our students for their final English exams, giving them as much diverse and practical experience as possible.

2.    Your top 4 subjects are important.

It is important for your child to have a strong top 4 subjects. They are the subjects that make up most of the mark. Whilst it is important to do well in all subjects, you should make sure that your child is confident in getting an excellent score in at least four of their subjects.

3.    High subject scores are not scaled down

In year 12, my friend was very concerned because she was doing a lot of subjects, such as Psychology and Graphic design, that get scaled down. She was worried that this would ruin her chances of getting a good enter score. Because she knew this, she made sure to focus a lot of attention on these subjects. She made a clear study plan, and got a tutor to help with her exam preparation. In the end, she got a 50 for Psychology, and so it wasn’t scaled down at all! If your child is taking a subject that gets scaled down, they need to be aware that this is not an “easy subject”. If they want to achieve, they will have to work extra hard on these subjects to make sure they are scaled down as little as possible.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments! If you would like to see a first-hand account of how ATAR scores are calculated, check out this handy ATAR score calculator.

4 Main Hurdles Getting in the Way of VCE Success

The mid-year break is finished, and students are heading back for term 3. For students in year 12, this is often a time for panic. With SACs piling up and exams creeping closer and closer, students start to really feel the enormity of the task ahead of them. How your child faces the next few months will have a profound impact on their performance on their exams in November. Now is the time for them to get over their bad habits that are stopping them from achieving their full potential. Today, I will go through the 4 main hurdles getting in the way of VCE success, and give some tips for how you can help your child overcome them.


1. Lack of a Plan

Studying hard is important, but there is a big difference between planned study and unplanned study. A student who doesn’t have a plan will read through their notes, flip aimlessly through their textbook and struggle through a pile of practice exams. And they will ultimately miss something or get overwhelmed. The best thing your child can do at this stage of the year is to take a step back and ask themselves some questions: What do I need to know for the exam? Can I break down the course into several smaller topics? What areas do I have the most difficulty on? What should I revise first? By asking these questions, your child will be able to plan more clearly what they need to study and when.


2. Excuses

It is very easy to make excuses. As a tutor, I have heard them all.

“I got a bad mark on my SAC, but so did all my friends.”

“I couldn’t study for the test, because I had too much on that week.”

“I got a bad mark on the exam because my teacher didn’t explain it well.”

Sometimes, these reasons may be valid. But more often than not, students make excuses so that they don’t have to take responsibility for their own success or failure. This is a habit that should be discouraged. One of the most common traits of successful people is that they always take responsibility for their own fate. Successful people accept that their success and their failure are in their own hands, and work hard to achieve their goals. When your child performs poorly, ask them how they can improve next time; when they perform well, congratulate them and ask them what they did to perform so well. Show your child that their performance is up to them.


3. Distractions

This one is an obvious one. Video games, text messages, Skype, Facebook, TV, comics and movies are just a few of the things that can distract students from their studies. Year 12 students are especially good at distracting themselves; some students even clean their house to avoid studying! The best way to prevent your child from getting distracted is to separate work from leisure. Your child should have a specific time and place to relax, and a specific time and place to study. For example, your child should know that when they come home, they can relax for half and hour, then spend an hour at their desk working, then have dinner, relax and watch TV. If your child has a clear study timetable and a designated study space, they are far less likely to get distracted.


4. Fear

All VCE students feel scared, anxious or nervous sometimes. This is natural; year 12 is a stressful year. What is important is how your child handles their fears. There are always some students who let their anxieties overcome and become paralysed by their fear; they don’t know where to start studying, they make silly mistakes in their exams, and they start to give up. As a parent, the most important thing you can do for your child is to look after their emotional wellbeing. Talk to them about what they are worried about, and make plans to overcome these worries. If they are worried about a particular subject, it’s not too late to seek tutoring, and give their performance a much-needed boost. By making clear plans and getting organised at this time of year, you can turn your child’s fear, anxiety and nerves into motivations, determination and success.

Alice in ATAR-land – Why the Cheshire Cat was a genius

When you find yourself choosing subjects for Year 12, there are a number of questions you must ask yourself. The first relates to the story of Alice in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll.


If you are unfamiliar with the story, it goes like this:


Alice goes on an adventure through a land of make believe meeting such characters on her journey including the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts.


But the always smiling Cheshire Cat has the most insight in my opinion.


Can you remember him?


There’s a time in the story when Alice is walking along and reaches a fork in the road. She has the option of going left or right.


She didn’t know which way to go and was in a state of panic. Looking upwards towards the heavens she looked for some form of direction. Her eyes met with those of the smiling Cheshire Cat casually sitting above her in the tree.


Almost instantly Alice spoke out glancing at the divided road: “Which way should I go?” After a moment of silence, the Cheshire cat said, “That depends…”


Alice said, “Depends on what?”


The cat said, “It depends on your destination. Where are you going?”


“I don’t know….I just don’t know….” answered a confused Alice.


“Then,” said the Cheshire cat, while grinning broadly….“It really does not matter.”

Before you select subjects for VCE ask yourself, what outcome do you want to achieve?


Think about that for a moment. Get clear on it.


Although it sounds simple, don’t brush this question off because it pays to get really clear.


Our goal is to help you attain the highest possible ATAR so you have your pick of tertiary courses when the time comes and in most cases, the best subjects to choose in order to achieve the highest possible ATAR are subjects you enjoy and subjects you can study for.


Do you enjoy writing? Can you see yourself writing as a career option? Are you interested in money matters and finance? Do you enjoy business and current events? Do you have an interest in the latest gadgets and seek out the latest in technological advancements? Perhaps you are more logical and enjoy mathematics and science.


Your answers to these questions will help you decide which subjects to choose for your VCE.

For example, if you are interested in business studies and commerce, choosing subjects like Chemistry, Physics and Specialist Maths just because they scale up probably wouldn’t be your best option.


English, Maths Methods, accounting, economics, further maths and business studies might be a better fit.

Similarly, you may enjoy singing, but if after years of practice are no closer to being the next Mariah Carey or Michael Jackson, it might be a good idea to leave music performance as a hobby, and choose subjects that you can study for.

The first step is to get really clear on your outcome. Of course, that’s only the first step.

For more information about how the ATAR is calculated, study scores and scaling, visit www.vtac.edu.au or book a free assessment and consultation by calling 1800 668 177.

Why University Students Make Effective Tutors

Last week, a parent of one of our students was asking about our tutors. He wanted to know whether we hired any high school students to teach our classes. He was surprised when I told him that, at Spectrum Tuition, we only hire current university students. He told me that he had been to several centres that hire high school students, and was less than pleased with the results. This conversation got me thinking about what it is that makes a good tutor, and why it is that we believe that university students are best suited for this role. So, I decided to give you my top 5 reasons why university students make some of the most effective tutors. Have a read, and let me know your thoughts on this topic.

1. They are top performers

At Spectrum, we firmly believe that, in order to be a great teacher, you have to be a great learner. As such, we only hire high achieving university students. Our tutors have worked extremely hard in year 12, achieved ATAR scores in the high 90s, received offers from leading universities, and have gone on to be immensely successful in their tertiary studies. Our talented tutors are studying to become Australia’s next generation of successful doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, accountants and academics, and are enthusiastic about passing on their passion and knowledge to your child.

2. They are enthusiastic about what they teach

What’s the difference between a high school biology student, and a university student who is working hard to pursue their dreams of becoming a pediatric surgeon? What’s the difference between a high school English student, and a university student writing a doctoral dissertation of early 20th century American poetry? The answer is passion. Our tutors love what they teach, whether it be biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry or English. And there’s nothing they love more than sharing their enthusiasm with their students.

3. Their knowledge is current

There’s nothing worse than a teacher or tutor who is stuck in their old ways, who hasn’t learnt anything knew for the past decade and just repeats the same old information year after year. One of the greatest advantages of hiring university students as tutors is that they are always learning. Because they are immersed within the academic world of their chosen field, they are always up to date with the latest ideas and developments. And because they have all completed their secondary education within the last 5 years, you can be sure that they have a current and up to date understanding of what is required of VCE students today.

Not only are our tutors top performers in their chosen field, at Spectrum Tuition, they are required to undergo regular and ongoing teaching training and development to improve specific skills relating to structuring effective classes, crafting explanations, organisation, record keeping and classroom management. They are open to learning and are determined to make their classes engaging, challenging and fun.

4. They are becoming experts in their field

Good students are full of questions. No matter what you tell them, they will always want to know “why?” A bad tutor will shrug their shoulders and change the subject; an average tutor will consult a textbook for answers; a great tutor will always have an answer. University students make great tutors because they are becoming experts in their chosen field. Not only do they know everything there is to know about the VCE curriculum, they have a wealth of extended knowledge, making it easier to answer any difficult question that they might be faced with.

5. They can relate to students

Being university students, our tutors have been through a lot over the past few years: exams, assignments, essays, tutoring, deadlines, pressure and many late nights. Most importantly, our tutors have been through all of this and have come out successfully. They have achieved excellent scores and learned how to find a productive balance between work, study and relaxation. Not only can our tutors relate to everything your child is going through, they can help to show that, they can provide a positive example of how hard work and dedication can truly pay off in the long term.

There is no doubt that, in the media, young adults are often portrayed as unmotivated, selfish and self-entitled. From our experience, this stereotype could not be further from the truth. We believe that today’s generation of university students are highly motivated, hard working and passionate about learning. The tutors that we hire see tertiary education, not just as a means for getting a high paying job, but as a valuable environment for developing their skills and knowledge. And, most importantly, we find that they are all enthusiastic about the possibility of passing on their knowledge, work ethic and passion for education onto the next generation of students. And that, really, is what tutoring should be about.

But what are your thoughts? What do you think makes a good tutor? Let me know!

New Selective Schools Exam Preparation Course Starting 20th July 2013!

It’s an exciting time of year at Spectrum Tuition. Over the last two weekends, we held our Selective Schools Mock Exams and feedback sessions. These sessions were designed to give students a chance to get a feel for what it takes to succeed in an actual selective school exam. All of the students who sat the mock exams will soon be sitting down, alongside roughly 3000 other students, to try to gain a place in a prestigious Melbourne selective school, such as MacRobertson Girls’ High School, Melbourne High School, Suzanne Cory High School and Nossal High School.

Some students sitting the exams have been preparing with us since the middle of last year in our Selective Schools Exam Preparation classes. We wish them the best on actual exams over the coming weeks!

But now is the time to start thinking about next year and ask yourselves a few questions…

Is your child talented, dedicated and enthusiastic about his or her studies?

Does your child often feel unchallenged by their current schoolwork?

Do you want to make sure your child gets the best possible opportunity in life: a good education?

Is your child currently in year 7?

If so, then you really should start thinking about preparing your child for a selective schools exam. A place at a prestigious selective school can offer a huge range of possibilities for a talented student. Students at these schools consistently achieve high ATAR scores, and go on to gain top university places and pursue rewarding careers.

However, places are extremely competitive, and the selective schools exam is incredibly difficult. That’s why many students come to our classes to gain an advantage over the competition. Our 40 week Selective Schools Exam Preparation course runs on weekends and covers absolutely everything that your child will need to succeed on the exams, including content that they would never learn in school. Topics include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, persuasive writing, narrative writing and exam skills. Further, many of the topics covered in the mathematics portion tests material well beyond what is expected in the Year 8 curriculum.

Click here to see sample tests

The 40 week course starts at the beginning of term 2 on the 20th and 21st of July, so there’s still time to enrol! If you have any questions about how we can help to give your child the best possible chance of a excellent education, call us today to book a FREE assessment!

Or, for more information, have a look at this page.

Is Your Child Ready For The Selective Schools Test?

On Saturday 1st June, Spectrum Tuition will be running a full simulated 3 hour practice exam for Year 8 students who have been preparing for this year’s Selective Schools’ Test in Victoria.

Program Timetable

Saturday, 1st June 2013
9am – 12pm (3 hours)

Students sit a full simulated exam under the same time constraints and exam conditions they’ll face on the day of the real exam. The exam questions will mimic the types of questions students are likely to face on the day.

Sunday, 2nd June 2013
9am – 12pm (3 hours)

Students will receive their corrected exams back. Our expert team of tutors will present a session on questions that were commonly answered incorrectly on the simulated exam. We’ll also provide students with invaluable tips on how they can prepare for the real exam and perform at their best on the day.

Places are strictly limited. For more information and to book your place, please click here

Does Your Child Need A Tutor?

Today, the world of education is very competitive. In order to gain a place in a selective high school or a university course, students are required to work harder than ever. Many parents decide to send their child to tutoring in order to give them the competitive edge, and improve their grades. But tutors do much more than improve grades. Tutors can also help with motivation, organisation, comprehension and understanding. Tutoring can even be used to provide a challenge for gifted students that don’t feel as if they are being adequately challenged at school.

Here are the top 5 reasons why your child may need a tutor.

1. Does your child have trouble organising their work? Do they often lose important assignments and documents?
Good organisation skills are vital for students throughout school, university and later life. Often, poor marks and poor motivations are caused by a lack of organisation. A tutor can help teach your child valuable ways of keeping their work organised.

2. Does your child often seem unmotivated or unhappy at school?
There are several things that can cause your child to be unmotivated at school. One of them, which is fairly common, is that your child may be unconfident in their abilities. When a student feels that they are unable to complete a task given to them by their teacher, it is common for them to feel anxious and unhappy. Tutoring can help by giving your child a child a chance to develop their skills in a smaller environment, so they are more capable, confident and happy when they go to school.

3. Does your child have great ideas, but struggle to communicate them effectively?
We find that a lot of students who come to use for help with their writing have a lot of fantastic ideas and opinions, they just don’t have the skills to communicate them. Fortunately, these skills can be taught. You’d be amazed at how much your child’s writing can improve once they have learnt a few basics on how to structure and express their ideas effectively.

4. Does your child get confused by mathematics?
Mathematics is very important. Falling behind in maths can have a dramatic impact on your child’s confidence and performance throughout their schooling. A tutor can help to get your child back on track, so that they are more capable of dealing with the work that they will face at school.

5. Does your child feel bored and unchallenged by his or her schoolwork?
Tutoring is also a great option for students who are excelling in school. Often, these students feel bored and unchallenged with their schoolwork, which can lead to a lack of motivation. At Spectrum Tuition, we place students in classes based on their abilities, so that your child will always feel adequately challenges by the work covered.

If you think that your child would benefit from tutoring, or you would like to learn more about our classes, feel free to call us for a free assessment!