Your personal online Maths teacher

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the content aligned with the curriculum?

Yes, of course. Some websites emphasise that they are "curriculum aligned", but this should go without saying.

What about different exam boards?

All three exam boards (Edexcel, AQA and OCR) examine the same content. This is set out in the National Curriculum and is split into

Number, Algebra, Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change, Geometry and Measures, Probability and Statistics. All three exam boards have calculator and non-calculator papers and all three have Foundation tier papers and Higher tier papers. 

Does the website have videos?

Originally I was planning to deliver the content of each lesson in a video. However, I later realised that putting the content into a series of slides makes it easier for the student to find what they need and is also more flexible. It means the student can first look at a summary and then decide if they need to study a full explanation. The Easier Questions for each lesson are also accompanied by their own slides.

In what ways are the lessons interactive?

The student has the choice of looking at a summary of the lesson, which is usually on a single slide, or a full explanation. The  student can always see a worked solution to the accompanying dynamic question rather than giving an answer. The slides can be hidden. If the student is struggling they can answer an Easier Question, which is designed to provide a stepping stone to the main question. This is accompanied by its own notes and again worked solutions are always available.

How can the lessons be tailored to meet my needs?

You can select what you need from each lesson (summary, full explanation, worked solutions, easier questions) by using the interactive features described in the previous answer. Common errors to the questions are built in, so if you give an incorrect answer you will often be told what you have done wrong. You will always be given the worked solution to look at as well. Your Progress Chart shows the lessons you need to work on. The lessons shown on your Progress Chart and your weekly targets take account of your target grade. You can also ask me questions via Live Chat.

How many questions accompany each lesson?

Each lesson is accompanied by a question which changes each time it is answered or the worked solution is shown. All of the questions are computer generated and theoretically provide unlimited practice of the concepts being taught in the lesson. As well as the questions using different numbers each time there are other variations as well to ensure that they cover everything explained in the lesson. Where appropriate they also use different contexts and different wording. As far as possible the website tries to ensure that you are not asked the same question twice - some lessons try not to repeat a question until 100 more questions have been generated while you stay on the same page.

What is meant by "Mastery"?

Your first goal with each lesson is to complete it by giving five correct answers in a row to the questions. This will turn the square on your Progress Chart green. Once the square is green it does not go back to any other colour, even if incorrect answers are given. However, once you have learnt something it is important to make sure it is not forgotten. Green squares on your Progress Chart turn blue every two weeks. This is your prompt to answer another question. If you give a correct answer every time the square is blue five times in a row (which will take ten weeks) the square will become dark green and the lesson will be Mastered. The square will not turn blue again. It is a good idea to practise the question when the square is not blue so that you can ensure you will give a correct answer when the square is blue. The number in the square (when it is green) tells you how many weeks away you are from achieving Mastery. Notes, worked examples and Easier Questions are not available when the square is blue.

Are the weekly targets personalised?

An algorithm is used to generate your weekly targets, which tell you the lessons you should aim to complete. It takes into account the lessons you have not yet completed along with a logical order for following the lessons. It also considers any lessons you have nearly completed, regardless of the order in which they come. It avoids any of the targets being the same as those for the previous week as long as some progress has been made towards those targets. Your Target Grade determines which lessons appear on your Progress Chart and can therefore appear in your targets. However, this does not stop you accessing any of the lessons on the website. Note that as well as completing the lessons listed in your targets each week you should also make sure that no red or blue squares remain on your Progress Chart.

How does the Live Chat work?

You can send me a message via Live Chat if there is something you want to ask. To do so you first have to buy some credits. They currently cost £1 each and you can buy between one and five. Each message you send uses one credit. My availability is described as "Online", "Available" or "Unavailable". Online means that you can expect a reply within 15 minutes. Available means you can expect a reply within 2 hours. You can still send a message if I am Unavailable, but you may have to wait until the next day for a reply.

Does my Target Grade affect my Progress Chart?

I have assigned each lesson a grade, although these are not shown on the website because grades are not actually assigned to topics in the National Curriculum or by exam boards. The lessons that are one grade above, equal to, one grade below and two grades below your Target Grade are the ones that appear on your Progress Chart.

Can this website replace a private tutor?

My goal is for this to be the case. The explanations I provide in the slides are exceptionally clear. The dynamic questions provide unlimited practice and give immediate feedback. You are often told what you have done wrong when you have given an incorrect answer and you are always given a worked solution. Your weekly targets and Progress Chart tell you what to do next and what you need to work on. Blue squares on your Progress Chart and the aim to achieve Mastery ensure you do not forget what you have learnt. You can tailor each lesson to meet your needs by using the summary or full explanation, studying worked solutions rather than giving answers and by using the Easier Questions (accompanied by their own slides) if necessary as stepping stones to the main questions. I have created everything on this website and am an experienced Maths teacher. If despite everything provided by the website there is still something you want to ask then you can contact me via Live Chat.

Does the website cater for different learning styles?

Some tutors claim that each student learns differently and that they can adapt their teaching accordingly to meet the needs of each individual. However, cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham points out that students are more alike than different in the ways in which they learn and that evidence strongly supports focusing teaching on the common ways in which students learn rather than putting students into different categories and focusing on the differences.

How can the website improve my motivation?

A comprehensive set of statistics is given on your Main Page showing things such as the total number of questions you have answered correctly and how many lessons have been completed and mastered. As well as overall statistics, statistics are also shown for the current and previous weeks. Each week you are given up to five stars according to how many of the previous week's targets were met. You should also find that completing (and especially mastering) lessons and seeing the progress you are making will motivate you to achieve even more.

How can the website improve my confidence?

As you start to give correct answers to the questions (using the Easier Questions as stepping stones if necessary), and then start turning squares on your Progress Chart green your confidence will improve. Be prepared to study the information on the slides more than once and get questions wrong initially. If you seem to be stuck with a particular question then leaving it and coming back later can often help. Remember that you can use the Live Chat if necessary. Achieving Mastery for any lesson will give a large boost to your confidence. This takes a minimum of ten weeks, which is why it represents a significant achievement.

Is the website useful for students in Year 10?

Currently the website assumes that everyone using it is taking their GCSE Maths exam in Summer 2021. New lessons will be made available every week until the end of March, after which the focus will be revision. The subscription ends on 20th June 2021, which is after the final exam. However, students who are in Year 10 will still benefit from using it. All main Foundation tier topics will be covered, and they are not categorised as suitable for Year 10 or suitable for Year 11.​

Is the website useful if I'm taking the Higher tier?

There will be some benefit from using the website if you are taking the Higher tier and your target grade is 4 or 5, although if your target grade is 4 then you are likely to be taking the Foundation tier anyway. Grades 4 and 5 can be achieved at both tiers, and the website will cover the material necessary to achieve these grades. However, if your target grade is 5 and you are taking the Higher tier there will be topics above your target grade that you may be able to do but which will not be covered on the website.

Why are all the lessons not already available?

I currently have 87 lessons on which I have done a significant amount of work, including most of the programming to create the dynamic questions with their worked solutions. However, work is still needed to make these lessons ready for the website with all the features that I advertise. This includes rigorously testing the worked solutions to ensure that they function correctly in various different cases and don't ever give the impression of being computer generated. During the 20 months I have so far spent on this website a lot of material has been rewritten and a lot of changes have been made to the overall format, with new features being added. Despite the fact there is still work to do I am now in a position to make the website available to Foundation tier Year 11 students at this important time for them. Students can work through the lessons as they are released, guided by their weekly targets and Progress Chart.

Can I access lessons not listed in my targets?

You always have access to all of the lessons that are available on the website. This includes any lessons that are not on your Progress Chart because of your Target Grade. You don't have to follow the targets set by the website if you don't want to.

Can I change my target grade?

You can change your target grade at any time if necessary. Note that your target grade does not stop you accessing any of the lessons. Currently the website caters for students hoping to achieve grades 3, 4 and 5.

Can I try the website for free first?

You can (and should) try the sample lessons before buying a subscription. However, all subscriptions have a 30-day money back guarantee. Just press the "Cancel Subscription" button on the Account page for a refund. Note that I do reserve the right to keep the £1.72 PayPal fee that I incurred for the original transaction.

How do I pay for a subscription?

Currently all payments on the website are made using PayPal. Note that you do not need to have a PayPal account in order to do this. If you don't want to use PayPal then rather than creating an account on the website you can send me an email at r.jones@gcse-maths-tutor.co.uk with your name and the name of the student. I will then set up your account and give you a password (which you can change if you wish) and tell you how to send me a cheque.

Do subscriptions auto-renew?

All subscriptions require a single payment and expire on 20th June 2021. There is no automatic renewal.

 

Will the price go down as the exam gets closer?

New lessons will be added each week until the end of March, so the price will not go down since more material will be available when the subscription is bought. From April onwards new subscriptions will probably be aimed at students in Year 10, and the price will reflect the amount of material available and the overall success of the website up to this time.

Can two people in my household use the website?

Progress tracking is available for one person per subscription, so you will need to buy another subscription if someone else wants to use the website. You can do this by going to the Account page and pressing the "Create account" button, or by logging out and pressing the "Create account" button on the homepage as you did when you bought your first subscription.

Can I use this website on different devices?

As well as being stored in your browser, your progress data is also stored in a remote database. This means that you can use different devices and if necessary different browsers on the same device. However, you can only be logged in on one device or browser at a time, so you have to log out first before logging in on a different device. Note that you won't be able to log out if for any reason the database has not been updated with your most recent data.

Which browsers does the website support?

The website supports all major browsers. The recommended browser to use is Google Chrome, although you probably wouldn't  notice any difference with any other major browser if you are using the most up-to-date version. You should try the sample lessons before buying a subscription to ensure compatibility with the device and browser you intend to use. 

What is "local browser storage"?

Local browser storage is used to store your progress data on your computer. It is similar to but not the same as cookies. If you should ever want to clear your local browser storage then you must first log out of this website. Be aware that clearing browsing data or deleting browsing history may also clear local browser storage, depending on the options you select. Clearing local storage without logging out first can cause problems logging back in, although you can always sort this out by contacting me at r.jones@gcse-maths-tutor.co.uk if necessary. You won't be able to create an account if local browser storage is not enabled, although it will probably be enabled by default.

Why is the website not available on phones?

The small screen size means that this website is not suitable for use with phones, due to the amount of content displayed on the slides and the number of other elements (buttons, input boxes, text fields and diagrams) that are on each page. The width of each page of this website is 980 pixels, so it is compatible with iPads and tablets.

Was this website created by a Maths teacher?

I taught Maths in secondary schools for 20 years and have created everything on this website. See the About Me page for more details. 

How can I contact you?

My email address is r.jones@gcse-maths-tutor.co.uk. If you have an account then there will be a phone number on the "About me" page and at the end of the terms and conditions. There is also a business correspondence address in the same two places.

©Richard Jones 2020

r.jones@gcse-maths-tutor.co.uk