Many parents and students feel that HSC tutoring is a self-fulfilling requirement, purely because if everyone else is getting outside of school tutoring, they must also need tutoring just to keep up with their peers. The HSC is a competitive pursuit, and students are competing with each other for a limited number of highly sought-after university placements. From this perspective, we can understand why HSC tutoring can be a self-fulfilling requirement.
However, one of the often overlooked reasons HSC Suggestion for the prevalence of HSC tutoring, especially in NSW, is the fact that it addresses shortcomings of the public schooling system.
Firstly, many students find tutoring helpful because many want to invest more than the standard 6 hours a day into their schooling, especially during the lead up years to the HSC.
Secondly, many students find that they are receiving inadequate help from their school teachers. As controversial as this may sound, in our experience as teachers, public schools from disadvantaged areas may have teachers that are of a lower calibre in general, and students suffer as a result of this. By ‘lower calibre’, we mean a combination of decreased motivation and dedication, and also a lower standard of knowledge.
Case study 1
One of our students went to a mediocre public school located in a disadvantaged area. From his description of the atmosphere there, it was obvious that the other students there were not interested in learning. When the Physics trial exam came, naturally our student topped his class (it’s not hard when the class is full of trouble makers), but what was surprising was he topped his class by a huge margin. His score was 100%, and second place was 77%. When teachers asked what his secret was, he answered “Physics tutoring”.
Case study 2
A similar story to case study 1, another of our students came to us for maths tutoring and chemistry tutoring. His exam marks were consistently the highest in his class, but having come from a public school and aiming to secure a place in Medicine @ UNSW, we had to constantly remind him not to become complacent with his 1st rank. At the end of his HSC, the principal personally congratulated on his exceptional result: a 99.85 in a school where the second highest UAI was a 95. (We do not publish the names of our case study subjects, but we’re happy to divulge past ATAR / UAI statistics to corroborate our case studies)
Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, the atmosphere of schools during school time is not conducive towards learning. Students go to school to socialise with each other, and we find that the atmosphere is more social rather than academic in nature. Students at public schools of disadvantaged areas often have to also deal with a generally anti-intellectual atmosphere in the class room – for example, the class could be full of trouble makers that are not interested in investing into their future.
Students find that going tutoring outside of school provides them with a focused environment and a focused atmosphere where everyone else in the class is also there to learn. Combined with the second point made above, it’s not surprising that many students do most of their actual learning at tutoring rather than at school.