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Residential, Vienna

Benedikt wanted intensive support to increase his Biology grade for the November exams- after working independently through the first part of the summer, he decided that benefiting from residential guidance from an Elite IB Biology tutor could help him cement his understanding and feel confident ahead of the exam, and so Karl flew to Vienna to spend three weeks working with Benedikt, staying with the family, and exploring the city.

What was the student looking to gain from their time with you?

Beni was looking to improve his IB Biology grade. He’d already achieved the marks required in Biology to secure his place as university, and resitting was a chance for him to prove to himself that he can master the syllabus.

How did you plan to split the time you had with the student before the placement began?

I had the chance to tutor Beni for one week before the placement, so could gauge his abilities and plan with him how to split our time. He had a clear list of topics he wanted to cover, and before the placement began I planned to go through each individual topic and finish the syllabus. This included recaps of covered material along the way. For the remaining we went through past papers and used questions he found difficult as a platform to review chosen topics.

What did you cover with the student in your time together?

We focused on the human physiology core and AHL topics and human physiology option. Beni thought this would be particularly relevant given my medical background. Aside from this we covered ecology, evolution and plant sciences.

Why was this type of support best for the student and his academic requirements?

Beni benefited from having somebody that would constantly quiz him and double check he actually understood the content. The regimented timetable also forced him to work and make the most of his summer.

Students benefit from residential tuition as the placement takes place in their home environment and also they receive constant support and the all of the tutor’s attention. Beyond the syllabus, Beni also had a chance to learn something about me and my studies. I also shared with him how I approach exams and also share experiences of success and failure, which reassured him.

How did the student progress during the placement?

At the start of most lessons I asked Beni to explain to me the content we covered the previous day. We were able to monitor his progress and recap topics he was struggling with. Naturally, there were some topics he did not quite understand the fundamentals of. I spent time explaining the basics from scratch where necessary and by the end of the placement he was better able to derive the answer from his fundamental understanding rather than answer from memory.

To what extent do you feel Benedikt benefited from your own IB experience and expertise?

Benedikt appreciated the fact that I was pleased to share all of my experiences during the IB. It was reassuring for him to understand how I approach exams and what kind of mindset I apply to studying — that might make a successful exam more tangible.

What was your favourite educational moment of the placement?

Towards the last few days we were reviewing the chemical structures of the four major types of macromolecules. I was very pleased that Beni had learnt how to recognise all the different functional groups and could confidently reason which structure was presented to him. I think he learnt that there is a huge benefit to taking the time to understand the question and theory.