My year 12 student’s teacher appears to be a little inadequate e.g. he does not teach some concepts in the topic that end up in the exam. My student has been asking his friends what their teachers are telling them about the topics that will be tested in the exam. How do I address this?

Unfortunately there is little that can be done about “inadequate” teaching methods at school. Here are some ideas that should help with your situation:

  • With or without exams, you should encourage your students to see their teacher at lunch or after school at least once per week for extra help. This saves you time in tutorials so you can focus on more important content, learning strategies and going ahead of the class/revision etc. It also creates a better relationship between student and teacher while creating an opportunity to discuss upcoming tests.


  • Make sure that the student completely understands that there is absolutely no way you can replace their teacher. Whatever the teacher issues are, they will be easier to deal with if the student has a positive attitude toward their teacher and appreciates the fact that they need their teacher’s help. Once they understand this, students typically make more effort to learn from their teacher.


  • Your student should ask the teacher out of class time about the test and be proactive about it. A few hints here and there can go a long way. Knowing that this teacher is unorganised about informing students of test content you can tackle this problem by not waiting for it to occur – take a pre-emptive strike. Perhaps you can make a list of questions that the student should ask the teacher periodically (every month or so) such as:
  • When is the next test approximately?
  • Which topics do expect will be on the test?
  • Every single exercise in those topics?


  • Obviously, asking friends from other classes about the test is also a good proactive strategy he should maintain.


  • Ultimately, he will need to know all the content anyway for his year 12 exams. You may as well teach him the little extra bits that the teacher may be missing in each topic. It will boost his ego to know “extra” stuff while giving him confidence that there’s no way the exam can contain unfamiliar material. Also, it will make his knowledge more complete which is a good thing and helps comprehension in general.


  • As a tutor, you also have the responsibility to monitor this situation. Ask the student every few weeks about the situation at school – keep working at the problem. Over time, you should evolve an effective strategy to deal with this situation – this will require regular reflection.

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