The most Googled questions about tutoring, answered by an education expert

During the pandemic, learning and education shifted online. Gone were the classrooms, pupils and teachers, the reality soon became learning via a screen at home. Even though it was a hot topic, many people are still unaware of the concept of one-to-one learning, and the benefits it can bring. With traditional learning back in action, tutoring is still misunderstood, and the effectiveness of the platform is often overlooked. Whether you want to become a tutor yourself, or need one-to-one help with your subjects or course, these are the common questions that people turn to Google for.

To help bridge the gap between the facts and myths, education expert at The Profs, Richard Evans has answered the most Googled questions about tutoring.

1. What skills and qualities are needed to be a tutor?

As a tutor, you are a guide to the student on their way to achieving a goal. A good tutor must be able to help with the basics and guide the student to success. While working with students, you must always follow their educational needs, even if it goes against what you would normally do in your classes. Because of this, you have to be flexible with your methods while tutoring. You can not teach or lecture them like you would any other class. Also, you have to take into consideration that your student may not know all of the information you are giving them.

It is also very important that you have knowledge about the subject you are tutoring in because it allows you to explain concepts better to your students and gives you credibility over someone who is less experienced in  the subject than yourself. Finally you need a love for the job – to perform well as a tutor, the subject and teaching must be something you thoroughly enjoy.

2. How long does an average tutoring lesson last?

The time required for tutoring sessions is always a very important question for students, since you want to be sure they are getting the most out of their sessions. The minimum amount of time needed per session depends on a number of factors: what level the student is at, how long they’ve been studying, whether they are using online or in-person classes, and if they need extra help with specific areas. We usually recommend 1 hour for primary, 90 minutes up to GCSE and 2 hours beyond that, and then adjust depending on the student’s concentration levels and frequency of sessions.

3. Does tutoring improve grades?

In addition to helping you to succeed, hiring a tutor can pay real dividends – 81% of our students achieved a grade increase in their final examinations. One-on-one tutoring sessions are more comprehensive than group learning because they allow a tutor to help with specific problem areas. The student will be able to work on these problems and gain the skills needed to conquer them on his or her own. They can help you to understand how to interpret a question, break down an assignment into manageable components, and approach a problem from different angles.

4. Can tutoring be a full-time job?

Tutoring offers great flexibility – if you want to work part-time, it’s easy to do so. You can also do it alongside another job or career, which means you don’t have to give up your financial independence or professional identity. It can also make for a rewarding full-time career, 38 of our tutors have earned over £100,000 and some top tutors have earned over half a million. The average rate for a private tutor session is between £30 and £42 per hour. We start at £50ph and that rate can increase upwards of £200ph for the very most in demand professional tutors.

5. Which is better between online or in-person tutoring?

The best method of tutoring depends largely on the student’s needs. Online tutoring has the benefit of being accessible around the clock and to everyone.  The drawback is that students need an internet connection that can support video chat, as well as reliable computer equipment. In-person tutoring is limited by location and availability, but it allows for a more in-depth exchange between student and tutor. This type of tutoring is great for students who are interested in speaking with someone face-to-face about their problems or issues. The drawback is that it often requires more time out of class and after lessons, which means more time away from studying other subjects.

For anyone post 13 years old, with the exception of special educational needs, I believe that online tutoring is better. Ask tutors about their online set up and experience because only the very best tutors are making the most of new technologies: interactive software, recording snippets of sessions, online whiteboards such as and remote control and screen sharing options to bring sessions to life.


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Your Questions Answered, Online Tuition from the Experts

How Does It Work?


Online tuition works as simply as the tutoring that you are picturing in your head. Students are still able to form a relationship with their tutor and learn in their own time. Online tuition happens at home, meeting the tutor via a website like Sherpa with a selection of subject specialists, all ready to help you achieve your goals. 


Meeting your tutor online stops any geographical limitations that would usually apply and you are able to search the whole country for the expert that you need. You can message, transfer documents and homework just as you would with regular tutoring. When it comes to the actual introductions and lessons, these take place over a video chat or a video chat enabled whiteboard. Just like Sherpa’s one below.

What Equipment Do I Need?


School children learning from home have access to all the equipment that is needed for online tuition. Having had to complete their school classes online during lockdowns has meant that they are pro’s with any necessary equipment. 


All that is needed is a laptop/computer with a working camera and microphone and an internet connection, the experienced tutor will then guide you from here onwards. 


Now sit back, relax and join the 84% of students who believe online tuition is more or as effective as face to face learning.


How Often Should My Child Have Lessons?


Depending what age your child may be this could vary. Other factors also include whether they are doing their key stages or the build up to major public exams such as GCSEs and A-levels. 


Most students engage in 1-2 hours a week of online lessons, at regular intervals to complete all relevant homework and study tasks set by the tutor. These lessons are then usually increased to 2-3 hours a week in the build up to exam season. 


When first meeting a tutor, the students usually either come with topics and methods that they are struggling with or they will be assessed by the tutor to pinpoint difficulties that they may be having. The tutor can plan out lessons around those topics to make the best use of their time. Focusing on one topic per lesson and then setting tasks to be done later to hone skills. This method works as a supplement to the teaching that a child is receiving in school and finely irons out any issues that may be cropping up. 


Another popular method for online tuition is to follow up the topics covered in class that week and go into greater detail to gain a better understanding and working practice. In these cases it is beneficial for the child to gain a fresh perspective from a new teacher. 


When selecting an online tutor it is very important to ensure that the tutor is familiar with the UK exam curriculums and can work in harmony with their school teachers to avoid any conflicting views and misleading information. The safest way to ensure this is to go to a site which focuses on Qualified UK Teachers


What Results Can I Expect?


By its nature, Online tutoring is a 1-1 activity. This means the full focus of the tutor is on one student and the full attention of the student is on the tutor, rather than messing about with their friends. The online whiteboard used by Sherpa is also incredibly engaging due to its large open area to upload documents and scribble on past papers with your tutor. 


Scientific studies have also shown students that undergo online tuition to retain 25%-60% more material when compared to 8%-10% within a classroom environment.

Some online tutoring platforms have conducted research on work progress via online learning platforms. Using a standardised assessment test they found that children who received one-to-one online maths tuition achieved double their expected progress. This allowed them to complete a 28 week course in 14 weeks. 


What are the most Popular Subjects?


Online tutoring is most popular around exam year and level students, primarily GCSE and A-level. The subjects which are slightly more difficult to grasp are the ones which most people tend to receive online tuition in. For example Maths and the Sciences. 


Bramble, an online interactive whiteboard provider, did research into what their sessions were being used for and found that in Q1 and Q2 of 2020 38% of all lessons taught were Maths.


Where Should I Go/Who Are the Big Players?


There are a few big names out there, such as MyTutorSherpa and Tutorful. All offer a similar ‘student led’ process where the prospective student can filter and search through ranks of suitable tutors. However, each has their own niche. 


Mytutor, employs university students to teach subjects that they came across at school. Sherpa focuses on UK school teachers to become their tutors, familiar with curriculums and teaching methods to retain information. Tutorful is very diverse and also offers face-to-face in-person tuition.