Steps to Success

Steps to Success

Thinking Skills

Develop Higher Order Thinking Skills through Reading

When children start reading, they begin with the alphabet and then move on to phonics, blending, sight words, etc. Many people see fluent independent reading as the end point of this journey. However, for me, the main reading skill of a child at this stage is still developing, which is the true story-engagement that comes with higher order thinking. Once children are confident with building… Read More


Managing Emotions

Emotion management has been shown to correlate closely with academic performance. When a student is over stressed, he or she is unlikely to perform at his or her best. In extreme cases, exam stress can cause physical symptoms, such as stomach upsets and headaches. Helping your child manage their emotions well can be the key to their future success. One of the most important ways… Read More

What Negative Behaviour Really Means

Unlike adults, children often express their needs through behaviour rather than through their words. Therefore, the emergence of negative behaviours can be a signal of unsatisfied wants. As a tutor of small groups, I often get to witness a variety of different behaviours from children, and I always endeavour to find the root causes of any negativity. Look out for these key issues in your… Read More


Exam Preparation

Exam Tips

Working On Your Kid’s Weaker Skills

As part of the team which works on school specific exam practice, I have regular conversations with parents about their child’s progress on school tests. One question which comes up often is: ‘Why doesn’t my kid’s hard work seem to pay off?’ Parents find it understandably frustrating to see their child studying hard for exams but still getting low grades. This can be especially… Read More

Memory Techniques for Exams and Tests

Have you ever been afraid of your mind going blank when you sit an exam? I have. And many of my students tell me they worry about this too. It would be a nightmare if this really happened, but fortunately, studies show that it’s actually very unlikely. Usually, your memories flood back once you pick up a pen and start answering questions. However, the worry… Read More

Grade boosting tips for struggling students

In my five years working at i-Learner, I’ve helped countless struggling students make fantastic progress and come out of their exams with good grades and a smile. In my experience, if your child is struggling with their exams and revision, the measures to take can be split into short-term and long-term strategies. If your child is having difficulties and their exam is next week, try… Read More


How to Get the Most from Doing Homework

Doing homework can be rewarding if it is done effectively and efficiently. It is a chance for your child to refresh his/her memory of what they learned at school, and a way for you to find out which part your child’s understanding of that material needs a little work. I’ve helped many students improve their study strategies in order to get more from doing their… Read More

How to Structure Revision Time

Preparing for exams should not be a last-minute rush of activity. If you think of it like self-organised homework, this helps you be more productive, get better grades, and feel less stressed. I often help my students prepare for their exams, and it’s always the ones who are organised and structured in their preparation who do best. During my own studies, I learned several useful… Read More

Creative Ways to Get Kids Studying

As parents and educators, we know that sometimes, it can be tricky to get children studying or doing their homework. Throughout my time as an English Tutor, I have found that kids respond best to entertainment and creativity as a tool to engage them in their studies. Here are some of the most effective ways to get them working: 1. Play games Games that… Read More

Plant Symbols in Literature

School Application

Making the transition from Primary to Secondary

Having taught at i-Learner for around five years, I have seen countless students make their journeys through primary school and onto secondary school. From this experience, I have been able to observe the specific ways in which students can best prepare themselves for the jump, ensuring that they adapt well and get the most out of their studies from S1 onwards. 1. Consolidate your primary… Read More

Boost your Application to Top-Tier Secondary Schools

Applying to top-tier secondary schools can be a daunting prospect for P6 students and their parents. To secure a place in a well-regarded school, many parents target its Discretionary Places (DP) instead of crossing their fingers and waiting for the results of Central Allocation. Having coordinated the school-specific exam practice for more than three years here at i-Learner, I have helped numerous parents and… Read More

Making your Kindergartener’s Application Stand Out

A portfolio is an essential tool for showing target primary schools the incredible things your child has to offer. As a teacher at i-Learner, I’ve reviewed many student portfolios. Sometimes, these are stuffed full of certificates, reports and photos, and they look like an encyclopaedic history of a child, however there is nothing in them which particularly catches my eye. As you apply to primary… Read More



How to Get 5** in DSE Maths

Maths can be a very divisive subject – students either love it or they hate it! But I’ve found that everyone can do well in maths if they just learn a few key strategies. I developed these when studying for the DSE myself, and have honed them through my teaching experience. Here are the three main things I focused on to get 5** at DSE:… Read More

Steps to Ace DSE English Paper 3B

The significance of DSE English paper 3B might surprise you. However, it can have a remarkable effect on your overall grade. Strong candidates can go from a 5* to 5**; weaker candidates can use this paper to make a significant jump in their grades. Success in this paper is well within your reach. If you can tackle part B2, then by following a few simple… Read More

Dealing with Uncooperative Candidates in DSE English Speaking

The DSE English Speaking exam feels daunting to a lot of candidates. I felt the same when I took the exam myself some years ago. The exam seemed very hard to prepare for as I knew my performance could easily be affected by circumstances beyond my control. I worried about uncooperative candidates who would perhaps interrupt, dominate or steer the conversation in irrelevant directions. However,… Read More

Common Mistakes in the DSE Writing Paper

You have memorised lists of vocabulary. You’ve done so much writing that your arm is going to fall off. You’ve followed the format of sample essays. You have even picked a topic you’re familiar with. Then why aren’t you getting the grade you deserve in your DSE writing paper? Unfortunately, EVERYONE has done those things to prepare for the HKDSE exam, so you need to… Read More

Early Learners

Why Preschoolers Need Active Learning

You are probably already familiar with the concept of active learning – learning through play and hands-on activities. This can take the form of exploring different materials, learning through guided group activities and crafts, and interacting a lot with classmates. But with the pressures on academics that the Hong Kong school system creates from a very young age, activity-based learning can sometimes get left behind. Read More

Reading Story Books with Early Learners

Reading story books is an essential part of a child’s development. It not only establishes necessary language skills, but also stimulates a child’s imagination and creativity. Having taught many preschoolers here at i-Leaner, I have found reading story books to be an excellent way to encourage these little ones to develop and share ideas. It also helps adults and children to develop a creative bond,… Read More

Teaching Sight Words through Games

As Miss Lucy discussed in last week’s article, sight words, or high frequency words, are those which appear frequently in English writing. Being able to spot them can definitely help a child’s reading speed and fluency. These words can seem very easy to learn (some are only 1 or 2 letters long), however, they can be difficult for young learners since they can have… Read More

Tips for Chinese Learning

Public Speaking

How Parents can Boost Speaking in the Home

As English is a global language, it is important for children to master the art of verbal English communication. This allows them to broaden their minds by sharing thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people from different parts of the world. Here at i-Learner, we strive to improve speaking skills by having conversations with our students and encouraging them to express their thoughts and opinions. In… Read More

7 Fun Discussion Topics for the Family

Parents are great at finding ways to make sure their children are engaged with learning English. From my experience, though, the best results come when parents join in with their children! Speaking English at home is highly beneficial, especially when your child is still young. This makes the language feel stress-free and fun, rather than a chore they need to get through at school. Over… Read More

The Importance of Warming up Before Speaking

Students face a variety of situations in which they need to put their best voice forward: from their very first interview to in-class presentations and speech competitions. A well-prepared voice can make all the difference and help disguise nervousness as confidence. Developing good vocal warm-up habits from a young age will help students grow into confident speakers. From my experience in drama, I have… Read More

Speech Festival Success

Every year, I’m excited to see the poems, prose extracts and drama pieces which are chosen for the Hong Kong Speech Festival. The texts are always full of interesting feelings, which are a lot of fun for students to experience as they read. I have been training students for the Speech Festival for many years now, and I’m always so happy to see my students… Read More