University Preparation Programmes

Greene's Tutorial College is delighted to be partnering with the Association des Sections Internationales Britanniques et Anglophones on preparation programmes for highly competitive U.K. and U.S. universities.

We have put together the following programmes for students applying or considering applying to competitive U.K. or U.S. universities.

Our programmes:

U.K. aptitude test preparation

We offer courses for all current aptitude tests.  Each group course is available as a full-day (6 or 7 hours) programme or as two half days (e.g. 3½ hours each).  Each course focuses on a revision of the key concepts of the core syllabus and strategies for improving scores, which are put into practice by participants, using a selection of sample questions.

You can find out more about our aptitude test preparation programmes here and a helpful list of which Oxford and Cambridge course requires what aptitude test here.

U.S. aptitude test preparation

We offer preparation courses for both the SAT and the ACT.  Our courses have been designed to the international curricula and ensure participants have mastery of the core syllabus and a good understanding of the tips and techniques that they can use to enhance their scores.  Each group course is 16 hours, covering all aspects of the appropriate test, although in addition, there is a pre- and post course test.  Individual courses are typically 12 hours in length.

Interview practice session

There is a 40-minute interview session, comprising approximately a 30-minute interview with 10 minutes of oral feedback, with one of Greene’s highly experienced interviewers.  This is followed by a more detailed written report, highlighting the strengths and areas for improvement, as well as suggestions for additional reading.

You can find out more information about our interview practice sessions here.

Bridging course

This is a specially designed course, specifically aimed at providing students with a comprehensive understanding of core material for their aptitude test, covering material that is not included in the relevant OIB syllabus.  The courses currently available are for students planning to take the PAT, ENGAA and NSAA (Physics and Advanced Mathematics & Physics).  This special Physics, Natural Sciences and Engineering bridging course is a full five-day course, split into four half-day sessions and concluding with three full days.

More information on the Greene’s – ASIBA bridging course can be found here.

Advanced preparation programme

This programme is developed in conjunction with Greene’s most experienced admissions tutors and offers the best possible preparation for an outstanding Personal Statement and a strong performance at interview.  Each course on this programme is individually designed for each student or group of students (maximum four to a group).  The course aims to introduce students to studying their chosen subject at a higher level.  Students are paired with a Greene’s mentor, usually an active researcher in the appropriate field, who will guide them via tutorials, investigations and additional reading to a deeper understanding of some of the topics that they have already studied in their school syllabus, and an introduction to new, more advanced, undergraduate-style topics.  Not only does this provide excellent preparation for students’ applications but also it enables them to see if the reality of their chosen subject at university is what they imagine it to be.

Our approach

We are very fortunate that being situated at the heart of Oxford, and as Oxford’s oldest tutorial college, a large number of our tutors have a strong connection with either Oxford and Cambridge: many of them are, or have been academics, at one or both Universities.

The admissions process for Oxford and Cambridge (and increasingly for other elite universities which rely on aptitude and admissions tests) focuses on gauging a candidate’s aptitude to study the chosen subject (or subjects) at a university level. Although knowledge and core competencies are naturally assessed as part of the aptitude testing, the required curricula are deliberately kept very modest; any reasonable candidate should already have encountered the majority of the required material, or have no difficulties in mastering the remainder of it.  (The exception to this is physics, natural sciences and engineering where students will need to get to grips with mechanics.  Please see the bridging course section below.)  The most crucial assessment of any aptitude test is that of mindset: is the applicant thinking like a(n) historian, geographer, economist, mathematician … etc? Additional qualities, for example those of subject engagement or ‘teachability’ will be considered at interview, however an applicant’s mindset remains the pre-eminent consideration for admissions’ tutors.

The aptitude tests have been designed to be ‘uncoachable’ in order to give every student an equal chance.  Therefore there is no magic formula that can ensure that a candidate is successful – our aim is to maximise applicants’ chances by ensuring they are prepared, particularly in their mindset, for the academic trial that awaits them.

Our approach, across all our programmes, is to focus on helping our students develop their subject mindset and way of thinking. This involves:

  • ­Ensuring the students are confident in their own knowledge of the core curricula and techniques;
  • ­Helping students to start developing the required mental approach to the subject;
  • ­Encouraging students to begin applying their new approach to their existing subject knowledge; and
  • ­Helping students to gain confidence in their abilities, to use the combination of their knowledge and mindset to identify and solve the problems with which they are faced.

We help the applicant prepare mentally for tests that either have no easy questions to answer, or the answers to which are not simply right or wrong.   Aptitude tests are designed to try to evaluate and quantify the potential academic talent of a student, in relation to other students who may display more obvious knowledge or skills more easily taught.

We have believed for many years that our approach prepares students for both the aptitude test and for any eventual interview. It also ensures that students are well equipped for any change in format that may come about in the test.

Does the approach work?

Because of the fierce competition and the high quality of applicants, there is no certain path to success for university preparation.   However our systematic approach offers students, in the opinion of our subject experts, the very best preparation for each subject and subject.  For students who have the raw talent, we have found such programmes to be highly effective – in English Literature, for example, five out of the last six students who have gone through an Advanced Programme have gained a place at Oxford or Cambridge.

… we remember nothing so well when we are old, as those things which we learned when we were young.

Roger Ascham , (1515-1568), writer, scholar and tutor to the future Elizabeth I