I am a University Challenge winner, a first-class Oxford graduate, and a highly experienced tutor of English, History, and other humanities. I have also spent two years studying at Princeton and two years at universities in Paris.
I am dedicated to helping students achieve their full potential. I believe in making the process of learning to read, write, and think one which is enjoyable, satisfying, and challenging in equal measure.
I appeared on the 2010-11 series of University Challenge, as captain of the Magdalen team which won the whole competition. I was also the captain of Oxford's team on the Japanese Fuji TV game show "Brain World Cup" on three occasions, winning the show in 2012.
I am currently studying for a doctorate in History at Magdalen College, Oxford, where I was a prize-winning academic scholar as an undergraduate, earning a first-class BA in History and a Master's with distinction in Modern British and European history. I also held a full graduate fellowship for two years at Princeton University in the USA, where I studied History, History of Science, Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, and Interdisciplinary Humanities. As part of my doctorate, I have spent two years at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris, France's leading university, and a year at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). In the summer breaks I am currently studying for an MA in French Literature at Middlebury College, Vermont.
At school, I was awarded 12 A*s at GCSE (including placing in the top 5 nationally for French and top 10 nationally for History). At A2 level, I gained A grades in English Literature, French, German, and History, with an additional A in AS Latin. I was also awarded three distinctions and a merit in the Advanced Extension Awards.
Outside my studies, I enjoy cinema, music, and visiting museums and galleries. I have travelled widely in North America, Asia (particularly Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore), and Europe, and speak fluent French and proficient Mandarin Chinese and German.
I have six years of experience tutoring History, English, Art History and Philosophy, and can also teach other humanities subjects including Religious Studies, French, German, and Latin. I have worked as a teacher for intensive humanities summer schools in Beijing and Shanghai. I have taught undergraduate tutorials and classes in History at Oxford.
I am happy to provide advice on university applications and interviews. I have particular experience with the Oxford Admissions system, especially in History, having worked as an interviewer and examiner for the History Aptitude Test. My tutees have won offers from leading world universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Columbia, and Duke, as well as top UK universities including UCL, LSE, King's, Warwick, St Andrews, York, and other members of the Russell Group. I have also volunteered for an Oxbridge interviews charity that offers free interview practice for candidates from state comprehensive backgrounds.
I have an established track record of helping students to win places and scholarships at highly competitive independent schools.
I have helped several undergraduate students to recover from low marks and secure good 2.1 BA degrees.
WHAT SOME CUSTOMERS THOUGHT
"Matthew is a phenomenal tutor. He started helping my son with GCSE history only a few weeks before the exam itself and, even in this short time, he's transformed my son's understanding and, more importantly, enjoyment of the subject. My son looks forward to his lessons and has learnt a huge amount from them." - Alison M., mother (GCSE History)
"Matthew inspires confidence, his academic and intellectual strengths motivate my son to believe in excellence and achieving it. My son really looks forward to his English tutoring." - Linda R., mother (GCSE English)
"I am very pleased indeed with the wonderful improvement my daughter is making with these lessons, very much indicated by recent exams. Her marks have improved considerably, her enthusiasm for her subjects has flourished, and her confidence has been significantly boosted. It has proved to be a tremendously thoughtful and valuable support to her learning." - Jane M., mother (A Level English Literature, History & Art History; successful Cambridge Art History candidate)
"Thanks to your helpful, stimulating and well-prepared tutorials my son will now sit his A Level history paper with a much greater level of confidence. You have pinpointed issues he was struggling with, and have given invaluable advice about approaching complex essay questions. His writing style has improved, and he has come to understand better what examiners are looking for." - Emma H., mother (A Level History)
"Great tutor, was very worried that I would not be able to learn over Skype but one lesson with Matthew showed me otherwise. Really helped with both my essay structure and analytical techniques." - Ismaeel S. (A Level History)
"Matthew is an awesome tutor, he always goes into detail and makes sure I understand everything before moving on - he always gives me extra information, which helps make my essays more unique and thoughtful. I feel a lot smarter and more comfortable with the material after our lessons. I would strongly recommend him as a tutor, especially if you want someone who can explain concepts to you in a way that is more accessible and relatable." Shekinah A. (A Level English Literature & History)
"Matthew is a very, very smart guy and very engaging. I would recommend him to anyone." - Michael S. (English Casual Learner)
"Matthew is an excellent tutor - thoroughly detailed in his approach and clearly an expert in his field. Each lesson was tailored to my son's needs which helped cover off any development needs. The approach clearly helped, as my son was consequently able to achieve a scholarship to a leading independent school. We would not hesitate in recommending Matthew." - Sam S., father (13+ School Entrance English & History)
"Matthew is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, with his ability to teach and help equally impressive. He helped me get to grips with writing a tricky piece of university work, and answered every question I had beyond the call of duty. I would recommend Matthew to anyone who is struggling with their work, because with him you will gain in confidence and produce what you're capable of." - Elliot R. (University History)
"Matthew is an excellent tutor in every respect. He has carefully guided my son through the Oxford application process. Matthew has worked extremely hard and has provided regular progress reports. Under Matthew's guidance, my son has been offered a place at Oxford. I recommend him without hesitation." - Marianne S., mother (Oxford Classics candidate)
My first priority is to make sure that tutees have a firm grasp of the core skills needed to satisfy the requirements of the examination boards. Each board has somewhat different stipulations, but they share some fundamental requirements. For English, History, and other essay subjects, these include:
- a solid understanding of how to argue coherently and use evidence convincingly;
- a good command of grammar and syntax;
- confident use of a diverse and technical vocabulary;
- the ability to plan, structure, and write essays that score high marks efficiently.
These skills are not always taught in a way that's enjoyable or easily understandable. I focus particularly on finding the appealing aspects of the process to help students understand how to write effectively, sometimes by setting unusual and experimental writing assignments that encourage students to think independently and exercise their imaginations.
I also encourage tutees to practice their presentation skills (including public speaking and handwriting) and to work on memorisation techniques. I also help students to learn how to use information technology to their advantage in taking notes, keeping their study schedule organised, and revising for exams.
Success in English requires sensitive close reading and deft writing. These skills ultimately have to be directed towards completing coursework, controlled assessments, and written examinations. However, they sometimes first have to be developed by practising them on material that is more immediately engaging, whether fashion magazines, music blogs, or sci-fi novels. I aim to provide reading material that will get students reading and thinking independently, in order to refresh and illuminate their work with the prescribed texts. In the lead-up to exams, my focus is on helping students to produce a body of revision notes that is easily understood and memorised, and to practise their timed essay-writing technique through past papers.
I am happy to teach on a wide range of fiction texts that are set in the school curriculum, whether prose, poetry, or drama (including Shakespeare), across all of the major exam boards.
I believe that developing students' abilities in history is best served by getting away from exclusively studying the pre-digested material of school textbooks. Instead, this should be complemented by engaging directly with primary sources and the diversity of current historical opinion. This normally involves paying close attention to texts, but it also may mean thinking about paintings, caricatures, archaeological discoveries, sound recordings, and other media in a historical way. When it comes to A-level, I am particularly keen to help students think in the long-term and comparative dimensions that are required to gain the very top marks.
I have studied British and European history from the fall of Rome until the present day, as well as the modern history of China and Japan, at the university level, and am happy to tutor on a wide range of topics.
I have designed and taught a course on Modern and Contemporary Western Art at a summer school in China, and have intensively studied Renaissance Art as part of my degree and during a summer in Florence. One of my long-term students recently won a place to study Art History at Cambridge. I would be very happy to help students taking English and/or History with me with their Art History schoolwork and university applications, thinking both about ways of describing the formal qualities of art objects, and about the biographical and historical contexts involved in their creation. Studying Art History is always well served by visiting museums and galleries, and I'd be happy to point students in the direction of interesting exhibitions that will help their work.
|Languages||English (British), Chinese, French, German, Latin|
|Availability||Weekends, Weekdays (all times)|
|References Available||On File|
|Princeton University||2013||Masters||Fleet Fellowship, History and History of Science|
|Magdalen College, Oxford||2011||Masters||MSt, Distinction, Modern British and European History|
|Magdalen College, Oxford||2010||Bachelors||BA,1st Class, History|
|Warwick School||2007||School||GCSE: 12 A*s, AS: 5 As and General Studies, A2: 4 As and General Studies, AEA: 3 Distinctions and 1 Merit|
|Unpublished feedback (Usually negative)||0|