Perth parents spend thousands of dollars to help kids with exams

Updated: May 28, 2019

Josh Zimmerman | PerthNow

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Ace Tutoring students Josh Davies, Georgia Clarke, Ebony Cleland, with owner Amanda Moody, and fellow students Liam McGilligan, Charlie George and Liam Devlin. Picture: PerthNow, Daniel Wilkins

PERTH parents are shelling out thousands of dollars in last-ditch efforts to prepare Year 12 students for their final exams.

More than 15,600 WA students are enrolled in at least one Australian Tertiary Admission Rank course, with 13,400 teenagers preparing to sit four or more exams next month in the hope of securing a spot at university.

Ace Tutoring owner Amanda Moody said increasing expectation — and the proliferation of digital distractions — were driving worried parents to services like hers.

“For Year 12 our most in-demand subjects are English, maths and chemistry,” she said. “Demand for chemistry help especially has doubled over the past two or three years — kids are just finding it tough and don’t understand it.”

Ms Moody said while her business prided itself on affordability, it was not unusual to hear about parents handing over well in excess of $100 for an hour of study assistance.

And while last-minute exam preparation help remains popular, she said demand for study skills courses, typically beginning before the start of semester one in January, had sky-rocketed. “Parents and students are either getting left behind quicker or understanding the need to get ahead of their schooling rather than leaving it to the last minute,” she said.

Ms Moody said Year 12 students should be putting in at least 15 hours of study outside school hours each week, but most were averaging only about a third of that.

“Laptops are the No.1 distraction to studying,” she said.

“I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had a parent tell me they’ve lost their son to gaming in the past year.

“For girls, social media is the biggest culprit.”

Students are also far more stressed than previously according to Ms Moody, who blamed schools worried about protecting their academic rankings.

“There is a much greater expectation to perform and kids are being asked, and in some cases told, to drop out of particular ATAR subjects if their marks are not up to scratch,” she said.

Despite more pressure, the number of students trying to cheat appears to be declining. The School Curriculum and Standards Authority reporting 75 breaches of examination rules last year, down from 88 in 2015 and 100 in 2014.

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