BBC London Radio Interview with Salimah

Breanna

September 14, 2015

The Tutorfair Foundation was recently mentioned on BBC London Radio, in an interview with Salimah, one of our incredible Foundation students. Tutorfair's own Lucy is an Oxford graduate, and gave Sailmah some free tutoring in interview technique, as well as advice on her personal statement. Shortly after, Salimah was offered a place at Oxford to study French and Arabic!

If you didn't get a chance to tune-in, we have transcribed the segment. If you would prefer to listen in, hit play below!



BBC London Reporter
Children in London are twice as likely to receive private tuition than those in the rest of the country—that’s according to new research—44% of London children admit having had a home tutor, compared to 22% of those outside the capital.  So it’s almost half here, and it’s almost one in five elsewhere. The Sutton Trust, which conducted the survey of 2,500 children, has previously said that grammar school entrance tests should be "tutor proof." Salimah from  Clapton Girls' Academy received tutoring from a charity called Tutorfair and now has a place at Oxford, so congratulations for that. And Salimah joins us now. Good morning, Salimah!

Salimah
Morning!

BBC London Reporter
What were you being tutored in and how long did it go on for, Salimah?

Salimah
So, I was tutored in "preparing for University" and learning how to write my personal statement and then go onto interview practice. That went about for four months, from September to about January.

BBC London Reporter
And how much did that help you?

Salimah
I'd say quite a bit. It’s a bit daunting having to write a personal statement and trying to sell yourself, but at the same time not sound too big headed. And then trying to know how to present yourself, and show the university that you're the best student for them. So, it was great to have that kind of guidance to show me how to express myself.

BBC London Reporter
So when you say it was difficult, is it because generally we don’t like it in Britain to big ourselves up?

Salimah
(Laughs) Maybe, it’s something we're not necessarily used too, but I don't know. I think it’s something we’re not really taught how to practice regularly.

BBC London Reporter
And did you get any guidance from your school? Because my daughters, all of them went to state school, had a quite intensive lessons at those schools about writing their personal statement and what they should say in interviews. Even early on, they were recommended things like, you know, if you get the chance volunteer for some kind of community work because that could be added to your CV or your personal statement. So, did the school not help you at all, Salimah?

Salimah
No, no! The school was very, very helpful with helping us to apply to universities, and it was in part [because] of the school that I was put in contact with Tutorfair because they wanted to help me in the best way possible. So, although they did and they were very useful, it was also very helpful to have someone [from Tutorfair] who had been to Oxford tutor me and help me prepare as well.

BBC London Reporter
Well, and you have a place in Oxford, what are you studying?

Salimah
French and Arabic.

BBC London Reporter
French and Arabic. And do you think that you wouldn't have got that without this extra tutoring?

Salimah
Well, I mean we'll never know, but I think that I obviously had to work really hard and it wasn't just having tutoring that helped obviously with my subjects. But I think that what tutoring did was guide me in the best way and help me to express myself, something that I may have not known how to do by myself.

BBC London Reporter
And did you kind workshop the interviews/meetings?

Salimah
Yes, because the Oxbridge interviews are known to be quite daunting and you hear these rumours about them. So, the tutoring was all about having that training, putting all these rumours aside and trying to teach you how to express yourself. For example thinking out loud, because they want to hear your thought processes - and this is not something you do regularly.

BBC London Reporter
Yes it’s a bit like showing your maths, you can get to the right answer but they want to see how you got to the right answer, rather than picking it out of thin air! What was the weirdest/oddest question you were asked when you went to your interview at Oxford?

Salimah
I don't think I was asked any weird questions. In my Oxford Arabic interview, they don't expect you to know any Arabic. I remember being asked what I thought about the link between French and Arabic language and I just had to talk about it! I knew that some of the names for fruit in Arabic and French are the same, so I brought that up! But I don’t remember being ask any weird questions! (Laughs)

BBC London Reporter
(Laughs) That's just as well! Thank you very much, Salimah from Clapton who received free tutoring from a charity called Tutorfair and now has a place at Oxford.