The wait is over – here’s the Leeds Maths Tuition monthly review video for January 2017. That was a joke by the way.

In this video I spend a bit of time talking about the new GCSE and A Level maths specifications and exams – I’ve had a few discussions about this topic with some of my students and some of their parents over the last month. Many people have had their first taste of the new GCSE maths exams by now and I think it’s taken a lot of people by surprise just how different it may be compared to previous years exams. Are the changes good or bad? I think you would be hard pushed to find any GCSE maths students (and possibly teachers for that matter) who approve of the changes; well how about maths tutors? Well you can find out what this maths tutor thinks in the monthly review video.

I also talk about some books that I’ve read over the last month which were:

  • In the Key of Genius : The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini – Adam Ockelford
  • Extraordinary People – Darrold A. Treffert
  • Moonwalking With Einstein : The Art and Science of Remembering Everything – Joshua Foer

These were some interesting books; the Darrold A. Treffert book was maybe a bit too in depth for me at this stage – I enjoyed reading it but I think I jumped in the deep end a bit with that one. The other two books were much more easy going. Anyway, watch the video and you’ll find out a bit more about them; though, of course the best thing to do is read them for yourself.

So I’ll be back next month, all being well, with the next monthly update; hopefully see you then. In the meantime, if you really can’t wait until next month (yeah right, whatever John) I’ll be writing my regular posts for my website so you can keep an eye out for those. TTFN.

Here is my monthly review video for December 2016. It was a fairly quiet month in terms of tuition because of Christmas and New Year; not much maths-y stuff going on but there was still plenty happening in other areas.

So in this video I talk about my new toy – a Moyu Hualong speedcube. I love this thing; I wouldn’t call myself a speedcuber but this is definitely giving me the nudge to learn to be one. I’ve always been a bit reluctant to go down the route of learning to be a speedcuber; the reason being that I didn’t think I was up to it because whenever I tried to speed things up with my Rubik’s Cube solving I could get to a certain point and then I would hit a brick wall at just under 1 minute. It turns out that there is a huge difference between a bog-standard Rubik’s Cube and a speedcube and I’ll show you in this video what those differences are and how they genuinely make a difference.

I’ll also talk a little bit about the books that I got round to reading which were

  • Born on a Blue Day – Daniel Tammet
  • The Real Rain Man Kim Peek – Fran Peek
  • 1984 – George Orwell

I’ll be doing another video next month and I think that I’ll have quite a bit to talk about in a month’s time because I’ve got a few projects that I’m working on so hopefully I’ll be able to give a bit of insight into what I’m up to. For the time being, though – Happy New Year and I’ll see you in next month’s video.


Well here it is – I know you’ve all been waiting for this; the Leeds Maths Tuition monthly review for November 2016. It’s been a good month – nothing special but I’ve been having quite a bit of fun. For a start I had to relearn how to solve my Rubik’s Cube – it’s about ten years since I first figured out how to solve the cube and it’s about three years since I last actually bothered to solve it so unsurprisingly I forgot how to do it. Actually it wasn’t all that bad having to re-learn – I really only had to figure out a little bit and then I was away – good old muscle memory!

I’ve also been playing around with my Japanese abacus (soroban) – this also inspired me to learn more about Japanese mathematics so I’ve done a short review of a book called ‘The History of Japanese Mathematics’ by David Eugene Smith; I’ll leave you to guess what it’s about. I mentioned my soroban in last month’s video when I’d dug it out and blown off the cobwebs – I’m really starting to get into it and it’s also got me onto something called Flash Anzan which is a technique for doing mental arithmetic. I’ve started to look into this technique for doing mental arithmetic – it seems to be quite popular in Japan (at least to the point where they have national Flash Anzan championships) but I think it would be really difficult to make it in any way mainstream in the UK.

Well I don’t want to give too much away about what’s in the video – just watch it if you really want to know. There’s nothing in it that will really help you with your studies – that comes in some of my other videos – but it’s just me getting a few things off my chest. I’ll be doing another video next month and who knows what I’ll be talking about. I bet you can’t wait!

So here is my first monthly review video – I decided to make this video just to share with you what’s been going on over the last few weeks in my life as a professional maths tutor. Sometimes I get some really interesting questions from my students during lessons and I thought that it would be a good idea to share some of those questions and their answers with you.

In this video, for example, I discuss weak and strong forms of proof by induction – usually A Level Further Maths students will only really get familiar with weak induction but strong induction is a lifesaver in some cases where weak induction just wouldn’t cut it. I also talk about functions as I was asked some really good questions about functions in one of my lessons when I was doing transformations of graphs with a GCSE student of mine.

I made a couple of videos over the last month – one was about how to improve your GCSE Maths and the other was how to improve your A Level Maths. There will be another couple of videos over the next month so keep an eye out for them.

Other things that I touch on are a couple of books that I read over the last month. The first was Alan Sugar’s Autobiography – I know, I know, it’s not exactly a maths book but I read it anyway. I also read Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman, which is another autobiography, and I started reading, or should I say working through, The Works of Archimedes (that’s the famous Greek scientist Archimedes).

And lastly I introduce my new friend the Soroban (Japanese abacus) which I’ve started to learn to use. I’ve only been learning for a weeks or so but things are going in the right direction. I’ve found a link that is really useful for learning – it doesn’t tell you how to use a soroban but it throws up random addition problems so that you have to try to figure them out on the soroban; it’s something called Flash Anzan and has been really useful so far in getting me used to the various combinations that you need to know to use the soroban.