We take great care when hiring every new team member. For example, all tutors have to go through a multi-stage selection process, and all are interviewed either by our talent development manager or our CEO. Before they get to the interview stage, every applicant's application is screened for a general fit and any minimum requirements we might have for that position (ie. UCAT tutors scoring in the top 10%).
After passing initial screening, potential tutors have 2 interviews - one is a full teaching simulation to test how they deliver, the engagement they can create, the clarity of the explanations, how they handle questions etc. This process is similar for other positions as well, - for example, our question bank writers have to test their question writing ability.
The second interview is to look at their motivation and experiences. We ensure that tutors who join the team share our ethos of widening access, attentive service and have a genuine passion for teaching. After the initial screening and interviews have been completed and we have hired a new team member, it's time to dive into training.
how we train
We have team members that are specifically dedicated to training - a talent development manager and training material manager. Through them we have created and provide extensive training material for tutors such a templated lesson plans, recordings of teaching from senior tutors, teaching techniques and specific training videos. Some team members, like our UCAT Question Bank Writers, have a 250-page internal guide to learn and use as reference to ensure we meet the highest standard of quality.
After a new tutor has access and has had time to go over the training material, they do another simulated teaching session with our talent development manager. If this goes well, THEN they are cleared to teach students.
However, our commitment to quality doesn't stop there. When new tutors deliver a teaching session for the first time, they always deliver with a senior tutor, who completes a full feedback report on their teaching. Afterward, a training call is arranged for feedback, areas of improvement, etc. Only once they have co-taught / been observed to teach at the highest standard are they able to teach alone. To keep incentive high, we also offer awards at the end of the year to recognise the best teaching performances.
Our UCAT tutors go through the same rigorous interview process and training that all of our tutors go through with one small change - before they even get to the interview process, they must have scored in the top 10% of their cohort. This ensures a base level of excellence and knowledge of the test. To go even further, we partner up our students who may need practise in a specific section with a tutor who has excelled in that section - to ensure that you get help where you need it the most.
UCAT Authors/Question Writers
Our UCAT writers go through a unique recruitment process, separate from tutor recruitment. Not everyone that can teach can write good questions and vice-versa, so it's important to us that we have writers that meet a specific skillset.
Our question authors go through a two stage process:
Stage 1 - Authors submit questions for each UCAT sections, with detailed explanations -- without any help from our part. We assess an author's natural ability to match the style and difficulty level of the UCAT. In the explanations, we look to make sure the style of explanation not only helps understand what the correct answer is, but also provides a method that would help students get to the correct answer. All authors are given detailed feedback on the questions they submit. For those who demonstrate the above skills -- they move onto the next stage.
Stage 2 - The authors are given our 250 pages research and best practice guide on writing UCAT questions - they are then asked to write new questions for assessment. We look again for their ability to match the UCAT level of difficulty and style but this time also for their ability to provide variety and depth in the questions, as well as to follow the research provided. Explanations are also expected to be improved, always method-based and for certain question types, we request that explanations are written in multiple ways to suit different students' learning style.
The authors then also undergo the same two interviews that tutors do - for fit (motivation and skills) and teaching simulation. The average recruitment time for an author from when they start stage 1 is 3 weeks, giving you an idea of the thoroughness of the process. Less than 50% of authors who apply and meet the UCAT score requirements, are hired as authors.