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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:13 pm
Posts: 70
DS is sitting for Reading School next month. Just wanted to say hello to any one else in the same situation and offer some hand holding for the last month!

How is everyone doing?

DS has been through peaks and troughs to say the least when it comes to the 11+, and at one point I really thought I should pull him out as he was getting stressed and unhappy. But he has always maintained he wants to give it a go and has been really comfortable doing some practice a couple of times a week over the summer, so we have continued..... Now I just want him to have a positive experience in the actual exam, regardless of outcome, so he feels his efforts haven't been wasted!

I also saw that now places have been increased to 150, which I guess is a really good thing. Not sure how many of these are boarding though.

So suffice to say, not feeling especially confident of chances but keen to support DS in the last few weeks! Anyone is similar situation out there??


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Maximum of 12 boarding places still. I have to say it was news to me that they had increased the number of places.

http://www.reading-school.co.uk/26/admi ... guidelines


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:36 am
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Good to see a thread on this.. I'm in a similar situation :) I'm glad to see that the number has gone up to 150.. But not too sure how many have applied..


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:27 pm
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Hi there, my DS is also sitting for reading and the Slough grammars. Recently has lost motivation but insists wants to give it a try. I think as date gets closer, he is feeling a bit nervous. How are you all doing?
Jags


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:13 pm
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Aarrgh - can't wait for the whole thing to be over now!! The Berkshire forum is really quiet at the moment so maybe I'm all alone, but hugs to anyone out there feeling similar!

DS getting nervous - so unlike him - no matter how much we reassure him that the outcome doesn't mean the world ends..... He has lost huge amounts of motivation now so I've scaled right back on work - 10 mins here and there, otherwise he literally glazes over.

He is such a bright little kid, and maybe I've failed him but not pushing him more, but he seems very young to be going through all this (maybe too immature?)

I've got to say - it's got to the point that I almost wonder what the CEM 11+ is actually trying to test.

By which I mean:
It's not an IQ test, so it can't be about finding the 'cleverest' per se.
My DS's experience with synonyms and antonyms is that if he knows the word he gets it right, and if he doesn't, he doesn't, if that makes any sense. He's a keen reader but sometimes he gets 100%, and then other times, maybe 50%.
Timing for the maths is so tight that often DS has to make a judgement call (at 10 years old!) whether to spend the time working it out or move to the next one and chance his luck at that.....

So, is it ability to think on feet? Ability not to crack under pressure? Parents with the ability not to crack under pressure? What are they actually looking for?!?!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:46 am
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I had totally underestimated how nervous my son would be, and we have all found the past few weeks quite stressful.
If I knew a year ago what I know now I am not sure if we would have gone down this path. The test papers etc that we have practiced he has really struggled with at times, and has found the marking very disheartening. From a child that is top of his class at school with really high CAT scores in year 5 to a boy who's confidence and motivation has been knocked completely.

My words to him this past week have been simple - the worst that can happen is that we have one less school to choose from in October.

I will be glad for this all to be over.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:39 pm
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BaileyLane wrote:
I've got to say - it's got to the point that I almost wonder what the CEM 11+ is actually trying to test.

By which I mean:
It's not an IQ test, so it can't be about finding the 'cleverest' per se.
My DS's experience with synonyms and antonyms is that if he knows the word he gets it right, and if he doesn't, he doesn't, if that makes any sense. He's a keen reader but sometimes he gets 100%, and then other times, maybe 50%.
Timing for the maths is so tight that often DS has to make a judgement call (at 10 years old!) whether to spend the time working it out or move to the next one and chance his luck at that.....

So, is it ability to think on feet? Ability not to crack under pressure? Parents with the ability not to crack under pressure? What are they actually looking for?!?!


My DD started Yr 7 at Kendrick a few days ago so I can only comment for girls but I expect Reading School is similar. From the various information sessions/meetings/open events we've had with the teachers and the Head, I would say they are looking for intuitive, quick-thinking, bright girls who can work under pressure and who want to learn about everything. They really don't want heavily tutored children (they are aware of what goes on) because they want girls who can learn something in one area, internalise it, and apply it without thinking to another area. The CEM test uses timed sections to put pressure on them for their first, instinctive answer rather than working out or remembering how to answer a question, because (IMO) they don't want girls who've learned how to do it but rather girls who can figure out on the spot how to do it.

I can give two examples from my DD re: the test;

1. Marking the answers in the answer booklet - I read some concerns (not here I don't think) that parents thought having to transfer the answer to another booklet and keep track of the right place to answer etc is an unnecessary stress. I asked DD (after I'd heard this) what she did to manage this and she said 'I just kept my finger in the right place and used my other hand to turn the pages in the booklet'. She was puzzled by my question.

2. When there was a word whose meaning she didn't know, she said she automatically disregarded the one or two answers she knew to be wrong, and made an instinctive choice based on the remaining options.

My DD had no tutoring or access to past papers, she saw the familiarisation booklet on the Thursday night before the test. I wasn't keen for her to go there (still have mixed feelings, but proud of her nonetheless and letting her guide her own path) and I wanted to be very sure she would be bright enough to cope if she did get in.

I suppose I have a very 'what will be, will be' attitude - and that's not because the local state school alternative is great (it's not and I've just moved my older DS to another state secondary for Yr 9) or because we would go private (can't afford it). I just think with the grammar schools if they can't get in on their own they're not meant to be there. But I don't have her future career mapped out either, I just want her to be happy and (in the future) earn enough to support herself. She can achieve that anywhere!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Anyone can make silly mistakes under pressure (and otherwise), but are the answer sheets / booklets just rows of unlabelled boxes, or does each set of boxes have the relevant question number next to it? The only 'separate answer sheet' exams ours have done are the GL multiple choice VR ones, which have both the question number and the response options next to the boxes.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:39 pm
Posts: 29
DD said the answer sheet was numbered, it was simply that by moving her focus from question booklet to answer sheet and back again repeatedly meant she had to properly look at the answer sheet to work out where to put her next answer - think of the national lottery selection sheet with tons of numbers on it, you have to re-centre yourself each time - so she found it easier to just keep her finger on the question. But she's sensible/lazy (??) like that!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:46 am
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I absolutely agree, Rainbowcarousel on "if they can't get in on their own they're not meant to be there" - I decided right from the start that we would absolutely not use tutors. We have done a few practice type tests on VR and NVR at home over the holidays - mainly because I know that these are not covered in any way in the school he was in.

I have to say I am concerned on Maths particularly that where our state primary has fully moved over to the new curriculum where other schools haven't until this year - there are likely to be a number of questions that he has simply not even been taught at primary so far. He is in the top set at Maths, has been throughout school, but where the school has not even taught some aspects of algebra I know that he is going to be at a distinct disadvantage compared to those that have - as there will be some questions he faces that he simply will not be able to answer. This isn't a lack of being able to think on his feet as some mathematical processes you have to be taught the basics of as a start point.

But I will be glad when this weekend is over. Some children are naturally nervous about tests and exams. I have one of those. Will be overjoyed come Saturday lunchtime :)


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