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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Hi

Is the Handsworth Boys Verbal Reasoning exam in multiple choice or standard format?

Thanks
poppit


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:35 am 
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Hello Poppit

I think the Handsworth Grammar topic rarely attracts many replies so I thought I would. As far as I know their test is in standard format, but as you can see I am fairly new to this forum (and grateful to have found it!). I hope someone out there will concur about the exam.

I have searched through old posts but there is not a great deal of information about Handsworth Grammar - most people are after the 'bigger' KE prize (having been to some of the KE open days I can see why).

DS1 will be sitting the exam this November. I am trying to prepare him for the KE exams as well, but unfortunately that is more about going through the motions than anything else - but you never know. I hope that doesn't sound undermining or cruel - I am very proud of him and he has the capacity to work very hard without complaining, but until very recently when I started all the 11 plus prep at home, he was always in the middle sets. His strongest marks have been VR tests so it makes sense to try and concentrate on Handsworth. The school choices for boys in this area are pretty dire so I have to go for it, but I would rather have not put him through this process.

I have read something about the 21 types for VR, does anyone know if that is applicable to Handsworth Grammar? Is it the GL assessment type exam? I have been using the Bond VR papers, but I don't know whether they are the most suitable.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:46 pm 
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Thanks UmSusu :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:15 am 
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Hello. I am new to all this and hope someone can advise about the type of papers I need to be doing.

I have been using Bond VR papers. I searched through some old posts and found one that advised against using the Bond books for VR (I think it was a post by fm) - does anyone know why and what might be better for the Handsworth boys exam? What about IPS? Are they at the same level?

I have the GL assessment Practice papers, but there is not enough of them - what would be the best resources to practice on before I move on to them?

Can anyone help?

Regards, UmSusu

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:33 am 
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Dear UmSusu

We are now waiting for DS's results on 1st March... he told me this morning just four more days to go.. Praying for KECH..!! He did sit the Handsworth Grammar test and from what I understand they place more weighting on the English and VR. Athey, AFN, CPG and Bonds are all good practice papers as are IPS, GL and Susan Daughauty!!!! hope I've spelt her surname correctly... papers as these are in the standard format HG use. Also boys have to write either a short 'story/passage/review' etc carrying on from some given text. Last year is was a 'ghost' story... so they need to have good grammar, spelling, punctuation and other excellent literacy skills. However Maths and English are only used when boys are borderline or of the same results and this is stated in the application information. and there is no NVR...

CPG have a good range of exercise books to help with reading comprehension for KE format, although can't guarantee same format in Nov 2011. Using these to prepare DS for KS2 SATs in May but I will use them for DD's 11+ prep as they look very useful.

Can't remember if HG VR test was standard or multiple choice but I think he said it was a mixture.

Hope this helps :)

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Last edited by shinealight on Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:00 pm 
I apologise for contradicting you Shinealight, but, unless the exam has changed this year, there is no non-verbal reasoning in it, ever.

Based on previous years, the main test is verbal reasoning. If they get above a cut off mark for it, they do not even look at their English or maths papers. If they get below the cut off mark, then the VR is subsequently ignored and the children are then graded on their English and maths papers. Theoretically it is possible to gain entry with Sats level 4 skills and below, provided your VR mark is over the cut off; indeed I am sure at least 20% of the children at Handsworth are in this category.

Good practice in VR would be:
1. Use IPS technique and practice book to learn skills
2. Use IPS tests to consolidate.
3. Use AFN to sort out timings
Then go for progressively more difficult practice. As a minimum:

1. Susan Daughtrey 1-8 Standard. Bright Sparks, I think they are called.
2. Original NFER 4 papers
3. New GL Assessment, 4 papers

There are also Bond practice papers (don't bother with the assessment papers) in the correct format and difficulty level although there is a different set that is not so have a look through before purchasing. Walsh papers are in the correct format but very hard. You could use them for practice of techniques rather than whole test practice. CGP are too easy generally and not laid out in the right way but again will offer repetitive practice in specific areas. You might also want to do anagrams as they certainly used to feature in the Sutton exam.

The above is probably the minimum a clever but not necessarily brilliant child might get away with doing but use your common sense as far as how much to do. For instance, AFN papers are relatively easy (certainly easier than the exam) and you would want to progress from them to Susan Daughtrey, should your child be scoring 88%+ in the required time by the end of the set of the papers. If they are not, you may wish to do repetitive practice in individual areas of weakness rather than going straight to a more advanced level of test such as Susan Daughtrey.

You would want to save the 8 original/GL assessment papers until towards the end of the process and possibly cobble a few tests together to make a 100 question test to be done in 50 minutes (I think it is 50 but possibly you want to check with the school).

Remember that children will be limited in VR by their vocabulary level and spelling ability. Most children can be and are taught to do the repetitive codes and number series to a very high standard and at a quick speed; it is their level of vocabulary and spelling which ultimately distinguishes how different children perform. I would address this alongside any VR practice.

As to pass mark to make the cut off point, it is higher than you might expect. Possibly a minimum of 85 out of 100 or equivalent in GL assessment. That said, if your child can throw together a competent story and has very solid maths skills, they can afford to not make the cut off and get in on the other papers.

I am afraid I cannot remember if it is standard or multiple choice. Up until this year, I always did standard because that was what was required for the preferred Sutton schools and for KES but I also covered how to adapt to multiple choice if required.

Ultimately your tactic for doing Handsworth should be based on your child's strengths and weaknesses. If they are really poor at maths, then obviously this area should be addressed but, if they remain below par despite extensive help, then you might decide to go all out to get the cut off mark in VR and put all your energy into this. If they are poor spellers or unable to manage their time in a VR test so scores are below par, then you may gamble on making their essay something that will stand out from the norm as well as ensuring their maths skills are at competent level.

Finally, I do not know if there is a cut-off point in the VR below which they don't even look at the English and Maths.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:07 pm 
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Thank you shinealight and fm for your replies

I have spent weeks trawling through posts to get info on HG, so I appreciate the time you took to write it up.

I never realised the English for HG included writing - DS's reading, spelling and vocab is good but he struggles with writing. I put it down to sheer lack of effort though. He hates writing and just wants to get it over with. So some work to be done there....

Maths is ok now. He was 3C in maths sats at the end of Year 4 (not good I know). So since September, I took the approach that I needed to work on the basics and raise his overall skills in literacy and maths, before I decide whether 11 plus is suitable for us (sorry, him). He is now 5C in maths, which I know doesn't garuntee anything but good progress for him.

He's not a academically brilliant at all but he works hard, is disciplined and never gives up (unlike DS2 who is academically outstanding and knows it, but gives up bitterly when he doesn't do well staight away).

Now that we've decided to press on, I wanted to now start more focused preparation for the exams. We have done a few Bond papers in VR, but I'll take your advice on board fm and abandon that ship! I'll try some of the others you suggested. He did a full practice paper recently without any coaching on technique and scored 75%. Do you think that is reasonable at this point, or do we have to climb an Everest? I am banking on HG, not because I feel it is easier but I think his skills will serve him better in that exam.

Thank you again, I feel that I have a more focused plan on how I can help him now. (I can't do the smilies, but I am giving you a happy face)

Regards, umsusu

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:33 pm 
Quote:
Now that we've decided to press on, I wanted to now start more focused preparation for the exams. We have done a few Bond papers in VR, but I'll take your advice on board fm and abandon that ship! I'll try some of the others you suggested. He did a full practice paper recently without any coaching on technique and scored 75%. Do you think that is reasonable at this point, or do we have to climb an Everest? I am banking on HG, not because I feel it is easier but I think his skills will serve him better in that exam.


No idea. It would depend on the make of paper. But I would also suggest you would be wisest to do technique, then papers. It is extremely difficult to persuade a child to give up one established technique for another and sometimes the methods they evolve are not the best...or only work for the easier examples and fall apart as the tests become harder.

For the maths, I would probably do up to Bond Maths 10-11 if he is able, then slide across to conventional 11 plus tests in the format of 50 questions, culminating in the GL ones.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:22 pm 
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No worries fm... I realised way later this afternoon whilst making DCn something to eat that HG does not test on NVR and I have edited my post just before reading yours... which was very informative and extremely useful...

UmSusu .. It's always difficult to know where to start and especially when DS/D is not showing strengths in any major areas or interest in actually wanting to sit the 11+. As fm states, start with DS's strength to build confidence and then move to the more demanding and challenging practice papers. My DD has a slight weakness in some of her maths technique and she has made quick progress in developing this through working to her strengths. She def feels more confident and I'm aiming to keep to this strategy before using the more harder papers later. Athey is what I've started with, alongside bonds and she's doing ok. Then again each child is different so you'll know what works best for your DS.

Good Luck :)

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:31 pm 
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Thanks fm.

Your posts (as ever) are really helpful, in particular this time your insights into how to decide on the best revision strategy for an individual child gave me a 'light bulb moment'.


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