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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Hi everybody - we, for various reasons, are late starters for this years 12th September Birmingham Consortium exam, only 8 weeks in total with less than 6 weeks now left. My DS is sitting at level 5C's across the board at the end of term so he is fairly bright but the sheer content of the eleven plus (and the amount that has not been covered in the school curriculum) is overwhelming. I would be very, very grateful for any advice on the Birmingham exam, in particular appropriate test papers and books, we are currently working off of the Bond ones. He seems to have a natural affinity for NVR, ironic really as this is the one that I was most concerned about. With maths there are gaping holes and worryingly his english is giving me great concern too. I sat him down to do a Bond NVR mock paper today, purely because I wanted to see where he was at and was quite horrified when in the 30 minutes allocated he only completed 38 questions AND only 23 of those were correct. Help! Is it too late for him?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:08 pm 
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Hi nicolajane1971 and welcome! If you browse through this forum you will see lots of suggestions of things to look at - people ask the same questions as you a lot! Best go for lots of variety of papers from all sorts of sources (and don't bother much w Bond verbal reasoning as questions like that don't really come up). Speed is important and my daughter (who passed last year) found doing '99 club' type mental maths very helpful. We also used Schofield and Sims mental arithmetic (I think by this stage she was on Book 3/4) and plugged some gaps with a Carol Vorderman KS2 book, which covered the whole KS2 curriculum.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:37 pm 
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have you seen the emergency prep section? http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/prepar ... e-starters


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Thanks for that, I'll pick up some alternatives as all we are doing is Bond at the mo, working frantically on his mental maths which really needs to improve I think. To be honest I'm hoping that's all far more overwhelming far more overwhelming for me than it is for him...... Serious time deficiencies! I've been lucky to find him a couple of tutors for key areas but they are unknowns, better than nothing I guess. Worse case scenario he'll have an amazing start to year 6!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:07 pm 
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Location: Herts
Absolutely you can do it. I know plenty of students who have done a big ramp up over the summer holidays and managed to get a place at their local selective school. You will see progress every day. Get a big book and keep daily records and work out the percentage increase. There are some online timetables testing products where you can choose which tables to focus on. Use a range of papers and dont focus so much on Bond, everyone uses Bond. Give yourself an edge by using Bright Sparks, Athey, Walsh, IPS, Learning Together, Alpha. I dont know your area exams but I do know that using lots of different publishers prepares you for questions asked in slightly different ways. The most important thing you can have is a dc who wants to go to the school. If they have the drive to get there then they will want to progress. DG


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:49 am 
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Another area you may want to consider is the time management in the test, which will play a very important part in your child score. CEM tests are nothing like practice papers or muck exams when you have 45 to 60 mins to do a test.
DD strongest subject is Maths but in the last year exam, she ran out of time and attempted about 70% of the questions. As a result, her score for the Maths section of the test was the lowest of her three SD scores.
NVR is less demanding on time. Children have a natural ability for NVR or they do not. However, practice papers will significantly improve the speed, but will not improve the score considerably. English/VR (but hardly any VR in the past CEM papers) is also demanding on time but less than Maths.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:20 am 
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Location: Herts
Very interesting. Could you give us some more info about the CEM tests please? Thanks DG


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:37 am 
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Thanks for all that useful information, we made the decision this morning to 'lose' the english tutor, as I previously said he was a complete unknown and I feel at this stage that he is really not up to task - with only 5 weeks till the exam we have to concentrate on weak areas and 'teach' any areas of the curriculum that have not been covered and there was no sign of that happening, he'd only done one lesson with him anyway which was yesterday and I was not happy at all with his approach. Fortunately English is the area that we can help him with and the tutor he has for maths, VR and NVR will mop up on his English too. He sat his first english paper yesterday, bearing in mind he has not had any tuition he finished a 50 minute paper in 30 minutes (sounds good but really shows that he should have spent more time!) and achieved 65%, I thought that wasn't bad considering it was his first paper and that he did it so quickly! It will be good to have a 'start' point and then hopefully over the next couple of weeks we will see those percentages start to increase. We also took advice and ordered a range of test papers, was just on Bond previously, we'll see if that makes a difference as well. As always, usual advice and general inspiration (along with a huge hug for me of course) are hugely appreciated. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:35 pm
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Daogroupie wrote:
. Could you give us some more info about the CEM tests please?


CEM TEST PAPERS
The University of Durham sets CEM Test. The test is bespoke and papers changes each year and no past papers are published, which has led it to be described as “tutor proof”.
The problem is that most children use11+ Bond, GL assessment or similar practice papers for their preparation, which are not comparable to do the CEM entrance test. With hindsight, 13+ practice papers are more in line with CEM test. In my experience, a child needs to score 60 to 65% or more with CEM Tests to obtain a grammar school place, not 90% as with GL tests.

CEM test has 2 papers, 45 minutes each and only 15 minutes break between each paper- just enough time for girls to be escorted to toilets and back, not certainly enough time for anything else. Each paper had questions on English/VR, NVR and Math, with no time allowed between different sections of the paper. For more details information on CEM read very good posts by kenR on B/Ham KE Exam Content 2005-2012 ( last two years are definitely CEM ) and Queen Mary Exam Content .


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:55 pm
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Again, thanks for your kind responses, I have spent some time trawling the Birmingham content and must confess to bring quite relieved! It would appear that the exam is fairly unpredictable and somewhat tutor proof so, as long as he is familiar with the various areas and we work hard on his key maths and English for the next few weeks he has as much of a chance as anybody else. It was also nice to read that the huge percentages that we all read about to ensure entry to the Birmingham consortiums may not be as big an issue as I thought. It won't change our preparation but it has made me a whole lot more relaxed about it. Thank goodness for this wonderful site!


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