I will be DIYing the 11+ prep with DD and was wondering if there is a comprehensive list of resources anywhere, particularly past papers or anything similar for exam practice.
Many thanks in advance
Hi porcorosso -
I've posted to another Newbie a while ago and put my advice here http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=46110
as have a lot of other people - so I think that is a good place to start.
I'd advise spending time carefully reading the stickies at the top of this region - especially the exam content information if you are taking the KING EDWARD GRAMMAR SCHOOLS IN BIRMINGAHM 11+ entrance examination.
In terms of preparation and more information Bond does a very good guide - called something like 11+ for Parents - which explains the process, gives advice about what to do to prepare and has some assessment testing which helps you to understand how well prepared your child is.
Practice papers are useful and my advice would be to go for CEM style - which is closest to format for the B'ham KE 11+ exams. I'd say we did a whole exam (so 4 practice papers covering NVR/ VR/ MATHS/ ENGLISH) each week over the summer + 2 CLOZE practice papers per week - but also had 3 weeks of holiday time over the 7 week summer in 2015, when small fry did no practice papers/ Cloze - just 10 minute bonds. We used 10 minute bonds generally every day - but I'd stress extra 10 minute bonds in areas which the practice papers showed were weak - so if maths gets the lowest scores consistently - do more 10 minute bond papers.
With ten minute bond papers - we went up to 11/12 age level (so we started 9/10 at start of Y5/ went on to 10/11 after Easter Y5 and in summer between Y5 and Y6 went up to 11/12 level).
Investing in CLOZE practice materials is essential - this is a real feature of the KE 11+ and was the difference I think between little fish not quite scoring high enough to get in for 2014 and small fry making it in 2016. The mixed sentences (so 11 words and you have to sort out what the sentence is and/or which word isn't used) really threw little fish in 2013 (for 2014 entry) - she'd never seen anything like that before. There's tons out there now (there really wasn't in 2013) - so just type 11+ Cloze on amazon and lots will appear or try any large bookstore/ newsagent.
READ - again just type 11+ reading and you'll get tons of ideas for books. The better quality the fiction your child is reading and the more widely they are reading the better prepared they'll be to deal with vocabulary and comprehension type questions. Urge them to look up any new words and take time to really understand the meaning.
WATCH - high quality tv - go for a summer of documentaries/ nature programming. The vocabulary in there is incredibly useful and it won't feel like work. Other tricks are visiting museums or historic houses. We were pests the entire run-up to the 11+ and were constantly asking small fry to tell us what a word meant or on long car journeys would play can you think of a different word or the opposite word for something.
MATHS - calculation speed is important - facility with addition/ subtraction/ multiplication/ division/ percentages/ proportions/ ratios is all essential - but the real issue will be word problems. Often given tons of information and have to speedily work out what you actually need to know to solve the question.
MISTAKES ARE AS IMPORTANT - in both DIY attempts - I spent more time going over wrong answers with my girls and making sure they understood what went wrong and how to do it right the next time than anything. And I swear by this approach. There's no point just marking 10 minute bonds/ practice papers and telling them their score. If they're going to improve - you need to be looking at what areas are their weak spot - maybe vocabulary questions or maths word problems - and then seeking to get more practice in those areas.
TIMING - l opted not to worry about that too much because small fry was finishing papers more or less to time. But would advise you stress to them that it is likely they won't finish a section or two and not to panic.
ANSWER SHEET - If memory serves, KE grammar schools will send you a form with your test time in August which will have information on how to fill in the answer sheet. Really make sure you review this carefully and that your child understands precisely what they are looking for.
TEST MATERIALS/ SUPPLIES - pencils & rubbers were supplied in 2015 for 2016 entry and I suspect that will be the case again - read the bumph with your test centre time - it will be set out there. If in doubt (and I was so nervous on the day I was) bring pencils along just in case - you can always keep them if the exam centre supplies equipment to your child as they check in (which is exactly what happened for us).
ON TEST DAY - BE EARLY - both to drop off your child for the test and to collect them. It means you can park more easily - it means your child is spared seeing huge throngs of kids entering the exam centre and it means you are near the front when you drop off your child for the exam and when you collect your child after the exam.GOOD LUCK - BE PROUD - WHATEVER THE OUTCOME IT'S A VERY BRAVE THING TO ATTEMPT THE 11+ AND THAT SHOULD BE CELEBRATED.
I've had one child succeed and one child just miss getting into a grammar school.
I'm thrilled that small fry passed this year and will be starting at CHGs in 2016 but I'm also very positive about little fish not quite passing for 2014 entry - it meant she went on to do well on KS2 SATs, in-school testing at her secondary and she's become something of a big fish in her small pond academically. So all in all - attempting the 11+ for both of our girls has been a very positive experience and I sincerely hope it will be for you too!