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 Post subject: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:56 pm
Posts: 49
DS has been working really hard and as 10th Sep approaches, it gets more and more tense. He has been attending all the mock exams at the Shirley centre and has scored the following:

1st Exam: 68%
2nd Exam – 85%
3rd Exam – 75%
4th Exam – 83%

Can parents of DCs who have attempted these exams and then went on to secure places at their choice of grammar schools give some thoughts on how the above performance stacks up against the real exam?

What sort of final score range should be expected from a child who is achieving the above?

Has anyone with a similar sort of percentage profile in mocks went on to go to CHB (non PP)?

Would appreciate any inputs. Thanks in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:15 am 
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Hi imranb:

saw you'd posted this and I'm afraid I don't have any experience of the 'Shirley centre' - because we went DIY but those kind of scores (we would arrive at them from practice papers under 'near exam' conditions) are looking pretty good.

Yes, that 2nd exam went really well - but in general the trajectory is steady improvement.

As I said, we went DIY, so my advice is from that perspective- but what would be useful for you to do (if you have access to the exam papers/ answers) - is to review where things went well and where things didn't. If there is a pattern - say NVR questions where things rotate always go wrong - you know that if you put in a bit more time on that type of question over the next few months it will help.

Things not to worry about: nets/ cubes - have never appeared on B'ham KE State Grammar entry exam
spelling - has never been on the exam
codes - have never been on the exam

Now that isn't to say that they might not shake things up and introduce something new (that is I suspect how the exam can claim it's 'tutor proof') - but in general if vocabulary and core math calculation skills are strong you're on the right track.

I hope that helps and wishing you all the best of luck.

OT


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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:21 am 
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imranb:

forgot to say (in a kind of I know what I mean way but forgot to spell it out for you) - my advice would be to go through the wrong answers on all 4 papers and really make sure your DS understands where he went wrong (or any DC for that matter).

In my experience it helps hugely to review wrong answers.

there are now seven weeks until the exam and sincerely, with both of my DDs, I never put in more than about 2-3 hours over a day and included lots of breaks. (So maybe a few 10 minute bonds in the morning before going to a sports camp), a snack and part 1 of a practice paper in the afternoon or reading a book and maybe after dinner some vocab games (scrabble as a family/ bananagrams/ free rice/ etc...). We also watched tons of documentaries in both summers before the exam - lots of great vocab there.

Every now and then I'd compete with DDs to finish NVR papers. They loved it if they beat me in terms of time and even better if they won in terms of score. Great way to introduce extra practice whilst making it a game.


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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:14 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
imranb, OldTrout has given some excellent advice as usual.

They are very good scores and your DS has managed to improve as the mocks got harder. If I were in your position (and I am far from it with DS3), I would be quietly confident that he has a good chance of a place at CHB, all being well on the day. It was a cohort of over 500 and I assume he would be in the top 20 with that score? I know that some have got in with mock scores in the 70s at this centre, although most who I know of with DS1 and DS2 were 80+. They were generally in the top 40-50 rank of a smaller cohort. However, it is difficult for anyone to assure you more than that: you will have noticed that the secure benchmark they have provided over these past mocks has varied between 62-68% and it depends on the difficulty level of the exam on the day and whether it plays to his strengths (although it seems he is doing well overall) as well as how many ultimately apply with effect this will have on entry score they set.

Also, the mock centre are providing figures based on the information they have gathered and those who have got back to them at the end with the results: the benchmarks they set and the papers they prepare are fairly reliable indicators but not infallible - and they don't claim to be.

I am wary of making remarks about chances as there are those who have fallen outside this who would still have a chance - I am just giving you the figures I am aware of from my own experience and that of friends - that is a very limited picture. I don't want to panic anyone else if their results were not as strong as the scores you have given demonstrate that scores can improve between one mock or the other by up to 17%, DS3's marks have a range of 13% from the earliest to the last one when the work picked up pace and I know of several examples, including on here, where borderline marks were enough to really motivate DC to make the final push and they got good scores.

Good luck in the coming weeks :D

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UmSusu


Last edited by UmSusu on Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:29 pm 
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Thanks OldTrout for fantastic advice as always. Really appreciate it.

UmSusu. Thanks ever so much....You have boosted our spirits by leaps and bounds! :-) I am continuously mentioning to my DS that the next 6 weeks of summer holidays will make or break it. Hopefully he can maintain his focus and concentration.

Best wishes and loads of good luck to your DCs UmSusu and OldTrout :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:23 pm 
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For the King Edward I would specifically try and coach doing 25-30 questions in 6 minutes or so. This is for two reasons. CEM sometimes do this, especially at the start It is very easy to"implode" (adult of child) when faced with quickfire questions at this level of intensity and miss lots of questions. It then takes a lot to get back on track. So if you can deal with this speed and pressure wise and still be getting a 80% plus overall score then that isn't bad.

We never got dd consistently above 85% on bond mock papers BTW.

BTW really, really impress on your kids that they must keeping going if they do hit a bad section. One bad section, is just that, a bad section. Many won't realise that and then think it is all over, when nothing could be further from the truth.

PP


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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:35 am 
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Imran, my DD sat the 4 Shirley mock exams last year and her scores were up and down a little. My DS also did the same mocks and for some reason, although 3 years ago, I remember his scores better. I can't remember exactly what DD scored, but I believe in the region of the following

DD - 76% 65% 81% 63%

DS - 81% 76% 75% 71%

DD sat another exam at a weeks revision course last summer and scored about 80% on that.

Overall your DS scores were better than my DD, so theoretically, if he continues performing at the same standard he should be fine.

My DD scored 237 in the actual 11+ exam and will be joining her brother at KEFW in September (strangely he too scored 237)

Good luck :D


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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:06 am 
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When my children did the exams at the Shirley centre they were given a ranking, and then they gave feedback explaining whether children who had the same score in previous years had secured a grammar place, they were also placed on a graphic which said whether they were "on track" or just below. I can only speak for my DC and my sons friend who also did it, but it seemed quite accurate, all three were deemed to be on track according to exam results and all three achieved grammar places.


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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:35 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Petitpois wrote:
For the King Edward I would specifically try and coach doing 25-30 questions in 6 minutes or so. This is for two reasons. CEM sometimes do this, especially at the start It is very easy to"implode" (adult of child) when faced with quickfire questions at this level of intensity and miss lots of questions.
PP


Could you (or anyone else who has recent experience) clarify about these timings as they really are impossible to do. Is this a recent development? I have had 3 years in blissful ignorance about changes to content since DS2 sat the exam 8) but 5-6 questions per minute is just ridiculous! I know they had this once early on in the introduction of the CEM but I didn't realise they have used it recently - have they?

I always thought it to be around 3 per minute for NVR, 3-4 per minute for verbal depending on type of question, and anywhere between 1-3 per minute for maths depending on whether it is problem solving or multiple choice.

Have there been any other changes in recent years? I notice the sticky has not really been updated

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 Post subject: Re: Is my DS on track?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:37 pm 
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It might be worse than that. DD1 just told me it was 28 multiple choice questions in 6 minutes. She thinks it was the second section so quite near the start on last years. That is about 13 seconds a question. You to be quick and have a game plan.

1) work through methodically answering correctly focusing on getting any many right as possible (accepting some will remain not attempted)
2) variation on 1, but leave some time to answer unfinished questions randomly so all answered.

Many kids were able to get through them all at that speed though!!! Many many more did not!

In my humble opinion this is where KS2 curriculum is more valuable than people think (ie vs tuition). For example (for maths) solid timetables and the four methods etc including estimation etc are always going to give DC a time advantage. I would suggest as I have previously, doing time pressured timetables. I believe you can train the brain to be speedy and my experience is that repeatedly doing these multiplication speed tests, improves speed for multi choice tests like CEM. Obviously they need the techniques as well.

If your DC can do 100 random multiplication questions in under 2 minutes, 100% correctly, that for me would be a strong indication that they can read a question quickly enough, process the correct answer and then write it down accurately. It is only a very rough proxy, but if they also got a glowing school report and they are getting 80%+ on tests / bond papers, you have to be confident, especially if they have done multiple mocks too.


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