Once the world has restarted in January (having shut down with the usual whimper rather than the predicted bang in December), we will be gradually posting advice to parents on how to ensure that their children are ready to face the new test, which have every reason to believe will be the Durham CEM, as used in Birmingham and other areas.
The test is much vaunted as being "tutor-proof", but there is ultimately no such thing. The good news is that any tutoring or parental preparation (the same thing, give or take a split hair and a bank balance) could add value to a child's future educational success, unlike much of the test previously used in Bucks.
The following advice on test content was provided by a past forum member, "fm", who knew a considerable amount about the various elements of the CEM.
I have seen posts which imply the Bond books are the business but, frankly, while I do use these, I have slid over to a great variety of other work by June or July (note: for exam in Nov) with the vast majority of my pupils, and much of this is either written by me or adapted from other sources or taken from obsolete books. In fact, the children this year claimed the best maths practice came from Schofield and Sims Progress Papers which have been out of print for the last 3 years.
I would probably tell parents to start with the Bond books as their foundation but then branch out into as many different varieties of work as they can. I would also tell them to go easy on the traditional verbal reasoning and, while they might want to use some of the commercially available 11+ papers, it would be advisable to warn their children that the actual exam will not be in the format.
KenR, our Birmingham Mod, adds the following advice:
Cloze is a regular entry - take a look at the following posts:-http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=26376
Please note that the format of cloze is sometimes different for CEM - ie missing letters rather than a selaction from words. The passage that I created (on Easter Island) came from a real CEM comprehension passage in a previous Birmingham exam - so you get an idea of the level.
I would use the create you own cloze material previously posted:-http://learnonline.cc/clozure/about.php
I would also create your own synonyms and antonyms using some of the real words included in previous exam - this is fairly easy to do. Use words such as:tempestuous
- conceited, volatile, inconspicuous, foe, submissive.
Style is as above - other words previously included in exams:-evaluation, orthodontist, nurseryman, wound, inferior, content, subdued, clemency, debrief, precarious, vicarious, perplexed, apprehensive, physiotherapy, subterranean, conclusion, superfluous, polarity, nauseous, frivolous, altitude, trivial, emerge, pigment, covet, antiquity, tranquil, drought, passive, incision, bewildered, device, inaugurate, pompous, bewildered, covet and antiquity.
There are typically anything from 56-80 synonyms and/or antonyms to complete in 10mins - time is very tight - they need to write down the correct answer in 10 secs or less (7.5 secs for 80 words)
It's also worthwhile brushing up on the vocabulary using a different approach. Buy a few quality broadsheet newspapers, select a few interesting articles (e.g on say climate change or Darwin etc) and using a highlight pen mark several challenging words.
You should then get you child to read the article and explain back the keys points being made in the article. In particular you should get them to explain precisely the meaning of the highlighted words. If there is any doubt work together with them using a dictionary.
There is also information about past test content from Birmingham, and the format of the test, on our Birmingham webpage, here: http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/school ... er-content
Please note that the content of the test will vary from area to area, and no past papers are published.