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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:42 am 
We took the home tutoring route and can highly recommend.
Results can definitely be improved with good exam technique.

Here are some of our tips for home tutoring the Bucks 11+:

1. Commit to setting aside 50 minutes at the same time each week. Call it something more fun than ‘11 plus practice’. Be prepared to sit with your child through the duration and not leave them to get on with a text book or practice paper.

2. Take a timed practice paper yourself. There’s nothing better than speaking from experience.

3. Start with the IPS series book C (or book S for younger children) which introduces your child to each question type. If you are new to verbal reasoning then you can get the accompanying ‘Method and Technique’ book for yourself. Get your child to make notes on each page - how best to tackle the question, tips to remember, how not to get caught out and whether or not the multiple choice answer sheet can help speed them up.

4. Make sure you get the right papers that cover the Buckinghamshire question types – we can recommend Nfer Nelson, AFN and Bright Sparks although we found the latter slightly harder.

5. Give your child an initial paper to get a benchmark result without practice. Take 2 scores - real score (after 50 minutes) and the potential score without a time limitation.

6. Buy a small record book. Write down dates and scores plus any notes and learnings. Even if your child is not getting the required 86-90% correct, they will be motivated by their improvement and will find the notes helpful for revision.

7. Always sit with your child while they complete a practice paper and ask them to think aloud. You will see how they tackle questions and can give them tips along the way. If you leave them to complete the papers alone, they improve familiarity but not technique.

8. Analyse the results of exam papers and keep a tally of the reasons for wrong answers to pinpoint weak areas – silly mistakes, tricked into ticking the wrong answer, didn’t know the word meaning, bad maths, couldn’t see the pattern, didn’t tackle the question systematically etc

9. In the year prior to the exam, give your child a highlighter pen and some classic books. Ask them to highlight words they don’t know the meaning of and look these up in the dictionary together. Write them in your record book in sentence context for later revision. Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams is great for this too.

10. Download word lists from the internet. Don’t skip the simple words – many of these have multiple meanings and it is useful to keep your child open-minded on the differing uses of these words.

11. Teach them the alphabet backwards, common patterns in the alphabet and number patterns.

12. Missing a week of training will make them rusty. Keep to the schedule and during the holidays, set aside a few minutes each day to do some IPS daily practice questions – these help the brain switch between the different question types.

13. Buy a good stop clock.

14. Writing takes time, so get them into a habit of only writing when it really helps answer the question. Neat isn’t important but correct positioning (either above or below the relevant part of the question, or an aligned table for type Z) is key.

15. The multiple choice often provides similar or near answers to catch you out. Make sure your child is aware of this and build your child’s confidence in their knowledge and decision-making.

Good luck!

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:27 am
Posts: 645
Location: Buckinghamshire
HappyMom wrote:
We took the home tutoring route and can highly recommend.
Results can definitely be improved with good exam technique.

This post was really reassuring. I am helping my son as I really don't want to go down the formal tutoring route. I am doing all of what HappyMom suggests but we do have hiccups with the "same time every week" aspect as after school activities, friends to play and tiredness gets in the way some times - we just work around it.

One extra thing that has helped is if I have the answer sheet and he shouts out the answer. It is great for speed and also helps with accuracy - he is not distracted by the "almost" answer because if what he says is not there I just say no and he has to have another go. Obviously he will have to get used to marking the sheet himself but doing it this way he gets an immense sense of achievement - he knows in his own mind that he can get the right answers and do them quickly.

I'll lt you know next year if my method works!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:44 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
Posts: 2660
Dear Happymom and andyb

I am going to lock this thread, I have put both your posts into a Sticky thread which can be kept at the top of the forum for all to see.

I will edit my post as and when new products come onto the market.

Please keep posting in the sticky thread any tips for Bucks parents about to embark on the DIY/Home Tutoring route.


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