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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:42 pm
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The current year 6 posters on here what they would have done differently (if anything!) if they had their time again?

I know it might be too soon(?) but I'm hoping to hear views from posters whilst the experience is still fresh in their minds.

I'm sure the answers will depend on whether your child was "deemed suitable for GS" or "not deemed suitable for GS" but I'm interested in hearing from both.

As the parent of a current year 5 it's starting to get very "real" to me now as it has hit home that my child will be one of the ones to sit the next test :roll:

I would be really grateful for any advice :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:16 am 
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My dd qualified in this round, thanks in no small part to the invaluable help and advice on this forum. I'd been meaning to try to gather my thoughts, while still fresh, and post them here in the hope they may help someone else in future, so thanks for the prompt 2littleboys! I am no expert at all and none of what follows is rocket science but it will hopefully be of some use (and - health warning - some of it is based on the reflections of a 10yo!)

We did DIY and honestly didn't go crazy. We mainly used the CPG 10 minute test books (and FPTP for synonyms/anonyms) and dd did one or two of these a week from around February. Her view was that the questions in these were often harder than those in the actual test, although the timings in the actual test were a lot more pressured (the CPG full practice paper timings were closer, she thought, to the real thing). I also encouraged her to read and talk about words she didn't know - she hated learning words from lists so we didn't. I gave her some small post its to use to put on her books when she came across words she didn't know (there were LOTS - I was surprised!) so as not to break the flow of the reading for her and then we talked about these later when she was in the mood. Maths was always her strongest area so we didn't do much other than the 10 minute tests. For her the key was to encourage her to have the confidence to use her mental maths/look for shortcuts rather than automatically do calculations long hand in the way she'd been taught to at school - and to leave questions alone and move on if she couldn't do them quickly. We had a lovely long summer holiday and just did the occasional 10/20 mins in the week or two before the test to keep it going. We didn't do any mocks.

I don't think I'd change anything - easy to say because she qualified. If she hadn't I might feel differently of course and wish we'd done more but my priority was always to make sure she didn't feel under undue pressure and I think we achieved that. I think this was also easy for us because we had a very good plan B school (where her older sister goes) so were genuinely fairly relaxed about the whole thing ourselves and I know not everyone is so lucky.

A fewspecific things while trying not to give away test content:

- for maths, dd said that there was one topic in the test that she had never covered at her (pretty good, state primary) school. I'd thought that CEM in Bucks was based only on the year five curriculum and it may be that she just hadn't done something at school she was supposed to have done. This topic did come up in the CPG books we used, however, so she felt prepared.
- she was/is not an avid reader and when she does read she tends to read the old favourites over and over again rather than branching out. I was worried about her vocab for this reason. However, luckily, Enid Blyton is one of those old favourites and when reading them (again!) since the test she has remarked that there were 'loads' of words from the test.
- she said the CPG NVR 10 min tests prepared her well for the test.

That's all I can think of for now but I will continue to lurk and will help if I ever can! Very best of luck to those starting on this journey!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:18 am 
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Please be aware not to give out any test content as this particular one is used throughout the year for late testers.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:32 am
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In my case no. I didn’t expect my son to pass the 11+ so we went down the route of choosing an independent school; mainly because our catchment upper not being too great and we didn’t want to move house. For us it was a good move. It took the pressure off our son as he knew he had a great school to go to regardless of the exam outcome. Had we not been in a position to select an independent school we probably would have moved house to an area where there is no 11+. If that wasn’t an option then would have accepted the upper school but arranged for additional support if needed. There are always multiple solutions to not passing the 11+.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:16 am 
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Thank you so much justkeepswimming (love the name by the way-that's how I feel too!) What you have written is very helpful. It sounds like you adopted a low key approach with not much stress and it obviously worked-so well done to you and your daughter :)

Cottonhead-that was good that you had other options as I think that can really help with the stress and nerves-both the children and their parent/s!

Just to re-iterate I don't want or expect anyone to give me any info re the exam itself (as that would be unfair) but if you could give me any advice or info re your exam PREP (and what worked and what didn't) then I would be eternally grateful.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:56 am
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It may useful to download the Year 5 curriculum topics and check that children cover all Y5 topics during tutoring. It never fails to amaze me how the standard of numeracy teaching varies from school to school; it's very common to find glaring gaps in their knowledge and you can't assume that all topics are covered.

BCC are very clear that only Y5 topics are tested: if they squeezed any Y6 topics in the 2016 test I could see lawsuits arising!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:59 am 
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This is a brilliant thread. Thank you for posting and really happy to hear no "hothousing" involved! As an additional question, would you say your dd or ds was at the top table of year cohort? So I can sort of guage the probability of mine passing.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:13 am 
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As a rule, I find children need to be top table in either maths or English or both. The exception is when you have a child who has had their education disrupted (illness, been abroad etc). They can sometimes put on a tremendous burst of speed in Y5 and show their true potential, provided they put the work and the parents give a lot of support.

Having said that, IMO children should do max 1 hour tutoring per week plus max 1 hour homework. Bucks seems to be full of exhausted and overstressed children doing several hours tutoring each week which seems cruel to me. But other posters may disagree!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:28 am 
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Thanks *Marple* That is very useful to know.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm
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missmarple wrote:
Having said that, IMO children should do max 1 hour tutoring per week plus max 1 hour homework. Bucks seems to be full of exhausted and overstressed children doing several hours tutoring each week which seems cruel to me. But other posters may disagree!

No disagreement from me, what you've written is very refreshing to read. Some of the stories about levels of tuition and practice on here have been quite incredible.


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