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 Post subject: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:20 am
Posts: 13
Thought I'd share our experience of the BSG entrance exam for next year's parents, as I would have been very grateful for less secrecy and more widely available information when we started the process last year....
Firstly, this year's results (came out 18th October 2013) were as follows :
428 girls took the test. 166 are required but 188 were deemed eligible, ie a surplus of 22. When we visited BSG, we were told by the head that last year, all the girls who wanted a place out of the eligible ones got a place. Out of the surplus of 22, one has to remove the ones who will have taken/passed/preferred Parkstone, those who move away, those who will get in on appeal etc. So the odds if you have passed the exam seem pretty good.
DD passed the exam, so hopefully she will get a place next September. Everything remains firmly crossed until March 3rd !
To pass, you had to have a total of 286 points (95 for Maths, 98 for English and 93 for VR). Failing one of the three does NOT mean you fail the entire test. It is done on aggregates.
(As an aside, I think that for Bournemouth Boys, 203 were eligible for 150 places. The maximum score was 140 and you had to have 110.5 to pass.)

The questions for the English papers this year were a choice between a speech to explain "Why travelling broadens the mind" or an essay on "what makes you happy and why?". No descriptive writing this year, which came as a bit of a shock!
We had a tutor for a whole year. She has been worth her weight in gold. We are in a three tier system where the current school is not keen on children taking the grammar school exam because it means its years 7/8 will be depleted of some of its best pupils. The tutor taught DD some invaluable "tricks" and gave her information that we would not otherwise have known (for instance in English : use of similes, metaphors, a conclusion that links back to the title, alliterations, and as many adjectives/fancy words as possible, to name but a few). Lots of tricks in VR too. I am not saying that you cannot pass without a tutor but it definitely helps and so many people have one that not having one basically puts your child at a disadvantage.

I hope this helps the next "generation" of BSG contenders! Good luck to all.


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:01 am
Posts: 27
Congratulations Ladybird12 !

Just a minor correction on BS. The 110.5 (out of 140) is the PGS pass mark, which is an average across the 4 papers. For BS the pass mark was 292 (out of 423), with the average score being 288. As you say, 203 boys passed but there are only 150 places. The first 120 are done purely on ability. After that Bournemouth residents take precedence.


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:50 am
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CONGRATTTSSSSS Ladybird12


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:19 pm
Posts: 11
Congratulations Ladybird! :)

Just wanted to give some hope for anyone in the future arriving here within weeks of sitting the 11+ having not yet done any preparation, as my dd only decided at the start of the summer holidays that she wanted to give it a go and still passed. Looking around online it really sounded like we'd left it far too late and that we had no hope without a tutor; but clearly that wasn't the case at all (although of course it remains to be seen if she'll actually get a place at the school).

We did the practice papers recommended by the school, and got the elevenplusexams android app on VR methods & techniques; but had no tutoring and didn't want it overshadowing our holidays so did half a paper (25 mins) or a section of the app two or three times a week during August and September.

If dd had decided this time last year that she'd wanted to go to BSG, I expect we would have sorted out some tutoring so that we felt better prepared, but she didn't so it wasn't an option. Talking to other mums at the gates when dropping off/ picking up on test day I definitely felt we were in the minority and that dd's chances were not good at all. However, it's also worth remembering that tutoring doesn't give you any guarantees. We knew 3 other girls sitting the tests and all of those were tutored (by different tutors); one for several hours a week at great expense. None of them passed.

Lots of luck to everyone following this path! :)


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:20 am
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Ooops, apologies to all, Dorset Viking is absolutely right, the pass marks I gave out for the boys were for Poole, not Bournemouth.
Just one other little detail : at BSG the first 33 places are allocated to catchment and the remaining 133 are on ability (this could include more girls who live in catchment). Catchment is first. This is new from this year. (From what Dorset Viking was saying, at BS it is ability first, then catchment).

I am sure there are plenty of other information that potential candidates would like to have. Feel free to ask and I would be happy to share our experience in detail (just difficult to know where to start)!

Parkstone results out tomorrow. Fingers crossed for this one too....


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:20 am
Posts: 13
A quick reply about ringwoodmum's post. I totally agree, you can absolutely pass the exam without a tutor. I would not want to put off anyone from having a go at the exam just because they have not had tutoring. I just wanted to point out that the majority of people will have had a tutor. I don't think it makes it right, far from it, but it is a piece of information to take into account.
In our case, DD drew huge benefits from her tutor and was able to apply what she had learned with her in other areas, non exam related. I think this was primarily down to the quality of the tutor. The use of a tutor also meant that there was a proper structure, a routine in place, rather than relying on one parent having the time, being available etc. at the time the child was ready to do the work. But I must admit that in the ideal world, I would have liked DD not to have a tutor.

Congratulations to you and your DD ringwoodmum, you must be OVER THE MOON!!


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:19 pm
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Ladybird12 wrote:
Congratulations to you and your DD ringwoodmum


Thanks Ladybird - and again to you. Parkstone is too far away for us to have contemplated but hope your dd has done well there too. Do you have a preference between them yet?

I'm a bit confused about your reference to BSG changing the allocation procedure. That's not what we were told by the head in July, nor what it seems to be saying in the admissions document for next September's entry (http://www.bsg.bournemouth.sch.uk/image ... 4-2015.pdf ) which refers to the top 133 on rank order of score going first (after looked after children). Is there an update to this somewhere that I've missed?

x


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:50 am
Posts: 51
Hi ringwoodmum.

Like you, we didn't start preparing till this summer. Just got some books from WHSmith & left DS to it. We were away a lot working during summer so felt guilty that we were not there helping him but he just read away & passed both PGS & BSB without any tutoring. So to those who wonder if the exam can be passed without tutoring, it can. However I think it's all down to each family & child. My DS is the 1st to pass in the family. My nephews & nieces all had tutoring & none of them passed yet my nephew has just passed his GCSE's with all A*s & A's at a 'failing' school.

One of my nieces failed the 11+ but passed an independent exam & got a scholarship for it after tutoring. What I have learnt is that...tutoring works for some & not others and not tutoring works for some but not others. Strange world. I have no idea which route we will take for our younger ones but we're much wiser & better prepared for next time. Good luck to all your darlings for March!!! :D


Last edited by Bourne Mum on Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:59 pm 
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Hi ringwoodmum

Interesting about the admissions... We were definitely told when we visited BSG that the 33 Bournemouth eligible girls take priority over the 133 others. We asked specifically and thought at the time that this was not really in our favour because we are out of catchment and it also made us think that maybe you would end up with children who had scored less getting in just because they were in catchment. At the same time, it occurred to us that in any given year, you would more than likely have at least 33 girls from catchment who would score highly enough to get in. But, as you rightly point out, this is in direct contradiction with the published admission criteria... (which does not directly mention the additional 33 girls from Bournemouth)... Should we assume the published information is correct rather than was we were told verbally?
It is not the first time we get conflicting information about the system. Presumably because so much has changed this year and not everybody is in the know. Another sticky point we had was the importance of school preference over test results, or vice versa. Do you get a place in the school of your preference over the one for which you scored the highest? If you fail your first choice (or pass but are too low down the list to get a place) but pass your second choice, could it be that your second choice has already been filled up by eligible girls who may have scored less than you but who had the school as their first preference? I have contacted Poole, Bournemouth and Dorchester and have had different replies each time.... It would however appear from the BSG results letter that this is the case, you get your preference over your results.

Food for thought...
In answer to your question, our preference is BSG but we would be happy with either (just got a lot less chance of getting into Parkstone because of the high percentage they take from catchment. We are not in catchment for Parkstone either!). And this is all hypothesis as we will not hear back from Parkstone until tomorrow! Roll on March so we have some definite information....


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 Post subject: Re: BSG entrance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:50 am
Posts: 51
Hi, you get allocated a school based on the order you have put it on the CAF. Say I put:
1.PGS
2.BSB
3.Non-Selective
(We really want PGS)
We may not get PGS if too many Poole people pass & our score is not high enough for outsiders. As long as we meet the criteria & score high enough, we will be allocated BSB as if it were our 1st choice regardless of how many other people had put it as 1st. So long as our score is above their's, we will be given priority. If however we do not have a high enough score for BSB either, we will be allocated the non-selective we'v placed at no.3 as if it were our 1st choice :) - I have read about a Kent parent who lost out on all 4 Grammar places they had put down passed & had passed.

Another scenerio - If we feel that we did better on BSB than Poole, & we put BSB then Poole, we will be allocated BSB even though it turns out we would have qualified for Poole. So, the order you put on the CaF is vital. All 3 schools simply get back to the Council saying we can offer x a place as they are eligible & the Council simply applies the criteria taking into account looked after children e.t.c & give you the school YOU have given priority on the caf.

Sorry a bit long winded but hope it helps anyone. It took me ages to understand it :)


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