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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:22 pm
Posts: 710
People keep feeling the need to tell me about their experiences on the 11+ day with little gems such as

a)parents shouting 'I'll buy you an iphone/laptop/xbox//boat/villa in the Maldives etc' as their child scuttles up the path to SHSB
b)children crying and begging their parents to be taken home
c)boys throwing up in the bushes before going in
d)boys sobbing througout the exam

and I was wondering how true these stories were and also (if true) how do you approach this with your child? I guess it's a good idea to discuss it beforehand, but what do you so. I want to say-just keep your head down, ignore anyone crying and it's only a test, but I wonder if there's anything more helpful I could say!!?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:42 pm
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Hi Manana,

I didn't witness any of this, but I heard the stories. I told my DD that to remember it was a competition not an exam, no pass or fail mark, just do your best.

Then I told her that some children may be nervous or upset and to just keep her eyes on the paper and the time and ignore what was happening around her. And not to listen to anyone discussing the exam etc.

And finally just to try her best and that it didn't matter if it didn't work out as long as you know you tried your best.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:47 pm
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Location: Essex
I warned DS about all the above horrors and made sure his mocks were not in complete silence so that he could practise ignoring background noise. As it happened, he didn't see or hear any disruptions during the exam. We did witness some boys being talked rather than walked to the second sitting. It seemed to mainly be the dads who felt the need to drill tips into their DS as they walked across the playground. We didn't hear any offers of fabulous rewards - that's probably all arranged well before the exam.

It's a good idea to tell your DC what might happen and what to do about it. Just in case. Chances are that they'll be fine.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
When DS1 took the CSSE test at SHSB in 2007, I just took him there, left him when told to and came back to get him at the appointed time. Probably reminding him for the nth time that it would be a good idea actually to answer all the questions (he didn't, but still passed). I don't think I even thought of the possibility of disruptions, and he didn't mention anything untoward.

DD sat the test at SHSG last November; this time, older and wiser / more cynical, it did occur to me to warn her that there may be disruptions (either inadvertent or deliberate attempts to put other children off); in the event, she said that she hadn't noticed anything.

However, speaking to some other parents later, I did wonder whether she and I had actually been in the same place as them and their DDs. I arrived slightly late to collect DD, thus many girls were already coming out of the school as I walked from the car. One of my first thoughts was, Oh good, most look at-least-reasonably cheerful, it can't have been too bad. Apparently like DD, though, I completely missed all the weeping, wailing and general total distress that everyone else had experienced / observed :shock:

As for rewards - DS1 was not promised anything but I did get him a book in WHSmith while he was in the exam. DD and I may have discussed openly where we were going for lunch after her exam (nice Thai place near home, which happened to have a £9 a head Winter Special offer on as it turned out) but I would hope that hearing of this wild excess would not have had an adverse effect on other DDs. Neither of ours was promised anything should they pass.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:28 am
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My eldest sat the eleven plus more than 7 years ago and we didn't witness any of the dramas I've read about in the last 6 months lol! Neither did I witness or experience anything like that when I sat mine many moons ago. That's not to say that they don't happen, of course. However, it's really important to remember that there's a whole mystique and raft of urban myths that have built up around the eleven plus - chinese whispers and hearsay have greatly added to this.

Because I know from personal experience that it is possible to be overcome with an unexpected surge of emotions or nausea before a really important exam, I've warned my youngest that they may feel it or they may see others crying or panicking. I've told them that there may be parents showing signs of stress and panic too and that's fairly normal in the circumstances. They've been told to expect nervous behaviour and annoying habits in the exam room - sniffling through tears, sniffing, coughing, finger-tapping, leg-swinging etc lol! We've encouraged them to do practice papers in an after-school club where there's lots of noise and disruption - that way, they get used to being and remaining "in-the-zone" come-what-may. We've also provided a range of practice environments in the home - some quiet, some with sudden unexpected interruptions, like a phone call, some with background chatter. Whilst we know there won't be a phone on the day, it's the sudden and unexpected occurrence that may happen on the day, like someone needing the toilet or panic when a wasp or spider enters the room lol Oh how I remember the mass hysteria when a particularly beligerant wasp came into the gym during my "O" Level History exam - I'm not afraid of spiders or wasps, luckily :evil:

Forewarned is forearmed but I try not to give too much creedence to the most adverse tales, not having seen it myself from two lots of personal experience.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:06 am 
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My DS sat the 11+ nearly three years ago and, to be honest, I never even thought about him being distracted by another child on the day. The only thing I said to him was to try and answer every question even if it was a guess as he may just get that extra mark or two.

We were fortunate that we already had a very good second choice school which he had already been to and liked. He definitely didn't feel under any pressure to get a place at our choice of grammar.

I'm not suggesting that lots of children do feel pressured to do well but, with the economic climate as it is and maybe not a brilliant choice of state comp school as an alternative, it can all add up on the day.

I personally wouldn't say too much beforehand about how other children may behave. I think there is enough to deal with on the day as it is and there may not be any disturbances etc anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:21 am 
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November 2009 my son sat his 11plus at KEGS. The first paper was, and probably still is, English. He opened the paper and started to read when the boy in front started to cry. He said he was reading but it just "wasn't going in". An invigilator spoke the boy in front and my son was clearly distracted because he could repeat the softly spoken conversation. The boy continued to cry and the invigilator spoke to him a couple of times more. Eventually, after 15 minutes the invigilator told the boy that unless he stopped crying he would have to leave the exam and that would, effectively, end his chances. A couple of minutes later the boy was asked to leave the room but my son hadn't started his paper. He then realised he had lost over a third of the time and had to rush the whole thing.

In practice papers he had consistently been getting double the marks he got on the day. His maths and VR were broadly in keeping with what was expected. He was 3 marks off a place at CRGS and 8 off KEGS. We appealed and won a place at CRGS, this incident together with other mitigating factors and strong academic evidence was cited in our decision letter. A disturbance such as this is serious and can cost your child a place!

These things do happen. Could we have prepared our son better to deal with it? I really don't know. You can tell them to ignore distractions but they are very small and inexperienced at serious exams. At the KEGS appeal it turned out that there was also a second boy a couple of rows over who was also crying and probably distracted some boys near him although our son didn't mention him.

It is probably worth discussing it with them but, if your DC reports anything like this, raise it immediately with the CSSE. The presenting officers at our two appeals told two very different stories about the same event! I don't think you should make a big thing of it before but sensible preparation should include mention of things which might distract them.

As to reward, it depends why you want them to do well. My very very personal view is that they need to do it for themselves and the reward found in learning is all the reward they need. At some point they have to motivate themselves.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:51 pm
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My DD sat the exam last year at WHSG and I too had heard various horror stories on the run up to it. When my dd sat timed papers at home we all carried on as normal around her ie hoovering, diy, cooking dinner lol. The only noise during the exam she did mention was the various banging of doors as people in other classrooms went to the toilet. We didnt see anyone being ill whilst waiting in the huge queue to get in either. I would say we didnt discuss the exam at all whilst waiting, we talked about everything else holidays, friends, school, swimming club just to keep calm and relaxed as possible really. A big kiss and hug and a whispered good luck just do your best was how we parted.

We celebrated all her (and our lol) hard work by going out for a family meal that night, huge glass of wine needed of course. No present asked for or given although other friends received mobile phones and in one case ipad :shock:

That was our experience.

Good luck for this years exam :D

PS. on the day i felt totally and utterly sick with nerves and worry but plastered on a happy face :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:19 am
Posts: 888
Neither of mine who have sat 11+ tests (different schools) have seen scenes like those either :) I think the schools and staff (and lots of 6th formers there to help) work pretty hard to keep it as low key as possible, and get rid of parents as soon as possible! I had had one tip (from here I think?) that some of the rooms had been really hot the year before (not what you expect in November) and so I made sure ds had water with him and layers to remove, but other than that it was fine.

My son did hear one boy outside afterwards complaining that he'd "learnt the whole of algebra and none of it had come up" but ds just thought this was hilarious - the WHOLE of it???? :lol:


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