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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:26 am
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Any tips, advice, or thoughts, on how many mock exams are appropriate and their timing - do you start in July and do one and then do another in August ? Do you try and do whole exams at home - one friend was getting her DD to do a paper a day over the summer holiday and she was a tutor ! Any advice via PM gratefully received if easier than posting.

I have already read the Mock Exam thread on the Forum and it was really helpful, this is just to grab any thoughts from those who have just been through the exam experience.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:11 pm 
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To be honest, I feel as though this is the bit of the process where I failed my son the most. We did quite alot of papers of the summer holiday, and we often timed these, but none were actual mocks. Something happened on the day, I expect exhaustion/stress etc. that just made him drop 20% on the VR.

When I look at his relative performance, he did worse in VR and best in English, I was expecting the reverse of this. He had some tutor group sessions and she told me that he was top in VR and bottom in English of the group. He basically did well in the first paper, ok in the second and pretty badly in the third.

I really really think, if I was to do this process again, I would focus much more on exam technique and stamina building. He did do two mocks, but they were in a cosy friendly environment with just a few kids. Next time, I would enrol for every mock going and do lots of VR papers and maths at the end of the day when he was tired. If I'm honest with myself, his marks dipped on test papers done in the evenings, especially where accuracy was required in maths.

This will not be the same for every child. I just personally have a view that the 11+ is an exam which favours accuracy, and if you think you have child whose accuracy falls through the day, or when tired, or when stressed, then you need to really acknowledge this weakness and work on it as best you can.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:31 pm 
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DS did a VR mock at school in May and a 'real thing' mock (with all three Essex papers in the right order) at school the week before the 11+. We also arranged for him to do two local mocks at a primary school nearby which were organised by a local company. All were excellent practice for the real thing. During the summer holidays, we did three 'things' a week-it might have been a paper or a bit of work on a certain area-eg type z questions, or punctuation. It was never more than an hour at a time so the poor boy couldn't complain too much.


I will do it again with DC2.

and DC3.

Help!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:40 pm 
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My DD went to weekly tutoring classes and did one mock at Easter, a second at half term and a 3rd in the last week of the summer hols. There were also lots of practice papers based around one subject at a time. I would say the most she gained from the mocks is completing 3 papers one after another, exam technics, exam conditions and timing. Its OK doing lots of practice papers in stages to cover the type of questions that come up, but completing all 3 one after another is the harder part.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I only ever ran one mock for my pupils. This gave them an idea of how long the tests took. A mock is never the same as a real exam because it doesn't matter what score you get.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:46 am 
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Location: East Kent
Neither my own children, nor any of my tutees sat a mock . Admittedly we do not have to deal with super selectives here, but I have never felt the need for mock exams. Over the years only 2 didn't pass and I think that sitting a mock would not have made any difference to the result.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:28 am
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We DIY'd DD and chose not to go down the formal mock route - having got to really know and understand DD's brain during our 11+ voyage, we felt the money could be better spent elsewhere. It may have been useful in terms of getting some idea where she came within a cohort of children but we didn't feel it would have been useful enough in that respect. It may also have provided some practice for her in terms of unfamiliar surroundings etc but drawing on my own exam experience and knowing her as I do, I don't think it would have made a bit of difference to how those nerves would have kicked in on the day of the real 11+. However, I appreciate that everyone's different and you have to trust your instincts with your own child. Having had a very extensive tour of CoCHS, it helped DD to familiarise herself with the school and the possible venues for the test on the day - this is something I'd heartily recommend! :D

We regularly did 3 papers back-to-back, under exam conditions and with the same break-times between tests as on the real test day. This was invaluable experience as it gave us all an idea of what needed to be tweaked in terms of exam technique. We started this in the July. We tried different times of day - tiredness and mental stamina play a part in performance, especially when it comes to attacking that vitally important 50 minute VR paper right at the very end :wink:

DD has told me she's glad she did them. They gave us a chance to discuss so many things that could help her on the day and the most important one, was that no matter how badly you think you've performed in one paper, draw a line under it, move on and only focus on the paper that's under your nose lol! :lol:

There's no single approach that guarantees success - try a few things, tweak and try again :D All I would say, is that even if you only do a "mock" once, it does help to give the children a chance to see what it feels like to sit three papers back-to-back. I can't begin to imagine how terrible it would feel to be a child like myself or DD on the day, sitting all three papers together, without ever having done it before. :( I'm convinced the 11+ can be done successfully without any mock because there will always be some stellar performances from minimal preparation but it makes it a little easier on a 10 year old :wink:

With the results of the 11+ now in, and with the benefit of hindsight, we can say that we still have no regrets about not sitting a formal mock, run by a tutor, tutoring company or even a group/co-operative of parents.


Last edited by bravado on Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:26 am
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Thank you all for these very insightful and valuable posts. I was a bit staggered to see the £100 price tag on sitting one mock (the full 3 papers) with one company !


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I only charged £20 per pupil for my mocks and I wrote all the papers! £100 is outrageous! Don't do it; this is a perfect example of charlatans ripping people off.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:26 am
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That was my thoughts, thank you.


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