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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:10 pm
Posts: 522
Hi

I am looking for some tips on exam technique for my dd. I know what I would do and how I would approach the exams but I have never actually done the 11+ as I was educated in a different country so I don't know if my techniques would work for the 11+ subjects or not.

What I am hoping is that someone who has got some experience of this can share some of the tips and techniques that have worked for them please?

Things like how long to spend reading the passage (for English) and when to start guessing in VR because you've run out of time and what to do if the question you are on is taking too long. Do you mark it on the exam paper or on the answer sheet. How do you avoid them getting confused with the VR answer sheet and then not skipping the question that they've left out, if you see what I mean?

Anything really that you found worked would be helpful please?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:28 am
Posts: 438
English

We found that DD was skimming a little too fast when reading the passage. There's some tips in DIY "stickied" thread at the top of this board. I'll come back to this. Try not to get too caught up in the passage itself - don't forget that the biggest chance your DC will have to maximise their English score, is to tackle the two spelling and punctuation sections before even reading the passage! There's potentially 22 - 25 marks right there to be won, in a relatively short period of time. Get you DC to do these two high-mark questions before doing anything else.

Doing mocks means that you can tell what strategy works best for your child as far as: is it best to read the questions first, or read the text first? Be brave - try different strategies, or else how will you ever know what works best for your DC? :D For DD2, it was best that she read the questions first, so that she was reading the text with a purpose - she had an idea what she was looking for. That might not work for your DC. DD2 was reading too fast - so we made sure she took 10 minutes to read and digest the passage - she timed herself - that was the only way she could assess whether she was going too fast or not. She wrote down her start and finish time for reading, on the instruction sheet. Remeber, this isn't a speed reading test, it's a comprehension. Then she knew she had to go for the big mark questions, or those that maybe looked for definitions etc. Find your DC's strengths and get them to recognise their strengths, exploit them in the exam, as far as technique is concerned. Ask them what they feel are their strong point and weaker areas. Use the Bond English and English Comprehension books - they're brilliant. Now is the time to start to really nail those issues down and try some different tactics - even if it's only with a scaled-down paper.


VR

This is how we dealt with the possibility of her skipping questions and putting the wrong answer on the sheet: on the question paper, put a cross or a line through each number when you've completed it, that way you can cross-check with the answer sheet, which you should be answering. If you miss out a question because you don't know the answer, draw a huge circle round that question on the question sheet but DO NOT MARK THE ANSWER SHEET! Write down any question that you've skipped on the spare piece of paper or at the top of the first or last page, which ever suits your DC - this is another fail-safe to ensure no questions are left out, if spare time is available at the end. Practice whichever suits your DC but I'd personally not rely on them being given any spare paper on the day.
This is what we did to keep tabs on time, DD2 marked the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 points on the question paper ie at 12.5 mins she should be at question 20, 25 mins at question 40 etc etc. It helped her immensely on the day. Start them doing this asap and it will help them to speed up and make assessments as to what to do if questions are causing an issue. Remember that some questions take longer than others to do and the 2012 paper was incredibly "code-hungry" - this is where there's lots of code-type questions which munch up the time. We had got DD2 to cope with this about 12 weeks before the exam by checking the paper before she even started - she knew she had to assess if it contained more than 2 "Z" types or more than the usual number of code questions. We're glad she did this because it helped her on the day and she wasn't fazed by the 2012 VR exam and had time to spare, scoring 73/80.

As far as bunging any old answer down when you're running out of time, we thankfully never got in that situation but we told DD that if she got to 3 minutes left and there were still more than 4 answers she couldn't get, after working out root-words, probable answers after excluding what it absolutely couldn't be etc, she should throw anything down. Some suggest a sequence, but we didn't subscribe to that one - it's all a matter of choice. Don't forget that technically it's about 36 seconds per question.

As each exam starts, get them to re-set their watches to the hour, rather than trying to work out their staging-points from the real time! That also works superbly well for time-management!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:10 pm
Posts: 522
Bravado, thank you so much for those tips. Very helpful especially the idea of experimenting to see what works best. I hadn't really thought of doing that, no idea why because it seems very sensible but Ithink 11+ nerves have knocked the sensible out of me already!

Do you have any specific suggestions for the maths paper?


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