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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:05 am 
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Last edited by milada on Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:16 pm 
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Great post, was thinking the same myself, and look forward to the responses.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:39 pm 
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For Maths & English your DC has to fill in the Details.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:35 pm 
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I have a feeling that for CEM they might just have to check their details on the front, I suppose this is as for the VR. I might be remembering incorrectly but thought I had seen that somewhere.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Can't remember which thread it was on but someone recently posted some really useful tips about preparing your child for being in the exam hall.

I understand it is not unusual for some children to become distressed during the exam, some children may shuffle and some may whisper to themselves as they are answering the questions. Others may drop pencils or even the exam papers.

My DS said that after registration they lined up and were sorted into columns. a-e were called into one hall, f-k in another hall, they then had to find their table in their row. His details were pre filled in on the exam papers, he just need to cross reference his candidate number.

Instructions were given as to how long each exam was and that toilet breaks were available between each exam and a drinks break was given between Maths and VR.

I think it is important to warn your DC that they will need to 'tune out' distractions, they really need to be 'in the zone' for each exam and to do their best to ignore anything happening around them, remind them that invigilators are there to manage the exam conditions and to deal with any incidents, should they arise.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:36 pm 
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I've asked DD2 what went on so that we can help - she doesn't remember everything but I think the relevant stuff is here :D

She sat the CSSE exam at Colchester County High School last September (2012) and please bear in mind that things may be subject to change, or may run differently at the various exam centres.

After parents left the girls at the school, they were given a colour-coded badge - she can't remember whether she wrote the name or it was already on it.

The group-leaders of each colour took them to a room to play games and relax.

The girls lined up in alpha order to go to the toilet, after which they went to the hall or gym, depending on where they were going to sit the exams.

The girls entered the exam hall and had to find the table with their name and candidate number on it: they sat down.

All unnecessary items were placed under the table ie snack bag etc.

The invigilator welcomed the candidates and explained the rules ie no talking etc. The English exam paper was distributed during this speech.

The children were given time to complete their details on the front of the exam paper.

When this was all done, she said "You may begin".

The start and finish times were written on two boards.

Time warnings were given at half-way, 5 minutes and 1 minute.


The same routine was followed for maths, without the rules being stated.

Time warnings were given at half-way, 5 minutes and 1 minute.

At the end of the maths, the papers were collected and colour-by-colour, students left the exam hall to go to the dining hall.

They could go to toilet, have a drink, snack or any combination of those for 20 minutes.

She doesn't remember whether they had to get in alpha-order to go back into the exam hall.

Once seated again, each candidate found that a sheet of lined paper, a pre-used eraser and one or two pencils had already been placed on their desk.

The exam papers were distributed.

The invigilator explained that the primary/current school number was pre-entered on the VR answer sheet - DD doesn't remember for sure whether her name was on it but suspects it was, if the school number was there.

The children were told to write quickly and carefully and were wished "good luck" .

The timings were written on the two boards after the children were told that they could begin.

Time warnings were given at half-way, 20 minutes, 5 minutes and 1 minutes.

Papers were collected and then the children returned to the dining hall, ready to be collected by their parents.

Please be aware that this won't be set in stone and things may be slightly different, especially with regard to time-warnings.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:58 pm 
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Another thing to be aware of is that in the past not all children who chose ColCHS actually sit the exam there, after registering some are taken to St Benedicts and sit the exam in their sports hall.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:46 am 
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Can anyone give me any advice on watches ? DS currently uses a kitchen timer. He does have an enormous GShock watch, which he wishes to wear on the exam day. Can he use the stop watch or timer on this and what rules are there on this ? Are there rules on alarms going off ?

Snacks/drinks - do past parents advise sending them with something they would like, rather than just water ?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:04 am 
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I didn't provide any drinks or snacks for mine ( but it was November then so not as warm). I made sure they had a good breakfast and the school provided them with a drink and snack in the break (DS says he was given a carton of juice and some biscuits).Although important not to dehydrate you do not want them drinking too much on the day, you always hear of disturbances due to children going to the toilet in the middle of a paper which must surely wreck their chances.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:34 am 
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We gave DD2 water on the day. I vaguely recall the letter we got, saying orange and a biscuit but we didn't want to take a chance on it being squash or a juice drink with additives, rather than juice, plus she has all juices diluted - dentist's orders :lol: I believe that a lot of schools don't like anything other than water because of the potential for spillage and a sticky mess.

I would have thought it very unlikely that an alarm going off would be allowed and I'm afraid I can't answer on the stopwatch front. I'll see if I can find our letter but I seem to recall that watches with a calculator function aren't allowed. I would recommend calling the CSSE office: 01245 348257

They're currently closed for anything but sending out packs but re-open on 2nd September.


We also called Colchester County High for clarification on something else regarding water and they were very helpful.

Is it possible for your son to practice/do tests using the watch in a conventional way for a little bit? To save her some time (and a small panic) having to work out the minutes, at the start of each exam, DD2 set her watch to a zero time ie 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock etc.

I know it's an agonising wait until CSSE opens again 2nd September but that's probably the best course of action and in the meantime, practice without an alarm if you can.


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