Was lying in bed, unable to sleep, and had an idea to start this thread.
I hope it will be an encouragement to those of you unable/unwilling to hire a tutor for whatever reason.I don't want to start a debate on that because there are lots of those on this site.
I have now prepared both daughters for the Chelmsford grammar school and they both have places.However one "flew in" and one scraped in and the latter has taught me a lot.
Both girls had similar academic abilities and SATS grades etc.The older is more of a writer but that isn't tested in Essex.
I heard all the scare stories about girls having to ensure they had 90% + to get in. I certainly think that it helps to be getting that in preparation by the end, to have a really secure chance.BUT, most of all, I think that you should aim for those high scores to allow for a drop on the day.My younger one dropped at least 10 - 15% in every paper from her test scores.Older one kept the same scores on the day.
This forum is full of parents whose children also dropped that amount on the day.
My little pearl of wisdom from hindsight, if I have any
, is that I didn't replicate test conditions at all.Yes she did timed papers but in her cosy bedroom on her own.
If I had my time again, I would find some other children who were sitting tests, even just two and sit her in another room/ place and try to replicate a FULL test somehow.
Without wanting to spark a controversy, I KNOW several private schools who run mock tests in their school hall for 3 - 4 weeks running prior to the 11+. State school kids obv don't have that.
I don't think it made any diff to my older one but my younger one did come out saying "that was really scary".
Its just a temperament thing.She found the experience of being in the hall with 60 girls, without a familiar face very daunting.
So if I could have my time again, I would try to replicate some kind of exam conditions because her first experience of a test affected her.
I think as well, not wanting to put anyone off, that numbers are on the increase.140 more girls sat for Chelmsford this year and the scores to get in were up this year.(Know this from comparing year on year) I don't want to scare anyone but I think I was perhaps a tad too laid back.
I NEVER want to advocate intensive coaching, as they are only 10 after all.However we started at Easter, doing an hour on Sundays but not every week and no more than that until two weeks before.We didn't do any in the holidays even the Summer.Not sure that was a good idea now.
It didn't dawn on me until after, talking to people, how much everyone else was doing, which obviously has a knock on affect in getting in.
I am not saying this is right ,but that realistically, with hindsight, I should have done a bit more.Please don't all write back saying how pressured this could be, I am aiming this thread at those who have already made the decision to give it a go.
I found the free resources on this site very helpful and the NFER and Bright sparks books good. I saved the real CSSE English till near the end as they were daunting and just did home spun English before , based on the classics. I found the NFER and Bond full papers good practice too for Maths.
Overall I just want to say, it can be done from home. (but don't be quite as laid back as me
) Regular practice and some exam experience of all three papers, however you work that out, are very important.
Good luck all home preparers.