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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:06 pm
Posts: 333
Hi

My DD is due to sit the grammar school exam next year and we've already decided to home tutor. We're bribing her with horse riding lessons to do the work we set her rather than spend the money on a tutor.

So far she's worked through the Tutors beginners CD and we're doing lots of reading and some vocabulary work. We are also working through the 21 question types (thought it was safer to do all 21 just in case) to make sure she understands how to answer each one. I thought of starting work a bit more in earnest in January and wondered if anyone who's already been through this has a 'schedule' of work they would share. I'm a bit baffled by the amount of VR papers available and would love some advice on where to start and how to progress (and when to lay off..)

Any advice would be very much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:22 pm 
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Tolstoy's your girl for this, so hopefully she'll gallop by soon. :lol:
Certainly a lot of wisdom in sinking the money into some sort of (hush) bribe and following a programme of your own.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:56 pm
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Hi there,
I set out with a mission/scheme and decided not to get to bogged down in it. Sometimes DS would come home tired..(argg, there goes my long paper!) or with a lot of homework from school and so plans had to be changed.

I work on the principal, get a BIG file and get it organised into long/medium/short/daily/mock tests. During the week do the shorter ones so you have time to do school work as well.

At the weekend a long paper. Inbetween I did bits of vocab/basic maths (times tables etc). Did a few online tests but not that helpful I found as working with pencil and paper is easier on the whole.

As much reading as possible and discussing new words. I bought a book which we use as his 'dictionary' where he adds new words and meanings and some synonyms/antonyms as well. Builds the vocab nicely.

Work steadily starting with the easier papers and building to the harder ones. This way it builds confidence and times improve steadily. Do not be scared that 'everyone' else is getting a tutor, it is NOT essential and not everyone finds a tutor helpful.

Lastly do not get hung up on the odd low score or silly mistakes, all kids have these and on the day what will be will be. I will be right there with you, my second sits next year too ...ARG!!! two in a row!!

Well done for getting prepared early!! Lucky child! :0)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:11 pm 
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Welcome Pixiequeen,

Out of interest do you have a particular Grammar in mind as I would say the amount of prep needed would vary depending on the school?

I will come back with more info soon but a bit busy at the mo. Having said that what you are doing would seem ample at this time but do purchase the big file like EE I have one of those :) .


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:09 pm 
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Thanks very much for your replies. I will definitely get a big file! Should I just buy every paper I can get my hands on or are there only certain ones that are relevant to the Glos. Grammars?

We are aiming at Stroud High or Denmark Road. I've got very little real idea of how high the standard required is (along with everyone else, presumably) or how hard my DD is going to have to work to achieve it.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:44 pm 
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No you don't need to buy all the papers.

Denmark Road is on a par with Sir Thomas Rich's in regards to the score your daughter will need to achieve to get a place. That is where my eldest went this year and I am hoping my DS2 will join him next September. We are gearing up to this year's Nov exam at the moment.

Capers123 has a daughter who got into Stroud this year so will be able to give you more reliable information in regards to getting a place there than I could.

With DS2 we started revision last January. He is bright but a reluctant reader. He does love playing Scrabble though so we tackle vocab that way and when I get time I read him classics like the Swallows and Amazons series.

I went through the 21 types, one a week and he was given 20 questions of that type to practice as homework. It was very relaxed in that we didn't work over holidays and often missed a week if I was busy. The aim was to cover all the types by this June.

That done I tackled his timing. I did this by giving him a week of the Tutor's level 3 dailies (available from this site). Although they suggest 15 mins per paper I only gave him 10 mins as I wanted him to speed up. It took just over a week for him to get up to speed i.e to finish the paper and get a respectable score. i.e 15 out of 20.

If he had needed longer then I would have carried on giving them to him until he could get the speed combined with the accuracy.

Once I was happy with his timing I gave him a mock test. This consisted of the GL paper A. These are the papers that are written by the same people who set the actual test in Gloucestershire (they only have the 15 types). The other paper I gave him was the Susan Daughtry multiple choice test 1 ( she has two packs each containing four papers which test the 21 Types, read the sticky at the top regarding types).

I was very happy with his scores of 71 % and 83% as they were higher than DS1's first scores so we stopped all work over the summer holidays.

I started doing practice with him again in September and am using the same format that I did with his succesful older brother. If I was honest I would have to say that it is possibly more than I need to be doing but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Every Sunday he sits two long papers back to back. This is how they will have to sit them on the day so he may as well get used to it in my opinion. Monday night we do the corrections if there are lots we will spread them over two nights. The rest of the week he does one daily (10 mins for the Tutor's level 3's but now he is onto level 4's he gets the full 15 mins) plus corrections. Saturdy is a free day and sometimes one day in the week.

Over half term we will look at the Pates sample papers but they do not really reflect the sort of paper that will come up in the test.

One thing I would say is that the level 4 dailies have very difficult vocabulary. My son knows that although I expect him to get all his codes, letter lines, connections and making words right, he has no hope of hitting the high scores he was getting on some of the level 3's. They are primarily a tool for exploring and extending his vocabulary and meeting trickier maths and reading type questions.

I think the trickiest bit of the whole process is working out how you want to play the time scales. I took it easy in the beginning had a break over the summer and have really laid it on thick since September aiming for DS2 to peak in November. It was primarily because I was very late finding the this site when I taught DS1 compounded by the fact that he had some serious spelling issues which affected his accuracy in specific types. DS2 has peaked and my main thing now is to stop him getting complacent, hence the level 4's.

There are people on this site with vastly more experience than I. A good place to look is the Bucks section as they do the same tests and there are posters on there with a lot of experience, Patricia being one.

The long papers I bought were the GL pack, Susan Daughtry's multiple choice both packs and Walsh test papers books 1 and 2, you possibly don't need all of them. I would definately recommend the Tutors dailies level 3 papers and possibly some level 4's for experience of harder questions.

Hope that helps, anything else just ask. I do rattle on a bit.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Gosh, thank you Tolstoy! It's very reassuring to hear how someone else has tackled the tutoring. Your post makes me think that perhaps I have more time than I thought and that I should take things very slowly to begin with. A rather large part of me (the seriously panicking part) wants to make DD do an hours work a night for the whole of this year but the small sane voice in my head says "No! Leave that child alone!"
(and the other voice says "go on, get her out of bed, she needs to learn her 13 times table and the alphabet backwards")


I like the idea of using the Tutors dailies and of doing mock tests with 2 papers back to back.

I think my biggest concern is DD not being able to keep up the speed or the concentration required for 2 x 50 mins. I am also concerned that while DD will most likely remain calm and laid back as always, her mother will be a paranoid raving lunatic with no hair by the time the exam is over. :shock:

I am going to print your post and add it to my big file. Thank you very much for taking the time to explain what has worked for you. I hope everything goes well for your DS2 on the day :D


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
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Location: Bexley
Quote:
her mother will be a paranoid raving lunatic with no hair by the time the exam is over.



so you've seen my photo already then! :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:42 pm 
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Hair still there but have a whole host of wrinkles, a grimace seems to be perminantly etched on my face :lol: Can't all be down to being post 40 surely.

Thanks pixiequeen, DS2 is doing well in practice but who knows what will happen on the day. Just trying to keep 8) at the moment as I know the two weeks between the test and the results will be very, very long. Hopefully the Gloucester section will get a bit busier then.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:25 pm
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I know! Good to see a few new faces. I can stop haunting Kent and Bexley then!
Dunno about the 2 interim weeks (well, I do, but I'm in denial) but this 2 weeks or so is pretty unpleasant, too. We seem to be onto Silly Errors A-Plenty and it's hard to remain 8) sometimes!


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