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 Post subject: Your experience?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:38 pm
Posts: 37
Hi All

I'm new to posting but have been following your ups and downs for the last couple of months and wish you all get what you want going forward.

I have a DD that hopefully be taking the 11+ next year. I hope this is not too early to ask those of you who had the experience this year what you thought to be useful, good advice you were given, anything that you thought was a waste of time, and what you would change if / when you go through it all again.

Thanks for any replies.

Malvern.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:22 pm
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I am new to this as well although my ds has just gone through the process! This forum I have just found and wished that I knew of it before. My tips would be get a tutor, but not really until Easter, keep calm, have a back up plan and avoid playground gossip! When filling in the application form tick all - I didn't and so now somewhat in the dark. Ask as many questions from people who have gone through this!

I still do not really understand the marking process, or scores - my ds got 227 for STR so completely unsure if he has a place or not! It is horrid process and those I know who got the Pate's place was as much luck as anything else - just support your child and let them know they've done their best regardless of the score - I couldn't have done it at 10! ( or now!!)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:21 pm
Posts: 139
I would agree with ticking all the schools, each responds in a different way, for example Marling and Pates just confirmed the top 120/160(if your are in it) while Crypt and STR just gave a score (with STR stating how many actually passed). We are can now assume a place at the latter two as confirmed as the former two which have higher pass scores, without this information it would be harder to work out. Plus you have nothing to lose by ticking all the boxes.

I am however confused by the former posters comment that getting into Pates is 'just luck', I agree that brighter children might not have ticked the Pates box for a number of reasons but still they qualify the top scoring kids that do tick the box I do not see how this is luck.

The tutor or not to tutor debate still rages, I still do not think it is neccessary for a number of reasons but do familarise your child with the type of question that will be on the test. There are great books our there.
BTW my son did qualify for Pates and I dont think it was through luck I think it was the scores on the day.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:02 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:38 pm
Posts: 37
Thanks for the replies, sadly there are not going to be any easy answers - "Do this and your child will definately get in" but just getting your views on what you think did it for you is useful to complete novices like me.

On luck - I agree there are many factors which will be based on luck on the day - the choice / style of questions, your child's mood etc but I also remember Gary Player's "The harder I work the luckier I get" quote, really torn between the two views.

Malvern


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:56 pm
Posts: 431
Hi there

I have just been through the process this year and have another sitting next year. My advice would be this:

1. Remember that the person who knows your child best is YOU and you are one of the best resources they will have. Your commitment to the process is, in my opinion, vital. The fact that you are here speaks for your commitment! Explain that this year will be tough going but will give your DC that all important choice in where they go to school. Get them on board, its essential believe me.

2 BUILD VOCAB: Start now reading childrens classic literature. Buy a book as 'their dictionary' and add all new word, meanings and some antonyms and synomyms. Play word games such as Scrabble/Boggle etc. Discuss the words and meanings. Use more complex words in everyday chat explaining what they mean. Soon they will become common place. If you have time devise some quizzes/games of your own for word groupings (types of trees/animal babies/colours/boats/aircraft etc. etc.) and get your DC to sort into categories. This is fun and they enjoy it.

3. MATHS: they MUST have a good grasp on the basics. So lots of mental maths practice for speed (I kept this very informal, just totting up prices in the shops etc.) Drill in those times tables so they know them as a matter of course. Add, subtract, multiply and divide.

4. CODES: Practice makes perfect here. Make a list of all the types of codes and tips and tricks. If you intend to work with your child you need to be as well versed in all the question types as your child is. They will look to you for guidance.

5. PRACTICE: I did short/quick fire papers once or twice a week and a long paper at weekend. In the last two months we did back to back papers at weekend to simulate the day. Felt cruel at the time but was very beneficial. Talk through the wrong answers.

6. SPEED: this comes with practice and familarisation. I often challenged my DS to a duel. See if he could beat me on speed and accuracy. I did go a bit slower to let him win. Being 'competitive mum' was likely not helpful! This really does help. Also some kids prefer to start with certain types of question to get their brain going. Leave out long questions to the end. They take WAYYYYYYYY to long and are only worth one mark (like all the others).

7. GUESSING: If in doubt ....guess. Preferably an educated one of course. In practice papers I got DS to write EG (Educated guess) above the ones he had guessed. That way I knew which he got right and which he was just lucky on and could go back and explain.

8. TUTORS: I have used one with DS1 and she offered a different teaching style from me. She was mainly comprehension focused and he enjoyed going. DO NOT fall into the assumption that if you have a tutor you will not need to do anything else or that it will deffo mean your DC will pass. My DS1 is bright and I tutored him at home (and external tutor) because I wanted to do everything to make sure he passed as grammar is the right place for him (leaving nothing to chance!). Tutors are up to you, some do some don't. They are NOT essential and you can do it yourself :0) with dedication.

9. MONEY: This all sounds expensive and it can be. There are lots of excellent resources around some of which are not appropriate for the Glos exam. Chose wisely and go for quality. There are other strands explaining which are best to use. You can find appropriate free resources online. Of the shop bought my personal favs are: Walsh, Bright Sparks and IPS (I think that's the name!) They are quite challenging and will need to be worked up to but offer excellent prep.

10. STAY CALM: Now I am the last person to be giving advice about staying calm!! This year I am determined to keep it real as long as I can. Getting in a panic offered nothing last year. It was hard keeping it to myself in front of DS and so this forum became my ranting/sobbing ground. It has been excellent support and the source of many pieces of useful info.

11. Yes anything can happen on the day. However, if your child is going in confident they have done the work, well and rested and with their 'game face' on there is less liklihood of it all going pear shaped.

Getting into grammar is not everything but it can become obsessional. Have a good back up plan if all does not go according to wishes. I am not sure how much luck I should wish you (what with my DS2 also in the mix!) but I do hope you find the process a bonding one. I know I did. :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:38 pm
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EmeraldE you're a diamond (sorry) - just what was needed a simple plan to ensure I don't overlook something important early on. Will use Christmas to cajole DS into doing this - not much needed I think, some of her friends have already started.

Malvern


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:25 pm
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EE's said it all, really!

I have felt guilty, though, that I did more with my DS2 than my DS1. But then I didn't know about this forum first time round and wonder how differently things might have been had we known.

DS2 has got into Pates with a sufficiently high mark, and having finished each paper 10 minutes early, to make me feel that he deserves to be going there and that it is not just luck. But he WANTED to work, he loves words and he loves maths whereas with my older boy (happy at Tommy's) it was more of a struggle. He is quick and sassy but not steeped in a love of learning. He's more contemporary / into his friends etc. So I am trying not to feel guilt because if he had wanted to do more than that would have happened. We worked to the level, in each case, required or offered by each child and their very different personalities.

You cannot force it or you would spend too much time arguing with them / building it up too much. Having said that, you are the adult and it is up to you to lay absolute groundrules. Little and often is good and sliding things in (I have always used adult vocab with them rather than childish, for instance, always and both are articulate with reading ages way beyond their age in years - mind you, I sometimes wonder at how these levels are) rather than it being separated out and formalised as "VR stuff" / "real life." The only time when I inisisted on things being called "for VR" was over multiplication / division. I have a loathing of chunking and gridding - I can see that it has its place in the early days to explain the concept of multiplication etc but for speed I said that the boys HAD to do it my way for the purposes of VR.

Good luck, it's a horrible process!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:17 pm 
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EE has given excellent advice. If you are aiming for Pates or the CC controlled Gloucester Grammars then it is advisable to get them well prepared no matter how clever your child.

The Pates issue is a tricky one. There are very few actual marks between the top raw scores so I suppose there will always be an element of luck on what appears on the day. However unless a child is academically capable no amount of luck in the world will get them the high score necessary.

I will add one caveat though. I have DIY'd two of my sons through the test. The son with the significantly higher CATs scores, higher SATs levels and more numerically and musically gifted has ended up with the lowest score, he does have the lower reading age though because he is a reluctant reader.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:43 pm 
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Nice to see you back, Tolstoy.
I'm sure it was DS2's reading, mad, avid reading, which made the difference with my 2. He turns down the corner of pages in his books when finding a new word or interesting phrase and would write out the words he wanted me to explain / need to look up. Vocab and mental maths both his forte and important in these tests. Whether this will go on to translate into GCSEs etc, I don't know. Perhaps he's peaked now and is on the way down :cry:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:56 pm
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MILLA!!!!!!!!!!!! No to the negativity! This is just the start, he is going to flourish all through secondary education and head off to Uni healthy, happy and confident :D

Welcome back Tolstoy, missed you :D Hope all is going well.

I am busy encouraging DS2 to get reading. Very frustrating process as he prefers Spongebob annual etc. to anything high brow! :? Is there any hope!!??


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