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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:45 am 
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Whilst traffic on the site is high I thought I would try and get a few opinions.

For those of you who are old timers do you feel that DC are having to do more prep to get higher marks than previously?

Also for those whose second/ third etc child did better do you think it was down to their ability, luck or did you do more prep with them.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:54 pm 
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Definitely did more prep with DD2 than DD1 two years ago. This was probably a combination of the fact that we both knew more about the whole process than first time around (oh the blissful ignorance of those days!) and the fact that she was much keener to do the practise than her sister had been. Although we blew the dust off the VR papers in January, we only managed a couple of sessions until May when she started with her tutor. We had virtually all of the summer holidays off and then started in earnest in September with a little VR most days. To be honest, her score stayed pretty consistent over the process and I do wonder how much difference it really made beyond familiarisation and confidence (essential though they are!). I feel that a May start is plenty of time to understand how VR works but it's never to early to encourage them to read as much and as widely as possible. I think that we'll stick to this approach with DC3 - although don't even want to think about that right now!! :?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:05 pm 
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Tolstoy wrote:
Whilst traffic on the site is high I thought I would try and get a few opinions.

For those of you who are old timers do you feel that DC are having to do more prep to get higher marks than previously?

Also for those whose second/ third etc child did better do you think it was down to their ability, luck or did you do more prep with them.


Well it would have been hard to have done less than we did with DS1, but we learned our lesson. That said, we could not morph into the kind of family who spent hours and hours on it. My DS passed comfortably (We hope! Some of the megascores on here are freaking me out a bit) and one of his first comments was 'well I'm glad I didn't do coaching from Year 3 now'. We started after Christmas last year with an hour every 3-4 weeks at a teacher friend's house. He didn't really go during the summer but in September he went every week and did papers, including one session where he did a back to back test to mimic the real thing. His scores varied between 98% and 65% (on the Walsh papers). He never had homework from her and we never did anything at home with him. He attended one of the practice sessions run by STRS, came out in floods of tears as he had found it so stressful; we didn't send him back (cost me 75 quid!).

His CATs scores were high but not the very highest in the world. I have no idea what NC levels he is at at this moment but he is predicted high 5s at the end of Year 6. If he doesn't get them it will be because he is rather disinclined towards some aspects of school work, namely those which involve writing anything down.

Not sure if you can extrapolate anything from my sample of one, but I have been totally honest so others can gauge.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:35 am
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I'm afraid I don't know anything from before last year when our eldest took the test. His brother has had better scores this year but it is down to ability and willingness to do practise papers plus a little more parental knowledge about how things worked.

The first didn't see the point, thought he would get in to Crypt which was the only one he wanted to go to and it wasn't until we took him to one of the non-grammars in Gloucester that he realised he'd better try harder... He made it to Crypt but only just!

Second son this year did some of his brothers practise papers last year almost as well as his brother so we didn't have too much concern especially as he is a late birthday so that could only help. In August we bought some papers and he worked through them 1-2 a week, our input was to mark and point out silly mistakes of which there were plenty. In fact during the last few months I've realised just how little patience I have so his father was in charge of marking!

We took a very laid back approach with both though whether that was down to laziness I wouldn't like to say. :oops: We had no choice about tutoring due to costs but had that been an option we probably would have gone down that route 'just in case'. We consider ourselves lucky to have both at/going to Grammar schools but can't really claim any credit other than to encourage.

Oh and a little tip, watching Countdown definitely helped our youngest with his maths, he watched it nearly every day last year and his maths ability shot up. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:28 pm
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I think more prep is needed now. Possibly due to more competition for places?

ok I did do a longer and better reply but lost it when my computer decided to update so here's the short version!
None of mine have been to a tutor but I have DIYed them and this is my experience.

DD1 (4 years ago) did 4 months prep (found out about grammars late) she missed a maths brackets section and didn't finish. Got HSFG - no scores then so I don't know what she got.

DD2 (2 years ago) probably worked from the Jan to the test which was in Nov then so included working through half term. Worked through various VR papers - IPS, Letts, AFN some Walsh. No downloadables. DD has dyslexia and didn't find the move a letter, 3 missing letters easy. Scored 224 for HSFG 235 for Ribston. Wanted Ribston and happy there.

DS (this year) probably more naturally able than his sisters (according to teacher) and willing to do the work too. Worked from Jan, did more papers than DDs, did 1 set of Tommies prep, some Tutors even L4 and the Pates downloadable tests. He was only one of my DCs to get 100% in a Letts practice paper and usually was getting 90% ish. We did not do as much as I know some do but compared to DDs it was more. He got 222 for STRS and 121 Crypt and didn't make Pates 160.

I think it is getting harder to pass than it was and some very bright DCs have missed out. It is very tough on them but I am sure they will achieve well wherever they go.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:24 pm 
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We only did tutoring because my stepmum paid for it.
I think it helped for being familiar with the 21 formats. DD increased in speed with the familiarisation.
I think all intelligent DCs could do the questions, but speed is vital due to the squeezed time they have in the exam. A perfectly intelligent child who had not seen these formats before would likely lose time working out how they are solved.

DD did 45 mins a week from Easter, stopped for summer then 4 sessions in September. Tutor gave her sometimes short tests, sometimes full length to do at home if DD felt like it. We approached them as puzzle solving and DD very keen because she enjoyed them.

DD was getting 97 - 98% in practice but on the day ran out of time like so many others. However much practice you do you cannot predict the reaction on the day. DD had been super calm about the whole process because we never made it into a big deal and always stressed that she would do well at local comp or grammar. But she said that when she entered the room with all the others "It suddenly felt like the world depended on it." and she was so stressed she got the first nosebleed of her life. Still got into top120 SHS and Pates.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:54 pm
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Hi

I think that atleast 6-12 months prepartion is required. Regardless of what anyone says (and there are some people who claim that their child got into Pates with only 3 months light prep- which i personally find very difficullt to believe), most children will need a minimum of 6 months prep.

DS got into Pates thankfully, and like many other children missed several questions from the first exam. We did 9 months prep with him which included practice papers and home and tutoring.

I hope this helps


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:18 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
Some prep is a necessity now regardless of DC's intelligence. If you're going to give it your best shot you need to be familiar with the question types, how to tackle them and how quickly you need to work. An hour a week for 9-12 months is ideal. If a child needs more then maybe grammar school is not for them. Some children can cram in a remarkably short period of time but it's not the ideal way to tackle things for most. I know of a girl who had no concept of VR whatsoever yet got in SHS top 120 after 10 one hour sessions with a tutor during the three weeks before the test. To do this she needed to possess an innate ability in the first place. For those who pick things up less quickly, a steady, methodical, stress-free approach is the only way to go.

Orson


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:20 pm 
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...


Last edited by Glos_Mum on Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:47 pm
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I absolutely agree with Orson's comment 2 posts earlier ....


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