In theory my two boys have the same IQ as they scored the same high mean CAT score in Y5, putting them in the top 1% of the country. DS1 just scraped over the pass mark for Tommies, DS2 was top 120 for Pates.
What made the difference?
1. Much better preparation. I didn't know what I was doing with DS1, didn't take it seriously enough, sent him for a minimal number of group lessons with a tutor who it transpired taught him the wrong question types. DS2 went to a better tutor for longer and also did 4 sessions of back-to-back mock exams which were invaluable in learning time management.
2. Different personalities. DS1 is more emotional, so found the stress of the exam conditions hard to deal with. DS2 is very resilient. When I asked him how he'd coped with people in his room getting upset, he said he'd pretended he was in a bubble and just ignored everyone around him.
3. More of a focus on exam technique. With DS2 I talked with him a lot about what to do if he turned the paper over and found it much more difficult than expected / much easier than expected / he realised he'd written some of his answers in the wrong place / people in his room started crying or were sick / at break everyone said the first paper was easy and he'd found it difficult / at the 5 minute warning he had 5 questions left to do, 10 questions left, 20 questions left etc. We went over and over this, so it would be second-nature on the day. I spent time doing visualisation exercises with him, imagining the format of the day in advance. I felt like I was preparing my 10 year old to go into battle
but it seemed to do the trick.