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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:53 pm
Posts: 59
Hi everyone, I am new to the site and have been reading through some of the advice given. I must admit to being a bit flummoxed by the changed arrangements, but very glad to have found out now, rather than in the summer term.

We are eligible only for Parmiters and I would like ds to take both academic and music. I have heard may pieces of conflicting advice about music. Ds plays the piano plus and orchestral instrument, Grade 4 on piano, grade 2 on other instrument. Piano is is first love and he plays very musically (gained distinctions in all exams) but everyone at the school gates advises playing the orchestral instrument if he gets through the aural exam as there will be less 'competition'. Any views? I have also heard of many very competent musicians not getting through the first round despite having good aural training and experience. Last year there was also a bit of a mix up and parents who had applied for both tests did not get details of the aural test and had to end up phoning Parmiters the day before to get details.

Secondly (sorry if this is more repetition) we had not planned to get a tutor for ds. He is very able academically, working at Level 7 for maths and gained a Level 5 at the end of Year 4 for reading/writing. I have been doing some vocabulary games and have just started doing some VR papers but am now panicking that this just won't be enough. He's averaging between 80% and 90% and gets stuck on a few types of questions.

Lastly, it seems to be a great idea in principal to have the results but what does this mean in practice? I guess I can compare scores from past years and the cut off's for admission but will this really give me any indication of the likelihood of gaining a place since I won't know anyone else's scores.

Sorry to ask so many questions in one go! It suddenly seems very very close. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Hello, welcome. We had this issue, it is really annoying that they only allow you to play one. We phoned them and wrote to them as my dd was equally able in wind and string and brass and also has a trained voice. She played more than one and sang at every other audition. At DAO they give you 5 mins to do what you like. I would advise you to play piano. Yes they want the orchestra instruments but try and get him to mention what else he plays at the time, they seem very friendly, we did it two years in a row and enjoyed the experience. Are you in DAO catchment area? I would recommend going for their music if you are. It is before and will give you valuable experience especially in the aural which many many highly gifted students fail to get through each year, lots of threads on here about that. As for tutoring, it is preparation not tutoring that gets you through. You are very fortunate not to have an English paper because I would recommend you get some time with someone who knows what they are doing for that. Make sure you focus on timing for VR. Level 7 maths will not get you through the VR unless you get the timing technique right. Use Athey and Bright Sparks for that exam. Pm me if there is anything you would rather not ask with an audience and well done for getting started. You wont regret it. You can see on here how happy dc's are at Parmiters. We were not in catchement but sat for Clement Danes. DG


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:14 am
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Hi,

It sounds like you are in a very good place - 80 - 90% at this point are great scores, and I think roughly what my DS was getting at that distance from the test. You should certainly have enough time to fine-tune the test technique and speed to boost those scores up into the 90s more consistently, which is what you ideally want. It's good to bear in mind that being good at maths and being good at maths tests are two rather different things, so test technique practice is really useful. Also, the consortium maths paper is apparently really easy, so being brilliant at maths won't necessarily by itself get you a high score - there won't be questions that allow that brilliance to be revealed. My DD wrote the consortium paper last November and reported that there weren't even any questions on fractions. So you need to be super-solid on the basics and really, really alert for silly mistakes, which is where the marks will be lost. The VR is the tougher paper, so do lots to prepare for that to build up speed.

Music - my DS got an academic place, but apparently would have been given a music place if he hadn't got music. This astonished me - we'd really only done the music aptitude test as a sort of test run have the experience of sitting in a hall doing a test. At the time he had only just done his grade 2 piano, and I was cursing myself for not putting an orchestral instrument in his hand 5 years earlier. So it seems that (a) piano is fine and (b) high grades not necessary - they seem to judge your performance according to the level you are playing at. I suppose it is supposed to be a place given on musical aptitude (ie potential), rather than the fact that you've been going to lessons for however many years. He really enjoyed the music audition - came out beaming, and said, "that was fun!" - and played a piece that was very 'him' rather than extremely impressive. So I think make sure your DC plays something that they like - it will be easier for them to look like they so actually enjoy music!

Applying for DAO so that you can do their tests first - well, if it fits in with your applications anyway, this is great. DAO was our second choice (lovely school, almost impossible for me to work out how DS would have got there, but we would have made a plan if that's where he ended up) so DS did do the DAO music, VR, maths and English before the consortium. I agree with Daogroupie - it's a super practice run - but I wouldn't have used one of my very precious three allocations on it if it wasn't also a school I would have seriously entertained my DC going to. With three choices only, I'm not sure anyone can afford to use one as just an opportunity to practice tests.

HTH :)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:53 pm
Posts: 59
Thank you both very much. It has just dawned on me how much I liked Parmiters, and loosing a couple of months seems to have made it much more real.

Silly errors and checking are definately 2 things we need to work on: ds useless at checking and he will probably have plenty of time to do so given how quickly he completes practice papers in maths! He doesn't have much confidence despite being very bright and does not like VR very much.....I am trying to appeal to his sense of it being logical.

Musically, I think he is happier to play the piano, so I think it's sensible to go with that. Unfortunately we are not in the catchment for any other school, (St Albans) so no chance of a dry run anywhere although he doesn't mind music exams. It's the aural that worries me- I've heard it is really easy to muck it up.

Thanks very much for the helpful advice. It is quite stressful and good to know there are some supportive and knowledgeable people around.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:09 pm
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Location: Herts
Wanner wrote:
Also, the consortium maths paper is apparently really easy, so being brilliant at maths won't necessarily by itself get you a high score - there won't be questions that allow that brilliance to be revealed. My DD wrote the consortium paper last November and reported that there weren't even any questions on fractions. So you need to be super-solid on the basics and really, really alert for silly mistakes, which is where the marks will be lost.
I can only reiterate that point. The maths is just normal KS2 stuff, so children don't have any opportunity to demonstrate their higher level ability. If the child is at or above Level 5 ability, only accuracy matters. My son is also Level 7 maths and most of the maths tutoring I did with him was around methods to effectively double check (finding different ways to do the same problem e.g. add numbers in a different order; don't look at your first answer until you've worked it out again, etc.). Whether it was any use will be revealed tomorrow :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Wanner, You no longer have to apply for an school in order to sit the test. You now do it the other way round, you appy for the test, get the result and then decide if you want to apply for the school. So the OP does not need to use up any of his precious three allocations as you and I both had to in order to sit entrance exams. OP, apply for Chancellors music test, they have music places and their aural is done by DAO and will be before Parmiters so great trial run. Aural is harder than Parmiters so will really help. DG


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:53 pm
Posts: 59
Gosh, that's great news about the music test, would be really helpful to have a trial run. Will check that out. Thanks again.

Good luck to everyone waiting today!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:51 pm
Posts: 49
Re. music, go with the thing they're happiest at doing. There is a friendly little interview/chat with the panel afterward the audition so other aspects of what they do will come out then. If you try to do any second guessing, you might outfox yourself.


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