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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:32 pm 
Just wondering if there are any other parents out there who have been through the exams for Watford Boys Grammar School and whether there is any helpful advice they can give us?

My son will be sitting the exam this September. We have no idea what sort of scores he will need to get in order to get a place at the school. There are loads of posts on here about HBS, DAO, QE Boys and other schools but not much about Watford Boys so I'm hoping that starting this thread will encourage people to share their experiences/pass on any tips for those of us who will be applying for September 2013 entry. :)

Thanks so much in advance!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:56 pm 
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My son appeared for the consoritum exam this year. I think the tests are set by Moray House Tests.
You need to prepare in VR & Maths. Lots of practice is what it takes. Keep a tab on time as its a very tight test .. I think 85 questions in 40mins (for Verbal reasoning), not sure about maths. I shall check with my son tonight and update this post later.
All the best!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:58 pm 
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What a helpful idea! My DS will be applying as well, so I look forward to any other advice that experienced folk can give.

In the meantime, I'm sure you've seen the stats, but just in case, here's what I've read already. For 2011 entrance, 812 applied for the 190 spaces. I don't know how many of those were inner area v outer area.

Then the places are divided into "community" 65% = siblings, distance etc
and "specialist" 35% = music (10%) and academic (25%)

Of these 35% specialist places, 60% are allocated to the inner area of Watford postcodes.
The remaining 40% (of the 35%!) are for the outer Watford postcodes.

Academic spaces: 48
inner area 60% : 29
outer area 40% : 19

Music spaces: 19
inner area 60% : 11
outer area 40% : 8

If I've got any of this wrong, I'm sorry and do let me know!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:29 pm 
Wow, thank you so much for the quick responses.

The academic and music test statistics are so low that it hardly seems worth putting them through it at all! We live in the 'inner' area but even so, with only 29 academic and 11 music places to aim for, it feels like the odds are against us.

Still, we will work hard and keep our fingers crossed. I hope we can all be some support to each other as we go through the next six months. I'm sure this is going to be one of those times when you have to be going through it to understand how it feels.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:33 pm 
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daisyduke - yous stats looks perfect


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:47 pm 
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daisyduke wrote:


Of these 35% specialist places, 60% are allocated to the inner area of Watford postcodes.
The remaining 40% (of the 35%!) are for the outer Watford postcodes.



I believe the split will be 65% inner and 35% outer for 2013 entry.

The VR test was 100 questions in 45 mins last year with a 30 min "familiarity" test before where they ensure all students are familiar with the VR type of questions. The VR required a good vocabulary so lots of reading of fiction, fact, magazines and newspapers if possible. I used to test DS on words in books he read to make sure he understood them to try and encourage him to look up the meanings when he didn't.

As has been stated, lots of practise, 100 questions in 45 mins is a really tough test, it is also about recognising some questions that may only have one mark but are complex and can soak up time.

For maths the biggest advice I can give is ensure maths std is secure KS2 level. Our experience is that it is not particularly difficult, but many questions are phrased to "trick" the students into silly mistakes. This is where the majority of marks are lost in the test papers we did.

Look to do 2 papers of each type each week and a tutor can help as they have lots of materials. However if you can dedicate the time to teach and mark the work, no reason you cannot do it yourself.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Thanks for those tips, especially re vocab, that's something we really need to work on...

I really did try hard to untangle the 60/40 v 65/35 split - the proposed admissions arrangements on the school's own website for 2013 say that the 60:40 split is for community:specialist, and the the 65:35 split is for the inner:outer postcodes. This won't be confirmed til April so it could change. Why do they have to make it so complicated!! :?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:37 pm 
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Agree, the exams are mainly testing speed and accuracy - build up the speed gradually and ensure the accuracy by whatever means necessary - i ended up bribing my dd not to get more than 1 careless error per maths paper as she started with loads; litle things like learning to set work out neatly matters a lot too and is not properly taught in schools these days, imho.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Hi well we didn;t get in this year 2012.
Despite couple of years of test papers weekly.
Son at high l4, expected l5 sats.

lowest score that got in was 240 - on letter telling us and that over 65 above us on list!

Distance wise furthest out that got in was 850m as crow flies - which was a few metres further out than last year.

Mad that any can get in from outside watford borough - they could fill the place with high ability pupils still even then. If you live in london you already have 6 choices we get three - stop being greedy and stick to your area.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:36 pm 
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madsystem wrote:
Mad that any can get in from outside watford borough - they could fill the place with high ability pupils still even then.


I agree with this point. With such few places to go around it seems like madness to limit it even further by reserving some spots for outsiders.


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