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 Post subject: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:03 am
Posts: 21
Hi everyone,
Am new to this forum, and I was hoping someone could answer some questions I have.
My daughter will be sitting her tests in sept this year, she likes girls grammar, parimters a lot as we saw them last year as my son sat the exams, we are practicing some test papers at home and I was wondering how much should we be looking for to get in the practice papers, as a rough guide, to see if she is capable or not as I don't want to get mine and her hopes up, as a lot of children did not get any of their choices this year from my school. .y daughter is hard working and enjoys working, how many papers should I be getting her to do a week, as she is happy doing a some most days. Thank you to anyone who can help.


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6683
Location: Herts
Hello Faz, There is major divided opinion on this, so expect lots of conflicting advice. My opinion is that nobody has ever posted on this forum that they think they did far too much work, nor have I ever met or heard of any family who has said this. But there are many many wistful posts from those who now feel they did not do nearly enough and this can never be undone. 11+ entrance exams are one of the few things in life for which there is no second chance. This year the pass mark at DAO went up by eight marks and QE boys went up by twelve marks. The sticky at the top of this section will show you the mark required for the last few years to get into the Watford schools. We actually had a lot of fun preparing for entrance exams and now I work with other students, we spend a remarkable amount of time laughing. It is a great one on one time so if she is keen to do more then do it. Nothing will be wasted. Some people behave like the topics you study for entrance exams have nothing to do with school which is of course nonsense. Doing more Maths and learning VR will help your school work enormously. I would do a paper a day at this stage but understand that it is only helpful if you then focus on the things that she gets wrong. Do you already know her weak areas? DG


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:03 am
Posts: 21
Thanks for year advise, my daughter is happy doing a paper a day, were as my son last year wouldn't do any. She some times make silly mistakes by not reading questions correctly, and the ones she usually gets wrong is opposites and similars, so we are trying to work on this, do you know how much we should be aiming to get in practice papers out of 100 questions, I'd 85 considered a good score or does it need to be in the 90's. Were doing bonds, athley papers at the moment, which papers would u suggest as - hav heard walsh and bright sparks are better, and what about learning together test paper, are they any good.


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6683
Location: Herts
85 is a great score for four months before the exam. She will make a lot of progress if you keep at it. My dd's sat four Moray House papers between them and both said that Athey was the closest. (The Watford Schools use Moray House for VR) Walsh and Bright Sparks are V good but harder. But if she feels ready go for it. Prepare her for a dip in marks for a while though but she will soon build back up. The Tutor papers are also V good but hard. Learning together fine, their Maths is good. There is also Alpha, GL and Letts all worth doing. My advice would be to do a range so she can cope with a variety of styles. DG


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:55 pm
Posts: 44
DAO - for Sept exams are you recommending one paper per day or extra ? with extended family we find it difficult to do a paper per day but can manage some extra time at weekends - we are working for selective schools and do not want to fail because of lack of effort on my part - have been advised that she is capable of exams (I appreciate on the day it may be different) but feel it is only a few months left and need to be consistent at this stage. For more English practice what do you think we should focus on ? grateful for all your advice -


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6683
Location: Herts
Do what you can when you can. If you can manage more at weekends than during the week then this is fine. Could dc not get up 20 mins early during the week and rattle off an Alpha or IPS paper before the rest of the family rises? Is English your major concern? Have you done the Letts and GL comprehensions? Alpha and Athey also have English papers. I would focus on making sure you can write a follow on story in 20-30 minutes and include all the things necessary. Lots of candidates attempt too much in the time and don't finish. It is absolutely crucial to finish your story with a strong ending. DG


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 64
My view is that it is not the number of papers you do, it's about how wisely you spend what time you have and that it is kept within the boundaries of what your child can enjoy doing. There are plenty of posters who ask for help because their child's performance has dipped, asking should they back off the amount they are doing. They already know the volume of work they have been doing is having a negative effect and what the answer is.

Once you have decided what schools you are going to apply for you know what areas your child will be tested in. If you don't already know your child's strenghts and weaknesses a couple of test papers in each subject will give you a good idea. My advice is to then focus the time you have on improving the weaknesses by using specific questions from past papers, making up your own questions and playing games.

I could never see the point of getting them to sit down and do a whole paper each day when I knew they would only learn something from a few questions in it. Little and often was my motto, doing a targetted 10-15mins in the morning and 30mins most evenings. They also did do a paper in each subject once a week to practice timing and exam technique. This was about right for my children, but only you will know what is right for yours.

Simply put my message is quality not quantity and as DAOGroupie says, make it fun, spend a lot of time laughing together and constantly praise.


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:45 am 
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Posts: 176
I agree with mushroom that the focus initially should be on technique and learning how each type of question is handled. There is certainly a need for some repetition to firmly set the knowledge but just doing a volume of papers may not help.

We did technique and question types by using test papers and example question sheets but not timed. We did not introduce timing and answering strategy until 2 months before the exam but in the weeks leading up to the exam focussed on speed in the VR papers as we had been advised this was one of the biggest challenges. We did not do this for maths, just focused on accuracy as time in maths was never an issue for my DC's (although accuracy was).

Both my DC said that lots of people did not finish the VR paper at the proper tests and they only just completed the questions in time and did not have time to cross check answers.

My experience says for maths take their time and focus on accuracy, checking and double checking.

For VR, you need speed (say 30 seconds per question), need to recognise all the different types of questions involved and need to identify questions designed to slow you down for little reward.


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:23 pm
Posts: 332
Daogroupie is spot on. There is some difference of opinion about how much work you should make a child do if they are not willing, but if a child is keen and enjoys the challenge of the papers then there is no logical reason to prevent them! After all, the actual exams should be fun too - a challenge! - I know in this stressful age we forget it, but actually, I remember rather enjoying my entrance exam! And an English essay written by someone who is clearly enjoying themselves and relishing the experience will be a whole lot more fun for the examiner to read than one where the candidate has carefully rote-learnt lists of wow words, added requisite numbers of adverbs or fancy 'linking words' etc etc etc. :wink: And an entertained examiner = a high mark. :wink:

One English examiner's secret tip - whilst officially no-one will ever mark a candidate down for having messy handwriting, with the best will in the world, if the person reading your child's answers has to struggle to make out every single word, it does interrupt the flow, and make it harder for the examiner to fully credit what the candidate has written. So if your child's handwriting is abominable - do get them a decent pen and try to get them to see legible handwriting as a necessity rather than an optional extra.


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 Post subject: Re: 11 plus test
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:16 pm 
I would stick my neck out and disagree with DAOGroupie here. Personally I think a (full length) paper a day is far too much. I think one or two hours a week on top of their time at school is enough for a 9 or 10 year old child. I agree that they need practice to help them become familiar with the exams they will be asked to sit and I agree that mock tests are likely to be useful. I believe, however, that asking our children to do 11+ work every day will end up being counter-productive. I am giving my son time to relax and time to be sociable and time to enjoy his family's and other people's company as well as time to work. Everyone has to make their own judgement call on what is right for their children and their family, and I know that finding moderation in this is difficult, but that's my belief.

Please note that, unlike some of the people posting opinions on this forum, I am not a professional tutor who stands to make money from anxious parents!


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