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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 7:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:21 pm
Posts: 32
Hi all

Son my son sat the mocks GL papers at harrow on Thursday. He has been doing pretty well with practice and his tutor thinks by sept he will be on course, but the mill hill June test worried us as it's so soon so as booked for the mock.... Disaster! He came out really upset and only scored 50%. He said if was very hard.

I'm still glad we did it as it gave him an idea of the setting and the feedback and rankings was interesting but now I'm really worried!!! The GL papers,pack 1 and 2 at home seem to be easier?????

Any idea what the real exam will be more similar too??

Thanks :)


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 8:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6696
Location: Herts
Everything will be easier at home, in a safe environment surrounded by people you trust and being in a situation that you can just get up and leave at anytime. That is the point of paying for mocks. They recreate for you what it will feel like being in the real exam and so your student has their first experience of that feeling in a mock that does not matter rather than in the real exam. So it was worth paying for because it showed you that what you see at home and what your tutor sees is not what is actually going to happen in the exam unless you do something about it.

You do not say which school you are preparing for but it looks like QE as you are focused on GL papers. I know of many students who have sat QE and more who are sitting this year. In the exam some students went to the toilet, some put their head down and slept and some just sat there looking around. These boys all thought the questions were easy because they did not read them properly. So many students who are expected to do brilliantly in exams do not because of lack of exam technique. What is your tutor doing to prepare your ds for the experience of the exam itself? A student I know of who performs brilliantly in class just bombed the Sutton mocks because his father refused to bring him to any timed mocks. Just like your son he was getting great marks at home so his father could not see the point of paying to do papers elsewhere. It took ages for him to be persuaded to let his son do the Sutton mock. As one of the top students in his class his father expected him to ace it, instead he found the experience of being in a big hall with 160 other students overwhelming and terrifying and he did terribly. He found being surrounded by strangers in a place he had never been very difficult as he had only ever sat papers at home. Many average students from his class were in the top fifty, he was in the bottom two hundred. I find it very odd that some parents accept preparation for other experiences in life but not the experience of the exam hall which is vital. Well done for having the sense to do a mock before Milll Hill. Well done for signing up for Mill Hill especially if you are focusing on QE that does not even do VR. Do some more timed mocks outside the home until they become second nature to him. I know many students who really enjoyed the Sutton mocks as they were keen to have a change to compete against so many other students. The exam hall experience did not phase them at all as they had been doing weekly timed mocks outside the home. The QE exam will be harder than doing papers at home, not just the papers but the whole experience. Those who prepare for the experience as well as the material will be giving their dc's the best chances. There is a reason why 1200 plus parents paid £25 and drove from miles around to sit the Sutton mocks Session A and why many of them are about to do it again! DG


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 9:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:21 pm
Posts: 32
Thanks for your post.

I am 100% preparing him as much as possible. He does a ten minute test every morning at breakfast, and does work in the evening with me. Either times tests, flash cards for vocab, maths, English, VR etc. We have a range if material and I try to vary it as he will be sitting for mill hill, QE, DAO and SW cons. He's doing very well at school, not top in everything but range from 4b to 5c at present which I'm happy with.

He has progressed from not finishing the tests due to time, as he's not used to sitting tests like this , to completing them just in time. He is nervous about the exam environment but more so difficulty level and having a panic and getting flustered.

His tutor goes through lots of techniques with him and I tell him what areas of weakness I have spotted during our week.

I'm a novice at this, just doing my best fitted around a full time job, a 6 month old baby and my sons after school activities. He's very motivated to get into a good school which helps but just seems to do well on one test and then silly mistakes on another!

He will be doing more mocks throughout the summer and will look at the ones recommended. Harrow were very hard from the overall scores but feedback etc is good.

We would be very happy with mill hill ( happier with QE though) but know so many kids just do it for practice so the chances of him getting through seem very slim?

Any advice on best papers and mocks appreciated.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 9:37 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
It sounds like he is making progress against his own previous results which is the most important thing. But it also does sound like he needs to now focus on timed mocks outside the home as the exam environment is the stumbling block for him. It would be such a shame for him to miss out if he knows the material but finds the atmosphere around him distracting. Did you sign up for Sutton mocks at all?

I really feel for you that the pass mark for the second round of Mill Hill is going to be so high because of all the VR Mock tourists who will sit the paper with no intention of going to the school. I know of students who got through to the second round but did not bother to attend as it was NVR that they did not need for any of their exams. it is very unfair that you could be knocked out of the second round by students who do not want the place. I would strongly recommend you to do some timed VR mocks outside the home in the next two weeks before June 14th. I have pm'd you on this.

But you are very lucky to be in the catchment area for the Watfords and DAO. There are only a very few places that you can live for this and I know many students who are not in the catchment area for either so you do have more choice than most. You are better prepared than a lot of students I know so please try and crack the exam hall problem as your ds deserves to win a place. DG


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:01 pm
Posts: 11
My experience is 1 or 2 mock is enough.
But do lots of papers at home by timing it. Put them in a separate room and then ask them to complete within the time.
We just did 1 mock test last August but did lots of papers during summer time. DD got very good marks in both SW Herts exam and Buckinghamshire exam. She got in HBS.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 364
Hi Chopsbubbly!

It sounds like you are doing everything you reasonably can. Regarding VR, all 'English' type stuff is rooted in reading. If there is a silver bullet, it's reading. And, with some kids, this can take a bit longer, that's all.

Also, what matters for the tests is not the mark, it's the rank. What was your child's rank for each of his Mock? ... Often, many candidates are closely bunched together around the eventual cut off mark for a place. This can mean that a small improvement can make all the difference.

The other thing to remember is the vast numbers applying in your area, especially to the MHCHS VR and to QE Boys. This makes it crazily competitive. It's really not a reflection on any one child.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Agree. The distinction between mark and rank is really critical. In some regions you would get a place with marks in the 70's, in others that same mark would put you down in the 800's with no chance of a space. The QE waiting list is currently sitting on 225, there are lots and lots of boys on that mark, perhaps even as many as fifty. Any of those boys sitting there without a place at QE on 225 would now be exicitedly looking foward to being a Sept Y7 at QE if they had just got one more mark, perhaps done one more paper or spent a few more minutes revising a topic in Maths or a English grammar aspect that they were weak on. Getting 90's at home gives students false confidence. You will not get those marks in an exam hall situation unless you are totally unphased by exams. Most students I know drop about 15% in exams. One ds I know of getting 90's in VR papers at home went to a timed mock recently and got 42%. As JB says marks are very closely bunched together near the cut off point. QE and HBS do not give out rank but QE gives out marks and we can see the bunching on this forum. DAO gives mark and rank and I have several top twenty marks for the past few years and they are not bunched. I think mocks give you the maximum opportunity to get out of the bunch. Mill Hill VR next weekend will be a massive wakeup call for many students and their parents. See the thread last year from those shocked not to make it through to the second round as their students found it very easy and finished early. No student should be sleeping or staring around in any exam or going to the toilet. Inverse operations for every second of a Maths exam and reading out answers in your head for VR and English. DG


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 am
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I cannot help but read this and feel sorry for the little uns. :( Such a lot of work, stress and new experiences for ten year old shoulders, or even nine year olds for mill hill. They all need a medal bless them.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:52 pm
Posts: 845
Agree SB3. I worry what will happen to their self esteem if they can't get in after so much effort ?


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