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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 5:02 pm
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My son has Asperger's Syndrome and all the (lack of) concentration problems that go with the condition. We hope that he will be given a place at Watford Grammar School and I am tutoring him for the test.

I made the decsion not to send him to a tutor for two reasons, my son does not want to go to a tutor and I am not confident that it would be the best option given his difficulties and his need for one to one attention.

He is well motivated and has been working hard (for between one and two hours at a time five days a week) for the last few weeks. I am hopeful, but not necessarily confident that this can be sustained.

What I need to know is,

What are the best tutorials and practice papers for the Watford Grammar School test?

Should we be using multiple choice, standard format papers or both?

Are we spending the right amount of time practising? - My son is above average at Maths, but struggles with some aspects of Verbal Reasoning (especially word codes).


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 8:19 am 
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I have a son with AS who sat the Bucks exam a few years ago. I self tutored and he passed - the biggest issue for us was with timing. Children with AS can often not recognise the need to get 'a move on'. We also spent a fair amount of time with learning that if a question is hard it is better to circle it for later and move on rather than persist - as children with asd can be perfectionists.

My son passed the test relatively well BUT, I know, that he never completed a full paper and was reliant on getting the ones he did do right.

I hope someone here offers you advice on the exam itself.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 8:33 am 
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 8:25 am
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Location: Herts
Hi Polly,
we were successful in getting a place in one of the consortium schools this year. We did have a tutor and she used a range of different papers with my son, which actually served us well in the end as the verbal reasoning paper this year was one that they hadn't used in the past.

The NFL papers seem a good place to start. I will check with my DS as to which other papers they used.

Good luck! :)


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 9:31 am 
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Location: Herts
Hi Polly

I'm afraid I know nothing about AS, but I did wonder whether it might be possible for your son to enter school under the medical or SEN criteria? At the very least, you should be able to get special arrangements made for the test.

My DD will be going to Parmiter's. She didn't have a tutor. I bought her the bond books & the set of NFER papers to look at. As Wilson has said, the VR paper didn't seem to follow any set format so I'd suggest looking at all sorts of practice papers. Personally, I agree with this, as it is supposed to test "raw intelligence". However, I can see that your son would find aspects of this challenging, which is why I'm suggesting you look into the above as well.

You should be aware that the maths test was generally regarded by all to be very easy. So a lot of it comes down to the VR. I note Asdguest's comment about perfectionism - but please take heart that accuracy is just as important as speed!

Good luck!

T x


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 9:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:26 am
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Location: Watford, Herts
Polly wrote:
What are the best tutorials and practice papers for the Watford Grammar School test?

Should we be using multiple choice, standard format papers or both?

You could try asking any or all of the 7 schools in the consortium that share the tests, but they may be reticent or vague. I understand that Rickmansworth School administers the tests.

The papers have been standard format for as long as anyone can remember, with the maths being NFER, and no more challenging than KS2 maths. For VR, It's reported that they switched to Moray House a year or two ago, but Moray House papers are problematic because there's a limited number of them. St Michael's in Barnet had to hurriedly set a second group of tests last year because of allegations that tutors had given the very same papers to their charges for practice. If I were running the SW Herts tests, I'd take that as a warning and be looking for another VR supplier.
Quote:
Are we spending the right amount of time practising? - My son is above average at Maths, but struggles with some aspects of Verbal Reasoning (especially word codes).

It sounds like VR will be the main problem. Many of the problems are maths in disguise, but vocabulary is also very important. Have you tried playing Boggle (perhaps not worrying about scoring)? I thought my children would see through it as a transparent exercise in building word recognition skills, but they actually enjoy it.

In the tests themselves, the schools make considerable efforts to put the children at ease, but if you had evidence that your son needed to take the tests in a different environment I'm sure they'd consider it.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 11:49 am 
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 8:25 am
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Location: Herts
Hello again Polly.
Just wanted to correct my original post - I did of course mean NFER - not NFL!! Also can confirm that we used Bond papers as well.

Having read WP's message I now remember that the verbal reasoning test was definitely Moray House. I know that my son reported after the test that this had really thrown a lot of the children who said that they hadn't seen a lot of the question types before. Apparently quite a few didn't get to finish the verbal reasoning paper.

As WP said, most of them seemed to find the maths pretty easy, so I guess it is the verbal reasoning that is key. It sounds as if it might be a good idea to talk to the schools about your son's needs and see what your options are. The admissions secretary at Parmiters is very approachable and helpful - might be worth a call.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 5:02 pm
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Thank you all for your answers they are very useful.

Quote:
Children with AS can often not recognise the need to get 'a move on'. We also spent a fair amount of time with learning that if a question is hard it is better to circle it for later and move on rather than persist - as children with asd can be perfectionists.


This certainly true for my son. He will allow himself to 'get stuck' and waste a lot of time on one question. He also has a tendency to miss questions out altogether rather than making an educated guess and risk getting them wrong - the perfectionist thing I suppose.

He does not have a statement so he does not meet the SEN criteria for the school. I have spoken to the SENCO at his primary school who said that he may be allowed to take the test in a separate room, but I do not think that this will help him. I think that the exam room conditions will help him to concentrate.


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 Post subject: Same here.
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:16 pm
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My brother has aspereges[sp?], and he's done fine. (: He got expelled though.. I'm sure you'll do fine and my niece is now studying for Watford Girls. Wish you best luck!


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