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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:05 am 
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Location: Maidstone
I just wanted to find how is everyone is getting on for the september 2010 test especially those who have gone the DIY route. Still early days but I thought maybe we could share some tips before the 2009 parents have dissapeared too.

Maths : Has really been a doodle. It is DD's supposedly strong subject and is in the top sets but the gaps I found are unbelievable. We are now spending double the time in maths than VR and NVR. The areas she has found a bit difficult are some fraction, decimals and percentages esp where she needs to come up with a common factor. I have noticed several careless mistakes too. She is pretty much ok with timestables but her speed is much slower on division. I have mainly been using the ae tuition workbooks and of late bond how to do maths and rarely the ae tuition maths testbook 1

She really wanted a whiteboard so i bought it for her a pink one in early learning center a few weeks ago and its been amazing how she has been concentrating, standing and writing with chalk on the board. This has worked wonders hope it continues to be so.

NVR : We have mainly use the ae tuition workbooks but have started on the Bond NVR 10minute test and she is really struggling with some bond questions. I actually struggle too even working out the right answer. I am hoping its the intitial shock and will soon get the hang of it. Its how we felt when she started the AE tuition workbooks.

VR: Its vocabulary vocabulary and vocabulary and my DD isnt one of those avid readers, She did the oxford reading tree until early year 4 at school and loved it and getting through the stages. When it was stopped she losts her interest in reading. I have tried going to the library and get her books but she doesnt read them. I have even tried reading a few chapters with her but she will only sit and read for 5mins thats it.

What I have been doing is to use some of the words by patricia in the downloads section and I also have the new AE tuition testbook which I have found to be good for building her vocabulary. It has a daily test and I just let her use dictionary on words she doesnt know. Initially we used the IPS how to do verbal reasoning which is very useful and I highly recommend it.

English :
Havent touched it and dont plan to do anything until a few week before the exam since it doesnt really contribute to the marks. However I bought the Achieve level 5 English that Yoyo recommended and I have only looked through it, I also highly recommend it but I will really start using it a few weeks before the exam

Timing:
This is something I am starting to work on. My DD hates being timed and she moans like there is no tommorrow. However she needs to get it how important timing is. I got some really useful tips the other day and after half term I am really gonna get tougher on timing and gradually introduce it. Someone suggested a cool idea about mobile phone. She has been begging me for one for ages but no way. I will give her one of my old mobile and it will be "hers" for timing.

Mock test: I am thinking of letting her do the Sutton Grammar Mock test in june just for her to get similar conditions to the test. The sutton gramma is a bit more appealing as they give you a score unlike the kent one. Havent fully decided but I am leaning for the sutton one since its VR, NVR and maths too. I understand the mock has fewer question than the actual exams but I am sure that will help her out

Practice papers: We havent started on any, just did one of each myself and times myself just to get any idea of the type of question. This was an eye opener and I highly recommend to do it. The main issue was timing. I needed almost an extra 30mins to complete and it made me realise how these poor kids need to work at rocket speed. I plan to start on papers in early june or late may (if she is going to do the sutton mock)

Would be interested in hearing of any tips or just how you are getting on. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:40 am 
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What a great post. My dd did the test in 2009, like you we did the prep at home together and I wish i had someone to share it with at the time. There were moments when i found it quite stressful as occasionally you think to yourself what a massive mountain you have to climb. I would really recommend that you spend lots of time on maths, problem solving in particular. Wishing you loads of luck. My dd and I dont regret DIY'ing it :lol: we really enjoyed the time together and now she is in year six I am seeing many benefits from the study we did. She enjoys school so much now as she understands all the topics - Have fun and let her take it all in her stride even if you feel like tearing your hair out :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:46 pm 
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Location: Maidstone
tiredmum wrote:
There were moments when i found it quite stressful as occasionally you think to yourself what a massive mountain you have to climb.


Exactly how I feel most times and also if its really worth the effort. It can be discouraging sometimes and I often think how everyone else DC must be really brilliant when we get those bumps. I also find that there are certain areas we have to keep going over and over esp in Maths. I give her work today and she smashes it after we have gone through it together and a week later I give her something similar and she loses it and just cant quite remember. If there is one thing I have learnt is to have bags of patience.

I really enjoy the challenge too, my brain was getting a bit idle so I have had to go through the basic stuff to refresh my memory. DD enjoys it too when I work with her. Sadly that is really because this is the only ever time she sits with me because I have a baby who seem to have taken over.

It can be a little lonely and sometimes self doubt can kick in but I guess that explains my obsessive compulsive disorder on this forum since I discovered it :cry:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:14 pm 
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What a brilliant idea to do the complete papers yourself, I never thought of that one.
We did sections of vr on photocopied sheets, one each, it was normally the code questions, and then we compared our answers. We found that once we got the hang of it, it was quite easy to work out the answers.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:24 pm 
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what a wonderful post sherry_d - we also went down the DIY route using Bond papers and I was constantly worried that this was a mistake and we should have had a tutor - but my gut feeling was to keep it low key, doing it as and when DS felt like it rather than at a regimented time each week. Some weeks he'd really be into it and other weeks didn't want to do it at all - so I took my guidance from him. He was always far better at NVR than me - just seemed to understand it so that was lucky as I couldn't have helped with that one! When we first started, timing was slow and marks well under 75% but over time once they get used to the format and Q types - timing will improve and scores increase. Have faith in the DIY route- if DC's are bright and like to be challenged, they will do OK - if they hate doing it then maybe GS is not for them. If they want to get into GS they will be motivated to do the work. It isn't enough for just the parent to want it - child has to really want it to. Lots of encouragement and praise too - and definitely patience.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:38 pm 
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I know of four year 6 children at our school who took the 11+ last September. The one with the highest combined score - 420 - was home tutored and clearly did much more preparation over the summer than the ones who had paid for tutors.

So if DIYing, don't feel bad about it.

Good luck


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:59 pm 
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Location: Maidstone
Thank you all for your kind words and some great tips too

You see now the reason why I am an addict of this forum already :D

I dont really have many parents that I talk to in the playground, so hardly know whats happening let alone anyone else taking the test. There will be loads I am sure from DD's school since last year about 40 took the 11+ and the pass rate was about 63% so they must be pretty clued up as the school make it very clear they DO NOT prepare for 11+

I seriously considered the DIY as I didnt know any recomended tutors. I keep raving about this forum but its really been my saviour. I feel a little more clued up now but only have you wonderful people to be grateful for :D

I just hope all the effort will be worth while when we get the results in October. Whatever happens I have prepared her for a better start to secondary and hopefully that should give her a bit more of a head start which ever way it goes but I know what I am secretly hoping for :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:02 pm 
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Hi Sherry,

I’m so glad you started this post as I’m sure there are a fair few of us 2010ers around and I would love to know just how much / little everyone else is doing – which will either freak me out entirely or give me some peace of mind!!

Our first DS sits the Kent test in September and we have just started to push the pace on slightly. He has a tutor for an hour each week, but we’re also doing stuff with him. For me the main reason for getting a tutor was to minimise the banging heads scenario (me and my DS are very alike, which even at his young age has produced some fireworks…. :oops: )

We’re also spending a fair amount of time on Maths and trying to identify gaps. As the maths paper from last year required a much higher percentage right to get full marks I’m concerned that it might be more difficult this year. We’re doing multi-stage problems, trying to get him to write stuff down (more difficult that you’d have thought) and to sense check answers. We haven’t yet started on timing, but he is pretty quick and I’m trying to focus on method and getting it right at this stage. He does have schizophrenic tendencies which drive me mad – understanding something wonderfully one moment and not having a clue later (so your post resonates quite clearly).

On the VR side, we’re using the starter book from IPS – which is just to establish method and build confidence. He is really enjoying some of them and we’re actually having quite a laugh about others – like adding fat and her to make father… We’ve also got the Tutors CD1 for VR – and this is just to mix it up with some computer stuff rather than just pencil and paper.

NVR is another story and I’m abrogating responsibility to DH – because I have more than a little difficulty working out some of the questions – in fact my Year 3 DS is faster than me. But here we’re using some Bond stuff here.

We were hoping to make serious headway over Easter but a huge science project may get in the way. In terms of what we’re doing it is 1 hour with the tutor and then about an hour’s worth of her homework that we go through when he has finished every week plus probably about another half hour in bits and pieces. Is this enough / too much? Some old-timers advice would be seriously appreciated. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:14 pm 
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Hi Committed - I think it depends on the child - you are the best person to know how much or how little your child can cope with - if they are getting tired/cross/de-motivated - just step off the gas a little. A reward system (some call it bribery!) always worked well for us - we didn't nag for DS to do papers but promised him a small reward for each one that he did - it gave him the incentive/challenge that he seems to thrive on.
You will get there in the end even though sometimes you don't think you will!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:18 pm 
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Hi commited, I think you are certainly doing the correct thing by going over multi step problem solving questions, and like we were saying earlier keep repeating bits, even if you think you dc has grasped that area, go back over it often.

I think only you and your child can work out how much is "the right amount" of prep a week. With my 2 kids dd1 attended a 11plus club, group session for an hour a week. Did a minimal amount of homework from the club and i just threw in a few practice papers nearer the time :lol: with dd2 i couldn’t afford the tutor route so did it all myself - which is a good way of identifying your dc's weaknesses. But i let myself be lead my her, if she was particularly tired(taking after me :lol: ) I may not do any sit down work with her but in the bath we would talk through some maths topics and i even bought bath crayons :!: which she loved!
Also in the car you can discuss story writing etc. So maybe take it week by week. good luck


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