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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:41 pm 
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Hi

I am new to this site (and 11+) and think it's going to be really helpful.

My son will hopefully be doing the 11+ this year. I am waiting to find out the results of CAT tests next month before deciding whether he will need any extra help to pass 11+.

He is a bright boy and very capable but has a confidence problem with maths, saying he can't do things but he can, he just needs to think about them a bit first. Most subjects come quite easily to him but maths he needs to think things through and I think he finds it hard to accept that the answers don't come so easily.

He also did VR and NVR tests at school last year and didn't get high enough scores in either of these for 11+. This may have been as he had never come across them before. I just wondered if anyone had any tips for helping him (he is very reluctant to do anything for me at home after being at school all day!!!) to get better at these. I have done a few tests with him but as I said he is not keen and I don't want to force him to do them and make it into a battle. NVR he looks at them too deeply and can't accept that the answer is obvious, if that makes sense.

Also I was just wondering what the pass mark is for 11+ - I have looked at some of the other threads where people have discussed pass rates and some seem to have got total scores over 400 and some under and yet still passed?

Apologies if I have rambled on, but the whole process of 11+ is a bit mind boggling and having spoken to a few other parents they have already started doing practice papers and getting tutors for their children and I'm concerned that I should be doing something similar with mine or am i right to wait for CAT results?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
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Location: kent
Hello
From what you describe it does not sound as thought the school thinks he is a "dead cert" to pass the 11+ (though of course schools can be very wrong). Also you do not sound confident to tutor him at home - though you might be more so if you spend some time browsing through all the great advice on this website.

So it sounds as though you will feel more confident getting him a tutor. Whether you do this now or later is your choice, but my advice would be to do it sooner rather than later, then you won't have to "push" your child at the last minute. It does not sound as though he would respond well to this. The next lot of CAT scores may leave you uncertain still, or at the worst, the school might say he is not in the top 25% of the population by any stretch of the imagination and don't advise you to go for the 11+. But it's free of charge, so there is nothing to lose unless you think that failing it would bother your son, and that's a chance that everyone takes, including the dead certs.

So hire a tutor who you think will add something to your child's education and enthusiasm whether or not he passes the 11+.

The top score on each of the three Kent papers (VR, NVR, and maths) is 140. Getting 140 does not mean that one answered all the questions correctly. This is a "standardised score" not a "raw score". CATs scores (also standardised) are not directly comparable with 11+ scores. They are different measures of ability but there is some correlation.

The pass score in Kent can vary each year. Look through the Kent section and you will see what it was this year. It is usually around 120 on two papers, and 115 on the third, but I think this year they changed it slightly and introduced a minimum aggregate score (all three scores added up) to pass as well. Not sure. But anyway you are broadly looking for a child being in the top 25% of the population as a whole (by ability) to pass. There are a small number of schools in Kent which select childen with the highest scores only, but in general one only needs the pass score to gain a place in a Kent grammar.

The papers in Kent are NFER. The best guide to the "syllabus" is to look at the NFER model papers (on sale on this site) there are four for each subject. These papers are intended just to demonstrate the sort of question types that could crop up in the three papers.

The maths covers KS2 maths, and more besides, and requires one to think a little bit harder than SATs type stuff. This is probably the one you need to get cracking on soonest.

There is loads of practice material that will help you in each of the three areas. The trick is to make sure you are practicing stuff that is relevant to the NFER type papers, and not some other stuff 11+ set by another county or independent school. If you browse this site you will find advice on the most relevant practice material for NFER type 11+ papers.

Save the four NFER papers for later - but do them yourself now so that you can see what your child needs to be covering in the three areas.

Why are you or your son interested in a grammar place? Are you looking at your other options too in case of failure?



Good luck.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:36 pm 
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Thanks for your reply Perplexed.

The school have not said one way or the other whether they think he could pass the 11+. We had a parents evening in October and I asked his teacher and was told "it's too early to say". They will not commit themselves until the results of the CAT tests. I think they said if you score over 118 then they will contact you about doing 11+. Not sure if they contact you if you are one or two marks below it or not!!!

I think you are right in saying that you think I would feel more confident getting him a tutor as I don't feel he is reaching his potential in school and could be doing a lot better than he is and I think it would help with his confidence in maths, although in his school report last year he got a 4B which is really good.

Could you just explain to me what you mean by "standardised score", sorry if I'm being a bit thick!

Thank you for letting me know that NFER papers are the ones I need to be practising with him/looking at as previously we have been doing Bond papers.

In answer to your question about why we are interested in grammar school; I feel he would do much better at a grammar school, it would suit him much more than a local comprehensive. I can't really explain what I mean by that other than for him as a person it would suit him much better?!! He needs to be pushed a bit to get his full potential and I feel that at the local comprehensive he will not get pushed and will just drift and not make the most of what he is capable of.

I think I am definitely going to look into tutoring more, as from what I have read on this site it certainly isn't a level playing field and I think to give my son the best chance it is something I have to seriously consider.
If he takes the 11+ and fails then at least we know he will have tried his best and we will have done everything we can to help him and if it's not meant to be then we will have to accept that.

I certainly wouldn't be considering tutoring if I thought he would struggle if he gets to grammar school, it's more to give him confidence with his maths and to believe in himself that he can do things.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
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Location: kent
The Bond assessment papers for maths are certainly good practice for the Kent maths paper; but do go through the NFER papers yourself (save them until much later for your son though) to check that you are covering all the "syllabus" material and supplement from elsewhere if you need to. Equally I think you may find a small number of things that crop up in Bond that don't come up in the NFER papers.

Tutor should help with this, but I have experienced a not so great one round here who did not make sure that tutees could cover all the NFER type maths stuff before the 11+ exam.

Standardised score - have a search around on this website and you will find some good explanations of this.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:21 pm
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Location: Medway/Kent
Hi twinkles - I have sent you a pm


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:51 am
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Hi Twinkles

I am having tutoring for my daughter and she is on the Bond Books at the mo, although her tutor has said that they will start to look at the layout, etc., for Nfer papers soon because they are multiple choice and the Bond Maths and VR are not.

I have also drummed into my daughter from early on that when she takes the 11+ it won't be a question of failure if she doesn't do well, its merely a case of the whether or not the mark she gets is high enough to go to grammar school. We aren't using the term "failure" in this household at the moment!!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:54 pm 
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Location: Medway & Kent
I would recommend NOT using multiple choice until the very end. My dd used practice papers ie. Bond etc. until around 6 weeks before test then I introduced the multiple choice just for familiarisation. I didn't want her to get used to seeing a choice of answers but to be able to work through the problem herself first.
Of course, if you can do this, then when introducing multiple choice it can be helpful athough do remind your child that there are often very similar and trick answers listed!
Good luck :) I think Perplexed has given you some very good advice.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Medway Mum

Thats a good point - I also think its really important that they learn the "working out properly" way before going to the multiple choice. My tutor has only said they would have a quick look at some questions so that my daughter could see what to expect.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:42 pm 
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Hmmm - I wouldn't wait to long to introduce multiple choice papers. I agree, there is an argument for starting off with standard papers to get children thinking rather than guessing. However, the VR paper is generally very time-pressured and a very important part of the preparation is getting children to work quickly and efficiently and know when to save crucial seconds/minutes. For example, with the hidden word questions it's often quicker to look at the answers straight away rather than work out the answer and then see if it's one of the options. Sometimes you don't even have to work out the full answer, for example with the codes, you might start to work out the answer and realise there is only one possible option before you've worked it out in full - all saves time.

With maths, it's precisely because there are often very similar answers in the multiple choice papers that it's important for children to practice in this format.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:51 am
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Ok now I'm confused!! I can see both sides. However, I think I know that my daughter will panic if I leave it too late.

I am going to put my faith in my tutor. She knows my views and she also now realises some of my daughter's ways and if she thinks a look at them sooner than later is best, then I am happy with that.

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