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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:48 am 
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I wonder if anyone is able to help please?

My DS is in Year 4 and I wanted to help him at home a bit with his Maths (he is at the bottom of the top set). Someone told me that the S&S MA books would be useful to help him along a bit but as our school don't use the S&S books, I'm not really sure what level he should be starting at? I have bought the level 3 book but don't now if I should have started on this book or a higher level. Can someone please shed some light on what book I should be on now and working towards if he takes the 11+ next September?

Many thanks


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:13 am 
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Not sure what area you are from - if you are sitting a CEM 11+ test then I would suggest that the level S&S you need to be "comfortable" with is Level 5 by the time you sit the test - both my dc were on the Level 6 book by the time they sat the test and both comfortably got in. Obviously the lower level books cover a lot of the basics and you could probably whip through the Level 3 book very quickly and move on to Level 4 in the summer term/holidays ready to start Level 5 in Year 5. It is far more important to get a good grasp of the basics and times tables on quick recollection than charging through, however! If he is finding the Level 3 book too easy, you could skip to one of the later sections (use the revision tests though) or just move on.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:58 am 
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My DS is also in Year 4 he is doing S and S level 2 book he is in top set for maths. I think it is a bad idea to start on a higher level as there will be things he can't do and it may dent his confidence. My DD did CEM in Sept and she was on S and S 4 she didn't finish it and the level was fine, she passed comfortably with a very high score in the maths section. I think it is more important to be confident with what you know.
I alternate the S and S with the age appropriate Bond book (he finds it quite easy) it is good for consolidating which at this stage is very important. My advice is to start with level 2, you can whizz through it quite quickly.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:01 pm 
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I think if he is not top set maths, let him start with S&S MA KS2 Book 2.

The books are set out very well. Section 1 is a repeat/consolidation of the previous book so children find this quite straight forward with few hitches. Section 2 and 3 get harder as you progress through the book.

Each Section has 12 tests - all tests are broken down into 3 parts. Part A is straight forward number crunching, Part B has a mix of wordy and straight forwards sums and Part C is made up of wordy questions which is applications of maths.

If your child is finding the first section hard and scoring less than 60%, it might be an idea to go to the previous book and work through sections 2 and 3. You might need to cover topics with them that they have not done in school yet.

Book 5 is adequate for most areas 11+ exams. You also need to do area specific papers or past papers from independent schools.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:23 pm 
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thanks everyone - really helpful replies!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:39 pm 
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Do books 4 and 5 in years 4 and 5. Don't waste his relaxation time at home with the earlier books. Sure you can pass the 11 plus having only done book 2 or something but that is because the work has been covered elsewhere. The earlier books don't require much knowledge. For example, mY year 3 child has just finished book 2 and it does not cover all the times tables, or decimals - not much at all really.

You can buy a teachers guide for the mental arithmetic series which is quite useful.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:43 am 
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I'm with mystery, I'm afraid. In our school, the bottom set maths is doing L2 S&S in Y4 and the top set is doing a mixture of L4/5 in Y4. L2 in Y4 is below the average according to govt expectation (if you equate the S&S level to National Curriculum ones, as children would move approx two sub levels a year, which from L2 would get them roughly to L4 in Y6). That just wouldn't cut it for the high score maths needed for entry to grammar here. However, in some grammars, with a good English/NVR score, a lower maths score would get you a place.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:25 pm 
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Yes. Our school completely ignores the NC levels that the Schofield and Sims books relate to so I just ignore school and do the right book as they are so cheap. School sets them for homework and I just start at a different place in the series each year as the teachers are not allowed to give out the right books (every page has to be completed for homework and they try and spin out one book over a two year period if they can it would seem).

Unfortunately it means a bit of a "discussion" with a teacher each year but it's worth it as the minutes which are spent on maths homework each week are then spent on practising something useful rather than something that they could have done two years previously. Every school is different of course - hopefully most people's children are given the appropriate book rather than according to some money-saving rule.

There is a thread in this maths forum which gives you a link to a Schofield and Sims document which equates each book to an NC level. It's very useful.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:03 pm 
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These books are very good, but one needs more than these to do well in CEM exams. I try not to use MA and Bond as they are both similar. For my DS I use a topic based maths book as these help to consolidate the basics. MA is great as it is a diagnostic tool that provides varied topic questions in one test exercise.

Ps, does anyone use Bond and MA together?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:47 pm 
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For a period of time I swapped around between the two types of book as the way the questions are worded is different and the print and layout in bond is much cleaner.


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