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 Post subject: Help needed please!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:12 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:04 pm
Posts: 4
After hearing the other mums in the school playground chatting about 11plus,GS etc,yesterday I decided to do some research and came across this website.

I just can't believe what the whole process involves.

My son already goes to a local saturday morning education centre,I have purchased a few age related VR workbooks (which he only does if he asks, about twice a month) and encourage him to read aloud to me whenever we have the time.

I thought the slowly but surely method was the best way to go about everything, am I wrong?

My son is only in year 4,I don't want to put any pressure on him, is he doing enough for now?

It appears to me the whole system is a bit unfair,I don't want to have to train my son to do well in the 11plus I would much prefer he got in to GS on his own natural abilities but it seems I have to judging from what I have read all over the web!

Anyway, from reading your posts I understand I should be using NFER VR multiple choice books (i had bought bond),what are the best books or resources for the maths?

Any other advice is much appreciated.

From a worried Halifaxmum


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:57 pm
Posts: 156
Hello Halifax mum!

You sound just like me! I'm in Calderdale too and looking at home tutoring my boy, who is now year 5.

I agree with your sentiments entirely - Grammar school should be for those with natural high ability, not those who can be tutored to pass an exam. My son is bright, doing well in maths and reading (not so hot on writing) and he was flying through the age-related bond papers last year.

However, since discovering this site, I have followed advice and got copies of Nfer example questions, and they are hard! Nothing like Bond at all! Unless your child is elite-bright then it is only fair to at least show them some question examples and give a few clues as to how to answer them.

Don't panic though in year 4. Puzzles and vocab will be good groundings at this stage. Bond is fine for that, but you will need to step up a gear next year.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:59 am
Posts: 2001
Dear Halifaxmum,

I think it is very easy to get hysterical when you read the lengths some people are going to with 11+. I did not have a tutor and I did not start doing anything with DS until year 5. I did the majority of our VR practice tests between Pre-test and actual test. (eight week period in Year 6).

I used the list of appropriate papers provided by Patricia. We didn't even come close to completing all those papers.

I used Bond maths practice papers. Work on fast mental maths, tables etc. DS felt most of maths had been covered in school. Again, after the pre-test we had a look at ratio, probability and very simple algebra.

A bright child will pick up VR quickly. Then it is a question of building up speed.

Improving vocabulary is a much longer process. I highly recommend paired reading. You can then read above the level your child would be prepared to tackle themselves.

I was in your position last year and it is difficult because you have no idea how stiff the competition is. Just take a deep breath and try to gently guide your child towards the exam.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:10 pm
Posts: 14
Location: nr Halifax
Hello Halifaxmum! Lots of sound advice here already, but just thought I'd add my two penn'orth while I'm online.

Like you, I heard others talking about the whole high school business when my son was in Y4. Some pupils even moved house, moved school - pretty drastic measures - in order to get into better high schools. We decided just to make the best of what was available, thus the 11+ presented itself as an opportunity to be taken, with nothing to lose.

However when we attempted some extra work and sample questions at home with him, he was clearly not emotionally ready for the pressure of timed tests (basically, he cried!!). So we left it for a while, helped him with his schoolwork and encouraged him to do his best. Then he really started to take off at school in Y5, which reassured us that he might still be capable of the 11+. We got sample VR papers (Lett's) during the summer hols before he went into Y6 and used BBC Bitesize for Maths revision, especially the KS3 aspects like algebra. We used some Bond Maths papers too, but he personally found these really hard and a bit demoralising, so in the end we concentrated on VR, which he really enjoyed. You have to play to your child's strengths.

Also try to protect them from the stress of it all. There were children in tears at both the pretest and the real thing, which I found heartbreaking and did make me think 'what are we putting them through?' In the end I coached my son to stay calm, telling him that the clever bit of his brain would stop working if he got upset (I believe the basic premise of this is actually true) and that all we were asking was that he try his very best. You can't ask for more than that!

We built up his speed very gradually - eg by doing 25 questions in 50 mins, then in 40 mins etc until we got to the actual time allowed in the test itself. And his dad made a throwaway remark about a 'cash reward' :shock: , which of course our son didn't forget, and in the end I hate to admit that that was probably his main motivation! All our principles out of the window, but, hey, it worked. Or at least I'm hoping it worked. He came in top 310, just, so I'm hopeful of a place. Will know on Monday - and then you will know whether my advice is any good or not! :lol:

I'll be doing this again in about 2 years' time and am planning to do pretty much the same again with second son. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:10 pm
Posts: 14
Location: nr Halifax
Dear Halifaxmum - further to my advice above, I'm pleased to say that my son got in, so at least some of my approach worked! Good luck with your 11plus adventure! :)


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