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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:13 pm
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Hi All - just joined the forum!

As we are now preparing the nipper for the Kent Test I have been getting hold of various bits and pieces. I picked up a set of the Letts Practice Papers (Variety Pack 1 - A) - though planning to save them for nearer the time.

Working through the Verbal Reasoning paper I was shocked to find questions of the form:

If A= ..., B= ..., etc.
Write the answer to this sum as a letter:
B x C - A / C = ?

For which an acceptable answer can only be found by ignoring BODMAS rules and doing a naive left-right evaluation.

I queried this with HarperCollins who stated that:

"These questions follow the format used on the actual Nfer tests. That is, the pupil is expected to work from left to right performing each operation in sequence, rather than following the mathematical rules concerning order of operations."

They confirmed that their practice paper is done to match the way NFER set the paper.

Nothing in the instruction to the questions advised that left-right (rather than BODMAS) should be used. If this is actual NFER practice it seems [IMHO] to be extremely poor and creates a disadvantage for those who would naturally use proper [mathematical] reasoning [unless coached to pass the test]; and is somewhat ironic as it is used as a basis for selection to a Grammar school.

Is anyone able to confirm that this is NFER policy for this type of question?

[For some of the other questions in the set the equation was set out so that left-right and BODMAS were the same. Comparing with the Bond books, I see that they set this type of question out in a totally unambiguous way.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:34 am 
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My understanding of NFER VR papers is that they dont use brackets so for that reason you cant use BODMAS.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:18 am 
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Location: East Kent
yes it is left to right.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:08 am 
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If brackets, use BODMAS and if there aren't any brackets, then do the calculations from left to right.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:27 am 
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Location: Essex
I'm surprised (and concerned) by this. BODMAS doesn't apply unless you can see brackets? This wasn't my understanding of BODMAS at all. I had a quick google and it looks to me like the wrong method is being used in these papers.
See:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks3bitesiz ... ise2.shtml

Left to right is fine if the operations are of equal rank, otherwise BODMAS applies.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:38 am 
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Location: East Kent
I agree, but Nfer test papers do not use brackets and the calculations are done left to right..
presumably they are written that way so that L-R method can be used.


There was a discussion here
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7765&p=81492&hilit=bodmas#p81492


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:44 am 
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Location: Essex
Thanks for that. I'll have a look. How annoying that we have to teach our DC the right method for the maths paper and then tell them to forget it for VR. :x


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:34 pm 
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I dont think we get BODMAS in Maths NFER though First-Timer unless I am being a bit thick so that saves you the explaining for now at least. Then after the 16th of September you can tell them that was all rollocks and show them the right way of using BODMAS.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:09 pm 
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Location: Essex
Hi Sherry,

Problem is in Essex the Maths paper is set by the Consortium for Selectives Schools in Essex, not Nfer. The paper goes beyond what is taught in year 6. The VR paper is Nfer, though!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:28 pm 
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oh sorry First Timer. I am thinking everyone on the forum is in Kent :) . I should have seen you are in Essex :oops:

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