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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:21 pm 
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Hi. I am new to this forum. I'd really appreciate any help and advice re increasing speed for my DS. He gets 90%+ on full tests untimed but only 60% when timed. With less than 4 months to go, things don't seem to be improving and I'm desperate to help him. Situation not helped by school starting some prep work with the whole class and my DS comparing himself negatively to those who have been tutored heavily for some time and arrive at answers in a "flash"! He now feels behind and certain he's going to fail. He has his heart set on a particular grammar school and despite reassurances he is adamant he wants to sit the 11+.
We are working on speeding up his times tables and increasing vocabulary (a long standing weakness), playing games etc. His information processing speed has always been average even though he has really strong ability in other areas. Unfortunately the system here is VR only which is not great for him.
Coding questions seems to be a particular stumbling block. He is accurate but slow. The pass rate is so high here that he needs to be able to tackle these and get at least some right.
Any help/advice gratefully received! We're from the Wirral area.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:12 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
Is it that he's not finishing the papers when timed, or that the time pressure is in some way making him get questions wrong which would otherwise be getting right?

If the former then looking at which questions he can do quickly, and tackling those first, might be a strategy to work on, making sure he picks up the quick marks before spending time on the ones he's slower at.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:08 am 
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I've posted a few times on this as my DS1 was only finishing half the paper (21 types of VR, as in the Wirral) in July. By the time of the test at the end of September he was finishing with time to spare. It was a similar story with DS2, who ended up finishing the second paper in about half the time allowed (much to my horror). Both did one or two papers a week over the summer holidays, except for the 2 weeks we were away. With DS2 I found the 10 minute tests very useful, as well as the Tutors short papers. With DS2 we also found that he was losing marks by not getting to the end of the paper, and the questions at the end were ones which he always got right, so for the practice papers at school he went to the end first. I felt this was a bit risky as he might miss pages and by the time he got to the real thing it wasn't necessary. Four months is actually a very long time in their little world and I wouldn't worry too much - just regular practice without going over the top & piling on the pressure or making them fed up with it (that's why the short papers were useful, I could sneak in a bit of practice which only took a few minutes).


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:07 am 
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Location: Herts
He will get better as his brain adjusts to doing them. They are not hard, there is just a lot of them. Draw a pencil line for where he gets to in the time and let him carry on. Note the question he got to and each time see if he can get just one question further. Little and often is good too. Use IPS daily tests as well as long ones. I got to 100 in 23 mins but probably would need two hours now! You can really get faster if you keep at it. DG


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:06 pm
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Thanks for the reassuring comments. It really is a speed thing as most of what he does do is correct. He just runs out of time so is left guessing too many at the end which drops his score down massively. He leaves the ones he finds he needs more time for until last but he just doesn't have time at the moment to even tackle these! He doesn't seem too stressed about the time element so I don't think it's that getting in the way! He's just too slow!
I am so proud of him as he so wants to try and puts the effort in. School has knocked his confidence dramatically though as he has now evidenced his slowness against the rest of the class and he fears he will never catch up now! Also dealing with my own guilt of not going down the tutoring route! It's helpful to reflect that kids can come a long way in a short space of time even if I am panicking myself!
Any specific tips on coding would be great! He seems to be particularly slow on those. E.g is it helpful to rote learn the position of letters as numbers and then it becomes more of a number sequence? He's much stronger on maths!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Another suggestion would be to work with a little stopwatch. When he hits a question that he can't do straightaway get him to press the button to start the stopwatch. Set it at 20 seconds and if he hasn't finished when it goes off then he must move on. After a while he will learn to judge that time and there will be a little voice in his head telling him to move on hopefully. DG


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Is it multiple choice in wirral? Especially on codes there can be time saved as the answer may become apparent after working out 3/4 letters of a word rather than coding the whole word.

Good luck
jm


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
Stressed out! wrote:
Any specific tips on coding would be great! He seems to be particularly slow on those. E.g is it helpful to rote learn the position of letters as numbers and then it becomes more of a number sequence? He's much stronger on maths!
You can do that - or at least a selection of them - e=5, m=13, n=14 etc - or it might pay to write out the alphabet - forwards and backwards one under the other and add the numbers
Code:
 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
 Z  Y  X  W  V  U  T  S  R  Q  P  O  N  M  L  K  J  I  H  G  F  E  D  C  B  A

Then he can quickly see that J to P is +6 for example - and if he then needs to do Q+6 he can just read it off the chart as W. The bottom line gives the mirror code equivalents, which can also be useful. Writing this out may well save time compared to lots of counting forwards and backwards.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:00 pm
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My DS was in much the same position at this time last year. But things suddenly 'clicked' at about the beginning of August and he went from scoring about 55/80 to 70+/80. It may be tiredness at this point in the school year that is slowing him down and once the summer holidays come along things may well improve.

One thing I did find helped my DS was races, as he's quite competitive. I would pick a question and he would have to try to answer it before me. I gave him a 20 second headstart to start with. But gradually reduced it so that we would start the same time, after he was getting the answer before I'd even started! :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:14 pm
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I agree with other posters that there was a sudden marked improvement in times about 1-2 months before starting the exams. At the time I ascribed this to the discovery that dc's father had introduced financial incentives, unbeknownst to me! :roll:
You don't want them to peak too early, or they get bored practis ing and go off the boil! :D


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