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 Post subject: Question for Patricia
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:55 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
Posts: 2125
Hi Patricia,

Do you have any suggestions on how to help a child who is generally good at VRT tests but suffers from nerves? My daughter can understand all the techniques, her accuracy is good and she just needs practice in order to improve her speed. However, she seems to be completely thrown by the sight of a clock so I no longer use one while she is doing practice tests (or rather I don't let her see it!) - despite it being useful for certain kinds of question! I've explained that timing really doesn't matter at this stage and that she'll speed up with practice, but she has always tended to try and run before she can walk...she does this at school too, according to her teacher!

There is still plenty of time to go but I just wondered if you have come across this before and if you have any tips for dealing with it?

Thanks and best regards

Marylou


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
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Location: Bexley
Marylou - I hope you don't mind me sticking my oar in! I think you've already answered your question in that you say you've abandoned the clock and know that she will speed up with practice.

My eldest son always raced through 11+ practice papers with loads of time left over. My second son, who is an anxious soul, always took a very careful approach and wasn't always able to move on if he didn't get an answer within a reasonable amount of time. I used to time him without him realising and I remember tearing my hair out in private over the NVR which would take him at least twice the allowed time. I decided that the best approach was practice which would make him more confident in his ability. He also used to like it if we did a paper together. We would snuggle down on the sofa with some chocolate and answer the questions together, with me holding back so that he invariably beat me (although I didn't have to try too hard to hold back!). If I thought he wasn't getting a question I'd say, "I think we've spent long enough on that one, let's just put a mark against it and come back to it later". OK, he wasn't practising in formal, timed conditions, but he was still learning how to answer the questions. He did the Kent and Bexley 11+ exams (passed both) and finished all the papers except the Kent VR and NVR. But, because I'd emphasised how time-pressured the reasoning papers were, he stayed calm and just took educated guesses for the last few. He also remembered to mark and go back to the difficult questions.

If you've got plenty of time, just carry on with the gentle practice and I'm sure she will speed up naturally.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:26 pm 
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Thanks, Bexley Mum! It's nice to know I'm on the right lines, at least. I'll perhaps abandon the kitchen table in favour of something a bit more comfy and will try working through some tests with her. I've also discovered that even a small piece of chocolate can sometimes work wonders! :wink:

Marylou


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
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OK - we tried it again this week but without a clock anywhere in range. IPS Practice Paper 3 this time. I pottered around the kitchen clearing up and making cups of hot chocolate, all the time watching out of the corner of my eye to see when she started a new section, and just briefly checking that she knew what she was doing with each question type. (She did.) All the while timing her on my watch (she didn't know I was doing this). Result: 49/50 in 34 minutes, she managed all except the Type Zs in the 30 minute time. Outcome: one very pleased daughter :D and a relieved Mum!

Thanks for your ideas last week, Bexley Mum!

She still has a bit of a hangup about clocks, though - but there is plenty of time to overcome that. 8)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
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Dear Marylou

Apologies for not replying earlier, missed the the thread totally. Glad your 'devious' plan has worked. I am a firm believer in kidology!

Very few of my children finish the 30 minute tests in time, they are still learning, trying to build up their speed and confidence. I am sure if I gave the same test 3 months down the line, they would sail through it, within the allotted time.

I just make it quite clear that although they are being timed and should work as quick as possible, I am not 'bothered' if it takes longer [varies from 30 - 44 minutes]

Patricia


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
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Thanks, Patricia!

Things were quite different with our elder daughter - we only decided to go for the 11+ relatively late (had only just heard about it) so pulled out all the stops in the two weeks before the October half term and during the school break, and she sat the tests the following week. She coped well with it all as, being OOC, we were approaching it very much from a "try it and see" angle. She is naturally more laid back anyway, which helped a lot. DD2 on the other hand desperately wants to go the same school as her sister, and knows that she has to pass the test in order to stand a chance of doing that. She is also very sensitive and I'm worried that she'll pick up on the general stressful atmosphere around the time of the test, so hopefully the knowledge that she has plenty of practice behind her will help on the day. I suppose it's a matter of finding a way that suits the child's specific needs and personality. Our two are certainly very different!

Regards

Marylou


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