Thanks mumjoe for that very honest and brave post.
We will be shortly be embarking on this process for the third and thankfully last time and my heart sinks at the thought (though we have been extremely fortunate that the first two were successful with their chosen schools).
We too have the "pleasure" of being part of the famous tutor group (well famous round these parts anyway) and just turning up on a saturday morning and having several children in the group constantly getting over 90% in every practice test can be a very daunting prospect for a rather more normal child.......
I have learnt, however, that although preparation is important, anything can happen on the day - good or bad - and actually it pays to almost expect the worst and to try as hard as you can to ensure that your non-grammar school option is one that you are happy with. Expecting the worst is actually very realistic when the odds are 1:10! Not eveyone is lucky enough to be able to have an independent school back up, but whatever your most likely non-selective school may be, it pays to talk it up and ensure your child will not feel as if they've failed anything if they go there