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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:11 am 
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As you may know, I am attempting to tutor my daughter for the Tiffin test this September (in a mere 6 weeks!) It was the end of July by the time I found this site and started using the applicable material and I now have a pile of relevant verbal and non-verbal practice tests.

My question is, it is unlikely she has time to complete all or most of these practice tests before September 27 and I'm wondering how to select which ones for her to do.

Is it better for verbal reasoning to

a) focus on the Daughtrey or Walsh as they are the most difficult and closest to the real exam
b) do one or two tests from each (GL 1&2, First Past the Post plus Walsh and Daughtrey.)
c) find a way to cram them all in (I think I have between 24-27)
c) find a way to cram them all in except for GL1 because it does not include all 21 question types

What about the non-verbal reasoning? Is it

a) better to focus on the GL 1&2 (are these the closest to the real test?)
b) cram them all in (I have about 18, GL 1&2, First Past the Post, AFN and CGP)
c) only do a handful and focus on the non-verbal


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:24 am 
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Hi! I really don't know the answer to this one. Does she know enough techniques to see her through? If not, maybe you could focus on that rather than the full papers.

Another thing we have been working on is "intelligent guessing" as we like to call it!

DS has been doing a little bit each night and alternating between VR and NVR.

We've been using the practice test papers as actual practice papers rather than as full tests. It seems to work well. I just give DS whatever we have to hand, so some nights it might be Walsh and other nights AFN so he gets a mixture of difficulty.

I'm probably approaching it all wrong, but so long as he's still motivated and doing a little bit we are both happy!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:45 am 
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I think her technique is okay, it's just getting the speed without dropping the accuracy, not sure how to achieve that quickly.

What intelligent guessing techniques do you use? The only one I really have is always to include an unknown word in the opposites/most similar if she can eliminate all the other pairs. Not much, it's all I've got. Are their others?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:04 pm 
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DS just makes it up the guessing bit as he goes along really (does that sound bad?).

If, for example, he is cracking a code and the first one or two letters are the same in all the answers, he won't bother to work those out and continue until he finds the next unique letter. This works more often than not but he's quite good at spotting unique letters.

For his speed, he looks at the question and if it's a type that he can answer straight from the work sheet, he'll work exclusively from the work sheet rather than going backwards and forwards between the two papers. This technique is quite good for find the four letter word and the most opposite and most similar question types and also for the compound words.

For inteligent guessing, he will narrow down NVR questions as far as he can. If he still can't find the right one he just picks one of the 2 or 3 remaining. When he knows he's near the end of the test (litterally with less than a minute and more than 5 questions left!) he will work exclusively from the answer sheet. If the answers in VR are something like:

3542
2456
2457
1537
2461

He would probably go for 2457 because two of the answers begin with 25 and two answers end with 7. He doesn't always get these right (obviously) but he's got a better chance at guessing these correctly using this technique. Obviously, if you have the time to work them out - you should! This is just something he does with seconds to spare. He guesses more right like this than he does by randomly marking the sheet.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:07 pm 
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Oh, and guessing the unknown word in the opposites - like your DD, DS will sometimes do this. However, he also tries to think of the root word to see if it helps.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:50 pm 
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Hi Trisca
A few questions and responses to your fast track tutoring.
First and most importantly, you have registered with Tiffin Girls for the Sept 2012 11+ test? The deadline for the completion of the Supplementary Application Form was 20th July 2012.
Assuming the above, I will attempt to answer your questions:-
For Verbal Reasoning (VR)
a) The Daughtrey (Bright Sparks series ) is definitely “easier” than the Walsh VR. I would suggest that you cover as many Walsh VR papers as you can (you may not be able to manage all 12 in the time you have left). If your DD appears to be scoring low (by that I mean less than < 90%) then throw in an occasional Daughtrey to increase her confidence.
Though I must admit, I always try to work with DC when doing Walsh papers. Are they closer to the real exam? I can’t comment. I have had students who passed without doing a single Walsh paper.
I don’t use First Past the Post so no comment.

b) Definitely complete all GL papers (Pack 2 in particular) If running out of time just skim through the Pack 1 verbal questions (closest in meaning, opposite meanings, analogies, letter shift, missing letters, compound words etc). Like you said it does not have the complete 21 VR types.

c) Cramming – some children love the challenge and some hate the tedium - all depends on the child. And you are probably the best person to gauge that! IMO don’t cram be selective.

d) See c

For Non Verbal Reasoning (NVR)
a) Do complete the GL (Pack 1 & 2), note that in the first pack Paper A will have the worst score so leave till last. ( Look up NFER Paper A topic in the the NVR section of the forum – some very helpful messages).
b) AFN papers definitely the easiest of all but I like the depth of some of the questions. CGP are ok. Again I am unable to comment on First Past the Post. Though I would say I think the Tutors NVR e – papers on this site are good.
c) Have you completed any of the Bond NVR 11+ test papers? They are very useful if you are doing DIY as they have quite comprehensive explanations to the questions.

You mentioned speed and accuracy - I would suggest if you have the time to do a few mock runs prior to the 27th. Do timed NVR followed by a 20 min break then a VR paper. But do sit with DD and tell her if she is spending too much time on a specific question, give her regular time updates (say 10 minute intervals) , ensure that she realises that some question can be done in 10 seconds and some in 50 seconds. The codes and number questions tend to take longer.
Ensure hidden words are worked of the answer sheet. All code related questions though tedious, should be completed ( as well as the Number type ) with 100% accuracy. Shortcuts mentioned by Smile4 also good if running out of time.

In my experience with DC , the VR paper has always been completed well within the 50 minute time limit. I have found it is the NVR timing which is an issue as DC become fixated by some questions.

I hope you find some of the above useful. Good luck and I hope your DD sails through the tests. She can do it if she applies herself – IMO you do not need years of coaching if the ability and level is present then there is no point in extensive tutoring.

(My credentials – I am a tutor and I have children in the aforementioned school.)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:40 am 
I am wondering to what extent English and Maths should be practiced? Is it best to get VR & NVR out of the way before starting English & Maths practice papers or is it better to focus on the English & Maths?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:46 am 
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Hi Suzanne

It depends. If you feel that your DD is doing well in the NVR and VR, then do English and Math but I would keep Maths learning down to once a week for the time being. English is always good to do particularly comprehension, but still the bulk of your time (say 70%) should be spent on improving NVR/VR score. There is no point in focusing on English and Maths for TGS if you are not going to make the top 450 for VR & NVR – unless you are sitting for other tests that require these subjects.

In the two weeks prior to the test I would focus on timing and accuracy for NVR and VR, the only Maths here should be mental Maths, if required, as it is useful for speed in the VR Number type questions.

In summary, if DD is Level 5 or borderline in English & Maths then focus on the NVR and VR, leave the writing and maths till after the 27th. As it can be too much for children since they will be at school during this period. Make it fun, loads of praise especially if they bettered their previous scores,offer bribes :wink: and a few NVR/VR free evenings during the school week . Try and do some activities in those free evenings, even if it is just for an hour - it honestly does recharge their batteries.

If you do find yourself or your DD suffering NVR/VR withdrawal symptoms on the free evenings then practice some of the 10 minutes IPS VR test and Bond NVR 10 min tests - just keep it short.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:18 am 
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Walter wrote:

Make it fun, loads of praise especially if they bettered their previous scores,offer bribes :wink: and a few NVR/VR free evenings during the school week . Try and do some activities in those free evenings, even if it is just for an hour - it honestly does recharge their batteries.



Absolutely agree with this advice.

On the other point, I think most children taking TS or TGS tests would also be taking test for other grammar schools. Most Common would be Sutton grammars and would mean sitting for tests in Maths and English. Most of these tests are before TS/TGS tests. These children would not be able to do just NVR/VR.


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