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 Post subject: Eton pre exam - help!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:16 pm 
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For my sins, I have put my ds down for Eton. The pre-exam is this Autumn. I had always thought him to be a genius (I realise I am biased but he did get 100% in his last maths test) and his father, my ex, has rafts of family that attended so there's a strong factor of belonging for him. His dad took him for a picnic to the school, he fell for it and now he really wants to go.

The advice that the other side of the family's Eton mafia have gleaned is that we can only prepare by doing IQ practice papers from Smiths. No idea what those might be - there are zillions on the smiths website. I bought some of those Bond 11+ non verbal reasoning practice papers and we had a go. My ds is still 9 (10 next month, pre-exam in November).

It did not go well. Tears. Panic. Mummy, I'm stupid, mummy I'll never go to Eton. Total disaster. Feel like such a bad mummy for ever having mentioned ****** Eton in the first place. Child totally stressed out. 50% in the test.

Is he likely to improve much in the next year? Did I buy the wrong books? They say on them go back and do the 9 and 10 + books.

Someone told me that there is one brand of book that is done by a company that is linked with Durham university (who create the Eton test). Which is this? Is it GL?

Eton say don't apply to lots of different schools - there'll be time enough once the results of the pre-exam come through if you need to rethink. Is this true?

I am feeling so overwhelmed with all this. Trying to hold down a full time job (not the kind that pays for expensive nannies) and help ds with school work as a single mother is really not very funny.

How can I help ds to stop feeling so pressurised about it all? All help gratefully received. And yes I realise he is probably picking up on my stress but not sure how to change that now...


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:13 am 
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I don't know anything about the Eton test - and my knowledge of the school is probably from snippets on the news! However, first things first - take a deep breath - you are panicking and, as you rightly say, your son is probably picking up on it. Remember, if he has never done this type of NVR practice test before, he is unlikely to get full marks - that's the point of the practice! If he is used to getting full marks, without really trying or being challenged, he will stumble big time if it doesn't happen. Take a step back and try doing one together, not under test conditions, so he gets used to the style of questioning etc. The exam company linked with Durham Uni is CEM - CEM run the 11+ in Birmingham, Warwickshire and, I believe, Bucks amongst others - have a look in those sections at CEM threads and it will give you an idea.

Fundamentally, I would say that Bond tends to be one of the "easier" series of books - certainly useful for NVR and comprehension practice at start up, but I would look at alternatives for maths, like Schofield and Simms. This is not particularly for Eton, I hasten to add - this is more because you need to put some of your energy into looking at realistic alternatives. One thing is certain in this game, is that there are no certainties. Every year we have people on here who are astounded and devastated in equal measures as their dc have not got into the one school they were expecting. You need to ensure that your son realises there are alternatives that are equally good, if not better - it doesn't sound like he has looked anywhere else. I know Eton are keen on historical family links but they will only count for so much - perhaps you could speak to someone in the school about their memories of the test - or someone with far more knowledge than I have, will come along and fill you in!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:34 am 
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Agree with KCG - need to a deep breath and one step at a time.. few people will do well if they have never seen these types of questions before - they need to get the hang of the sorts of questions and the ways in which they can be tackled.

there are a few threads with some mention of the Eton pre test - one is here: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=22776&hilit=eton+computerised
and might be worth looking at.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:30 pm 
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You don't have to be a genius to get into Eton but they are very oversubscribed and getting in is somewhat unpredictable...the test is an adaptive computer test which you can't really prepare for...perhaps good idea would be for your son to do some NVR/VR test online...speed and accuracy is important and you can't go back and correct mistakes and important thing is not to panic but keep going even if you make mistakes or run put of time on the last question. Eton also say there are several boys who come in the top 100 in the test who are not offered and other boys who may do less well are...so there may be others with extra curriculars who do worse on the test (and not as clever perhaps) but are offered because Eton likes their prowess in sport, or drama or something else such as a very confident interview.

What does his prep head say about his chances?...I think there is a lot of emphasis on the school report and extra curriculars in particular as well as the interview so I wouldn't get too worked up about the test.

Would advise that you and your son really don't think of it as be all and end all...it is not.....if they think he is a good fit, they will likely take him or give him a waiting list place, if not then he will be better suited to other (equally excellent) schools.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:43 pm
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Thank you so much for the brilliant advice. Yes, I know, I need to step back and breathe deeply. When did I become psycho panicky mother?? I think I have now (after a few days of sober reflection) got over my visceral panic. Weird how the school thing gets under your skin. I live in North London which may have something to do with it. c.f the twitter handle @highgatemums !

Had a chat with my sons dad, who is very relaxed about the whole Eton thing having been there himself. He said, 'If to get into Eton (or any other top school) means swatting all the hours at the age of 10 then I'd rather he went to the local comp.'

Amen.

That said, of course, one wants one's child to fulfil their whole potential as much as one can. Will be buying all the above mentioned books and attempting to coax him back into trying them.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:00 pm 
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LoveIsBeautiful wrote:
Had a chat with my sons dad, who is very relaxed about the whole Eton thing having been there himself. He said, 'If to get into Eton (or any other top school) means swatting all the hours at the age of 10 then I'd rather he went to the local comp.'

Amen.

That said, of course, one wants one's child to fulfil their whole potential as much as one can. Will be buying all the above mentioned books and attempting to coax him back into trying them.
Sounds like your son has a very sensible dad. Please think very carefully about what kind of person you want your son to grow up to be. There are plenty of Eton alumni around in public life for you to look at and decide if you aspire to on your son's behalf. 'Potential' is a big word - we all have the potential to make a difference and become exceptional human beings, but it doesn't mean we have all been to Eton. Memorable and special people aren't always the ones with the flash educational credentials.

Good luck. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:22 pm 
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Amber - so true. And yes, I don't aspire for him to become David Cameron! And this is a very big question to which I don't have an answer. But... for every *** who went to Eton there are loads of lovely ones who perhaps you don't see in the newspapers. It takes all sorts, like any school. Before you hold any prejudices against it, I would recommend going and seeing the place. I took my partner along (comp educated, done very well for himself) and he was surprised and impressed. He was a hard sell not really seeing the value in independent education having pulled himself up by his bootstraps as the saying goes but he really rated it. He pointed out that Eton has a kind of mythical status in the media that doesn't fit with the reality of the school. It is almost as if there is the school, and then Eton the media phenomenon - a word that is shorthand for elitism, privilege and arrogance. When you get there it's a pretty normal, hard working place.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:29 pm 
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LoveIsBeautiful wrote:
Before you hold any prejudices against it, I would recommend going and seeing the place..
I don't hold any prejudices at all about it - it would never have been on the agenda here for all kinds of reasons. All I was saying (because you mentioned potential) is that there are many ways to address our potential as human beings, and to make a difference to the lives of others, which is what I believe we are put on the earth to do. They don't all involve getting a 'top quality' education. That's all. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:36 pm 
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LoveIs - if your DS only is 10 in a months time, he won't be testing at Eton until the Summer term next year. Eton test Sept-Jan boys in the autumn and Feb-Aug boys in the Summer term.
Is your DS' current prep supporting your application to Eton? Do they regularly send boys there?
I am sure he will be fine and do very well!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Hi there!

If I quickly tell you what I am....(so you don't think I'm talking from a different planet)...

I'm a young postgrad working at a top institution with some of the brightest minds in the world - so I see my share of brilliance and outstanding thinking every day. I've been tutoring young boys and girls for 8 years or so to support myself through University and because I care about young people...I've seen hundreds of young boys and girls but comparatively very few that go to Eton. I've been very lucky as the ones I've tutored (for 6 months+....I've never accepted an potential Eton candidate two weeks before the exam haha) have got in but it has taken a lot of preparation, even for those who are incredibly talented.

There's a lot of us out there who train and train these kids to get into the schools. It's incredibly tough competition and many fail. You can get the lucky one or two who are just brilliant (but their parents are lying to you if the kid hasn't received extra education and/or studies exceptionally hard at home) but the majority, a very large majority, are tutored until their socks fall off.

I should also say that poor tuition is actually worse for your kid. Learning poor techniques, wrong reasoning strategies and at worst, just wrong information can be detrimental to your kid's exam success and do serious harm to a child's confidence. So I can't stress enough that parents who teach their children need to know what they're doing.

Many kids and parents don't want their kids to go to Eton for the cost and because there are many other excellent (and better I would personally argue in some cases) institutions out there for young children.

I highly recommend that you don't undertake the Eton exam unless you're prepared to go full in for it. There are many many other schools that have exam entry and only so much stamina a child can have to take them. This is as much a journey for parents as it is for the child...best invest that energy well!

So maybe some tuition will help, a lot of studying and extra curricular reading..? But realism is key here...from expectations of your child to his long term happiness.

I personally come from a low ranking Grammar school and only one of our team comes from a very famous private school (Eton it happens to be!)...it can mean very little at the end of the day if a child is taught how to learn and to enjoy it. It's just one more contributing factor towards the educational success for your kid.



I wish the best for you and your boy. I never write posts here, only graze information but when I heard him calling himself stupid - I felt so sad I had to write something!


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