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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:30 am 
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My daughter seems to be have a slight problem with timing. Her answers are generally strong but in Maths paper, for example, she's sometimes missing a couple of pages at the end as she's running out of time. In English too she will often think about a question for too long rather than getting down to things.

She's not at a Prep and unused to doing much to time. Not used to any kind of test or watching a clock. Has anyone else encountered this problem and if so what helped solve things? Is it just a question of her having more practice?

Another question is how many get turned down post conditional offer (successful in computer pre-test etc) but via CE etc? How high might the passmark typically go for selective boarding schools? Do they dramatically over offer at 11. Just looking to put my mind at rest as all new territory. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:38 am 
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Practice, practice and practice. Which is what she would be doing at a prep.

Presumably if you are looking at 13+ she will be going to prep for years 7 and 8? Otherwise I guess that she won't set CE, but instead schools will set papers based on the curriculum covered by state schools. It is rare ime for a child to fail CE after getting an offer, but I only have experiences of prep schools, where it would cause significant ripples if a child was in that position.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:58 am 
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Looking at Y7 entry. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:09 pm 
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Then I don't quite understand the reference to pretest?

Independent schools (both day and boarding) over-offer at 11 because they know most parents will apply for more than one school. They try to keep the ratio of offers to places quiet as it is of course a measure of their popularity, but even the most selective over offer, especially with boarding as a child's character can change so much even between 11 and 13, and parents may swing between day and boarding. I think I saw a statistic which indicated that some of the selective day schools were making around 2-2.4 offers per place.At the end of the day most independent schools can have a degree of flexibility in numbers. Possibly surprisingly the acceptance rate of offers is relatively static, though occasionally will jump esp if the school has made a jump in league tables etc.

It is worth bearing in mind that students may not all be competing for the same spaces, and therefore may need to pass different thresholds. Eg at a co-ed boarding school it is possible that the passmark will be different for boys and girls, for those on bursaries, and for those coming from overseas due to the fact that they are essentially competing for a specific quota of seats.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:43 pm 
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Hi - many of the schools are now doing computerised CAT type tests at assessment days in Y6 as well as for 13 plus. I was just wondering if you were selected then/got through initial test whether the exam at 11 plus was usually a formality or if selective schools turn many away at that stage?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:16 am 
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First off, I can't emphasise enough how important it is to practise. This is for a few reasons:
(a) learning to work to timings,
(b) learning what exam conditions are like - they can be scary and the more used to doing tests a child is the less she will be put off by the environment,
(c) practising good exam technique (e.g. read the question thoroughly, underline key points, answer the question that is asked, not the one you have in your head, etc),
(d) practising the types of questions that are asked in the exams - they often have a common pattern so once your child can identify that "ah, it's one of those types of questions..." it all becomes easier.

You will have to give her the papers and make sure she is timed and that the environment is serious and exam-like. When you go through the paper after you have marked it is a good time to pick her up on the technique issues and give her some tutoring on the substance of the papers.

Secondly, most parents at 11+ for girls apply to lots of schools so there is an inbuilt tendency to over-offer. If you are relying on just one application this might be dangerous. The process is different for boys at 13+ CE but for your daughter I'd encourage you to look at a range of schools you where would be happy to accept a place. Odd things happen and it's better to be safe than sorry!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:23 am 
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I have boys so haven't seen the changes in the testing for girls. In my experience though, the point at which parents choose a school and everything is really certain is at the point that you send off the large deposit (the four figure one, not the exam/registration fee). Up until that point most parents are still looking at more than one school (and therefore schools over offer). Some parents will still throw away a deposit or two, but that will be a smaller number (usually less than 10% of parents).


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:40 am 
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Is your DD now in Year 6 and you already set the pre-test or is she in Year 5 and you are just practicing?

And are you talking about ISEB 11+ papers or Lodon day school ones?

ISEB ones are a) easier; b) more predictable as there is a clear 11+ ISEB syllabus. Generally speaking, if she is in Yr 6, she should be acing them by now - especially maths, as the timing is general and the questions relatively easy and are quite predictable if you do a couple of papers.

English is more in line with London day schools, but again it's more predictable as the format always stays the same so it's easy to work out the timings you need, etc.

Good news is that there is still plenty of time for you until end of January and if you are only looking at ISEB CE, you can afford to focus purely on that format. Get hold of ALL the papers that are available for purchase and all the prep materials (for maths David Hanson's question book A and B are invaluable https://www.galorepark.co.uk/Product?Pr ... 1907047886) and you should be fine.

That said, they do over-offer a lot, the girl from our school who started at Wycombe Abbey this year, was getting only into the 80s% in internal school exams (our school used ISEB papers for that) and I believe her conditional offer was only 60%. But she got a high-profile music scholarship so may be they adjusted the offer accordingly. On the other hand, my colleagues daughter from Bute had Wycombe as back up and her offer was 60% for sure. She made it to St Paul's and didn't use Wycombe offer.

Finally, in terms of timing - you need to understand first why she is slow - is she being super careful and checking everything several times, is she not fire quick with her tables/mental maths, is she actually unfamiliar with how to approach a question and is spending time "thinking"? She shouldn't really be doing any of the above on the maths by the time of CE. But you need to get to the cause. If all of the above is fine, it's just practice. Do one paper, after time expires put a line through last question and let her finish the rest. Then do the same again - the line should be moving towards the end of the paper with practice.

With English, again, she should be spending time recalling what metaphors and similes are, personification, etc - she should tuck straight in.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:40 am 
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Y6 and we've done the pre-tests. ISEB 11 plus and other papers too.

Interesting that the conditional offers vary. Do some schools then typically give a % that needs to be gained with a conditional offer?

I think the issue is just being unused to working to time so hopefully things will iron out. Thanks.


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