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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:55 am
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Some parents says to do one per day however I cannot see my ds doing this and myself correcting a paper per day.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:24 pm
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Location: West Essex
We were thinking of stopping altogether at the Xmas break and just relaxing. :oops:
Your question makes me think we might be slackers! On the other hand, I don't want to overdo it and stress DD out.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:35 pm 
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I think that you're asking the wrong question.

You want to make these last few weeks count, and so you need to think about what will best help.

A mock paper can help identify gaps, ie areas of weakness. You can follow this up with specific exercises/teaching to address those gaps. It can identify problems in understanding and interpreting questions. It can indicate that there is a problem with speed and timing. And finally it may show that there are silly mistakes which creep in. You can then work on specific strategies to address these areas - some children need to be shown how to check their work. Looking at say the Dulwich papers with detailed marking schemes can drive home the need to show workings

Additionally some independent exams are more gruelling that the state equivalents in that there are more papers in a single day, and you can end up sitting exams on consecutive days (locally there are 4 indie schools which between them cover 4 out of 5 days in a row - you'd be insane to sit all 4). But your dc may well be at the school of 5 or 6 hours, even more.

Finally you need to be realistic about the numbers going for places. In my area this is a low birth year, and most pupils will end up with a place at their first or second choice state school. They're only sitting the indies as a back up. Many sit int he hope of a bursary or scholarship. The numbers for full fees places always look incredibly high, but most children will take and pass 3 exams and obviously will only take one place.

So depending on which schools you are sitting, you may want to do a day where you do 4 papers, just to see what happens to the essay paper when it comes after 3 other papers? If you're scoring well on maths then just try to identify where the last few marks are being lost and concentrate on those rather than wasting lots of time going over old ground. A paper a week or every 10 days or so as "revision" should be more than enough if all of the areas have been covered.

Merely doing past papers isn't necessarily the best route to review. Doing mocks (at home) can help you understand where marks may be lost, but the important thing is what you learn from the mock and how you reinforce that, rather than merely how many papers you have done.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:24 pm
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Location: West Essex
Thanks Ladymuck. This all sounds like sensible advice and good to keep in mind. We hadn't thought of doing three full papers in a row. We've had her do a math's paper one week, an English paper the next.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:43 pm 
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Location: Herts
One paper a week? Which schools are you going for? DG


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:43 am 
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Ladymuck ....thank you so much for the reply and I did not think of practicing 3 papers in a day and to see how my dc will cope (I definitely know that there will be a lot of moaning).

I think I have covered all the syllabus in maths that is why I wanted to concentrate on the past papers now.

Daogroupie .........The school which we are considering are, MT, St Albans and the safe net will be John lyon and Aldenham.

Which school past papers would you recommend? and what scores should he be achieving?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:43 pm 
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Location: West Essex
DAO Groupie, we are going for Forest, Chigwell, Bancrofts and CLSG. We are coming from a state primary, but about 15% of the class goes onto one of the first three schools each year, usually with once a week tutoring for the year prior to the test. We realise CLSG is "aspirational" in our case.

She goes to a tutor once a week. The routine is usually to do a test before seeing the tutor, go over the test with tutor, then be given follow up homework based on gaps and try a new test for the following week. For us, it seems enough for a ten year old. We are definitely squeamish about pushing too hard. At this level of preparation, we think she will gain a place in at least one of the schools, and that will be the right school for her.

Our family culture is to be involved in sports and music as well as academics and those things take time too. I am sure there are parents reading this post who must think we are really flaky, but we would not feel right excluding her from orchestra, hockey, athletics, etc. to concentrate on completing several tests a week.

I promise to report back in March for benefit of other parents who might be wondering how this will all pan out! She may well be out competed by kids and families who want it more than we do at some of the schools. We'll be ok with that if she gets a place somewhere. Admittedly, if she ends up with no offers, it will be a big mistake and others can learn from our hubris.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:21 pm 
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HCB I do think you are doing the right thing keeping up all the activities and passions that you describe. Our family is similar (lots of sports and music) and both my children kept doing their activities alongside their 11 plus preparation. Although we didn't with my son, we did do extra papers with my daughter (in addition to the once-a-week tutor session) near the test date as we wanted more of a belt-and-braces approach the second time but she didn't give up any activities, apart from not going the night before the test. You can't put your life on hold, or make your child give up things that to my mind are just as important as the academics. Good on you, girl (I am making an assumption there...!).


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:18 pm 
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Location: Essex
If nothing else, all schools have sports teams which represent the school in the wider arena, pardon the pun, and some of the more academically selective schools compete well in lots of areas to boot; DS1 / DD's school is representing England in athletics in China next year. Pupils in the school teams are expected to keep up with their academic work as well, so even if one's own doesn't have such sporting aspirations, one suspects they are going to struggle if the only way they can work to the academic standard expected is to give up everything else.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:59 am
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Location: N London
HotCrossBun - with DS last year we prepped hard up until the end of term with a tutor and with me doing little bits, but over the holiday we did very little (a big change to DD). The tutor convinced me that he knew his stuff and that all we should do was read, the odd ten minute Nvr and a little mental arithmetic. Not sure how you will view the result, he was offered two of the four schools we applied for, one of those being his personal favourite (am fairly sure he made an extra effort for that one, aswell as wearing his superman t shirt) and ours, so we got what we wanted but not the fistful of offers some would like. It was an approach that made me slightly nervous but it suited him, he was exhausted by then anyway.

Good luck!


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