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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:33 am 
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My son planning to sit 11+ tests for some independent schools next year, it seems their tests are very different from normal grammar schools. Lots of comprehension and creative writing.

He is practicing creative writing and comprehension skills with me. He can write basic 1-2 pages, but needs to improve vocabulary and grammar.

English is not our first language, so I am not sure how I am doing and at what level we should be at this stage.

Can anyone suggest any books or resources that we can use. There are few BOND comprehension books I got from Waterstones, but I don't find anything on creative writing.

Please help!

Much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:51 am 
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We were a bit 'stuck' on how to approach creative writing too. Advice I have been given has been to encourage dc to read, read and read some more. Certainly, my ds has 'poached' sub plots from books he's read when stuck for writing ideas. Also we look at creative writing for entrance exams as a 'formula'; Good, clear structure (ie; stimulating opening, simple but well developed plot, clear ending), throw in imaginative vocabulary, similes, metaphors, etc and re-check spellings and punctuation.

This probably doesn't work for everyone and I was wary of stifling ds's creativity by making the work formulaic but it works for him as he is a slow starter (and I'm very aware they have to write a story from scratch in about 30-45 minutes for a lot of the exams).


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:37 am 
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Thanks grgygirl for your response.

I am also looking for a tutor who can help with creative writing and comprehension skills.

Please pm me.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:07 am 
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We used a tutor and she helped him to improve his writing technique, by writing a couple of pages and she critiqued what he wrote.
She also had helped him with comprehension.
He went to her for 10 weeks and got an academic scholarship offer.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:06 pm 
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DD is struggling to finish all comprehensions questions in time (Godolphin papers). We wondered about the technique of tackling the big mark questions first. I know 11+ grammar exams are purely all about the marks, and so this method would work for these exams, but independent exams see a bit less calculable. Does anyone know if this technique is advised or conversely frowned upon by independent schools when marking?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:44 pm 
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My two best tips for descriptive writing:
Use pictures to encourage creative vocabulary - get a range of them (I used to have a card mounted, for example, with photos of different hands - a baby's, an old person's, a couple's intertwined hands - you get the idea) and encourage description and story telling around them. Use a photo of an old person and another of a small child to look at the face and the eyes and the hair; a calm lake contrasted with a busy street; a refugee camp and people sunbathing in droves on a tropical beach. It's so much easier to have something tangible rather than just 'think of a story'. Under exam conditions they need then to 'make the picture in their head'. Takes practice but can be done.

Use all the senses - not just what you can see or hear but also think about atmosphere, what you can 'feel' and smell and taste.

I am not someone who would ever say 'read read and read again' - that is great if you love reading, but it is absolutely not the case that children who don't can't learn to write. Creative writing is imho generally a largely pointless activity - certainly less useful than things like organising an argument or a letter, and speaking clearly and articulately. I wonder why schools think this a good way of determining promising students - unless they are after a certain type who are destined to be authors of fiction.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:20 pm 
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enema wrote:
DD is struggling to finish all comprehensions questions in time (Godolphin papers). We wondered about the technique of tackling the big mark questions first.
Does anyone know if this technique is advised or conversely frowned upon by independent schools when marking?


The highest mark questions are in the middle of the paper for the consortium comprehension precisely so that students don't run out of time and miss out the question with the highest weighting. As to which they should do first - well, if the child finishes the paper, no one will know, will they? But in truth, no marker is bothered about things like that.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:03 pm
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Location: Cheshire
http://www.thehazeleyacademy.com/wp-con ... ronyms.pdf

Reasonable mastery of these concepts is all that is required for your child to get that Scholarship.(for 10yr-11yr olds only a rudimentary understanding is necessary )

It only took me 40+ years of life and experience to get a grip of it! Even to this day, I learn more and continually fine tune my abilities and get better every day :)

I really struggled with English as a child but could do calculus at 8, a very strange child!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
There is no special marking for the consortium papers that is different to state school comprehension marking. The consortium papers are much more predictable. There are 18 past papers to practice with so by the time you have done them all timing should not be a problem.

Work sequentially through the paper but spend more time on the big mark questions.

I love the consortium papers. All students I know of who have prepared with them have done very well in the consortium exams.

I think Creative Writing is a terrific indicator of potential. Being able to weave a plot and present ideas is a critical skill for GCSE DG


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