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 Post subject: Tutor proof?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:04 pm
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Hi all. Having a son about to go through the Warwickshire testing process this year, I was wondering how you feel about the test? Did you do lots of preparation? Have you been successful? Would you recommend the need to tutor? Have those children who were expected to pass, passed?

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:55 pm
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Depends where you live, really.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:43 pm
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Hi

we have just gone through the process with child1 and now have a break til child2 does or doesnt take the 11plus in 2011. I have to say that private tutoring wasnt a financial option we could take and we had to rely on some downloaded free test papers for practice - a bit like the blind leading the blind really. Additionally, I was actually quite shocked when i found out the number of my childs peers who were actually having private tuition for the test and really did think at one point that he had no chance whatsoever of passing. However, luckily for us, he did pass, with flying colours and we are very proud of him, so for us certainly, not having any private tuition didnt make any difference whatsoever. I remember on the day of the test itself, his feedback was that "those who had had tuition said it hadnt made any difference".


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:05 am
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My DS did 11 plus in 2008, and several friends have done it in 2008 or 2009 with varying results.

It seems that the magic ingredient is confidence. Despite being the top of the class or being academic, those who panicked, were very nervous or simply were overwhelmed with the huge number of questions to be answered within a very short time frame failed to get through.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:38 pm 
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I agree with Rugby Mum. My three all had tuition but the first one didn't have very much and was really nervous when she came to take the test. She didn't get through.

Both her siblings, who took it after her, did. They both had tuition, and although with one of them I don't think it made much difference as they are 'gifted', it really helped the other one as when it came to it he wasn't phased by the test and kept his head and was relaxed at the end.

I really don't think he would have been so relaxed had he not been well prepared by the tutor he had.

I think you have to consider your child and their personality. I also think that there will always be the exceptionally gifted ones who will get through with or without tuition, but for the rest, whom I feel are the majority, being well prepared helps. It certainly can't hinder them. You can do this yourself if you are willing and able to take the time and effort. And the guilt if they don't get through. Having a tutor is a way to give that problem to somone exterior to the family, if you can afford it. They ain't cheap.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:18 pm
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Hello

I think the format of the October 2009 exam is about as tutor-proof as it can get.

We used a tutor for our daughter, and I have the feeling that the vast majority of the tutoring time was spent on 'technique'. However, the format of the actual exam meant that there were many questions that required a different tecnique to the ones our daughter had been tutored in. Luckily, she didn't panic on the day. But it's very dangerous to assume that you'll cover all bases simply by employing a tutor (even if it's one that has a good reputation and has been recommended) because if your child is on 'auto-pilot' on the day then he or she may be fazed by unfamiliar questions.

In retrospect, would we still have hired a tutor? The answer is yes, but mainly because of the motivational and confidence factors that the tutor brought rather than the tutoring itself. But that's a personal thing based on my daughter's character.

If you believe that preparation is key (and I myself would definitely fall in to that camp!) and (no disrespect to anybody reading this) you, i.e. the parents, are reasonably academic then I would say that tutoring your child yourself should be sufficient so long as you can also keep your child interested, motivated and not make them see you as 'nasty people making him/her work'.

My top tips, for what they're worth are:
1. Start tutoring with one year to go. It soon goes quickly.
2. Keep it steady throughout the year, and relatively light for the first few months. You don't want burn out or to create rebellion.
3. For verbal and non-verbal reasoning variety is the key. Get them used to having to use as many techniques as possible but to also expect the unexpected in the actual exams. Use as many different publishers as possible (Bond, Letts etc etc).
4. Definitely, definitely improve your child's vocabulary. To be honest, this was my biggest concern because, bless her, she's never really been in to Harry Potter or any books in general, thruth be told. And if a child doesn't know a word that is part of the question or the answer itself then no amount of technique is going to make up for it.
5. Maths - this is probably the one area where technique is not the answer, but sheer ability is. There's no way getting around it, try to improve your child's maths as much as possible. If you're considering a tutor and your own maths isn't up to it then it may be worth hiring a tutor and asking him/her to concentrate on that area whilst you look after more of the verbal & non-verbal reasoning.
6. If the exam format is the same as this years, then make sure your child understands that they will not be able to answer all the questions. To give you an idea, the maximum mark achievable this year was 504 but the passmark for Warwickshire East was only 302. The key bit of advice is: DON'T LET YOURSELF GET STUCK ON A QUESTION. IF YOU CAN'T ANSWER IT QUICKLY THEN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT QUESTION - THERE ARE PLENTY MORE WHERE YOU CAN PICK UP MARKS!
7. Verbal Reasoning - please note that the definition of this appears to include comprehension (eventhough the answers are multiple choice) and not just traditional verbal reasoning questions.
8. If there are only 15 seconds left at the end of a section then simply mark all remaining answers 'A', or 'B' or whatever - statistically, you should get 25% of these correct and you don't lose marks for getting it wrong.
9. Don't bother asking whether they think they passed or not or ask them to recite details of questions they found easy or hard etc. They won't have a clue and you'll just get worked up and they'll end up crying. Trust me!

Hope that was of use to the parents of those kids taking it for 2011 entry. Best of luck.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:05 am
Posts: 349
Fantastic answer! Thanks UKST 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:44 pm 
I agree. It is a fantastic answer.

The only thing I would qualify is, that if your exam is similar to the KE Birmingham one, then there really is no traditional verbal reasoning at all, only cloze tests, comprehension and synonyms which I would call English.

So endless time on VR might be better spent on comprehension, spelling aand vocabulary.

Hopefully, if I am wrong in this, someone will correct me, but I have not done verbal reasoning with any of my students who are just doing a University of Durham exam.


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