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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:10 pm
Posts: 21
As mentioned last October, the Warwickshire 11+ test was not difficult.
The greatest difficulty was time. It is a speed test.

The maths was not above year 6 SATS maths standard, which means a capable year 4 child could answer many questions.

My son, who took the exam and passed stated his year 4 brother, (who was at just level 2A in year 2 and increased to 4C in year 3) could have answered over half of the maths questions. If you saw the samples questions, a year 2 children at 3A could have answered them.

Warwickshire CLAIM the test is tutor proof (I don't believe it), which means they CANNOT go above year 6. Children just start year 6 when they take the test, so the maths cannot be as difficult as KES exams or some independent school tests.

It is good practice is to do all past Maths Year 6 SATS papers and all Comprehension papers in the summer holidays before year 6 starts (work, play and relax!). Maths SATS is 45 mins, but give them just 35 minutes, because Maths SATS is for the entire year ability. 11+ are for the "top" stream. 45 minutes is too long and 11+ is time pressure and most children do not get time to check answers.

VR, NVR - just practice papers you can find. These require practice. Above all, increase a child's vocabulary. Find a few new words every week, explain what they mean and try and encourage the use of the words so it becomes
part of a their "normal" vocabulary. Reading a child's dictionary is boring, but it does improve vocabulary... a few pages a day keeps boredom at bay. 15 minutes is enough, else it is too boring!

My advice is to start small amounts of work in year 4. Build up vocabulary and maths. Ensure they are 1 year ahead in maths.

After Jan in year 5 slowly start short 10-15 min papers in Maths, Comprehension, VR, NVR. After Easter build up to full papers in each subject. The summer holidays are time for work, rest and play.

After 11+ relax until January. No extra studying unless they take a private school exam, and then the school will "hot house" SATS, which should be a breeze anyway.

Starting it all in year 5 can be too much pressure.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:53 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:23 pm
Posts: 352
Well we took a diferent approach from many in that we believe the tests are carefully developed to try to ensure that natural ability rather than taught (ie tutored) ability should win through. So we didn't do any tutoring , the only thing we did was buy one pack of Letts 11+ tests from ebay and my son did one of those a week in the summer holidays prior to the 11+ so he had an idea of the type of questions he may come across.

But verbal reasoning and non verbal reasoning in my opinion depend on children having quite quick thought processes etc so they can spot patterns and also a fairly good grasp of language so a prolific reader should have that and it isn't necessarily something that can be taught in my humble opinion.

My son doesn't really read fiction, he reads loads of factual books but has never been interested particularly in stories and I wondered if that might hinder him but I think the fact he reads lots of non fiction probably wasn't an issue in the end, it just helped to be a quick reader.

In terms of the test itself, interestingly my son said it was nothing like he expected at all. He says he finished most sections quite comfortably in the time apart from one, he said on that section when they gave the minute warning, he flicked through and did the obvious remaining questions that he could answer quickly and then just picked random answers for the few he had left on the basis any answer was better than a blank!

I didn't get much detail - a reading style comp where they had to insert the correct word which he said he thought was the hardest section. Literacy would be his weaker side.

Mathematically he is quite able and he said the maths wasn't hard. When pressed he said there was a fair bit around percentages and fractions type questions? Maths is his strength though and we kind of were relying on that being the part that may gain him a place.

But mostly he said he couldn't really remember! Anyway, we have confirmation he has a place and i guess we'll get his overall score today, he may just have scraped in for all I know!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:10 pm
Posts: 21
All children are different. Parents do what is best for their child.

We did not want to take any risks and we worked hard.
To me, the test requires practice, especially time management.
He clearly did more work than required and said the maths was easy
and a year 4 child could answer half the questions. This is his opinion.
He also did very well in NVR. We found so many errors in commercial papers.

English was going to be his worst paper.

He claimed there were no Bond style VR type questions in the 11+ tests.
I am not sure if this is true.

The work was not wasted. His NVR practice is for life.
I don't think NVR increases with age, as he would perform better than graduates on Bond tests only because he practiced. Eg even with tables: a child is often quicker than adults because of current practice.

"Are you cleverer than a 10 year old?" No... is true for many parents.
I realise that now.

Without revealing the exact marks, my son’s score was within the top 10% of East/South combined so could have qualified for any grammar school, or be top of the waiting list. The work paid off for him.

I am sure many children scored higher marks without much effort.
My son achieved through effort, I don't think he is naturally "intelligent".

Even though he worked hard, he would still play console games, computer games,
watch over 10 hours television a week, go to football, karate, swimming etc and play with friends.

Work hard, and play hard and relax doing very little when he wants.
It was his choice and he wanted to study and pass the 11+. He was not forced.

We even took time off school for holidays (naughty!) and he took time a "sickie" from school just before the 11+ to revise.

A child learns more in 1 week at home than a half term in school!
He asked to take a few days off to study. Who was I to say no?

After he finished his studies he was free to do what ever he wanted.
That was my strategy.

I will follow the same strategy for my younger son, but start preparation in year 4 instead of year 5 to lower the pressure. In year 4 it means learning year 5 maths and vocabulary building. He won't do any tests in year 4.

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