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 Post subject: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
Does anyone know if the CEM "verbal reasoning" section (which seems be be more "English" in every other publisher's parlance*) requires them to know what is a metaphor, preposition, rhetorical question, definite article, personification, etc? ds's school obviously haven't done this with him!

My feeling is that these kind of questions go against the CEM ethos* of testing ability rather than what has been taught so we can safely ignore them (or at least not focus too much on them) - but I'd really welcome any information about whether they've cropped up in the past.

The CEM definition of Verbal Reasoning as per the KES admissions policy:
Verbal reasoning involves the manipulation of verbal representations and the solving of verbally presented problems. Arrangement of words and phrases, spelling and language ability as well as logic and problem solving skills are needed in verbal reasoning. Included in this section is comprehension which tests the ability to make inferences as to meaning within and between phrases, sentences and paragraphs; to derive the ‘gist’ of the meaning from a text; understand the vocabulary, and extract interpretations of the written language. The section will include a ‘Cloze Test’ of several short passages of prose. It needs an overall understanding of the passage, but it requires a closer attention to the grammatical and syntactic elements of written language than in the comprehension test. The candidate selects the most appropriate word so as to make sense of the phrase and/or sentence.

*quick note to self - check if ds knows the meaning of "parlance" and "ethos" :)


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Location: Warwickshire
Hi Okanagan again

Just to say I hope they are not in the paper. My dd was pretty hazy as to what a verb was (she certainly knows now) but we haven't done much grammar. I must keep checking to see if you get any answers!


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:12 pm 
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Location: South Warwickshire
I have also noticed that my daughter has no idea what a verb or noun is, let alone a preposition or conjunction, as questions on grammar sometimes come up in practice papers. (Obviously grammar is not part of the national curriculum these days, or else she hasn't be listening much in school!) Nothing can be ruled out for certain, but this knowledge has not been required when my first two children sat the Warks CEM exam (2008 and 2010) and I would be surprised if it did come up this year. I have not bothered going into grammar as it only bores her and uses up time that could be spent on other things. Although I would prefer her to know this stuff, I am fairly confident it won't be necessary for the exam. Just my thoughts - usual caveats apply!


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
Thanks - I'll go along with my instincts and ignore those questions then. At least if they do come up it sounds like everyone else - at least from the state primaries - will be in the same boat! ds does seem to have covered the basics - noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc - at school, but that's about as far as it goes.


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:15 am 
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Location: Herts
Grammar is taught or should be. Go into Smiths and look in any book for Year 4 English and you will find metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, verb, adjective, noun, adverb, colons etc. What they do not seem to be taught is how to apply these things in creative writing. As they are not using them they soon forget them. I find that when I first talk about them they look a bit hazy and then remember. But they can very quickly be taught how to use them and then you would be amazed how soon they are using them all the time. They are not boring at all but a fundamental part of how to write properly. As GCSE's are now going to include marks for grammar and punctuation it is worth paying much more attention to these things. There are plenty of English exams that expect knowledge of this and I expect them to be included more and more as time goes on. DG


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:52 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
Daogroupie wrote:
Grammar is taught or should be. Go into Smiths and look in any book for Year 4 English and you will find metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, verb, adjective, noun, adverb, colons etc. What they do not seem to be taught is how to apply these things in creative writing.
I'd say it's the other way round - I can see plenty of evidence in ds's writing (which he doesn't need to do for CEM) that he uses all of those (and actually with the exception of metaphor and onomatopoeia he did already know the definitions of all those you've listed), but give him a question which asks him to pick out a definite article, rhetorical question, allusion, modal verb or relative pronoun (all seen on papers recently) and there's a total blank.

Given that the section on the paper he has to do is called "verbal reasoning" (although it's not really the usual definiton of VR) rather than "English" or "grammar" then we can only assume that they'll be looking at comprehension/reading for meaning rather than whether they know grammatical terminology. With only 11 preparation days left now learning those definitions, if we're not likely to need them, is something which can probably wait until after the exam.

Amazingly, having been reluctant to let me teach him at first, ds has now had some kind of Damascene conversion and asked if we can still carry on (after a bit of a break) with some more lessons after that exam :o so perhaps we'll cover them then. Which could be a bit of a challenge as I'm of the generation when teaching grammar in schools was out of fashion, so I rather suspect that ds's current knowledge of the theory is already not too far behind mine! (Having checked, I'm not imagining that I wasn't taught grammar at school as I found this paper outlining the history of grammar teaching in the 20th century which coincides exactly with what I remember of the way English was taught when I was at school.)


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:47 am 
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Location: Herts
I have no doubt at all that you were not taught grammar at school. The fact that I was not had a very dramatic lasting impact on me at 19 when I was expected to learn Anglo Saxon at University for an English degree with no grammatical background at all. Everyone else on the course had done Latin at school and the department refused to give me any help at all. "You students from state schools will be asking us to teach you how to read and write next." was the comment from the English Professor at the time. I was fascinated to read about Henry Sweet in the very interesting paper you posted as it was Sweet's Anglo Saxon Primer that haunted me and sits on my bookshelf to this day. In the end I hired a local retired English teacher who taught me what I needed to know. I ended up with a great love of Anglo Saxon poetry and the ability to translate any passage put in front of me. I even wrote my own poetry in Anglo Saxon poetry but it was all too late for that crucial pass mark in the first term. The National Literacy Strategy should make sure that no student goes into a entrance exam for a State Secondary or a course at a State University without the tools they need to do well. I hope that no student is ever made to feel as inferior as I was made to feel for not knowing something that was not taught at State School at that time. So yes, this subject is very very close to my heart as my life was changed by it. Have you ever seen the TV show "Are you smarter than a ten year old?" Nearly all the adults are unable to answer the grammar questions that are answered with great ease by the ten year olds. I have made very sure that my dd's and all my students know all the grammar they will need. My elder dd will start Latin next year and one of the main reasons I was sad to turn down her place at Henrietta Barnett was because she would have started Latin in Year 7, something that would have made a great difference in my life. There is a whole generation of parents who have missed out. DG


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:35 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
I hope you're all right and that grammar isn't in the paper (my dd doesn't seem to have been taught much grammar either - or else has conveniently forgotten it) but what worries me is that in the GL Assessment papers there are questions about grammar, I've seen one about omnomatopeia, proper/common nouns, prepositions (what are they?). My dd knows nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and that's all we're doing. We're concentrating on clozes.

I am worried about the 11 days left! My dd has amazingly asked me to nag her to do a paper every other day (that's not many now!) but the fact she has asked me suggests she is worried. It sounds like you all think the dreaded codes (well, dreaded for us) are unlikely to crop up? But that comprehension is important; we have not practised that so much.

This forum is great; apart from the person whose child was doing 5 papers a day and sent me into panic, everything's been really helpful. I had never thought of getting my dd to wear a watch, or even take her own pencils and rubber.


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:24 am 
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Parts of speech will be important in the synonyms sections, as most words are homonyms. I would have thought that grammar was fundamentally important in this exam.


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 Post subject: Re: CEM verbal reasoning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:32 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
Hi,

At this late stage, is it worth concentrating on English rather than VR?


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