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 Post subject: when to 'peak'
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:52 pm
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I was hoping someone could advise as I am new to all of this. I have read comments about 'peaking' and in particular about 'peaking' too early, but I'm not at all sure what that means.

I started coaching my DS in March, in preparation for a November exam. So far we have been focussing on verbal reasoning, 10 mins a night Monday to Friday, with 1 hour paper on Sunday. We have covered all of the typical VR question types and sat 4 papers to check level of understanding. Now I am moving DS onto maths and expect to spend the next couple of months covering topics he has not yet learnt at school. I expect by the end of June, he will have the knowledge he needs in both VR and maths, and can concentrate on practise to improve speed and accuracy, giving him 4 clear months.

Roughly how often should DS practise papers from July onwards to 'peak' in November.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:44 am 
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Hello,
I can't be specific to your area which is not the same as mine.However the friends I have who have complained of "peaking" issues have, in my opinion, been overdoing it.I think often a child just reaches saturation point, gets fed up and starts making silly errors.
You sound like you have a sensible approach.I would keep on going at the level you are and switch to full practice papers in the summer, when he is off school and not too often.Try and do a full mock or two under test conditions.(I wish I had done this for my second child)
You may find that posting in your area might get some more detailed information.
Good luck. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:12 am 
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Thanks Chelmsford Mum


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:57 pm
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Location: London
I know all areas vary but for what its worth I think what you're doing sounds just right. The key thing for nearer the time is to work on doing full tests within the time frame - I know a lot of clever children who didn't quite get the urgency of finishing things in the exam. So in the couple of months before the test I would do full tests at least a couple of times a week

I think the other important thing is to keep aware of how your child is coping and ease off if it's getting a bit much - some seem to cope better than others. Keeping it all light at home and apparently not that important helps with keeping them relaxed. They get enough of a feeling of how important it all is without us emphasising it. But again they're all different and some might need a bit of pressure - it can be a hard one to call!

Good luck with it all - and have confidence in your child - feeling good about themselves is a definite boost so accentuate the positive.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:29 am 
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One thing we did was when we moved onto the second suject after covering the first (my DD had to do Maths, Verbal, Non-verbal reasoning and English) was to keep in touch with the first subject rather than stopping it altogether. This meant that there she did not forget the techinques etc she had learnt. Bond do a series of 10 min tests which are very good for this purpose.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:52 pm
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Thank you all for your advice.

I will be sure to add a couple of 10 minute VR tests each week to keep the subject fresh.

One thing I did notice was that approach seems to depend on both the child and the subject. DS did a VR full test each week and loved to see the scores go up at the weekend after tackling more of the question types during the week. I gave him one maths paper to do to check knowledge gaps, and he got really upset when confronted with a question for a topic he hadn't covered, so it will be a while before I try him with another maths paper.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Location: London
sorry if it sounds a bit obvious but that's exactly what you want to be avoiding when it comes to it. It's very easy for them to panic at something unfamiliar and go to pieces ruining the rest of the paper. I would encourage him to think there may well be something he hasnt seen before and be prepared for that. Read it carefully if he doesnt know how to do it circle the question number, leave it and go back if there's time at the end - when he then has a try or a guess.

Not getting thrown off course is really important - whether its by unfamiliar questions, another child being ill , a bee in the room or whatever - trying to instill a relaxed - 'oh look, there's the question I dont know how to do, I knew there'd be one' - kind of approach seems to help because then they get on with the rest - and usually once they revisit the question realise they can have a shot at it anyway


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:20 pm 
From my experience as a tutor, peaking usually happens when a reasonably clever child has started the process too early, ends up at the peak of their ability and enthusiasm at the wrong time and goes off the boil due to tedium. This is slightly different to reaching saturation point due to over-testing.

I doubt you have started early enough to risk peaking and avoiding saturation is a matter of keeping it into persepective. Sometimes parents will start over testing as a result of a child having one off-day, and then things can go rapidly down hill, as in parent panicks due to poor score, makes child sit another for reassurance but often when child is not in mood, another bad score results, making parent even more anxious etc. etc..

As to avoiding confronting child with the unfamiliar in case they go into meltdown, I would agree with this if you can totally predict what is going to be in your exam (e.g. a typical NFER-written paper) but, if your exam is ever-changing and demanding (e.g. a University of Durham exam), then it is very important that the child is confronted with material they haven't totally covered so they learn to cope with the unfamiliar and even accept they won't be able to do everything so they won't lose the plot during the exam.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:33 pm 
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I couldn't agree with you more fm, we're a classic example of exactly that mistake you quoted.

We (being completely new to the whole experience), let our relatively bright DS to sit VR papers (Bucks exam), around 3 times a week (from many of the sources mentioned on this site) consisting of books, papers & tests. Because he enjoyed doing them, I didn't ever sit back & realise we were doing too much. Then a few weeks before his actual exam I started looking at his falling scores & encouraged him then to sit even more :oops: , he of course got worse, so 2 weeks before, I suddenly realised the mistake we'd made & didn't let him look at another VR paper until 2 days before his test, his score still wasn't as high as in the early days but it was a good pass. He did 'just' pass the real exam.
In complete contrast he went on to sit Kent & Medway tests passing with high results, after just a few days training on NVR before the test.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:52 pm
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Thanks for your replies. I think I will cover a couple of maths topics with him and then get him to sit another test that includes an example of the topic just covered. I can then reassure him that we will have covered most of the questions he's likely to be asked by the time he takes the exam. At the same time I can highlight that it's perfectly normal for there to be a question of two he can't answer and he shouldn't let it concern him.


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