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 Post subject: Impact of date change
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:53 am 
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DS has just sat his 11+. Like everyone here, we only discovered that the dates had been moved forward from November to September last January.

3 years ago, eldest DS sat his 11+, so having gone through this twice, I wanted to put my thoughts down about the impact of moving the dates forward

Firstly, we had less preparation time - we really missed the extra 2 months and had to work really hard to ensure that he was well prepared. We were ready a month or so earlier, with DS 2 we were preparing right to the last moment

DS2 was far less consistent - I think that this was down to not having so much time on exam technique

We realised early in the summer that we were behind, as a result we were doing lots more work in the summer holidays - at least 4 hours per day. This may sound extreme, however, we were at the point where we either gave up or really went for it.

The last 3 weeks since term began have been really hard, DS has been working mornings, evenings and weekends. We were only able to work like this because DS was up for it - there were tears, and raised stress levels on occasions, however, on the whole, it was a positive experience and DS learned a lot about himself.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:19 am 
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Bringing the date forward meant that we had to start preparing DD in the summer holidays. Four hours a day? Absolutely not. DS sat exam 2 years ago and didn't begin any prep what-so-ever until he began year 6. We were furious that any time at all had to be spent during the holidays on prep.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:27 am 
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Location: N London
Thanks so much inmystride I was beginning to panic there, I don't think my dd would have taken kindly to four hours a day (have also heard this at her school from other parents) but its hard not to think you have done them a disservice with insufficient prep when you hear of this sort of thing! Our area is superselective and over populated - over 1600 sitting for 93 places, so I suppose it depends what you think your dc needs or can take......


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:55 am 
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I had one child who took the 11plus at the end of October and then by the time the second child took it (5 years ago) the exam was in the first week of September. It really made no difference and was nice to have it out of the way. Remember all the kids are in the same boat and maybe it is better if the summer holiday really is a holiday...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:33 am 
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I am trying to make several points. There are many parents like me who work many hours with our children. Parents seeking advice on this forum should have a realistic idea what other people are doing.

There is a group of children who are so capable that they will probably pass the 11+ with little of no preparation, however, this is just the top 5% or less. Then there is a large group who will require preparation and coaching, some more, some less; this probably represents 75% of children taking the 11+, then there is a small group, say 20% who will take the 11+, but are probably not able to pass.

The reality of the 11+ is that some children who have done loads of preparation will pass, while other, more capable children, who are less prepared will not pass. Unfair? not at all, this is exactly the same situation as any other exam.

One thing that really winds me up is people complaining about parent "hot housing" their kids to pass the 11+ when they are really not good enough for a GS place: Every child who passes the 11+ has earned a GS place - often the children who had to work hardest are some of the more successful students

The facts are that 80% of children taking the 11+ are probably capable of getting a place at GS, however, less than 30% will get a place (some areas much less)

I can say, categorically that if we waited until the summer holiday my DS would stand little or no chance of passing the 11+. I can also say that if we had not been working for 12+ hours per week for the past 8 months (and many more hours for the past 2 months) then he would not stand a chance. As things stand he has a fair chance, but far from certain


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:01 am 
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I totally agree that date change does affect kids - in terms of prep time available, and also in terms of maturity! My DS is a late July kid, so he's basically just turned 10 - and he'll be competing against kids who are almost 11, and not all schools to age weighting. For him EVERY 2 months count - I'm sure by January when he sits indies exams, he'll be definitely a few steps up in terms of his overall readiness.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:28 am
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I think a lot depends on the format of exam your child takes, and whether the school is a super-selective, as to the impact the date-change has made. Through being on this forum and regularly visiting all the regional boards, I have a finer and fuller appreciation of the range of tests and preparation that DD's fellow 11+ candidates have to go through :D

Some regions have VR, some have 2 VR papers, some have NVR and VR, some have Maths, English and VR - or all four. Some have multiple choice throughout, some standard format, some, like part of Essex, have a mixture of Multiple Choice and Standard, so the options, requirements and choices for preparation and familiarization will be different. For for some people, the idea of more than a couple of familiarization papers, seems an unacceptable burden on their child, whether they're facing 1 VR exam of all four possibilities.

Whilst it's certainly true to say that all the 11+ candidates are in the same boat, in terms of the exam being brought forward, they're not all in the same boat, in terms of what they face on the day. Perhaps it's logical to suggest that a child who sits one VR paper for a catchment GS, will have had to do less "catch-up" than a child who sits an NVR/VR/English/Maths combination for a super-selective, as a result of the date-change?

It had an effect on us and our time-tabling plans - how could it not, when you have to somehow squeeze 8 lost weeks of preparation into your schedule?

Unless they decided to change the date again, it will realistically only effect the 2013 intake; so 2014 parents may feel the "voyage" and "trials" we've endured since the announcement was made, is irrelevant to them.

I suppose one has no other choice than to take the pragmatic approach - accept it, deal with it, do it and move on to life's next hurdle :roll:


Last edited by bravado on Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:18 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
This year's cohort probably have had less time to prepare than in previous years - but from next year the September dates will be known well in advance so people will have more time to prepare. Is that a good thing? I certainly think it's hard on the kids to have to work over their summer holidays for an exam that was (in our case) only 4 days into the new term. We didn't do anything like the 4 hours a day mentioned above, but it still meant that there wasn't a complete break from schoolwork over the summer, which isn't entirely desirable IMHO.

Some of the schools around here are talking about shifting the exam back to the end of the summer term at the end of Y5. That would mean that the kids still got a proper summer break, and it would allow less opportunity for very intensive tutoring in the immediate run-up to the exam, which I think they see as an issue with the current timings.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:30 am 
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I agree that the impact of the dates depends some what on how many subjects your DC is being tested on. This has been significant for us in that the school we really really love has two stage testing. This means that we have focused most of our attention on the subjects DS will need to get through the first stage and if he is lucky enough to be successful there, we have a little over a month to focus on the other subjects exclusively for the second sitting.

Of course it would be great to get it all out of the way in one hit, but the fact that we may have an extra month to brush up on maths and essay writing without even having to think about VR, NVR or comprehension is a massive help in terms of timetabling. And of course, an extra couple of months maturity in terms of what he will be doing at school will all help. (Of course he still has to pass the first test before any of this is relevant ............ :roll: )


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:33 am 
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Quote:
Some of the schools around here are talking about shifting the exam back to the end of the summer term at the end of Y5. That would mean that the kids still got a proper summer break, and it would allow less opportunity for very intensive tutoring in the immediate run-up to the exam, which I think they see as an issue with the current timings.


In which case 11+ will be a complete misnomer. In fact some of the children will only be 9. :shock:


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