Two of ours took their exams under the old system - DS1 2007 for 2008 entry and DD 2011 for 2012.
Come the relevant March 1st, the LA email telling us that DS1 had been allocated a place at his first-preference school was what mattered to us; the subsequent email from the CSSE telling us that he had actually done quite well in the exam was nice but no longer a big deal. Unfortunately for DD the LA email told us that she had been allocated a place a school we hadn't even looked at
and the CSSE email merely told us by how much she had missed the cut-off.
DS2 took the CSSE test last September; his score actually made a place at either of the local GSs a dead cert
and he also achieved a score in the test for a popular partially-selective school a few miles away which would easily have gained a place there in the past, but just to be on the safe side, I still went through the procedure of naming five schools on the CAF in his / our true order of preference.
Would we have done things differently for DS2 under the old system? Probably not. The school we named in third place after the two GSs was his sister's 'Non-ranked Allocation'; ironically, just before DS2 took the 11+ we lost his sibling connection, as DD had just got an in-year place at the GS she had wanted to go to in the first place, but we knew that for several years the school had been far enough under PAN to be fairly sure of an 'any other applicant' place if needs be.
However, things might have gone differently for DD if we had known her result before filling in her CAF. Her score was such that we didn't appeal and had we known it in advance of school applications we probably wouldn't have dared put her first choice on the CAF at all. Nor her fourth choice - the other girls' GS in the borough. Choice 2 was the aforementioned partially-selective; under the old rules, their scores were never divulged but we know from the info that we got with DS2's application that the last score in in her year was not a stunning one so she must have done quite badly there as well
. Choice 3 was a partially-selective in the CSSE, as far away from us as choice 2 but in the opposite direction. Choice 5 was our 'catchment' comp - we didn't really want a place and hey-ho we had already been told that it was too over-subscribed for her to get a place from where we live anyway.
So DD would probably have ended up at the same non-ranked school, but I probably wouldn't have been in correspondence with the first-choice GS and the LA, keeping her on the CI list, having them invite her to retest and her getting one of the three in-year places which came up. She was far from unhappy at the first school, but I hope she likes being at the GS more.