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 Post subject: 11+ prep without tutors
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:06 pm
Posts: 26
Can I ask if you think it is possible to prepare a child for the 11+ Exams without using a tutor?

What level of commitment is required by parent and DC?

Is Year 4 too late to start? Having said that this academic year is almost over.

Your thoughts and advice please. ☺️


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 4024
Location: Reading
We diy'ed and DD got a place. There's plenty on here who do.
There are pros and cons to it. Pros being its more flexible and cheaper. Cons being you don't necessarily know what level you are aiming at, (this site can help with that though)and your child may not work well with you.

Most don't start any work until year 5, so if you were doing some gentle prep in year 4 you certainly wouldn't be behind.

It would help if you said what school or schools you were looking at and we could give some better guidance.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:20 pm
Posts: 124
As Tinkers mentioned, every year there is a contingent of parents who DIY and succeed in helping their DC pass grammar and selective independent 11+ exams.

We did it two years ago and, in our case, it required a fair amount of planning and involvement on our part. If you take this route, one factor to consider is the parent-child dynamic - in our family, the teaching relationship worked better between DD and me (dad) than with DW.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience (although not bumps-free). From a shared family experience perspective, I am really happy that we chose to go DIY.

Feel free to PM me if you have further questions.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
Posts: 631
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
We DIY-ed and DD passed all her entrance tests with flying colours. The key was that DD wanted to do it. The rest fell into place. We didn't really start properly until start of Y5. I have bored the socks off people in this forum as to what I did so if you are interested then either pm me or search for my other posts.


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:25 pm
Posts: 233
I suppose it depends whether or not your DC is happy being taught by mum/dad. 11+ is a long and sometimes difficult road. It will require extra patience. As a parent it is very easy to get frustrated when they get seemingly simple questions wrong. Sometimes it happens repeatedly. I think a lot of it is down to how the adult manages the practice/study sessions and keeps the child motivated/engaged in the process.


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 7:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:15 am
Posts: 149
I think it is perfectly possible and we are doing it right now preparing for September 2016. It did take A LOT OF time and effort for me to familiarise myself with exam format, question types, brush up on all my maths skills, etc. cos if you want to diy you need to first know what you are doing, so a fair amount of preparation ahead of you as a diy parent. I feel at times like me and my dc are both sitting the test, as I am so much involved, often do the tests with my dc to understand the problems he may encounter while doing them (it does help a lot to put yourself in their shoes, find the best ways of tacking issues your dc might be having with exam technique, time management). I bought tons of books, found so many great recommendations on the forum, got probably more than we can finish but it allowed me to choose the ones I find the best. It is stressful at times, but then so is probably sending your dc to a tutor. When I compare myself to some parents I know who decided to go the tutoring route, I am glad we are diying and I would do it again. I see parents who choose tuition either thinking that the tutor will do the whole job and not getting involved (which I would find very risky as I like to be in control and be aware of all the weaknesses and strengths of my dc) or they do get involved anyway so kind of diying alongside the tuition, but having the support and guidance of the tutor. We are yet to find out how our diy approach worked out when my dc sits the test, but he did a mock recently and scored in the top 15% so i am hopeful.
We started seriously in year 5, that said, however, in year 4, although not formally preparing for the 11 plus, we were just doing various stuff in maths to make sure he is good at different areas and has no difficulties, he was reading quite a bit too, in the end i found at the beginning of year 5 that what we had done in year 4 made him up to date with most of the curriculum areas so when we started diying not much revision was needed, which made it easier and more relaxed. The plus side of diying is that if you have any younger dcs, then next time you will be well prepared and more experienced doing it again yourself.
To sum up, I would say diy route requires you to invest quite a bit of your own time and of course you need to have the knowledge and skills necessary to explain and teach your dc the maths, nvr and English. If you are able and prepared to do it, then diying is perfectly possible. To make your child used to learning with you start slowly now and see how it goes. If it doesn't work for you, you can always think about supplementing with tuition from year 5.


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 7:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:54 pm
Posts: 15
We are currently going down the diy route too. My son is in year 5 & due to take the test in Sept.

My son has always worked well with me (when he's in the right mood) so it seemed sensible to stick with that. We too did some basic prep in year 4 but stepped it up in year 5.

We have a set timetable each week of when we work on 11 plus - that seems to be working. But also if there is a day when we feel like we are not getting anywhere we can stop and schedule in another time instead.

My son is really keen on attaining a place, there he is working really hard. Many of his friends are being tutored, but diy seems to be working for us & it's nice that i know his strengths & weaknesses.

I don't think diy will work for everyone but i believe the working relationship you have is key!

Obviously i won't know until after the test if it worked for us, i will let you know!

Best of luck whatever you decide.


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 6:45 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:06 pm
Posts: 26
Dear All

Many thanks for your replies. It's been interesting to read your experiences. I feel quite scared about it all to be honest. I can see there is a lot of work involved and a lot of planning.

I'm sure I will post again soon.


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 7:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6696
Location: Herts
I suggest you do a mock now to see where she is and then you know how much work is ahead of you.

In my experience the biggest problem is parents having no idea where their dc is compared to the level of competition.

The advantage of classes and mocks is seeing your dc ranked against the cohort. DG


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 11:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:06 pm
Posts: 26
That would be a good idea. Thanks. I need to find out how to do this. Perhaps one of the 11+ centres.


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