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 Post subject: Frustration
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:57 pm
Posts: 156
I started home tutoring my DS in the new year, for the exam in December; entry in 2010.
He's bright; his teachers say he is capable and sure enough he can do the questions (we're doing Nfre 21 type), but he is very slow.
He understands the methods and can crack the codes, but it takes him so long to re-write out the question into a form he can solve, he is going to run out of time. He can't remember the alphabet and has to check, every time, even to add on one letter; he can turn the most complicated maths senrios into the necessary sums and I'm sure, if I were to show him, he would understand complex trigonometry, calculus and imaginary numbers; yet he still uses his fingers to add 2 and his times-tables recolections are hopeless.
I am really beginning to doubt whether he will be able to do this exam. Have any of you other parents or tutuors had to overcome the same problems and can you give me any ideas of what I can do to help.
I really don't want to get him chanting times-tables before breakfast; I'm sure that would be counter-productive to his overall drive to pass the exam (which, at the moment is quite high) but any secret methods you can suggest might be worth a try?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:46 pm
Posts: 26
Hi

You still have got plenty of time. I had similar worries as my DS is a real perfectionist and would spend a lot of time making sure every answer was just right, checking it etc. I was very worried he would not get the time thing.

We had a tutor for him and one of the key things he taught DS was technique in both answering the question types and also in going through the paper at the start and answering the ones he was most confident and quick with first, leaving the other, longer questions until the end. It seems to me that there is an awful lot of technique involved in being able to get through these tests and that just having the knowledge unfortunately isnt enough.

The other thing that helped with the time aspect was practice on proper full length papers, which we timed as in the real test. DS initially hated doing this until I hit upon the idea of sitting the practice tests with him, there then came an element of competitiveness for him as he wanted to do better than me (and believe me, certainly initially he did!! - I did get better at it though!) Doing these tests together really brought everything together for him and he did much better with the timing of the whole thing.

You still have lots of time and I am sure there will be loads more tips and advice from other people here.

GOOD LUCK, its a long hard slog but worth it in the end.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:54 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Manchester
Haze: Your DS sounds just like one of mine! My DS asked me ( :shock: ) if he could sit entrance exams, 5 months before the dates.I helped him at home and at the start felt the same frustration you're feeling. He could do quite difficult maths questions but was hopeless at timetables and still used his fingers for these (also for adding up very simple numbers!) I felt mainly because of this, his timing was very bad....sometimes taking almost twice the time.

However, by the time of the exam he was doing the same papers with time to spare (still sometimes counting on his fingers!) In the end he took 3 entrance exams and very comfortably passed all three. Starting GS in September.

I think being a novice (and not a professional tutor), I didn't believe he could improve his timing so vastly, in such a small time...this definitely improves with practice.

You've got lots of time and I'm sure if his teachers think he is capable, he will be fine.

Good Luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:27 am
Posts: 645
Location: Buckinghamshire
happymummy wrote:
The other thing that helped with the time aspect was practice on proper full length papers, which we timed as in the real test. DS initially hated doing this until I hit upon the idea of sitting the practice tests with him, there then came an element of competitiveness for him as he wanted to do better than me (and believe me, certainly initially he did!! - I did get better at it though!) Doing these tests together really brought everything together for him and he did much better with the timing of the whole thing.

I did this with my DS too. It's amazing what a bit of healthy competition can do - I did beat him from time to time just to keep him on the ball :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:57 pm
Posts: 156
Thanks for those comments. I know we have loads of time, but it's only 24 weeks until the start of the next school year. We only do an hour a week, currently woking through each type, one or two types a week. We need to get those cracked, plus full practice papers, then check he's up to speed with his maths, have a summer holiday...

Perhaps another hour a week and a calmer mummy would help :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2361
My children have similar problems - eldest easily got A grade in Further Maths A level & still cant do tables :) - but all got through highly selective 11+

3 suggestions-

Make sure he knows which VR questions are liable to slow him down & leave them till the end.

With youngest, who took test last year, we practiced 5 - 10 questions each day to keep reinforcing technique.

Come children cant learn tables however much chant them etc. There are lots of tricks for many of them which may be worth learning?

Even third time round I was convinced DS wasn't going to make it. 3 months before the exam it just 'clicked' & suddenly he could meet time targets!

Keep trying & keep calm :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
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Location: Bexley
My dd can hit the time targets easily, more correct answers would be nice though! :roll: :roll: :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:57 pm
Posts: 156
I'm the same actually. I did maths to Further A level and a science degree, but still don't know my times tables. Don't need them with a calculator though - just need to know which buttons to press!

Thanks for all the encouraging comments. I'll keep persevering and hope it drops into place.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:31 pm
Posts: 118
Have you actually tried getting him to learn his times tables though? I know you said you don't want to get into the learning while eating breakfast thing, but I used to turn it into a sort of game for my daughter. I'd get to ask her some tables, then she got to ask me some, then whoever won got a reward (normally something chocolate-based). We used to do it most mornings on the way to school or while eating breakfast, getting dressed, doing her hair etc. She didn't mind at all, and she was really proud of herself when her 'mental maths' test scores went up dramatically, so much so that her teacher recently told me that she consistently has the highest scores in the class! If your son improves his test scores I'm sure you'll find it will give him added confidence.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
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Location: Warwickshire.
Maybe learning to sing them to a tune would help? There are resources available like this. Or do it together to a familiar song that he likes.

Of course there are examples of situations where people have managed to do all sorts of things without knowing their multiplication tables, but quick recall of facts like times tables is extremely useful to children and adults alike. I think I use my knowledge of them every time I visit a supermarket!


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