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 Post subject: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 26
Hello
My DD is doing Kent, Bexley and Newstead this September. Obviously, with the new Bexley exam format, all the prep we have been doing (or at least most of it) has gone out of the window.
I have done my research, I have materials (some, not all), but I really struggle with planning the week, considering all we need to cover:
Verbal, Non Verbal, Comprehension, Vocabulary, Cloze type, Maths.
It just seems A LOT to cover, I always feel like Im not doing enough! We started the prep for the exam last April, learning different VR and NVR techniques, vocabulary, a little bit of Maths here and there. From January this year we have really stepped it up a notch, but now with the new exam, there is just so much to cover, I don't have enough hours in a week to go through everything. She is taking tuition for Maths and that's all, I do everything else. I work 2 days a week only until September so I can have time for her, so I am lucky I have some time, although not as much as I would like. Let me explain: Monday I work and I come home at 5 so just manage 30-40 minutes of homework. Tuesday is her day off (she has dance at 6pm). Wednesday we do usually her maths homework for tuition and if she still has some brains left, a bit of vocabulary. Thursday she has Maths tuition so nothing else before or after of course. Friday, very little time to maybe practice some vocabulary again (she has Brownies at 6pm). Saturday and Sunday are the 2 days that we spend a bit more than an hour each day, one day we do NVR (my husband does), and the other day VR and comprehension. It probably sounds like I do cover mostly everything, but really, is it enough? Her Maths is quite weak, so we need to practice that a lot too (1 hour of tuition is not going to do anything if she doesnt practice!), NVR is good but again she needs a lot of practice and not sure 1 hour a week is enough; VR is her strong point, but need to press on with vocab, comprehension and clozy type so she gets used to.

I don't know, Im just panicking I guess, we are not in the catchment area for any prefered secfondary schools, so grammar school is very much our hope. She is very bright, always has been in the top group in her class, even for Maths, but she is really struggling with 11+ level for ex, so that worries me, is her class level really telling me that she is 11 + level?

Would be good to hear how you split your time and how you prepare, and make up my mind if I am really crazy, or just nervous!


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 Post subject: Re: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:45 pm
Posts: 117
To be honest, sounds to me like you're doing loads. My DD is also weakest on Maths and needs loads of extra, but because she is so active (!) she does LOADS of after school activities, so we have very little time for extra work. We have a tutor, also mainly doing maths, who gives homework which DD usually manages very easily, but with maths she panics and claims she doesn't understand the question.
Of course with the new type of Bexley exam, it is difficult to know what and how much to do, the Birmingham and Warwickshire fora are vey helpful, but we really don't know how similar the Bexley exam will be to their exams. I've been an avid reader of the Bucks forum too recently, as they are introducing CEM this year too.
And since these exams are supposed to be "tutor-proof" (!!), I sometimes wonder whether I should worry - if it doesn't happen, it isn't meant to be (but of course I'd be terribly disappointed).
Sorry - just re-read what I've written and I don't think it's very helpful, though hopefully it will make you feel better!

CB


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 Post subject: Re: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:39 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:02 pm
Posts: 59
LauraA

a while back I contacted Bexley and got this reply on weighting

" 50% of the score will be for verbal reasoning (including vocabulary and comprehension), 25-30% for numerical reasoning and 20-25% for non verbal reasoning".

I hope this will help you with planning your study with DC


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 Post subject: Re: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:45 pm
Posts: 117
Wow Fred thanks for that info. Useful to know what we need to be concentrating on.


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 Post subject: Re: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 107
Hi LauraA

I agree, it sounds like you are covering a lot! It's really daunting when you are going it alone, especially with a 'new' exam thrown into the mix.

I guess also that everybody who will be taking the Bexley exam this year will be in the same boat, in that the exam is new so try not to get too worried about that.

I think what worked for us was keepibg things as low key and relaxed as possible, not to insist on doing every planned session, sometimes skipping a day actually boosts the learning if you know what I mean.

Of course I can say this knowing I've done it - well my DD did!! It is really a **** of a time and so demanding on you both.

I would also say if she is sitting naturally towards the top of the class then she has a good chance - no guarantees of course as it really boils down to that one day. Are you also sitting Kent? I would advise to, if not just for the practice of sitting a formal exam in an unfamiliar setting - and Kent has always been before Newstead in the past.

What are your alternatives should it not go your way?

If I can be of any help, just PM me.

Although until that email pops through tomorrow I may not make much sense!!


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 Post subject: Re: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 26
Thank you all for your replies. It is good to hear other parent's experiences and it certainly helps to put some of my worries to rest.

Pixiedust, yes we are sitting Kent as well, for practice and also as a third option in case Newstead and Bexley don't work out. I know somebody who goes to Wilmington girls and she is happy there so that could be an option.

In terms of other alternatives, Bullers Wood could be one, but I am not sure if we are in the catchment area. I called the council and last year we were in the catchment area but only just, who knows if this year they won't go that far! I am not keen on Darrick Wood (just a personal opinion) and so no other comprehensive around that we consider. Bromley High would also be good, but it's very expensive and that really is a last option with a big question mark.

I had a question regarding the comprehension test in the CEM type exam. I read here that they get 15 minutes for the comprehension test, and they need to answer around 20 questions (at least that's what happened in previous years). This sounds very scary, my daughter is a fast reader but 15 minutes doesnt seem like a long time to read the text and answer the questions! Are the questions multiple choice? And also, do you know if the time limit includes the actualy reading of the text? I hope I make myself clear! If you have any experiences with this type of exam, would love to hear your opinion/ advice.

Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 107
HI LauraA

Sorry I've no experience of that type :(

PD101


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 Post subject: Re: Exam prep schedule
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:31 am
Posts: 129
Hi LauraA,

Just to say we have daugther at Bullers in year 8 and we are really pleased with the school. DD is making fantastic progress, they seem to monitor them closely to make sure they are in correct streams. She was offered Latin as an extra in year 8 as she is doing well with languages. However, her heart lies with science, she will be starting gcses in triple science in year 9.

If you are set on grammar school, that is fine, but Bullers would be a great fall back.


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