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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:14 am
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Having never given a thought to entering our DS for Tiffin exams, we decided last week that we would give it a try, we are therefore a little late starting for the Nov 11 exams. I bought a couple of Bond 9-10 practice books last week as a warm up and he enjoyed them and got decent scores. I do like the idea of home tutoring, as i would enjoy understanding & answering all the questions myself! However, I felt that a tutor would bring benefits with their knowledge & experience, and my DS feels good about going somewhere for lessons and being around other kids in the same boat.

My DS had his first lesson with his first tutor yesterday and I’ve some concerns which I wanted to put to you, to see what your opinions are. I’ve read hundreds of posts in the last week on this great forum, which has informed me of much, partly including what a lesson should / shouldn’t entail.

The tutor was used by a friend at our primary school, his DS was unsuccessful but a couple of the kids he studied with passed. I think the friend would agree that she was hands-off and perhaps never looked closely at the tutors approach.

1. The lesson was 1hr 30mins long, and was VR this week (NVR next week). First part of lesson was reviewing the test they did as homework the prior week. The kids marked their own homework interactively with the tutor, and after a chunk of 5-10 questions she asked if the group had any queries, and explained if there were. They then did a 50 minute 85 question test in class, and were allowed to ask if they did not understand the question, so she was in the room. I recall a comment from Patricia saying something like “full tests shouldn’t be done in class as this amounts to babysitting”, which I agree with (hope i’ve not misquoted). They then reviewed that test in the same way as the start of the class. I don’t personally believe they should do a full test in class like this as that can be done at home with me. Homework is to complete another 50minute 85 question test for review at start of next lesson.

2. The tests looked home made i.e. there were no signs of any publisher details on them – is this normal / good / bad?

3. My DS was given a notebook to write his answers in – and was told that if he writes on the test paper in class / for homework that he should rub out everything at the end so they can be reused. On the homework I can see some answers which have not been sufficiently erased by the previousl user!! I asked DS and he said he could see a couple of the answers in class too. This seems crazy to me. Am not sure if it’s an attempt to save money / be eco / or just lazyness??

4. From my own experience of taking exams as an adult, we were always encouraged to mark up the exam papers, and use it for scribbling little workings etc. The erasing mentioned in point 4 hardly encourages this!

5. I asked about getting the “How to do 11+.....” books for VR & NVR as I would be happy/keen to know it all myself, and help DS with technique/speed etc, she said they’re a bit basic and not worth getting.

6. I asked about doing practice papers at home (apart from the homework) – she said better not to as we might do the same questions which they may use in class. Surely enough questions exist out there??

7. Part of me thinks that “the good tutors” (whatever that means) would not have space at this stage in the year – aside from the specific concerns above, am I wrong to therefore be concerned that the tutor I found does have space?

The tutor seems a pleasant lady and my DS and I are happy with her personally. Way I feel at the moment is that if he continues to go there then I will buy the "How to do 11+" books, and some practice questions, and do quite a bit with him myself at home, and then see what he does with the tutor as a supplement to this, a bonus. I believe it should be the other way around?

Thanks for reading this long post. I’d appreciate any comments to any of the points.

Rich


Last edited by Rich . on Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
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Location: Maidstone
Quote:
Way I feel at the moment is that if he continues to go there then I will buy the "How to do 11+" books, and some practice questions, and do quite a bit with him myself at home, and then see what he does with the tutor as a supplement to this, a bonus.


That what some people on this forum do. There was a poll a while ago and the quite a few had a tutor and did a bit at home too. I guess it all boils down to how confident you feel about the tutor. Sutton Grammar also does some mock test and I think they are quite good practice too http://www.suttongrammar.sutton.sch.uk/ ... ests.shtml and since you are just starting you may pick a slightly later date to give him a chance to work through a bit more stuff.

Your font size is a bit hard to read, you can edit you original post and make the size normal.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:14 am
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Thanks for your reply sherry_d. I agree, the amount I may need to do at home depends on my confidence in the tutor, but i'm not sure what my confidence is, due to the queries above, and i don't know whether they should be causes for concern (lower confidence) or not.

If any tutors / or parents who've used tutors can comment on these points I'd appreciate it.

Thanks
Rich


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
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Hope I can help.

1) Test during class - My tutor only did this near the exam. ie. last two months. Previously, she worked through the various concepts needed in the varoious parts of the exams and the homework related to this.

2) I think most tests/homework were published material. I don't see anything wrong with hand-made versions, if they are relevant and professional.

3) Re-using papers - seems like lazyness to me. In the actual exam, are they allowed to write on test papers? If so, they should be allowed to during practice. My DS had fresh new photocopies for lesson time and homework. Photocopying is expensive, but thats what fees are for!

4) Published books - useful additions to tutor work. Different ones are more relevant to different areas.

5) Seems early to do exam questions for November. My DS wasn't regualarly doing exam questions en mass until June, I think, for a September exam. Also, I hope your tutor is teaching them the concepts behind the questions, rather than letting them just do questions and then mark afterwards. My tutor taught first, and the exams questions came later.

6) My 'good tutor' is booked up over a year in advance, and has a waiting list!

Perhaps try a couple more sessions, see how things go and then assess whether you are wasting your money, or investing in your childs education future. P'haps ring around other local tutors to see what they offer. Even if they are full, you may get a sense of what is expected in your area.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:14 am
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Hi Pheasantchick,

Thanks for your reply.

I've bought some "How to" books and question banks today and plan to work through these with my DS myself, in addition to the tutoring. I'll raise the issue of the 2nd hand papers with the tutor, to request clean copies, as being able to see some old answers is unacceptable. I'll otherwise remain with her for now and keep an eye on progress etc.

I think it will be very hard to find a good tutor, or even any tutor at this late stage so will see how things go.

Thanks
Rich


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:35 am
Posts: 131
Location: reading
Hi Rich
You are clearly in group sessions with your DS which make the dynamics of any lesson very different to a one to one. About once term, I will get my tutees to sit and complete a paper just to make sure they are getting the hang of good exam techniques and completing in time. Nearer to the actual exam, I will run a couple of mock sessions in groups of about 4, and whilst I am then babysitting, the cost is massively reduced.

You and your DS have to be the best judge of value for money, but I would encourage you to pass on constructive criticism to the tutor and see if you can work 'together'. Ultimately it has to be a 3 way partnership.

My own son has just started with a tutor for AS - he is not completely happy but I have suggested that we complete 3 sessions before making a final judgement call.


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