Thanks DG. The recommendation was via a friend, whose own children, plus at least one other I know, passed the exam with exceptional pass marks. I admit to not researching much about the exam before as I don't wholly agree it should exist (in the way it does, ie the amount of study and time involved - but, you always have to work hard for the good things in life don't you - and at the end of the day, this is the way it is).
We have a very relaxed approach to it (only started study a few months ago) - wrongly or rightly I don't know. But the key thing is, I am making sure dd has covered the key skills/knowledge she needs by the end of August. On a positive note, I know all that dd has learned will put her in a better place, whichever school she ends up attending. There are pros and cons for all I think, but our aim is to gain a place at a very good school so that she has a good education and enjoys her time there (her choice, but with the potential she has shown, I think as parents we should provide this opportunity too).
I think because parents don't volunteer information about tutoring, or even discuss who is/isn't doing it, makes it difficult to ask for opinions/advice. I think the process is made easier if there are siblings and the first one passed, so you would naturally do things the same way for the others, as it's been tried and tested. Although, I wonder how many switch to home tutoring for siblings after having the first one tutored - or vice versa.
I know I went down the Tutor route as I would always wonder what we would miss otherwise. Apart from a few hints and tips on VR, the sessions are pretty much working through a series of tests/books (which we've bought). Although my daughters attention is more focused at these sessions (mainly), I'm, struggling to find the benefit of completing a 50 minute test, that we could sit and do at home.
Perhaps other children struggle more on the questions and that's where more help is provided. I don't know. Unsure and a little confused as to whether to continue or to take it on myself. Our approach has been very relaxed as I do feel that natural ability plays a big part. We're stepping it up in the summer though as a 10-15 minute test every other day with no school, sounds reasonable and keeps key skills/knowledge fresh. That's the theory anyway
I just want to feel I am giving dd the best chance and the required guidance to succeed. Perhaps having the session away from home makes it seem more serious/real to her and maybe we would lose that enthusiasm by trying to do it ourselves.