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 Post subject: Rabbit, Headlights, ME!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:12 am 
Hi Everyone,
My son is due to take the Slough tests in Nov2008. I am faced with so many options with preparation I feel almost paralized. I want to do the right things and really have a plan that my son and I can follow that will give him the best preparation. He really enjoys maths, but like most boys, reading is a chore. So vocab will clearly be a focus....but what is the best method, books? CD's?

In terms of preparation options, I can send him on a 1 year course by **!!** for a fee of £2000...ouch. I can purchase their books the tutors CD's and do it myself or a combination.

The question still arises....which books? which cd's? when? in which order?

Does anyone have a "winning formula" they can share?

So in summary, I could tutor him, but am struggling to build a 1 year curricullum/syllabus that will do the trick.

thanks in advance.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:44 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Taj, I understand how you are feeling as I was thinking the same when my son started year 5 (He took both Slough and Bucks tests two years ago). I opted for a tutor at first because there was hardly any advice available at the time, but having prepared him myself in the end, I think that�s it is easier to get to grip with DIY than I thought at first.

No, I didn't use the main tutor group in Slough. Would I go for them now? No, I would DIY, not only for cost reasons but also because DIY tuition is more targeted to the child needs and wastes less time. I would not like my child to have to give up most of his after school life as some of his friends had to do.

The Slough tests comprise three papers, all NFER multi-choice: verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and maths.
For VR, the preparation for the Bucks tests is more than adequate for Slough.
See here for Bucks VR preparation
As Patricia mentioned, the Bucks VR has 21 questions types, whereas the NFER papers show 15. We are not sure for Slough, but practicing more types won't hurt. See topic 'Unanswered questions about the Slough 11+'

Just a comment specific for Slough:
Patricia�s advice about starting VR practice in the New Year is for pupils who only prepare for the Bucks tests. In my opinion - I am not an expert - it is worth starting earlier if you also prepare for the Slough tests.

This is because these is more to do, and also because of the maths.

The NFER maths syllabus goes well beyond year 5 curriculum, so year 5 curriculum will have to be topped up, and I think it is best to start from what the pupils will have learnt at school rather than starting from scratch something that they will learn at school anyway.
For example, your son should learn the principles of algebra in year 5. It is nothing compared with the NFER algebra, but a good foundation to build up more advanced knowledge.

That's why I think that is a good idea to start with VR and NVR and free up time for maths later on during the summer term.

In term of maths practice during the year, I would just concentrate on making sure that your son has a very good grasp of year 5 curriculum and practices

-Mental maths, and timetables
-Problem solving
-Operations. The ae publications books advise familiarisation with long divisions and multiplications. My opinion is that theses methods are more efficient that some of the new methods, and worse getting your son to use them fluently. But again, this is just my opinion�

I used the ae publications book as reference and to dip in and out. I found them useful because their content is geared towards entrance exams rather than school curriculum, but I thought that sometimes the approach was more of a drill about how to do things rather genuine explanations of mathematical concepts.

Here�s some links to previous discussions about the preparation for Slough tests
Slough 11+ preparation
11 + preparation

As for NVR, I personally think that it is not as complex to teach as VR, but you may want to read as much as possible of the non-verbal reasoning section, as most of it is about the NFER tests. The maths section also contains some good tips.

I'll stop here for now, but please don't hesitate to ask as many questions as you need.
If you need specific advice about maths, NVR etc.., ask on the relevant section, as you may get help from parents from other areas also using the NFER tests.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:24 pm 
Thanks Catherine....that should keep us busy!!

 Post subject: Slough prep
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:54 pm 
Hi Taj

I don't know if it's any help if I tell you what we did:

We focused on the VR, as my son was also doing the Bucks test - I tutored him myself alongside one of his friends for support, doing an hour a week and making it as much fun as possible. We started in the January prior to the tests and I worked my way through the techniques first, then built up their speed.

For the maths, I pretty well left that up to his school as I knew he was being challenged. However, I did get tips from a teacher colleague a couple of weeks before the test - there are certain questions which seem to crop up all the time (perimeter being one of them!).

I'm almost ashamed to say we did very little on NVR, as you either seem to see it or you don't (and I don't!) - my son failed this part of this test but had high enough scores on the Maths and VR to lift his average to a pass.

Good luck!

 Post subject: Re: Slough prep
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Tom's mum wrote:
For the maths, I pretty well left that up to his school as I knew he was being challenged.

This is very important. I noticed that you also mentioned somehere else that the school gives some level 6 work in Y5. Lucky you!
If the school do y5 work in year 5, and many do, then you must bridge the gap..

I wanted to add a word about chosing schools.
I would strongly advise that you go to the schools open evenings this year, when you have time and are relaxed. In September next year, just before the tests, you may be quite stressed.

However I have heard rumours that the tests could be brought forward to September next year to comply with the new government guidelines.
This is only a rumour so far, but it is worse knowing that it is possible in order to plan the timing of your preparation.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:20 pm
Posts: 2
Catherine wrote:

I would strongly advise that you go to the schools open evenings this year, when you have time and are relaxed. In September next year, just before the tests, you may be quite stressed.

I would agree with this. I found that Sepetmber, October open evenings were a real pain. You don't want to be out until 9pm nearer to the test. Also, you need to make up your mind about the school as early as you can.

As for practice, we only started in Jan 2006. We found a one to one tutor. Not cheap, but not as expensive as some other slough group tutors. He had one hour a week with the tutor from Jan to Oct. He had very little home work from the tutor. Most of our practise was done in the summer holidays. He did one paper a day in the summer for 4 weeks. We repeated the papers and I think that really boosted him.

Tutor helped him with the VR. She followed Susan J Daughtery books. We later found out from this site that the book isn't completely relevant for Bucks and may be not for Slough either. Saying that, it didn't harm him. He achieved very high score in his VR.

Although the tutor went through Maths, we did most of the Maths by ourselves. My son liked Maths but wasn't keen on VR. We mainly went through NFER and BOND papers. We also downloaded few papers from this site. They were easier than NFER version, so would have been a good starting point (we didn't find this site until Sept though).

Still not sure what is the best choice for NVR. :roll: We thought he was doing ok until we started to time each section as seperate. This was his lowest score, but still got 118. He was lucky that on the test day he didn't get the section he hate. We mainly practised NFER and Bond papers. Bond paers were very hard. We couldn't work some of them out even after looking at the answer. :!:

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:42 am 
Hi there

My daughter is going into year 5. Would you therfore suggest we visit schools this year? If so does anyone know the open evenings for

Wycombe high
Beaconsfield High

Do you think we should still go again next year as surely some things can change that may influence decisions.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:56 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Hi Mel,
As you have the choice of two schools, I would definitely go this year. It will give you more insights and you will have a whole year to look into any issue.

And I would also go next year for the reasons you mention.

The open evening dates are usually published on the Bucks CC site.

Best of luck


 Post subject: open evenings
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:56 am 
Dear Mel X

I strongly agree it is worth going to open evenings with your child in Year 5. Dates for open evenings for all Bucks schools are in the list in the first "sticky" entry in the Bucks section of this forum, and this list includes the two schools you are interested in. While some things may change from year to you, you will not need to go to all your open evenings of interest next year, if you have checked them out in year 5. Or you could go alone in year 6 with your child neatly tucked up in bed. If you try to do it all in year 6 everyone gets very tired and also very het up about getting in to the grammar.

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