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 Post subject: Madness????
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:53 pm
Posts: 208
I panicked the other day as I was told by a parent that they were doing upto FIVE test papers a day with their DC (11am-4pm) almost every day! (how many test papers are out there)!?!
I personally feel this is madness & is putting too much pressure on the child.
Now, I've been doing no more than 90 mins every other day with my DD (the test will only be 90 mins after all) but I feel maybe I'm too laid back & should really start to pull my finger out & start doing a lot more. On the other hand I've always been of the thought, 'little but often.'
What are other parents doing at this stage? Am I getting anxious over nothing and just have faith in my DD?
I would really be interested to know.
Kind regards

 Post subject: Re: Madness????
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:45 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 7861
Location: Herts
I am not in your region but the results you get from a paper is more important than the number you do. There is no point at all in doing paper after paper unless you research the result. I am running daily English mock sessions for an exam which is now two weeks away. We spend twice as much time in the session going through the answers as they do writing the exam in the first place. It is seeing what other students have written and comparing it with their own which is causing them to make tremendous progress. They all have different strengths so the combined strength in the room is fantastic. I am enjoying it much more than working with them one on one. But if everyone got up and left at the end of the mock, they could do a hundred and not make any progress. Five papers a day does not leave much time to go through the results. I assume your exam is sometime in September? I would suggest one paper a day and then lots of time going through it, make a record of the ones that were wrong and then make papers out of those and repeat until they get them right. I am watching which questions the students are weak on and I reintroduce those in a new paper and take out the ones that everyone is getting right every time. Just doing papers does not guarantee progress but going through the results and talking them through certainly does. DG

 Post subject: Re: Madness????
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:20 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
Posts: 1706
Location: Warwickshire
In contrast we're not doing "papers" at all at the moment - much like Daogroupie's approach we're just doing some chosen questions which are of the types he sometimes gets wrong, or any I can dig up which are presented in an ususual way for maths and NVR, and mostly work on comprehension/cloze, and more generic vocabulary (but freerice, random dipping into a thesaurus, etc, not papers). Sometimes for maths I don't even get him to answer the questions, just to talk through what the method he would use is - if he can convert from a worded question to what the calculation should be correctly, we don't actually need to practice doing the calculation.

I doubt we've been averaging more than 30 minutes a day in total. But I guess it depends upon the child - If I tried to get mine to do 5 papers a day he'd just down tools completely and refuse to co-operate (which he does sometimes even with the limited amount we are doing!).

Agree that it's feedback and focussing on areas for improvement which are most important. We're definately spending longer on discussing what he's done or on the methods than on the actual doing - particularly on the more subjective areas like comprehension. I am cobbling together a couple of "papers" which mimic the CEM format of having multiple timed sections, and not being able to go back to earlier sections though, so that we can do one or two trial runs of the format, and get used to doing the two "papers" with only a small break in the middle.

At the end of the day if it is going to take at least 5 hours of work a day (maybe more if they're going over the papers too), during the school holidays, to get in, then you could be looking at that level of commitment for the next 7 years. If that's the case then it's probably not the right place for them, and I'd settle for the alternative (although we're lucky in that we do have a good alternative available to us). Yes ideally I want him to get a place - but I want him to have the opportunity to enjoy his life for the next 7 years too, which means more than just working non stop. And other schools can and do get good results too if the kids are capable of it.

 Post subject: Re: Madness????
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:14 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:21 am
Posts: 2
Having planned the work I wanted my DS to complete over the next 2 1/2 weeks (about 50 mins assorted questions under time pressure each morning), I have had to re-think in the light of son now declaring super boredom during the process and lots of panicy tears. He needs to be playing in his den, riding his bike, and thinking about experiments he can do with household items (yikes!). I can see the signs of stress as he is finding it very hard to get off to sleep and is short and snappy with those close to him. Surely with the moderate amount of tutoring he has had over the last few months, and a great head on his shoulders the best message I can give him is that he should be confident that he is well prepared, and instead of working every morning, a daunting prospect for him, revisiting a few maths techniques in his weaker areas, and lots of vocab discussions.
He has read 4 novels from the library this summer, and we are playing scrabble and some of the online word games.
I would like him to complete at least one full mock between now and the exam, as he has a tendancy to panic when evaluating the percentage of questions he has not been able to answer, therefore turning it into a self defeating process (as he believes he needs to get 85%) - I am trying to let him know that this is the score he needs at practice level but not in the real thing. I suppose I just have to accept this is his exam now, and not ours.
A slightly worried Mum...

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