Hi Casey were over the line for our first choice KE Handsworth Girls, which we are thrilled with, if we get it confirmed. With solid 100% fall back for WGHS, Sutton and QMHS. It was nice this morning to see the 5 grammars and 1 fall back comp on the provisional preference list.
We have decided to carry on and do the KEHS exam in Jan. From what we know here is what our next steps will be looking like.
1) No further paid tuition (for us), but be aware that the preps have a significant chunk of business from parents whose kids don't do as well as hoped for on KE, and then go h*ll for leather to get their kids into KEHS / KES / EHS etc as comps are simply not an option for them.
2) Have a look at the Manchester Boys Grammar website, past entrance papers, particularly the comprehension exercises. They are materially harder and different in approach to CEM type tests. Our guides at KEHS turned down places at CHG and they made it clear that KEHS test was harder, much harder
3) Look carefully at how good your DD is at showing her working neatly, when she does these questions. My understanding is that for these exams the correct answer is not necessarily the be all and end all, in the same way that it is for CEM. You will likely get credit for how you got the answer as well as the correct answer. bsically does she know how to show workings correctly
4) Brush up on creative writing
5) Brush up on inference. Kids at this age often struggle with ambiguity in text and their ability to make a decision and then support that decision, with supporting arguments, can be weak. This may well be a distinguishing factor.
6) It is significantly harder to to give synonyms for say prosperous from scratch, than the reverse CEM scenario of saying which of the four following words Poor, Threshold, Rich, Lively is closest in meaning to prosperous. You just don't have the same elimination strategies, so its a different challenge. Well worth finding suitable material and practising.
7) We are thinking carefully about the opportunity cost. Firstly we have had enough of 11+ for the time being and need a break, so if DD wants to do KEHS we will support, but any work has to be initiated and driven entirely by her (hopefully a good thing).
More importantly perhaps, our DD2 takes the test in 2017 and she is significantly behind where DD1 was at the same stage. As we have a grammar of some shape or form in the bag, hopefully our 1st choice pref, we are shifting to catch up core skills, for DD1.
9) Tap up your DD teacher now. A strongly supportive reference from the school, may be helpful. Hopefully she has a strong year 5 school report, handy.
10) Don't be afraid to stop. In your situation I personally would not, but if I had, had two results below average outcome, I would consider my position (your borderline, so personally I think keep going). I know friends who have called it a day on KEHS for Jan, just being realistic even if it is a hard thing to do. It just allows you to move on, and fight the battle for the best alternative comp for your DD
11) Get her reading aloud as part of a show or something at home. The preps have elocution lessons and public speaking competitions, so some of these young kids have confident speaking and reading aloud skills, way ahead of their contemporaries in state schools. (It's all a stitch up, but no point in moaning, this is the uneven playing field we have to try succeed upon)
I am stepping back from posting, but responded as we have rapidly decided to continue to KEHS exams. Do PM me if you want or just to let me know how your getting on, it would be great to compare notes and progress from time to time.
Hope this helps