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 Post subject: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:39 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:56 pm
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Can people kindly provide their views on 11 plus mock exams and how useful these are. We’ve done a couple and not sure of what to make of them. Results aren’t consistent and that’s kind of worrying. I would like some views and advise from people who did at least one of these mocks. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:54 am 
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Neither of my boys did mocks (both gained a place easily at KES Stratford) - but I do think this is still relevant to your query...! They didn't because the cohort entering the mock is not the cohort you will be up against, so any result is nonsensical for the real 11+.

They are often run by tutoring companies (who are an unregulated industry) who actually want to persuade you to do more tutoring with their company - so you can imagine they would tell you your child had not done very well! And if your child does well, what then? Stop working? Unlikely!

They are useful if you have a particularly nervy child as it gives them experience fo a process that may be similar to the real thing process.


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:41 pm 
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They are useful so that your child has an idea of what it will be like on the day. That isn’t necessarily just for nervy children, it is for any of them - knowing what a situation may be like has a calming effect on most people.

They will see that there will be hundreds of children, be used to the idea they are dropped off at a gate / door and won’t see you for a few hours. It is good practice to manage their time and answer questions on a similarly formatted answer sheet. Practical things like remembering to go to the toilet, looking for a clock and listening to instructions from the automated CD.

My son did a couple of mocks and they were helpful. He did think the mocks were harder, but it is subjective. His marks were not overly consistent - think it was on track for the first, complete nose dive for the second and a bit of an improvement for the third.

No, it won’t be the same cohort, but it is useful to get an idea of how they are doing. If anything it confirmed which areas we needed to concentrate on.

If I had more children I would do them again, but no more than 3 which were well spaced out during the year.


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:29 am
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I don’t think mocks are for everyone, or necessary – as KCG has said, her boys did perfectly well without and there are many who do (including some of DS’ friends), and it’s not cheap. I agree that the cohort who enter them are likely not to be the cohort your child will be up against for the real thing, they will be the children who are keen to do well (or their parents are keen!), have the work ethic, being tutored etc. And the results are likely to be skewed to the children who are doing the provider's tutoring.

But our experience was that it was worth it. DS did a couple of mocks, one in the May and one in the June before the real thing in the September. For each one, the company ran 3 sittings, each with probably 150 odd children at each sitting, so they must have made a fortune. But DS said in some ways, having had no experience previously of taking exams other than SATS in the classroom, it was the most helpful prep he did. It was very similar to the real thing in terms of being on a Saturday, and getting experience of that number of people, sitting in an exam room, the practicalities mentioned by Helen0209 and, even though they were only mocks, some extremely stressed out children and learning how to cope with that. After sitting the real thing, DS said he was glad he’d done the mocks as he was better prepared as to what to expect.

He got a couple of silly errors out of the way too – turning over two pages at one point and not realising, so completely missed out two sections, and running out of time in one section to even guess/randomly complete the boxes for the last questions.

So all in all, we were happy to have done them.


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Thanks a lot guys. Your comments makes a lot of sense. DS has done 2 mocks now and one was fair whilst the other seems like things went downhill. That got me worried as the feedback he gave about the mock was great and didn’t match the result. I agree with KCG that this could be sales tactics by the providers. Having said that though, there are benefits that we’ve enjoyed. The nerves have reduced and the experience is good. I just wanted to have people’s opinions so I know not to make too much of the result and carry on as we are. It can be discouraging though. We’ll probably book one last one towards the exam date.


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:59 am 
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Cokib, I really wouldn’t stress about the results, especially at this early stage. Assuming you’re sitting next September, there’s still 9½ months to go, which is a long time in terms of acquiring the knowledge and practising technique. DS didn’t start doing any specific 11+ prep until the January before he sat the exam in the September, and even right up to the exam we had some inconsistencies, including a major melt down the weekend before when some small timed tests went badly wrong. He did fine and got his first choice school.

I wouldn’t worry too much about your dc’s feedback either – although it’s an awfully long time ago, I can remember thinking my history O level mock had gone fine. I came out with 20%! Got a B in the real thing though.

I wouldn’t be inclined to use mocks to compare your dc against the cohort because as we’ve said above, the cohort is skewed. But in the same way as Helen0209 has said, we found them really helpful for indicating areas to concentrate on, whether the ‘silly errors’ I mentioned or specific learning areas. So that said, if you do book another, think about the timing of it and make sure there’s enough time to learn from the results and do something about it before the real thing. The company ds did his with offered one in August. We didn’t go for that on the basis that a low result at that stage might well have dented confidence too far and didn’t leave a lot of time to address the areas needing improvement.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:10 pm 
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Can be useful (for reasons discussed above) as long as you go into it with your eyes open.
My daughter did one in a Hagley road hotel, which was useful experience of s formal exam environment. I’m not sure how useful the breakdown of he results were, because my experience (and others I’ve spoken to) was that the mock exam was much harder than the real one.
At the end of the day, they are professional tutoring companies. So a cynic might think they have an interest in panicking you, and getting you to sign up for more tutoring.
My daughter scored about 40% in that mock I think (certainly seemed like a low score compared to the CGP practice papers we did at home), and got virtually zero in a couple of sections.
But for a bit of context, that low overall percentage score was in the top 1/3 of the cohort taking that mock, and in the real 11+ My daughter scored well above the CHG cutoff score. So make of that what you will.
Probably the most useful part, was the follow up session. So I would recommend not skipping that, if you’ve gone to the trouble of having your son/daughter do the mock exam.
Not only did they explain the answers in that session, but provided a lot of helpful guidance and tactical strategies for approaching certain types of question.
My daughter had several pages of notes from this review session, which she was eager to scan through before a couple of practice papers we subsequently did at home, and the morning of the real thing. How much difference it made, nobody can be sure - but she did seem to have a lot of faith in these notes, and if that confidence is nothing more than placebo, does it matter if it makes the child feel like they have some tactics to get them through the tricky sections?


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:24 pm 
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DD did 3 of the ones in Shirley earlier this year and scored 81-87% in the mocks. She got well over the qualifying score for CHGs. She did say the mocks weren't really like the real thing aside from giving her a flavour of the way the exam would be run.

My take? It probably just gives you an idea of where the child is in a reasonably large cohort. My DS is doing the 11+ in 2021 and I will probably just send him for a couple of the mocks. I'm not sure any more offers any advantage.


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:34 pm 
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Our son is at KES Birmingham and daughter has got a place at KEHS to start this Sept, they both did mock exams only to settle nerves and see what an exam setting is like.


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 Post subject: Re: Views on Mock Exams
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:38 pm 
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North Yorks used to do a mock for everyone - the exams were over 3 separate sessions, a few days apart - the papers from the first were discarded and the bet of the next two were taken as the result. Meant that everyone had a go under exam conditions before the real test.


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