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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:15 pm
Posts: 2
My DD missed getting a place at ColCHS (ranked 178, score 326.659) but is in receipt of a highly prized academic scholarship from a selective Independent School.

The two processes for entry were very different. For the Independent there was an exam that no past papers were available for so it was difficult to prepare in any specific sense. Following the results, pupils were selected by interview/further on the spot 'tests'. My DD had made her decision that this was the school that she wanted to go to based on, in part, the thoroughness of their selection procedure.

My question to you all is - how far are you/we prepared to go to ensure that our DC get in to the schools of our choice? I have two younger DC and I am not sure whether I want to jump on this bandwagon of 11+ clubs, twice weekly lessons, tutoring from Y3/4...

How much preparation did you all do in order to get that highly prized Grammar School Place :) ?

Bond books from Y5 - yes
Official 11+ Practice Papers 1 and 2, English, Maths and VR - yes
Susan Daughtrey VR Bright Sparks 1 and 2 (for use in speed training) - yes
CSSE Past Papers x3 (for use as mocks and stamina training) - yes
Private Tutor - no
11+ Club - no

Like quite a few others on the results thread my DD's VR results were quite a bit (25%) lower than 'normal' on the day. I am not sure what lessons I have learned from the 2012 11+ session that might help me to get my other two DC through successfully :? .

What lessons, if any, have you learned?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:29 pm
Posts: 185
Thank you for your very honest post.

As someone with a DS in Y5 - who has come very late to this game - I would be really grateful to all parents prepared to disclose - in the same detail - how many of the books/series/past papers etc they completed.

I think Richmondl has a very good point - there is wisdom to be shared here. You have just run a marathon, did your training programme go far enough? Of-course every child is different, but without doubt - these papers can't be sat without significant preparation .

I would be so grateful if more of you would share how far you and your DCs managed to get and whether you felt it was enough. Then I will know whether we should realistically continue

Thanks you - Toolate

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:53 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:30 pm
Posts: 27
Hi, I too will be very honest. Firstly the whole journey can easily get out of hand causing too much pressure on the dc (and the parents). Most of it comes from the minority and stories of children being woken up at 6am to do practice papers, cancelling after school activities, weekend days out and completing every bond book and past paper available circulate fast. My ds had his heart set on KEGS. He is bright and lazy.I gave myself some rules after the 1st weekend of arguing about doing bond books which created an atmosphere in the precious time we can spend as a family. I explained I would support and encourage, but I would not nagg, argue or bribe. It would be his decision how much work to do and it would be his achievement if he succeeded. I supported by helping him make up a time table to show how he could easily fit in a 30 min bond assessment paper each week. From Year 5 he aimed to complete 2 bond exercises a week. In Jan we increased this to one in each subject and from Oct 1/2 term two full practice papers a week. I spent time marking them and he spent additional time on a Sunday with either me or my dh going over any corrections. He carried on all his activities, played out with his friends and arguments were limited to when I hadn't marked a question correctly.

In the end we enjoyed the journey. I am quite a control freak with 'a good dose of OCD' and it could have easily turned into a battlefield.

So the lessons I learnt were that the desire to pass needs to come from the dc with healthy support and encouragement. If I was driving the bus, my passenger would have got off and I would have been heading for the cliff edge within the first month. Do not let it get out of perspective.... Understand anything could happen on the day, even if you have done in excess of 50 practice papers. Make sure your dc learn and enjoy.

Tell your dc to enjoy the exam, that nerves are ok etc.

He has achieved a place at KEGGS....this is his success and he knows it!

And finally after you have remained so calm and in control, be prepared for the weeks leading up to results day. This was like nothing I have experienced before. The final week was torture and logging on horrendous. It is a cruel process. Even though I was very happy with our local comprehensive, knowing the actual result became everything to the point that I could barely focus on anything.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Posts: 3826
Location: Chelmsford and pleased
My lessons were that I should have tutored DD as it would have reduced her stress. Always have an alternative that is pleasing to DC. Do as much prep as your child is happy to do, with encouragement. DD worked very hard through Bond books and the papers I gave her, she won her place and continues to work hard because that is who she is. DS is lazy, but bright, didn't do much prep, got in anyway and continues to be lazy.

I suppose they will always be the people they are.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:02 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:03 am
Posts: 1
Work put in to gain offer and comments on the work items.

1)Sent DC to Private school from reception to Year 6
95% of children in DC class offered GS places. Some friends DC from state schools received offers but it averaged 1 in 10. Personally would have preferred to have sent DC to excellent local state school where the 11 plus preparation process is not foreign. When choosing a private primaryschool, be careful not to choose one with a secondary school linked to it as they do not encourage 11 plus.

2)Private tutor from Year 5
Was not impressed when measuring DC's improvement with tutor, value added improvement limited. Only choose a private tutor recommended by a friend whose DC used the tutor and got into a GS. Private tutoring is now big business and results of DCs taught is the only measure of the quality of the private tutor. Do not select a private tutor randomly without strong references.

3)One day a week at 11 plus training centre from year 5
The centre specialised in all subjects but definitely excellent for VR. DCs split into groups based on ability.All worked hard to get into the top groups. There were continuos tests/ mock exams and shuffles between the groups, usually most of those in the top group get in.

4)Second private tutor who specialised in English comprehension tutoring
Identified weaknesses and addressed them. Improvement in comprehension noticed

5)Personally accessed DC on eight years worth of past questions
CSSE questions for the last few years proved very useful

6)Identified areas of weakness in Maths / English / VR
Was initially suprised at areas of weakness bt the most concerning habit were unecessary errors. Continous practise and setting own questions helped as well as looking though other sources

7)Focussed on weak areas

8)Youtube Maths topics
Interesting viewing

9)Bond Books to 12+, Letts IPS practise papers, GL Assessment Papers
keep an eye of the clock, speed is key

10)Inspiring speeches every week after an assessment of progress
Work hard play hard
Early to bed, early to rise
Pay by studying now, play later
Try your best today
What you are prepared to sacrifice shows what you are prepared to gain
When March the 1st comes, do I want to say I wish I tried harder
Mum and Dad may not be cool, but they have more mature experience
Yes, I can
Just do it, spell it right, show the punctuation, show your workings, move on to the next question
The more I prepare, the less I am stressed
I shall do my best
I shall be offered a place at GS because I deserve it

11)Paused from work for 6 weeks before exams

12)Knowing your DC and being realistic.
If the DC is averaging 50% after the above actions then the 11 plus exams is simply a day out. Some DCs would be well balanced anywhere they go. Some DCs do not need the pressure, so ensure that a good local comp is on the CAF list choices. A friend chose all the top schools(6) for his very bright DS and his DS ended up being offered an unpreferred comprehensive due to the non-strategic selection of schools by the adult.

13)Decide whether you are committed to this, because if you are not, the DC can only follow your lead. It is a family committment.

My DC was not driven till the parents showed that they meant business. Stress is infectious, show stress, DC illustrates stress. Make a plan and assess it as you go along, keep a record of the DC's performance. Starting early, reduces the pressure and anxiety later. We watched two films back to back the night before the 11 plus exams to calm things down.

Above are all the actions taken.Tick nine of the thirteen boxes and your DC stands a chance. The spaces for GS places are limited but there are enough comps to go around. People may criticize this list as excessive but it worked. Every DC is different and the expected level for entry changes every year. Good Luck

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:22 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:02 pm
Posts: 174
No tutor.
Bond from Y5 though not every week
Autumn Y6, practice papers 1 for each subject per week, marked by us, and we went over answers. Did all the last 10 years CSSEs. For maths, set a few extra questions to consolidate the weaker areas.
Encourage reading widely from early age so DC enjoys books - and demonstrate it by doing it yourself

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:23 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:56 pm
Posts: 11
I have two children in gs and my third did not gain a place as only put kegs. He gained a place at a school on aptitude for music and sport. Before my child sat 11+ we had our reservations. Scored very highly in mocks and all school exams. Is at an indie. However my other two go extra mile with all projects homework essays etc and have done since they were at indie. If your child is of a naturally studious nature I would go for it but if u have to remind or sit a lot with child then not. One of mine did not originally get kegs but after a while place came up. He had no private tutoring but is one of the brightest in his year. Many who were extensively tutored gained place first time but they have tutors still in and out of school, as they struggle with day to day work. with child three we are over the moon with school going to as was too late to change minds after exam etc and with 400 sitting for 16 places as school going to feel a great achievement. I would honestly say look at child and figure out their attitude to their work. As I said we didn't tutor ds 1 but did ds2. ds3 just different child! If u go for it do nightly papers but start off easy to get confidence. We didn't do past papers until year 5 as concentrated on methods and confidence building with ds2. He had a tutor once a week two hours and lots homework from tutor. It was reflected in his school exams too as was ds 3.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:33 am 

Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:32 pm
Posts: 77
Work on your child's weaknesses and in times of child's self doubt and to boost morale pay on their strengths.


PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:43 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:40 pm
Posts: 11
I have just gone through the process for the second time and both were completely different experiences. Both my girls went to state primary.
DD 1 was self driven and pushed herself. We got a tutor once a week for 6 months before the exam, then did Bond and past papers once every weekend. She got a place at CCHS and loves it.
Straight away, we had to do it all again with DD2. She is a summer birthday, equally as bright but not driven as much as her sister. She went to a club once a week as I thought leaving the house to learn and competition with her peers would help her. In hindsight, I should have got a tutor as the group wasn't tailored to her needs. She hasn't won a place but am still hoping the waiting list will be kind!!
It is very stressful for all but I think it was worthwhile for both of them and am pleased we gave it a go.
Good luck to all x

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:34 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:47 pm
Posts: 89
We didn't start work for the 11+ until year 5 (January) so essentially had just over 10 months' worth of preparation.

My girl went to a (recommended) tutor for 1 hour per week. She attended an 11+ club at school on a Monday for 1 hour. We did the homework given by the tutor (although sometimes she just had had enough of it all) and, from the start of year 6, her teacher gave the 11+ children specific homework every night pretty much.

I was quite worried that (prior to the exam), she just hadn't read enough books (enjoys reading, but not an avid bookworm) and was actually quite worried how she might fare in the English. I did also get her to learn some vocab a few months before (not a single word came up apparently in the exam lol!).

She was given the Bond Books to do in the summer holidays (2011) by her teacher at the end of year 5. She wasn't terribly impressed about being given this and completed half of the English, about the same for the maths and all of the VR.

That's what we did and to be honest, that little lot was enough for her. If I'd given my girl much more than that I think I would have put her off completely as I know her limits. I think though that it's fine to start tutoring earlier than I started, as long as you take it very gently to begin with.

As parents we know our DC's limits and to go beyond that is just not acceptable - so, each to their own basically. One horror story that has recently come to light is regarding a child my daughter knows - his mother made him do 4 HOURS worth of 11+ work EVERY NIGHT after school for months. Outrageous and verging on child abuse as far as I'm concerned...

Again, we can only prepare our children so much as we all know that the 11+ is a tricky exam - even for the very bright kids. Other factors such as the limited time they are given to complete each paper, stress, nerves etc etc all come into play on the day.

Very glad I only needed to go through it once... :D

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