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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:33 pm
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Caution: Very long post!
Hi all, 11+ preparation is over for me now (at least for next three years!). I received couple of requests (PM) to share my experience and I wanted to do that anyways because I received massive help and guidance from this forum. If you have any further queries, please ask and I can share my experience (if it helps). Just to be mindful that all children are different. So what worked for my DD may not work for others, so please take this just experience sharing only.

What we did in year 4:
1. Started building a working relation with DD while studying (following this forum’s idea). I used to loose my temper easily with any silly mistakes. Not that I am perfect now, but lot better. My DD’s school teacher actually helped me with this stating if I focus on her mistakes, she will loose confidence early on. I encouraged on what she was better at.
2. No 11+ specific studies until year 4 summer time (though DD received some from school). Just her school homework and check whatever she is doing is accurate and help where needed – ensure clear on her KS2 concepts though. I made possible efforts to make the following clear:
a. Maths - Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division including decimals and fractions (may sound very basic but believe me, this helps because maths is all about these four. Once they master these, they only need help in application. CSSE also asks these basis operation questions)
b. English – (1) Read, read and read. Not only for CEM but for CSSE, just help them with imagination and will help with creative writing. DD loved reading books. If she did not like any book, I did not insist her to read. (2) Handwriting as this will help with CSSE (good handwriting always leave better impression), (3) spelling, grammar and punctuation. I am a non-native English speaking mum and hence took help from school and went through lots of books myself to revise with her. I used Susan Daughtrey, but you can use any spelling, grammar, punctuation book.
3. Did my own research on schools and exam pattern – I spent nearly three/four months on this. I was ready to move away from London and hence looked around places that are easy for me to commute to London for my work. I listed my selection (had a long list at the beginning, which shrank over time) and started looking question types for each exam.
I ordered some books suggested in this forum for myself to familiarise myself on those topics.
4. (This is my personal preference, may work differently for different children) I decided ‘No’ for additional tuition though most of DD’s friends were going tuition. I helped her when she wanted in Year 4. Some people may say ‘Home studying is also tuition’, which I personally disagree. Tuition children get loads of homework for whole week (as I have seen) in addition to school work + set time and every week. DD used to tell me how her friends hate the tuition time and cannot go out during break-time as they need to complete their tuition homework. We only did what was needed with no additional homework and no set time. We did whenever we both were ready and sometime skipped if we did not feel like. Again personal view different for different people.
5. Most of all, DD was keen to do it 

What we did in year 5:
I will divide this section into five sections as I went through different phases throughout the year:
Sept to Dec – Sense of urgency…only a year and we did not do enough 11+ specific prep OMG! Read all forum posts on results and panicked. Started 10 mins tests over the week-end and sometime week-days with CGP maths and verbal books.
Jan to April – Panic reduced, increased study hours to an hour over the week-end. Sometimes it was more than an hour if DD appeared a CEM paper and we need to go through the mistakes. This was in addition to her school homework. We did some KS2 maths papers during this time.
May to July – Regular study on her weak areas mostly. DD gave CEM and CSSE tests on alternate week-ends. We focussed on the KS2 papers. Believe me, KS2 SATS assessments are pretty good for clear concept and help you identify your child’s weak areas. They are free and helped us more than any book. I would rate them highly – both English and Maths. Please try them if you are focusing on CSSE. I found out about English pretty late but I would strongly recommend them.
Aug – I wanted to reduce my 11+ stress now as DD could sense my stress. So, we enjoyed summer, did all fun activities. I was working part-time to make DD study during summer but ended up with a fun-filled holiday. Not to say, we studied but it was not stressed. We went out for eating, movies, games nights, fun parks, day-outs, swimming, trampoline parks, climbing and all. Wherever DD wanted, I made attempt to take her. This actually helped her and whenever I asked her to do work; she was more than happy to do and always did more than what I asked her. Mid-July to End-Augusts, what we did:
1. 4 years of DAO maths papers + go through any mistakes, very few though
2. 4 CSSE papers (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 entry papers) – I did not ask DD to do these before. She consistently scored 85 to 90% in Maths and 75 to 85% in English. Her Final CSSE score she scored more in English though as English was easier this year. + go through any mistakes
3. Revising the maths and English areas where she faced issue in last few months – I made short note of topics where she needed help and we revised those every week. E.g. She always feared negative numbers. Until now, she is not comfortable with them. But I tried. With comprehension, she will read half the line and jump to a wrong conclusion, which looked most similar or if the question is asking for a word, she will write two sentences. Just such tips.
Sept – We did not study in Sept except me telling her exam hall preparations and she started school Yr6. However, to say the truth - I was very nervous thinking if I did the right thing by reducing amount of study during last couple of months. Now I can say 'Yes' That was the best decision for my DD. But again, this is as I know her. She does better stress free.

In summary for CSSE:
KS2 SATS papers – both English and Maths – please do all of them and see how the answer is explained.
CSSE past papers – We did past CSSE papers + free assessment paper from CSSE website.
MGS papers – Again free from website. We did some Maths and lots of English from here. I found these easier than CSSE though.
DAO papers – We did maths only. You get these for a small cost from DAO website.
S&S Mental Arithmetic – 3, 4 and 5 (could not complete any of them though)
S&S Comprehension – Book 3 and 4
CGP – 10 min books and assessment papers – did not do all but did few papers from each of these books (both Maths and English). Though not sure how much it would help in CSSE as we did CEM version.
Made-up questions for Maths – Both DH and I are Engineering graduates and hence Maths is easier for us. We made up questions for DD in areas where she found things hard.
Creative writing – We spent less time on this as DD was doing very well in school in her writing; happy to explain more if anyone wants

In addition, I bought loads of books (too many of them) but actually did not use them much so not listing them here.


Last edited by Golden_Jubilee on Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:33 pm
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Thanks for posting your experience in detail, golden_jubilee.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:33 pm
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Re: mock exam - DD appeared three mocks from same provider based in Chelmsford. Again received details from this forum only. The mocks were in May, July and Aug. The mock test was useful.

Test centre: I booked early at Shoeburyness high school and it was great experience.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:22 am
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Golden_Jubilee you are blessed. Thanks for sharing and I wish your DD all the best as she progresses through the grammer system


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:33 pm
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Oguledoen wrote:
Golden_Jubilee you are blessed. Thanks for sharing and I wish your DD all the best as she progresses through the grammer system


Thank you for your best wishes.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:33 pm
Posts: 104
I forgot to add one more book, which helped DD during initial assessment period and some specific type of questions - "Target Maths": We did year 5 and Year 6 some sections where she needed practice. Year 5 book has very good selection of questions on graphs and Year 6 has good questions on ratio, proportion, algebra, angles, area and perimeter concepts. We did few sections from these two books as well, so thought of updating this here.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:55 pm
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Golden_jubilee; an excellent post!! I a sure most parents will feel the same. Your experiences are exactly like mine. My DD will be sitting the test next yr; and I am in panic mode. Thank you so much for your advice. God Bless


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:20 pm
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Great tips, thank you so much. I found these very useful.


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