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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:53 pm
Posts: 9
Hi everyone,

My eldest son is due to take the 11+ this September, and so I'm starting to think about how to help him prepare.

I didn't book a tutor, as I can't afford it, but have bought some CGP practise books. I thought perhaps an hour or so practise each weekend would be sufficient, to help him along.

Is this similar to other people's preparation plan, or woefully insufficient? :-D

My son enjoys school, and is keen to take the test (he particularly likes The Crypt), but I'm nervous about pushing him too much. Alhough I may regret not encouraging him more.

Anyway, just thoght I'd say "Hi" and let you know where we're at with it.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:44 pm 
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Welcome!
A word of warning about ‘pushing’. Unfortunately, there are children every year who’s parents said ‘we won’t push...we want them to get in on their own merits so they can cope at grammar’. Very often they don’t pass as although bright, & perfectly able to ‘cope’ at a grammar school, they are underprepared when up against so many children who are well prepared in how to complete the tests. My advice would be that you know your child & if they are bright then little & often from now until the summer hols is the way to go. My 3 did not have a tutor but we worked hard at home. Build up vocabulary through lots of reading plus there are free online games or word card games you can buy. Bond & CGP are good for teaching the maths they won’t have covered in school. In the summer hols, I then started CGP & ‘first past the post’ tests. There are lots of places you can sit a mock test. Mine did 1 so they weren’t as stressed out on the proper test day, people we know did a mock every week in the summer hols!
Good luck, it’s hard work but worth it to have your child able to choose the school they want :)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:49 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:21 am
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Hi there good luck with your journey! Whether you use a tutor or not, one hour a week will not be enough unfortunately - you need to get way ahead of what your child is learning at school, plus make sure they are quick and accurate under pressure. Mock tests over the summer are a good idea to get him prepared for the actual test, and little and often with prep is the way to go. I don't want to scare you off but in the lead up to the test our DS did about 20 mins a day, every day. We concentrated on the CGP books, as well as flash cards - and lots of reading to get that vocab up.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:39 am
Posts: 83
Welcome! This forum has been invaluable - so hopefully you will get the help you need.

Agree wholeheartedly with Debims & Watermelon8 that mock tests are a good idea as they will help you know where your DC might need extra practice. Also, it helps them to be in a room with other kids, get used to the timings that are used in the actual test so that they are familiar with the format and that aspect is no longer a mystery on the day when they will have other things to think about!

Vocab is very important, so read lots! There is a good website you can use to practice vocab which you might find useful:

freerice.com

and there is also a maths website where you can practice 10 questions for free each day - after that you would have to pay - so why do more...? :wink: The student can pick the topic they want to practice

https://uk.ixl.com/math/

Over the summer hols we did 15-20 mins most days but not at the weekends and not when we were actually away on holiday! Usually in the morning so that firstly, it gets it out of the way, and secondly the actual test is in the morning so you they get used to working on the sorts of questions at the same time of day. The summer hols is the most difficult as they are rightly on holiday, but as the 11+ is so early in the autumn term, it is good to keep them ticking over. Also, nearer the time, we used the 11+ practice books that were timed (CGP also do books that are 10 minute tests and we used to help them get quicker). It wasn't our DCs ability that was our hurdle, but more their timing of answering questions. In practice my lot would take too long over one question and then they didn't answer enough of the paper to pass. They had to learn 'exam technique' - so being confident to skip over a question they struggle with and answer the others - and only going back to the missed out questions if they had time.

I don't mean to sound scary - but it is hard work and commitment from both the parents and the child. When ours had meltdowns (and they often did) we always said that they could stop the 11+ process and go to the (very good) comp we live near. We would be happy with whatever decision they made. In each case they wanted to go to the particular grammar school, and that helped us get through those harder moments. Worth persevering, but it is work and commitment from the whole family.

Good luck!!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:46 pm
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Debims wrote:
Hi there good luck with your journey! Whether you use a tutor or not, one hour a week will not be enough unfortunately - you need to get way ahead of what your child is learning at school, plus make sure they are quick and accurate under pressure. Mock tests over the summer are a good idea to get him prepared for the actual test, and little and often with prep is the way to go. I don't want to scare you off but in the lead up to the test our DS did about 20 mins a day, every day. We concentrated on the CGP books, as well as flash cards - and lots of reading to get that vocab up.


To echo Debims & CKMum, when I said ‘little & often’....that did become something everyday towards the summer hols. One day we might do a 10min maths (CGP) & a Cloze plus vocab. Next day we might do a maths topic & a reading comp. All quite short but it builds stamina. Particularly with the maths, there are so many topics they won’t have covered in school before they sit the test that you have to go thru them at home.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:07 pm
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We also started seriously at Easter with prepping my son. He was desperate to go to Marling. He is bright but is more of an 'all rounder' rather than a genius, so we did need to do some work with him, particularly on the process of working on the longer maths questions, comprehension and some verbal reasoning. He is a typical boy so was in a rush to finish and had to be taught to check his work. The CGP books were great. Also, just reading more challenging books is helpful and making sure spellings and times tables are known backwards. Plus, in our case, he just found a few types of questions really hard (I am thinking cloze I suppose) and so we concentrated on improving those things he could do so he was very strong at them rather than making him miserable by going over things his brain struggled with over and over again.

We also found that from about July onwards it was good to do a little bit every day because he resisted less when it was part of a short daily routine. We also found that mornings worked best. I found, despite his enthusiasm for school and his expectation that he would get into a grammar, he did get pretty sick of it by the end (as did I...I was REALLY sick of it but perhaps that's because I hadn't bought into the whole process. I still think that if your child and parents have to jump through so many hoops to gain entry to a school, I am not sure the school has to be that brilliant to attain good results.). It can put a bit of a strain on your relationship with your child and so it is important to also have fun, even if you have to schedule it in [July 25th 1pm: chill out for goodness sake]. We also booked 2 mocks, they were a little bit disheartening - so don't be put off if they don't go brilliantly - but in the end he got into the boys grammars and Crypt quite easily. Just from my own limited observations of his peer group at school (which obviously doesn't add up to comprehensive data), those children who achieved well by the end of their reception year got into grammar school if they did a bit of work for it. So I suppose I am agreeing with everyone else that you sound on the right track but you probably need to up the pace a bit if you want to be confident that he is 'exam ready'.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:46 pm
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onthefence wrote:
We also started seriously at Easter with prepping my son. He was desperate to go to Marling. He is bright but is more of an 'all rounder' rather than a genius, so we did need to do some work with him, particularly on the process of working on the longer maths questions, comprehension and some verbal reasoning. He is a typical boy so was in a rush to finish and had to be taught to check his work. The CGP books were great. Also, just reading more challenging books is helpful and making sure spellings and times tables are known backwards. Plus, in our case, he just found a few types of questions really hard (I am thinking cloze I suppose) and so we concentrated on improving those things he could do so he was very strong at them rather than making him miserable by going over things his brain struggled with over and over again.

We also found that from about July onwards it was good to do a little bit every day because he resisted less when it was part of a short daily routine. We also found that mornings worked best. I found, despite his enthusiasm for school and his expectation that he would get into a grammar, he did get pretty sick of it by the end (as did I...I was REALLY sick of it but perhaps that's because I hadn't bought into the whole process. I still think that if your child and parents have to jump through so many hoops to gain entry to a school, I am not sure the school has to be that brilliant to attain good results.). It can put a bit of a strain on your relationship with your child and so it is important to also have fun, even if you have to schedule it in [July 25th 1pm: chill out for goodness sake]. We also booked 2 mocks, they were a little bit disheartening - so don't be put off if they don't go brilliantly - but in the end he got into the boys grammars and Crypt quite easily. Just from my own limited observations of his peer group at school (which obviously doesn't add up to comprehensive data), those children who achieved well by the end of their reception year got into grammar school if they did a bit of work for it. So I suppose I am agreeing with everyone else that you sound on the right track but you probably need to up the pace a bit if you want to be confident that he is 'exam ready'.


I agree. It’s horrendous to feel you have to jump thru so many hoops but unfortunately it is a bit of a game & you have to play it :( there’s so much excessive tutoring that really nothing is guaranteed these days. As I’ve said many times on here, so many of my children’s peers did not get the places they wanted (or got no places) because they weren’t adequately prepared. I don’t agree about early attainment though. My dcs are all young ones & they definitely weren’t classed as high fliers by the end of reception or even y1(in reading test scores etc) but as they matured, they overtook their peers (2 of them passed for Pates & they all now are at or about to start the gs they wanted - hsfg & Crypt). Ultimately, you know your child & whether they have the potential. I think focusing on early attainment sometimes makes people complacent. Many of the children we know who didn’t pass, were the stand out mature ones in reception & it was probably always assumed they’d walk into any gs (they should’ve done really!) preparation is the key!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:10 pm
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I worried about 'pushing' as well, but once we started looking at practice books it became clear that the crucial thing would be preparing for aspects of the test that wouldn't otherwise be familiar. That is, 1) mainly the NVR stuff, and other elements of subjects that she hadn't encountered in school, and 2) exam technique: most importantly, practising answering all the questions on the sheet in the time available! That process of becoming familiar with the requirements was the key for us, not 'pushing' her in the sense of cramming lists of vocab or whatever. She sat a couple of mock tests which again were useful as technical practice, although the results bore no relation at all to how well she did in the real thing :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:21 pm
Posts: 163
Hi

We started off with the basics - making sure my DD was very secure (& fast on times tables) & encouraged lots of reading as others have said.

We went through areas of the curriculum which she might not yet have done at primary school (particularly in maths).
We did exercises in maths & verbal reasoning not under timed conditions so she understood what to do.
We worked through the CGP non verbal reasoning book as it was new to her. We practiced synonyms & antonyms.

Then we did practice papers. First untimed then timed. We kept doing timed exercises throughout so she was used to focussing. Mark everything with your child & go through where they made the errors so they learn from their mistakes. Just handing back the result doesn't do that! You'll find areas where you need to brush up on.

By the end of the summer term we were in the right territory. We then kept it up with short regular bursts during the summer holidays a few minutes most days.

We did 2 full mocks in the summer holidays. They were useful for DD to go to somewhere unfamiliar, listen to instructions, mark the papers in the right way, ignore everyone else & just do it. She did 2 papers back to back - as that is what the have to do on exam day...exam technique preparation is invaluable.

So, good luck. At times it is stressful and you do feel like your pushing to do work. But then, we have both said we in a strange way enjoyed the process - working towards something as a team. We were very careful to balance out fun activities too. Until the summer holidays we worked 2-3 hours a week, but there were always days where we did nothing.

Hope this helps & good luck.


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