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 Post subject: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:35 am 
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My DS did the 11+ last year using mainly CGP and did well. We have been doing CGP with DD who is due to take the 11+ next year, although the comprehension tests have been winding me up (again) so I was wondering if we should be trying out some other companies. If your DC did well in the exam this year, which books did you use?


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:50 pm 
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Glos18 wrote:
My DS did the 11+ last year using mainly CGP and did well. We have been doing CGP with DD who is due to take the 11+ next year, although the comprehension tests have been winding me up (again) so I was wondering if we should be trying out some other companies. If your DC did well in the exam this year, which books did you use?


DC used CGP at recommendation of tutor, who has tried all 11+ tutoring/testing materials from a wide range of sources. CGP has the advantage of being well structured, though they are definitely quite variable in difficulty which can have the effect of lulling you into a false sense of security/putting the wind up you (delete as applicable)! The CGP offering covers 16 test papers in total, so by averaging out the results of these at the end of the process, you should have a pretty reliable indication of DC's capability. Worked for me, though DC did somewhat better in the real thing than that average would have suggested.

Appreciate the OP was asking about alternative sources - tried a couple of Letts books, which were definitely easier and quite well presented, and also Bond online - didn't really go much for the latter as the online tests, though definitely more challenging than CGP, didn't seem to follow the same structure as the 11+ test - in some cases the candidate has to obtain a complete set of correct answers to gain a score for a given section. Think the Bond books are OK, though only tried a couple.

Can definitely relate to OP saying the CGP comprehension tests wind you up - I took all the CGP tests from the 2019 set concurrently with DC, to show solidarity (!), and some of the question setting was definitely a bit suspect, TBH. In the real thing, DC was nonplussed about how easy the comprehension was in the actual 11+ - would be interesting to hear others' experiences...


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:08 pm 
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Thanks for the reply. Yes, DS declared the English in the real thing was easy, so CGP has obviously prepared him well. We did buy one Letts books as I found it helpful for speed training as it was easy, so we could just focus on pacing, but I would worry about relying on them for that reason. Bond seems a bit dull, but I'll take a closer look.
CGP has too many questions like: looking at line 17 is Bob feeling heroic, triumphant, proud or delighted? Grrr!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:50 am
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DD used CPG, she also found the real 11+ verbal reasoning quite easy, but was disappointed a lot of the question type covered by CPG weren't in the test.
She regularly scored 100% on the CPG NVR, but found the style 'different' in the test, though she still managed to complete them all.
The maths was pretty similar too.

She qualified just outside the top 150, and is a summer born (if that makes a difference)


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:44 am 
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I wonder if CEM will think of new ways each year to try and add a bit more tutor proofing in. We only used CGP books here too. My DD is currently in Y4 so was going to use the same with him


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:50 pm 
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Brackenboo wrote:
I wonder if CEM will think of new ways each year to try and add a bit more tutor proofing in. We only used CGP books here too. My DD is currently in Y4 so was going to use the same with him


We used the CGP books as well (plus some mock tests) and it all seemed to work.

Can you make the test less "tutor proof"? They've supposedly already tried (and they do adjust things each year); but if they insist on setting maths questions that seem to expect DC to know stuff that isn't even covered until the end of YR6 (and some that seems to be YR7), and comprehensions that seem to need the same level of experience; then what are you supposed to do?

It wouldn't be too bad if various of the Primary schools actually did something to try and stretch the more able children to aim for 11+; but sadly (I suspect because of the league tables) they seem far more focussed on getting the less able children to "expected standard". My DD was bored senseless by the end of YR4, and had got to the point of saying she didn't want to go to school anymore, because she felt she wasn't learning anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:32 am 
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cheltdad wrote:
Brackenboo wrote:
I wonder if CEM will think of new ways each year to try and add a bit more tutor proofing in. We only used CGP books here too. My DD is currently in Y4 so was going to use the same with him


We used the CGP books as well (plus some mock tests) and it all seemed to work.

Can you make the test less "tutor proof"? They've supposedly already tried (and they do adjust things each year); but if they insist on setting maths questions that seem to expect DC to know stuff that isn't even covered until the end of YR6 (and some that seems to be YR7), and comprehensions that seem to need the same level of experience; then what are you supposed to do?

It wouldn't be too bad if various of the Primary schools actually did something to try and stretch the more able children to aim for 11+; but sadly (I suspect because of the league tables) they seem far more focussed on getting the less able children to "expected standard". My DD was bored senseless by the end of YR4, and had got to the point of saying she didn't want to go to school anymore, because she felt she wasn't learning anything.


DC was a bit fazed by the VR in the 11+ this year, insofar as she hadn't come across Cloze tests where *** need to be substituted, as opposed to individual words or short phrases. I hadn't come across Cloze tests of this type in any of the CGP/Letts/Bond material we'd used for preparation. Maybe this was one of the tweaks to this year's test? DC's tutor said this style of Cloze wasn't unheard of - but DC's comment on coming out of the test was that she had no idea how she'd done as she wasn't familiar with this style and she volunteered that she might have got all of them wrong, which certainly put the wind up us as parents as Close had been her strength in the preparation papers/mocks.

Agree ++ that it is bizarre that *state* primary schools do not actively stretch pupils to prepare for what are effectively entrance exams for the next stage of *state* education. I understand that this is because the exam boards claim to have created a test for which tutoring is impossible, and indeed I naively started out with this perspective a couple of years back. Rapidly disabused of this notion by seeing very bright but untutored DC of friends heading for local comp in October last year post 11+. OK, not a statistically reliable sample, but sobering nonetheless. No educational system is perfect, or without its idiosyncrasies, but it is simply bizarre that the 11 + test requires knowledge of maths which state schools are scheduled to teach *after* the 11+ test itself has happened. This alone makes tutoring a necessity for state school pupils, if they are to have any chance of competing with children attending private prep schools, which do not labour under this self imposed restriction. As a result, the education authorities create an entire industry dedicated to servicing largely state sector children preparing for the 11+. I do not know of ANY parents this year who didn't make use of a tutor. It is satisfying though to see DC hold her own relative to prep school friends after having been tutored.


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:06 pm 
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Quote:
Agree ++ that it is bizarre that *state* primary schools do not actively stretch pupils to prepare for what are effectively entrance exams for the next stage of *state* education. I understand that this is because the exam boards claim to have created a test for which tutoring is impossible, and indeed I naively started out with this perspective a couple of years back. Rapidly disabused of this notion by seeing very bright but untutored DC of friends heading for local comp in October last year post 11+. OK, not a statistically reliable sample, but sobering nonetheless. No educational system is perfect, or without its idiosyncrasies, but it is simply bizarre that the 11 + test requires knowledge of maths which state schools are scheduled to teach *after* the 11+ test itself has happened. This alone makes tutoring a necessity for state school pupils, if they are to have any chance of competing with children attending private prep schools, which do not labour under this self imposed restriction. As a result, the education authorities create an entire industry dedicated to servicing largely state sector children preparing for the 11+. I do not know of ANY parents this year who didn't make use of a tutor. It is satisfying though to see DC hold her own relative to prep school friends after having been tutored.


Surely the issue lies with CEM rather than the state primary schools? The test simply cannot be tutor proof and accessible to pupils whose parents cannot afford tutoring if it relies on content taught in Year 6 or even 7.

I don't see why a state primary school should prepare pupils specifically for the 11+ exam. Funding and curriculum strategy is driven by the DfE on a national basis and many areas are not selective so why would they teach for the few at the expense of the many, especially with staffing and resources being stretched after years of underfunding? I agree that schools should "stretch and challenge" able students in every cohort - and whilst not familiar with OFSTED inspection frameworks at primary level, I know them at higher levels and inspectors do look for extension activity in classrooms aimed at these students - but that's not exactly the same as preparing them to do well at 11+.

I think it's the CEM system itself that is flawed; yes, in my view everyone does need some tuition, whether formal or DIY, not least for timing and familiarisation issues - but I don't think we can blame primary schools.


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:05 pm 
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Completely agree Red Maple. Of course state primary schools can't prepare perhaps 3 children out of a class of 30 for the 11+! Those condemning them for not doing so would be the first to look at SATs scores when choosing a school. SATs rightly or wrongly are a core indicator when 'judging' a school. To be perfectly honest I would rather those teachers concentrate on children really struggling than jumping though hoops to keep the brightest of the bunch 'entertained'. Many schools will have simple strategies that might not be obvious to the child to differentiate 'upwards'.

My daughter and son have both been 'challenged' at a state primary and are thriving in Y5 and at a grammar school. A peer of my eldest child was taken out to be 'challenged' at a prestigious prep school and guess what - they did no better in the 11+. Teachers in primary may vary in quality but a good primary school will cater for all children from those who are having difficulty with the very basics to those who show real potential to excel academically. Added to that if you take into consideration workload, clubs, funding cuts, ever changing curriculum and initiatives it's perfectly understandable why grammar places are at the very back of school's focus in terms of priorities. It is great to support your children's capabilities but please don't expect the poor teacher to do beyond what is possible.

Reading, museum visits, knowledge of the humanities and RS, 'cultural literacy' as HMI Oftsed inspectors call it will no doubt vary on the background of the student and this is very much where parents can help. All students now are expected to have equal opportunity to being able to decode symbols such as a lamb representing religious sacrifice/ innocence/ spring etc and that's in an art lesson! I kid you not the latest secondary inspection framework will now be checking that there is a parity of access to such knowledge! I would humbly suggest that in order to do that a student will need to read fluently first and I'd want to focus my efforts on that rather than Latin lessons for seven year olds. I'm not a primary teacher but I am in awe of them.

Good luck OP and apologies for the off topic ramble.


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 Post subject: Re: Round 2 DIY
PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:41 am 
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dodie102 wrote:
Completely agree Red Maple. Of course state primary schools can't prepare perhaps 3 children out of a class of 30 for the 11+! Those condemning them for not doing so would be the first to look at SATs scores when choosing a school. SATs rightly or wrongly are a core indicator when 'judging' a school. To be perfectly honest I would rather those teachers concentrate on children really struggling than jumping though hoops to keep the brightest of the bunch 'entertained'. Many schools will have simple strategies that might not be obvious to the child to differentiate 'upwards'.

My daughter and son have both been 'challenged' at a state primary and are thriving in Y5 and at a grammar school. A peer of my eldest child was taken out to be 'challenged' at a prestigious prep school and guess what - they did no better in the 11+. Teachers in primary may vary in quality but a good primary school will cater for all children from those who are having difficulty with the very basics to those who show real potential to excel academically. Added to that if you take into consideration workload, clubs, funding cuts, ever changing curriculum and initiatives it's perfectly understandable why grammar places are at the very back of school's focus in terms of priorities. It is great to support your children's capabilities but please don't expect the poor teacher to do beyond what is possible.

Reading, museum visits, knowledge of the humanities and RS, 'cultural literacy' as HMI Oftsed inspectors call it will no doubt vary on the background of the student and this is very much where parents can help. All students now are expected to have equal opportunity to being able to decode symbols such as a lamb representing religious sacrifice/ innocence/ spring etc and that's in an art lesson! I kid you not the latest secondary inspection framework will now be checking that there is a parity of access to such knowledge! I would humbly suggest that in order to do that a student will need to read fluently first and I'd want to focus my efforts on that rather than Latin lessons for seven year olds. I'm not a primary teacher but I am in awe of them.

Good luck OP and apologies for the off topic ramble.


I don't think anyone was suggesting "Latin for seven year olds" - we've ended up with a system where the 11+ seems to need more knowledge than is usually taught in schools by the time that the children need to take it, so regardless of the attempts to make the actual exam"tutor" proof there is the belief to a large degree that you need a tutor just to deal with the subjects and the details that the schools haven't got to in enough detail - that then plays into the argument that 11+ is too "elitist" and favours those families that can pay for such tuition.

The school assessment (and implied ranking) system with SATs then partly drives the need to focus on getting as many as possible to what has been deemed the "expected standard" - and there is a clear need (as there should be) to make sure that the "less able" children are encouraged and not just abandoned. Years ago when I was at school the focus was completely the other way round - with them being told to sit at the back and keep quiet while the teacher focussed on the "clever" children. Fortunately that's now changed but the constant underfunding of schools means the equivalent resource doesn't seem to be available to provide extra stuff for the more able children to have a go at - hence the drive to use tutors; when the real solution would be for the Govt to properly fund education.

I'm pleased that various folks seem to think that their DC has been more than stimulated and encouraged by their primary/junior - my DD has been bored senseless and complained about "not learning anything" (and it's not been helped by her school being apparantly a year behind on their own published curriculum in various areas, and things like her French teacher marking things wrong that a French Native speaker, we who know, has told us are correct).

I think my final frustration was DDs head - the day before the actual exam - apparently not even knowing when it was (The conversation went "Big day tomorrow"; "Why?"; "It's the 11+ exam"; "Oh, is it?".......); and this is in a school where nearly a 1/3 of the children were taking it.


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