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 Post subject: practise tests
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 8:10 pm 
Hi My son is taking the practice test at Gainsborough on Saturday and I was wondering if I could ask a question.......
The letter we received from the school states that after Saturday he shouldnt need to practise anymore before the tests in September?
Can I ask other users how long they practise for and how long they have been practising for, and if they intend to continue practising throught the summer?

Many thanks

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:08 am 

I do think this is rather disingenuous of the school. I know the theory is that the 11 plus reasoning exams somehow test raw ability and that children only need a few "familiarisation" tests to achieve their maximium score. However, most people's experience is that scores continue to rise with practice and with "tutoring" to help the child with any areas or types of question which they find difficult. Even very bright children often need quite a lot of practice to answer all the questions within the time limits.

My daughter is in year 7 in one of the Grammar schools and I was quite surprised when she told me that many of the girls in her class had had a private tutor to prepare them for 11 plus. If your son does not practise, therefore, he will not be on an even playing field.

With my son this year we started practising about 5 weeks before the practice tests at our nearest grammar school and we shall practise through the summer holidays except for the 2 weeks we are away. I shall be fairly happy when I know he is achieving high results consistently in practices comparable to the real thing.

The results of your son's practice tests on Saturday should give you an indication of how much needs to be done. Other threads will give an idea of which books to use for practice.

Wishing your son all the best,


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:13 am 
The statement from the school is based on the idea that selection of children should be carried out "blind" so that they can identify genuinely bright children.

Whether people agree or disagree it is a fact that the majority of children taking 11+ tests are tutored either at home or privately.

Some children are taught how to jump through hoops and when they get to grammar school have difficulty coping with the system.

You should be looking to arrange tuition for your son by obtaining the most relevant material to your LEA or the service of a reputable tutor.

If you are tutoring yourself I suggest that you proceed by looking at question types and concentrate on those that pose the most difficulty before going on to short question papers and then full question papers. This should be done in no more than one hour sessions, starting with two or three per week, then building to one hour per day immediately before the tests.

Keep posting to this site and keep asking questions, you will be given lots of advice. Also keep checking the site for free downloads.

Good Luck


 Post subject: 11+ coaching
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:02 am 
Thankyou for all your replies, they have all been helpful.
We started reading through the verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers around April. We have been doing roughly 30-40 mins 3-4 times a week. Although he does struggle a little when hes been at school all day. Luckily the actual tests are just after the 6 week break so he will be able to practise throughout the summer.
I don't believe in paying a tutor as I agree with Mike that if someone is shown time and time again how to do something they will do it, but at what cost? I don't want my son to struggle when/if he gets a place. I am helping him myself and we are slowly going through the papers, and he is making steady progress.
He is fine working through them at his own pace but as soon as I say that I will time him, he gets really stressed and almost immediately falters, this is something we need to work on through the summer.
Thankyou all again.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:23 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 438
Hi Newbie,

Don't worry over much about the effect of tutoring. If you had been "training" him for Grammar from Reception then you may have cause for concern that he won't cope. As it is, you do need to prepare and you would be more upset if your son didn't obtain a place owing to lack of tutoring and you then see children who have been allocated places achieving lower SATS results :!:

With regard to time, have you tried sitting with your son when he does a paper and observe his technique. Time him on each question type so you can see his strengths and weaknesses. I was surprised when I did this with my daughter. You can then work more specifically on the ones that cause him problems. Is your paper structured so that you have say 100 q's in 45 mins or are the children presented with sections individually timed.

If it is not individual time sections you will be able to advise on which questions to skip over and go back to - with our daughter some questions were taking her a long time even thougth she was getting them right. By using this technique she skipped the penultimate section and was able to answer the last 10 questions, and went back to the question types we had identified that she found difficult. By the end of the paper she only left out 6 out of 100, also very few finished the VR paper this year (if any) so missing a few didn't make too much difference.

Hope this helps


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