We are soon to start thinking about the 11+ preparation and I was wondering if those whose children had just sat the paper would recommend a tutor or did they do all the preparation themselves?
We didn't use a tutor.
1) We started practising in January of this year i.e. 8/9 months ago. This was an adequate period, IMHO.
2) We worked from the Bond 11 plus books early on ("How to do 11 Plus Maths, VR, English")
3) We also covered various topics in maths that the 11plus requires, but that they haven't studied at school yet, in particular:
- fractions (multiplying, adding, dividing, simplifying)
- basic algebra (substitution, handling equations, etc)
- percentages (fraction -> percent, percent -> fraction)
- word problems -> algebra
- ratio and proportion
- area conversion (mm^2 <-> cm^2 <-> m^2 <-> km^2)
- distance conversion (cm <-> m <-> km)
- reading linear graphs
4) We started doing one Nfer-Nelson paper a week from mid-June onwards, for practise with the real questions. We also got the Bond 11 plus English papers (very similar format/ level to Nfer-Nelson) for additional material (it is hard to find enough English comprehension material).
5) We got the The Tutors maths and VR programs from this site. These are recommended. Kids like computer based tests, and they provide lots of good 11 plus standard questions, covering all 21 types of VR questions. (note that the available Nfer-Nelson VR papers don't cover all 21 types apparently, but they can appear in the real test).
From mid-June onward, we started doing 1 test (usually VR or M) on Saturday and Sunday, with the odd English paper thrown in for a change.
6) At about the same time (mid-June), we got the Bond 11+ 10 minute test books (E, M, VR), and started doing 1 10 minute test every weekday in the morning. These books are also recommended.
7) We did very little actual work on attempting to expand vocabulary, maily because I couldn't think of an easy way to do this. In retrospect, I'd try to spend more time on this if I had to do it again. In general, all of the English revision came from 10 minute tests, and the practise papers, with a little revision of grammatical terms early on.
In summary, my daughter did this:
a) some early maths and English revision (1 hour per weekend for 3 months)
b) 10 minutes of Bond "How to do 11 plus" books for about the first 4 months roughly every day.
c) 10 minutes of Bond "10 minute tests" roughly every weekday for the last 5 months.
d) a practise paper on Saturday and Sunday for the last 5 months (but no 10 minute tests on a weekend)
though there was something of a lull during the summer hols.
Please note: some school teachers may tell you, or imply, that you need only do some familiarisation papers in the month of so before the test; IMHO, this is dangerous nonsense, if only because the 11 plus requires knowledge that simply won't have been covered at school (especially in maths).
If you are confident in English and Maths up to say O level/GCSE standard, I see little point in paying for a tutor. The one big advantage of tutoring, however, is that you are unlikely to get the tantrums/screaming fits if a stranger is doing the teaching (or is that just my daughter .. ?)
My biggest concern is the stress of the actual day of the test - was it as busy as I imagine?
My daughter reported that it was "fun". She wasn't tired at all after the test, which I'll put down to adrenalin.
How did you prepare your children for this - did you do any mock papers all in one day?
My daughter never managed more than 2 mock papers in one day, thereafter complaining that she was "too tired" (in a way totally unrelated to watching X Factor till God knows what time.)
I thought I would put in the question while there actually appears to be Wiltshire people on the forum!
Sometimes I come here and watch the tumbleweed rolling. I find it very soothing.