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 Post subject: NLCS Exam prep help!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:07 pm
Posts: 9
We have taken a brave step of tutoring our DD by ourselves for nlcs entrance exam, inspite of people suggesting we need to tutor her externally, without which she doesn't stand a chance.
The thing is since we live in reading area, there aren't any experienced tutors to prep her.
I would greatly appreciate if anyone can guide me ( who have been through this)on in terms of what material can I use to guide her and what should we expect. In terms of achievement she has achieved level 5c eng n 5b maths for her end of yr5 targets. I would also appreciate a honest view from any parents , who have been through the process about what chance she stands. She is a very hardworking girl and would like to give her the opportunity if she can to achieve her potential and not loose out due to living in a particular area where right guidance isn't available.
Any help will be very useful. Apologies for a long thread, just an anxious mom!!! :shock:

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:30 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 7876
Location: Herts
The Maths will be straightforward for you to do by yourself but you will find it challenging to assess the level of her English responses, especially the creative writing when you do not have anything to compare it to. If you pm me I can send you examples of student's work that got a place last year at NLCS, Habs, HBS and DAO. I think you will be able to clearly see what is involved then. How much creative writing does she do at school? In my experience this is an area that does not get as much focus as it should in KS2. You will be competing against dds who are already at Level 6 so I would you enter for some local state selectives in September so you can get a benchmark as to how she is progressing. It is a shame that HBS has put their English and Maths exam back to January as that would have been a good selective to sit. Clement Danes has no catchment area so sign up for their Maths and VR exam. Anyone suggest any good state selective locally that she could sit? DG

 Post subject: Re: NLCS Exam prep help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:42 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 375
Our DD was at a local London state primary school and was offered a place at NLCS four years ago.

NLCS likes prep school girls, both from their own prep section and from other prep schools. The internal candidates are specially prepared for the entrance exam.

The exams and the interview process naturally suit girls from a strong prep school background who are also quite bright academically and, perhaps, have something about them. Nobody knows quite what they look for in the papers or in the interview. Their process is a closed book so we can only guess. In addition, the English will change from January 2015 and no one knows what the impact will be of NLCS setting their own papers rather than using the North London Consortium papers. The Sample Maths paper on their web site looks the same type as before, but in this new context. This shouldn't put you off, but a candidate does need both ability and careful and substantial preparation.

It’s always dangerous to generalise but, objectively, the Maths has probably been harder for most girls than the English in the past. Problem solving ability and multi-step solutions are rewarded. We certainly found the maths harder, both to prepare and on the day. But we cannot know how the examiners saw it or how everyone else fond the two papers on the day. We prepared a lot from the Habs Boys and old North London Consortium Maths papers. This may still be worth doing, downloading copies from various schools’ web sites.

The new English paper is expected to include ‘response to literature’ or ‘close reading’ type of questions, something only normally found in the Henrietta Barnett School papers. HBS have a sample paper on their web site, but no past papers are available. The prep schools prepare their girls for creative writing very well, pretty much from day one. This ability to be at around what would be late Year 6 or Year 7 standard for most schools. Lots of reading and variety of reading is an important part of the preparation. Much of our DD’s quality of English usage is rooted in her reading.

Finally, what are your transport plans for when you are offered an NLCS place? May be a long way to go every day, twice a day, sometimes six days a week.

Good luck with it all!

 Post subject: Re: NLCS Exam prep help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:56 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:25 am
Posts: 315
Hmmmm, Miss Jean Brodie. Gonna overrule you here.
I have 2 at NLCS (so I actually know what I'm talking about!). DD1 sat as an internal and DD2 sat 11+ from a prep. The girls coming up from the NLCS Lower School don't do much at all to prepare (DD1 remembers doing one past paper under timed conditions but no more than that). They are not in competition for their places and only have to achieve the pass mark- I haven't heard of anyone not managing this.
The intake at 11+ always seems to be around 50% state/50% prep. The school doesn't care a jot where your DD went to primary. The only difference it makes is that when they start at NLCS, prep girls will have done some MFL and more history and science. The gap closes very quickly. DD2's prep only began doing sample papers from September of yr 6 and only one per week. They didn't do any NVR or VR as the indies don't test for it.
As for the exam itself, the new English paper is asking for subtler analysis and more inference than the Consortium paper which was rather a blunt instrument. Also, the old consortium papers were marked by whichever school your DD sat at and only the scores were shared with the other schools. In some cases, a rather pedestrian effort might get through where a girl with flashes of brilliance might not. Your DD will need to be a very astute and discriminating reader and use interesting vocabulary correctly. Do lots of descriptive writing! The new paper is much closer to the way English is actually taught at the school and the level of sophistication a girl will need to manage.
The maths isn't very different to the consortium but has less basic arithmetic. to warm them up. The problems are all multi-step and they want to know how your DD thinks so she must show all her working out.
If your DD makes it to interview, it is a very relaxed affair. The purpose of it is to weed out girls who are over tutored and can't think creatively and flexibly. They also want to select girls who will be a pleasure to teach. The selective grammars aren't allowed to interview so it is very possible that girls who have been intensively tutored beyond their natural ability will get in. I won't tell you what they ask at interview (this would defeat the purpose, after all) but I can say that a girl who can't think on her feet won't get in. DD2's best friend is at HB and several in her year are already burnt out- some had been doing 2 hrs a day of prep after school from yr 4.. NLCS looks for the girl who is a good fit for the school and who will take advantage of what is on offer both academically and in extra curricular pursuits.
My best advice is that you come to a Taster Day. Your DD may find that she loves the school or that it is overwhelming and intimidating. The staff are very friendly and will answer any other questions you have.

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