My son has sat Practice Papers A, 1 and 2 in preparation for his 11+ in October. He has had tutoring and we try and do papers at home and in general he seems to be doing well, around the 90% mark so we have all fingers and toes crossed for the actual test.
After Paper A he came home and said it was fine, after Paper 1 he came home with a very strange story about how he decided to try a new way and do whole sections (of 8 in this case) writing the answers next to the questions on the question paper and then filling in the MC sheet once he had done a whole section.....When he went back to fill in the MC sheet he put the answer to say No. 21 in No.22 and although realised there was no match for what he had worked out, panicked, guessed an answer and proceeded down the MC sheet for the next 8, all out of sync, all by then guessed.
He finished the paper with a minute of two to spare and dived back into this 'dodgy' section knowing that there was something wrong. He saw what he had done and proceeded to rub out answers and move up questions and try and correct the errors. Time ran out and he did little to correct the scenario.
Paper 2 he reverted back to 'normal' working and said it was fine.
The school sent home his papers, answers etc. for us parents to mark and lo and behold he did well in Paper A and Paper 2 and got 64 out of 80 for Paper 1, getting 7 wrong out of this section where he tried out his new method. When I looked at his working, he had got all 8 correct but because of the question number boo-boo proceeded to lose 7 marks (or more because of his piddling about).
We have laughed about this at home and made light of it but my point of writing is, please emphasise to your kids not to experiment with new method workings in the actual test, thank goodness his 'new idea' was only in a mock, a clever girl in his class had told him what she did in papers and that was why he went along this route. If they and you are happy with the way they work in a practice paper, tell them to stick with it for the real thing no matter what they might hear or see others doing.
Its strange because in my old 'wise' mind I wouldn't dream of veering off what I normally do especially in an important situation but a 10 year old mind does not work like that.
Good luck everyone and not long to go now....