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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:54 am
Posts: 7
I'm sure that back in the day some kids probably took the 11 plus without realising they had even taken it.
I guess that's no so possible in this day and age, with the prep required beforehand, and the general hubbub around it.
Anyway we're are hoping to give it a go, as any fuss would probably be counter - productive.

Has anyone tried this recently? We have the advantage of living in a grammar school county, but in a town with no
grammar schools, nobody we know of at school is taking it, and as we began DIY prep during lockdown, it allowed it to
go under the radar as 'home-schooling', which continues for a few hours each weekend and during the
holidays now, rather than during the 'school day' during the lockdown.

So far, we've made reasonable progress with reasonable levels of co-operation, with no mention of the 11 plus.
I wonder how long this can continue for? Is it even wise?

Any advice would be welcomed.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:39 am
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Slightly different context but, DC progressed rapidly through their music grades at an early age and, for the first few, the instrument teacher was under strict instructions not to mention exams and definitely not dates. As far as DC were concerned they were just learning pieces, scales, etc in preperation for special performances with special teachers. The music school teachers chuckled when they heard of my approach but it worked quite well early on, as DC were always very excited about their special performances while some poor souls would be clinging to their parents.

It may not be that easy, as presumably your child is quite a bit older, but could be worth a try and might avoid some anxiety. On the other hand, at this age s/he probably wouldn't want to turn up to a surprise exam.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:45 pm 
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we decided to be upfront but laid back.
I described the exams to the kids as a “little test” that would “increase their choices” if it worked out and if not then that was fine because we had <decent local comp> that they would enjoy just as much.
Unless they are homeschooled any school children will talk about where they might go to big school (especially the ones who are being loaded up with 2+ hours of homework a night, or have their Playstation taken away or their Judo lessons cancelled to “concentrate on their studies”).
The important thing is praising the effort and minimising the importance of the outcome. because a lot of children do better if not overstressed.
And there is also the importance of letting them actually choose whwther they want the grammar even if they do pass. it’s not compulsory...


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:42 am
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Hello aquafina
In addition to what nyr & Aethel have said, I would add to not make the 11+ prep a focus; as in don't cancel any other activities they are involved in (not that there are too many of them due to the current situation).

IMHO (and with hindsight) - 11+ prep should be looked at as improving the DC's English, Maths and reasoning skills. The passing of an 11+ exam and getting into a selective school is the icing on top.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:59 pm 
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Yes, absolutely, a low profile campaign is possible. Don’t let the amount of preparation most children appear to be doing put you off.

Grammar school for my child wasn’t even on the radar until the March the same year as the test. I looked at the posts on this forum and thought cripes this amount of preparation is bonkers for a school!

You should know by now how your child is doing at school- are they exceeding in all subjects? Are they secure with the maths taught up to now? Do they know their times tables? Do they read for pleasure? If yes then I really believe loads of preparation is not necessary.

My preparation was to read the posts on this forum, and from that I narrowed down the preparation for my child to: 1. knowing how to fill in a multiple choice booklet, 2. what NVR questions look like and 3. trying a few of the commercially produced question papers (with the advice to guess and move on if they didn’t know the answer). The summer holiday was 11+ free and the question papers were practised the weekend before the test.

We had one of the 10 minute test books which was useful with exposure to question types. Some of the maths in the commercially produced books is at a ridiculous level so these questions were ignored. Don’t forget it’s in the interest of the tutoring industry to scare you into thinking your child needs a tutor to get them up to speed with yr 6 and 7 maths.

I think from looking at your previous posts you are in catchment for a Birmingham grammar? If so that’s great as the score is irrelevant (as long as the priority score is reached) so your child will not be at a disadvantage if they are up against children who have been prepping for years.

At the end of the day a grammar school is just a school. I have children at a comp and a child at a grammar school. As far as I can see the behaviour (disruption in class) and bad language is the pretty much the same between the grammar and comp. The only difference I can detect at the moment is the amount of homework that my child at the grammar school gets given..... a lot!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:56 am
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I think all that is very true and sensible in a system when a pass is all that's needed. For superselectives you probably need to do more unless your child is a stone cold genius - just because there are lots of very bright children being tutored and practising a lot.

On the question of whether/ when they need to know about it, depends a lot on your child. Both of mine did better with tutoring, not just for the content but the sense that it was normal to be doing what they were doing because their tutor group were too, and their rather charismatic tutor was geeing them along. Mattered most with the elder, the younger had close friends also doing 11 plus and is very competitive with his brother. But other children could be wired very differently and you know your own best.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:09 am 
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Gosh, definitely no right answer. Each parent probably knows what’s best for their kid. As chilled as possible was certainly our aim, but in his school there were many kids preparing, so it was entirely normal. Low profile went out the window :lol: . Our DS, helpfully, seemed to benefit from knowing why he was studying...he had a personal goal. We certainly invested in a tutor, then just did our best to manage the vibe at home. Keeping things as normal and relaxed as possible (granted not always easy), planned our trips, treats and real breaks from working in advance and stuck to them (as much for our sanity, his sibling’s and his own). We didn’t reduce any extra curricular activities (C-19 did that), but if curtailed, the time ring fenced for doing that activity was filled with something non 11+ related. I think we managed to keep things happy and relaxed at home, reinforced that any prep just makes him a stronger student, and lastly, whatever happens we were proud of his efforts. It wasn’t without a bump along the way, I reckon we managed it as best we could for our DS, and importantly acknowledged that the whole process is self inflicted! :D . Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:54 am
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Thanks for all the responses so far. Being our first attempt at DIY, we’ve certainly been learning on the job, and there has been a certain amount of trial and error along the way with both approach and materials. Routine seems so important. Initially the reaction to introducing something new into it has bordered on mutinous, but within a few days it has just become part of the routine, and push back has become minimal.
At the moment everything is untimed, to build accuracy, confidence and familiarity with no only the answers but what the question is actually asking. We have emphasised the importance of reading the question.

So far VR and NVR looks fairly promising, with a steady improvement, we are currently working on the Bond 9 – 10 books. The maths is trickier, but a lot of that may come down to not actually having covered the material at school yet. The Maths problems that require multiple stages of calculation are beyond us at the moment. A part of me thinks, what’s the point in spending too much time on these, when a better strategy might be just to target the easier maths questions and skip the harder ones altogether.
The hope is to get to next August without mentioning the 11+, and then maybe casually mention it when it comes to sitting summer mock exams (COVID permitting). As other posters have alluded to if they are familiar with exam technique (i.e. timings, what the question is asking for, how to fill in the answer sheet) and have decent grasp of the raw materials they have a chance.

If nothing else, it gives us a little project that seems to be bringing us closer together (not always though!), and by treating the thing as a bit of game it seems to keep things on more of an even keel. There’s been ups and downs along the way so far and I’m sure there will be plenty more of both to come. I’m sure for most people this approach wouldn’t be possible, and perhaps wouldn’t even be regarded as wise, I guess it very much depends on the individual child and each household’s individual circumstances. Time will tell I suppose.


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