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 Post subject: Test panic!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:38 am 
Another tearful session with my 10-year-old son. He panics when he sees test papers, his brain freezes and he just lashes out with guesses. If you sit down with him he can explain to you exactly how to work out the answers - without help from me - and gets around 75% right. But if left totally on his own he gets around 30%. Clearly testing doesn't suit him at all. We've been through all the tips but they just go out of his head when faced with the test paper. I'd drop the whole entrance test idea except that our only non-selective option is the local comprehensive which has problems with disruptive children and gets poor results right the way through the school.

I feel this whole experience is proving a damaging one for him; the frustrating thing is that he seems to have the ability but just can't cope with the test format. Any thoughts on the best way forward from here?


 Post subject: Panic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 3:19 pm 
Sorry to hear about your experience, though from my years of teaching experience, plus my own three kids, it is not altogether uncommon. With Simon, my second son, I found that I ended up creating my own papers! Basically, I pick out questions that I knew he was good at and copied them onto my own format of paper, and set him 10/15/20/25 minute tests. With each paper, as his confidence grew, I added more and more of the more difficult subjects. In the end as he consistently scored over 75% percent he calmed down.

I should point out that making your own questions up is no longer necessary since there are books out containing hundreds of practice questions of every type (e.g. IPS). Also with so many 11-plus publishers around you can find a format that he can relate to in increasing his confidence, but make sure that the closer you get to exam dates the format used is identical to the actual exam (usually Nfer-Nelson). One point that I read in this website was very good, that is to make sure that above all else the child see the exam as a challenge.

Best of luck. :D

 Post subject: eleven plus nerves
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 4:24 pm 
My son is in year 7 now and he had exactly the same problems. That is where i dont think the 11 plus is fair. In class my son has always proved he has the ability to do well, when pushed. But he just cannot sit exams, he gets nervous and does not read the questions correctly and just generally gets muddled. We took the decision to let him have a go at it, but i think it was more our decision than his. We got to november and realised it was too stressful for him, he could do the work but he knew he would flunk at the exam and no matter what we told him he decided not to do it. I now kick myself for not pushing harder, he is at a local comprehensive school that gave us loadsa hype about how they had turned the school around....poppy cock.... he is slowly going down hill as his teachers arent bothered if he gets good grades or not so why should he bother his attitude not ours...my advice do the 11 plus and if poss get in a tutor,i have an 8 year old and I am going to start now..

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:03 pm 
Thanks for your advice. We did do exactly that, persevered, and gradually he got over his panic. In the end he got several offers from good independent schools although he didn't quite make the (very selective) grammar. We've accepted the offer at the school that is not considered to be quite as academic and high-pressured as the others he was offered (although still very good) and I think it will suit him extremely well, although even 2 years ago we never thought we would be going into the private sector. With hindsight, and from talking to other people, a panic-sticken 'dip' round about September/October of Year 6 seems quite common. I don't know if other people have found the same.

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