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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:55 pm 
I sat my eleven plus in 1982. I passed to the local grammar school and had a very happy time in secondary school. I had no coaching whatsoever.

To my horror I have now discovered that several of my son's classmates have been coached for a year.

I went to the local bookshop and bought a selection of papers.

With the first paper of each type (VR/ NVR) we did a section or two at a time, reading the intsructions together and me helping him with the first couple of questions.

Once we had done this we moved straight into full length exams against the clock. My son was very confident and convinced he would pass- I needed really to show him how hard it was so that he would realise that some preparation is actually necessary. I was bright but lazy at school and suspect my son is very like me. I think I have dented his confidence slightly but necessarily.

Anyway we have now done 14 papers and I have another 18 to go. I have asked him to do one exam per day through the summer holidays and try to vary the order because I tried doing maths every day a couple of weeks ago to "nail it" and it became counterproductive at one point. He couldn't put into practise what I had taught him the previous day.

On maths I naively assumed that he would only be examined in subjects which he had been taught at school- but to my surprise he was pretty dubious on fractions, decimals, long division and percentages and I have had to teach him all of them.

I have noticed he really struggles with early morning exams- 8.30 was the earliest and I don't think his brain had engaged or if he's "not in the mood" when he seems to become more amused as I become more stressed.

He has been banned from Xbox, gameboy etc for the holidays and is reading harry potter- I have also bought a load of puffin classics to get him reading more. Although I have been buying him games on ebay if he does very well and allowing him to have occasional gameboy time as a further inducement to sitting exams if he's not overly keen.

If anyone has any advice please let me have it- I had no idea the world had changed so much since I sat the eleven plus.

I have resisted going to a tutor- although I could afford one- because I like to think he will pass "with just a bit of practise" and because I will be giving him one to one attention and personally monitoring his performance.

We live in Guernsey. We have used CGP and Alpha papers to date, having just ventured into Nfer Nelson multiple choice, which another post suggests are relevant for Guernsey.

Am I doing anything particularly wrong?


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:00 pm 
You do what you feel is necessary for your son. My son had hardly any coaching,but passed his entry exam. I have read lots of post on this forum,and have realized that all children are different. Are you looking to put your son in a grammar school or an independent school?
My son is 11, and is going through the 'Kevin and Perry' stage at the moment. Doesn't want to do any thing...Let alone study! I love Spanish and Latin myself though! He is one of those naturally bright kids that we all knew at school,and it makes me scream,if you know what i mean!
We want the best for our kids, then we feel guilty if we push them too far. Its a competitive world,we need to push them more these days.
Good luck. :D

 Post subject: Third time lucky
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:55 pm
Posts: 78

New to this site, but have just read your message about 11+ nerves. Also live in Guernsey and have two children at the Grammar but I don't think the competition is as stiff on the island as it is on the mainland! but am still nervous about son taking exam in October as he doesn't want to fail in front of his siblings.

We will have to knuckle down.

Fingers crossed - long wait until the end of May though!

 Post subject: How to help your son...
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 11:43 pm 
Hi Pushy Dad,

I found your post very interesting as your son sounds very much like my own son one year ago, in terms of his attitude...

In summary, we are in the West Midlands, which has a clutch of superb King Edwards Schools - the competition is intense with up to 2000 boys sitting for a school with only 104 places! I decided not to provide extra tutoring for my son as I was fearful that I could place him in a school where he had to struggle to keep up for the next 7 years (I had experience of fellow pupils at my Grammar School in the 80's who had been tutored and didn't achieve the 'norm' amongst their peers and who had a wretched time until they were able to leave at 16 with poor 'O' levels....) Anyway, I decided to encourage my son myself and gave him 10 papers to complete himself and then I debriefed him afterwards to correct any incorrect answers.

I didn't engage a tutor, nor did I bombard him during the summer holidays (I have to say that I think your approach during what should be a rest and play period could be counter-productive and overly pushy..!).Instead, I started to give him some papers in September. He usually scored around 85% in all papers, but I let him sit the exams anyway - even his teachers said that whilst he was bright, without tutoring, would he would be at a disadvantage in selective exams.

However, I gave him lots of positive encouragement and praise for whatever he achieved if he had concentrated and, although he entered the exams without professional tutoring, he had a great attitude in terms of doing his best - he was anxious, but full of enthusiasm when he sat his exams and, in the end, secured himself a place at his top choice school! My main point to you is that, I recommend you don't over-stress your son, nor over-tutor - I know lots of my son's friends and peers who had overly pushy parents and tutoring (some for up to 8 hours a week over 3 years) - their outcomes included:

Over 50% did not get into selective schools and they are mostly going to fee-paying independent schools (£85,000 plus for the next 7 years)...

A minority have ended up at the 'local comprehensive' school and the parents have been so horrified that I am sure they've given their children inferiority complexes for life...

The remainder have tutored their kids into the selective schools and they are now planning to continue tutoring throughout their child's school life to make sure they can 'keep up' - not only is this financially costly and takes up 'free time' when their children should being kids, but even now some of these children have said to me and my son that they don't feel capable to attend their secondary school - I feel that their confidence in themselves is being undermined at a critial age...

My main point is that you need to think beyond the pure academic aspect of your son's development - if he is academically capable, your 'light-touch' support will be sufficient to enable him to pass a selective exam with self-confidence. Don't forget that employers these days have their pick of thousands of 'graduates', but besides a degree, they're looking for self-confidence, initiative, interpersonal skills etc... (I speak as a Director of a large public body).

Good luck anyway, don't stress yourself as this is only likely to stress your son and that's a big disadvantage for him when sitting exams - he needs to be chilled and comfortable (with a little bit of intrinsic adrenaline) to perform at his best - I look forward to finding our how he gets on - fingers crossed for a positive outcome!

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