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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Solihull
Hi,
My son has just started Yr5 and I want to start prepping him at home for the 11plus. We live in Birmingham, so I know that it will be a CEM test. From what I can tell, this is VR 50%, NVR 25% & Maths 25%.
My Q is, where do I start with DIY tutoring? What books should I invest in? And where do I get past papers from? I guess I'm worries that I'll end up buying materials that are no good! Since I'm saving a fair bit of money on tutoring, I don't mind investing that into good learning materials.
I've heard people talk about times tests. Do I buy books for these, or download them? Or do I just time past papers?
Can anyone recommend some good 11plus apps too please?.

I hope its not rude to ask all these questions in one post! :? Please help! At the moment I'm not even sure what VR and NVR consist of! :roll:

P.S: Just to say, I am more than capable of teaching my son at home. I just need help with what to teach etc. Hope that makes sense!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 2:05 pm
Posts: 6886
Location: Reading
Welcome to the forum!

For a start, you already know it's CEM, so that's good.

As for books etc, we have a shop on this website which you can find here.
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/shop/

You will be wanting material that states it is suitable for CEM for the most part. Other than that my DD didn't do CEM so I'm no expert. However I did successfully DIY, as I thought that was what was best my DD.

Others who know more about CEM will be more able to answer specific questions.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:11 pm
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The Maths (or whatever they decide to call it...Numerical reasoning, NR etc etc) is all about knowing your basics and then practice, practice, practice. At this stage you shouldn't worry about CEM materials for Maths but try to have as much variety as possible...short questions, longer questions, multiple choice as well as standard format. Accuracy and speed is what you need to focus on. Bond, Schoefield & Sims, etc. Later on get on to CEM-style test papers from CGP, Letts, Bond etc

The English (usually called VR, Verbal Ability, Verbal Reasoning etc etc etc) is all about vocabulary, comprehension and exercises like 'Cloze', missing words, shuffled sentences etc. This is all CEM-specific (not the stuff nor the style that most schools teach). So your best bet is to go for CEM specific books. I think CGP start at age 9-10.

Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) check that your school even tests it. Not all do.

The familiarisation paper on the school websites will give you some idea of the content and format.

Don't be put off by the jargon - there seems to be much more than necessary.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:24 pm
Posts: 1609
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Not in your region but as someone who went through a similar scenario last year, things that really help:
    :arrow: your child really wanting to do the test
    :arrow: Reading a wide variety of books and knowing to check with you about meaning and context of words they don't understand
    :arrow: Mock tests in early spring before the test that identifies weak areas that you can focus on and thereby making the time spent on practice more efficient
    :arrow: Practising timing
    :arrow: Practising jiggling question paper, answer sheet and note paper on a desk
    :arrow: Not doing so much that they give up and it all becomes boring routine and any practice becomes ineffective


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:41 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:33 pm
Posts: 104
Welcome to the forum Aalya.

Northdad and PettswoodFiona have already provided some valuable input. I will add my two cents.

My DD is also in Yr 5 and will do CEM next year. However, we are not in your region. We started prep 3/4 months back and I will let you know what we have done so far. I am also doing DIY because my DD wants to do 11+ but do not want to go for any tuition.

As PettswoodFiona pointed out, please ensure your DC is keen for 11+.

Also as Northdad said, you do not need to go to CEM specific questions for maths. For maths: it is best to ensure your DC's base is strong.
For English - I would say the same as Maths with focus on vocabulary (different words and how to use them). Punctuation and grammar questions even though have never appeared in the exam, I would still do them. You never know, CEM is unexpected.

Answering your questions:
Books:
1. I read all the CEM sticky posts in this forum. There have excellent information on what types of questions to expect. I got used to the question types first.
2. Some good books are suggested in this forum/posts. I ordered some S&S books, Bond books, CGP books, FPTP books, Letts books and few others. I ordered the books for myself to be fair (so I know what to teach her). I may not use them all.

After this, I had a good understanding of what to expect in the exam.

Timed tests
I would not worry now. First I would make sure my DC has clear understanding of all concepts (by using normal books I would test it). Then I would give my DC relevant books (appropriate to his/her level) with no timed condition to see his/her confidence grow. Once these two are all done then I will move to timed conditions.

Personally, I am not planning for timed tested until March/April next year.

Past papers
There are no past papers. I think you will get a sample booklet from your council (not sure, please check that in your regional forum). Also, you can buy different test packs (CGP, Letts, Bond etc.)

Good luck with your preparation.


Last edited by Golden_Jubilee on Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Solihull
Thank you everyone. All the replies have been really helpful. :D
I just have one more question please? How does everyone timetable the work? For example, do you study NVR one day and then VR on another etc? I need to be organised as I'm self employed and also have a 4 week old baby! So was thinking of drawing up a weekly timetable. I can sit with DS for an hour a day to start with. He is extremely keen which is what we expected, so that's one less battle!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 2:05 pm
Posts: 6886
Location: Reading
Do what you feel suits your DC best. Personally I'd say you don't need an hour every day, but I'm sure others would disagree.

As CEM exams are mixed up short sections, it might help to mix up the sessions, but then again you may find it best to concentrate on specific topics on other occasions.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:33 pm
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+1 (as Tinkers said)

I would say assess his strength and weak areas first. That is most important and then allocate time appropriately rather than a blanket timetable.

1 hr a day (every day) sounds a bit too much alongside school. But again, it is up to you and your DS. I would personally suggest that you encourage him reading books everyday.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:24 pm
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
DD did an hour a week during Y5 and during the summer holidays prior to the test did half an hour a day five days a week. We let her decide what to do, when doing the hour a week sometimes it was half an hour twice a week, sometimes it was best part of a paper one day at the weekend. Sometimes she chose to do extra as she was enjoying it. General reading was on top of this but wasn't really specific to eleven plus. DD would devour books and after every couple of chapters would present me with a list of words and the sticky notes as to where they were in the book. As I wasn't around to do all of it she would get on with it and I would review. During the summer holidays she would do two ten minute tests and ten minutes of work we'd identified as weaknesses from the external mock tests or the more recent ten minute tests. I used to decide these tests on my train journey into work so it worked out quite well. The school we had in mind very much expects their girls to do some twighlight courses in spare time and mostly self taught so we wanted to also lay good foundations for that style of learning.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:53 pm
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My daughter is doing the exam tomorrow and I did a mixed DIY and tutor sessions. I found it very helpful to do a list of the maths topics to study that are not covered in school like ratio, probability, algebra, cubed and triangular numbers, etc and we used Khan Maths website (free) to study the basics of each subject.


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