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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:50 am 
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Hi all, my children all attend state schools. At present my DS sat entrance exams for Aldenham (impressed by the pastoral care and advise on this site that they take children from different abilities) and MTS (nearer to our home but a long shot if he gets a place).

One area that was stood out so much for me were going through the sample papers for Habs and MTS. The level is far greater than what my son has been taught in state school.

I was hoping for some guidance on books, we completed the cgp 11+ books but these were not challenging for him. Could you advise on study resources for my DS age 10 in both maths and English. This is not for any examinations we are sitting more as part of an ongoing study regime.

Thank you


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:11 pm 
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I wouldn't necessarily assume that there is a gap between sectors, at least not a consistent one.

Many prep schools use the Galore Park books, especially the "So you really want to learn" series. The one thing to watch out for is that these are published for primary years 3-6 as junior books 1-4 and for traditional prep school years 6-8 as just books 1-3. Buying Book 1 for maths and English may be useful especially as they have extension questions.

Looking from the other side, if there are any gaps in maths and English, these are ironed out fairly quickly. However I have noted the following differences between prep kids and ones from state schools:

a) sports - prep school kids are used to changing kit quickly (2-4 mins), and understand what equipment they need for each sport. They are used to having multiple sets of kit, and will usually have already practised the main school sports.
b) science - locally the prep schools usually have a science lab and have been quite hands-on with science. Many state schools were also very good, but the standard seems to have declined a bit in the most recent years. Could just be local.
c)managing to move classrooms/multiple homeworks. Local preps usually try to get their year 5 and 6s to become more independent. Eg ds just had a locker in a corridor in year 6 (no set classroom) so had to think about which lessons he had next and to take the right books with him.
d) ability to research and produce a balanced argument for humanities homework. For some children the idea of having to do an essay in 30 or 40 minutes seemed a challenge.
e) writing in pen v pencil. Still have children turning up in year 7 expecting to complete work in pencil not pen.

One other area is MFL, but the dcs senior school views that most MFL teaching at junior level in both state and prep schools is poor, so start all languages again from scratch. But other senior schools may have different approaches.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:15 pm 
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Location: N London
There shouldn't be so much a gap as just a couple of maths topics lacking (mean mode median springs to mind) and the techniques for getting marks in the English paper. If your DS does some of the papers that is the best way to identify any holes. There's lots of advice on here about essay writing etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:43 pm 
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My son is attending a prep school and they are using Tony Gardiner's Extension Maths Alpha for preparation for exams in independent schools. For English and VR, it is materials from ISEB. Hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:38 pm 
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Thank you all. Much appreciated I will look into these resources. Lady muck point d is definitely something that has come out as a weakness in our prep for independent. I would say also more challenging worded maths problems is another area I am focusing on. Mode, median , range is all fine. As for being independent, writing with pen, etc he has mastered all these skills.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:12 pm 
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My experience from Private school students coming into the state system is that they are behind in maths not ahead.

They might know more topics but often can't apply their knowledge in new contexts and are often very poor in any open-ended work.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
Children really seem to struggle with word problems. Build questions into every day activities. Work out how many things you need for a recipe, scale it up,or down. Work out how many tins of paint you might need for a particular room. Is it worth driving to the other side of town to get petrol 2p a litre cheaper? I used the latter as a challenge for my upper maths group. Gave them the cost of my petrol, distance to the cheaper petrol station from my house, fuel tank capacity and just let them go in it. Worked out it was just not worth driving 2 miles there and back to save 80p.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:22 pm 
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Uoyo123 how can you develop these s kills around worded maths problems? If it's a case of doing more of them which types of materials would you use?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:04 am 
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Interesting if word-based maths problems are still forming part of intake exams. The feeling from OECD reports (PISA) and IAEA ones (TIMSS) is that children are better taught actual maths, as maths rather than word problems - there is apparently increasing evidence that teaching word problems reduces rather than increases maths skills (using places like East Asia, so beloved of policy-makers, as a reference point). Not that I am advocating the ideas of these organisations, but I would have thought their messages on this kind of thing would be well-received in current political conditions and that independent schools would be among the first to espouse any kind of return to traditional maths.

Wrt to the state versus independent thing, some reports certainly suggest that students from independent secondary schools don't cope as well at university as state school ones. No idea if this can be extrapolated further down the food chain.


Just a comment; as you were. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Don't assume that students from preps are able to cope with these papers any better than your ds. This has certainly not been my experience.

On resources WH Smith has a great set of English and Maths books on 3 for 2 at the moment called Practice, Revision and Challenge. You might want to pop into your local branch and have a look and see if they address the areas you feel your ds is weak on. DG


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