to wish that you couldn't prepare for a 11+ exam (dd took it today)

(48 Posts)
wintertimeisfun Mon 02-Sep-13 19:04:10

that's it really, plain and simple. some people view it as a prize/the more you prepare for it the more you deserve it whilst others (like me) think it should be based on natural ability and is open to all kids (supposedly for the kids from backgrounds that can't afford to send to private schools but are naturally clever). i can see it/understand from both ways but don't see a way round it. dd took the 11+ today for a grammar that apparently has the hardest exam in the country. doubt she will get in but she enjoyed taking the exam. whilst she was hanging out in the summer holiday/went away for a week in the UK, others were being drilled beyond anything i could or would want to do.

I agree. In the area I'm moving to, they either go to terrible schools or go for a super selective where you can only get in after tuition- it's to make bright kids know more, than average children be on the same level. It's a hard choice to make, I wish it didn't meant years of work.

Souredstones Mon 02-Sep-13 19:17:40

I agree but people have always been coached for it.

My dad was, I was, my husband was and my children will be. None of us ever had a tutor but all of us had extra classes in school and parental support by way of practice papers at home.

I really don't like the idea of intensive tutoring, those kids fell flat on their arses at my school.

My year 4 dc is going to start practice papers after Christmas and MIL (a retired teacher) is going to help them with verbal reasoning, that is sufficient IMO to help but not pressurise.

wintertimeisfun Mon 02-Sep-13 19:19:30

tbh dd did go briefly to a tutor purely so she could familiarise herself with vr & nvr as it is not something taught at (her) school and a teacher i ain't. but that was it. i know of kids that for literally the whole of the summer (& for about 2/3 hours after school for the last 4/5 months) have been SERIOUSLY drilled ie got up at 8am and worked doing timed test papers until bedtime. i admire the dedication inpart although i think some of these mothers are doing it for their own personal interest and not that of their child. infact, i feel sorry for these kids, the pressure on them is incredible. alot of really nervous faces this morning. dd knows that all we ask is that she does her best but we want her to be happy. she will probably end up at the local state school which is pretty good (at least this is what i hear). tbh i did like the idea of a girl school as i was a terror at secondary school grin

OddBoots Mon 02-Sep-13 19:26:10

I agree, it does make a mockery of the whole idea behind the system.

ILikeToClean Mon 02-Sep-13 19:33:14

I agree, my dd is taking it in a couple of weeks and I've tutored her myself using practice papers, only so she is familiar with verbal reasoning, which is not taught at school, and also just trying to make sure her English and maths are up to speed. She's definitely got the ability but whether she'll pass, who knows?! In the summer hols we've been doing 10 minute tests every day but I think if she doesn't know it all by now then she never will. Interestingly when we went to the grammar school open days they all said only around 10 hours of tutoring would be needed! They are trying to encourage pupils with natural aptitude rather than heavily coached but it's hard, I do have moments of panic where I wonder if I've done enough and should I have paid for a tutor, as you just know lots of parents have, but at the end of the day it's up to my dd to do the exam to the best of her ability and if she's meant to go to grammar, then she will! Stressful though, and will have it all again next year with dd2!

wintertimeisfun Mon 02-Sep-13 19:45:21

funny really but dd did a test sheet (just the one) that was timed. she didn't fair all that well with nvr so when she came with me to the market (my job) on sunday, she came along and brought a nvr test book with her (that her tutor insisted i buy but hadn't been used ages ago). she surprised me as throughout the morning she would give herself half hour to work and then half an hour break timing herself. i left her to it but she really enjoyed herself. obviously i have no idea as to how well (or not..) she did but she told me after the exam today that she thought just doing that made all the difference. our local grammar seems to churn out SERIOUSLY high gcse achievers (was reading about them in the local paper) and all seem to want to go on and read medicine at uni' whilst dd wants to be a journo'. i don't think she would fit in that well. i want her to study well but also be a teenager and have somekind of life outside of schooling although not on the level i did, i was a nightmare (all boys and fashion)

ILikeToClean Mon 02-Sep-13 20:04:58

Maybe that particular grammar isn't right for her then? I do believe that if a child wants to do well they will, no matter what school they go to. Just that grammar schools push more and there's no distraction of boys!! I think my dd will benefit as at the moment she's top of her class and can easily "coast" whereas if she goes to grammar she certainly won't be top and will get that push she sometimes needs, she can be a bit cocky and slapdash about learning iyswim! Re your dd, if she's meant to go there, she'll have passed, I believe in fate, wishing her luck though smile

wintertimeisfun Mon 02-Sep-13 20:06:07

thank you ilike

coco27 Mon 02-Sep-13 20:49:26

VR and NVR are very little affected by coaching , a bit by practice but you very soon hit the maximum .I think after 2 papers you make hardly any more improvment and after 5 papers no more.It is a excuse myth perpetuated by parents of those who fail

"VR and NVR are very little affected by coaching , a bit by practice but you very soon hit the maximum .I think after 2 papers you make hardly any more improvment and after 5 papers no more.It is a excuse myth perpetuated by parents of those who fail"

Absolutely, and the reason why grammar schools are disproportionately full of tutored children and children from private schools is because children who have families who can afford tutoring and private education are simply CLEVERER than children whose familes can't afford tutoring or school fees.

Eastpoint Mon 02-Sep-13 21:19:42

If your daughter wants to be a successful journalist she'll want to go to a really good university to read English, she'll fit in fine with the girls who want to be medics. Emily Maitlis, Stephanie Flanders etc went to Oxbridge - seriously clever people.

Hope you have good news in the spring.

RedHelenB Mon 02-Sep-13 21:40:29

Only fair way is to change the type of exam each year so no one knows what they will be faced with.

"Only fair way is to change the type of exam each year so no one knows what they will be faced with."

It makes no difference.

Very bright children who've been taught in classes of 18 in private schools which exclude disruptive children and most children with special needs will always do better in entrance exams than similarly bright children who've been taught in classes of 31 in state schools where they have to learn alongside disruptive and special needs children who often have no allocated support. There is no entrance exam that can 'control' for the effect of an expensive primary education.

wintertimeisfun Mon 02-Sep-13 21:49:07

a friend is friends with someone who teaches at the local grammar. she has told her in confidence that there are a fair few girls who go there who were tutored/trained in the art of vr/nvr and got in over girls who were alot cleverer than them at school. the girls in question now struggle to keep up as are not really clever enough to be there, they were just good at vr/nvr. i have heard this many times over the years, how girls that were in all the top sets in the juniors didn't get in but were beaten by girls that were not nowhere near as clever but heavily tutored. being the least clever in a school full of seriously bright students would be a pretty miserable existence. rotten thing to do to your kid. my dd is clever, top sets n' all BUT she ain't a genius, i wouldn't want her to feel inferior and struggle to keep up. i can't believe the gcse results that were coming out of the grammar. alot of the girls got 11/12 As and one of which was for a 'specially high type of exam much harder than the other schools' (quote, as per the local paper). dh went to a good private school and said that his school never had anyone get anything like that; the grammar school was quoted as saying these were the highest results they have (possibly) ever had. i think if i knew the girls there were seriously THAT clever i wouldn't have registered dd for the 11+. i don't think the girls that go to this particular grammar do much if anything at all outside of studying. not sure that is such a good thing tbh, you need to learn about life and being around people..

ReallyTired Mon 02-Sep-13 22:00:22

"
My year 4 dc is going to start practice papers after Christmas and MIL (a retired teacher) is going to help them with verbal reasoning, that is sufficient IMO to help but not pressurise."

Whats the difference between a paid tutor and getting your mother in law (a retired teacher) to help with verbal reasoning. I feel you are being a complete hycrocite thinking you are holier than thou for not employing a tutor.

We did consider entering my son for a super selective grammar and he he is naturally very good at vr and nvr. (ie. 93% on the first attempt at a bond paper.) However a grammar school would not have been right for him because he would not be able to cope with the pressure.

You can improve verbal reasoning scores by reading a lot of books over a period of years. Intelligence is not completely fixed and there are things that many parents do to make their children brighter. (ie. read to them, get them to learn musical instruments, take them to museums, give them interesting experiences... etc) Chidlren who believe it is possible to improve their intelligence do better than those who believe ablity is fixed.

lougle Mon 02-Sep-13 22:08:39

"Very bright children who've been taught in classes of 18 in private schools which exclude disruptive children and most children with special needs will always do better in entrance exams than similarly bright children who've been taught in classes of 31 in state schools where they have to learn alongside disruptive and special needs children who often have no allocated support."

hmm Nothing like stereotyping, is there? Plenty of children with SN are so completely non-disruptive that they become invisible.

ILikeToClean Mon 02-Sep-13 22:08:48

I can believe that wintertime, I know a girl who was heavily tutored, scraped through on a waiting list but is still having the tutor now she is in the grammar school! Surely she should not be there. If my dd gets in and struggles then we'd take her out, but I think for her personally it would push her being with other academic girls. dd is actually having to do 2 exams as one of the schools has broken away from the county exam and has set their own which is an unknown quantity and cannot be tutored for because they were having the very same issues of girls not coping. So she has 2 chances really but 2 exams one week after the other, one of which we have no idea about hmm

CaptainSweatPants Mon 02-Sep-13 22:17:20

Why don't they just go on SAts or levels over the course of year 5

Would make life easier & fairer

wintertimeisfun Mon 02-Sep-13 22:21:20

ilike best of luck to you too. i think it would be good for dd to be around girls who are into studying as opposed to flirting with boys in the playground etc. she is also going for a couple of music scholarships but again, i don't expect anything to come of it althought she is at the right level. i recon she will go to the local secondary. some good kids there/good results. doesn't hurt to try though smile

Horsemad Mon 02-Sep-13 22:36:08

Both my DSs did 4 test papers at home during the summer hols of the year they sat the test in Sept.
Both passed with high scores and have fared well at grammar.
Lots of their peers were coached and a large proportion have not done as well as expected. It is unfair to the child to coach them through the 11+ as they will struggle to keep up once at the grammar.

ILikeToClean Mon 02-Sep-13 22:36:55

Thanks wintertime, think the same about my dd, she'll be too distracted at the local comp although it's a good school. She did a mock and aced it, so fingers crossed but as said before, fate will determine it and if she's meant to be at grammar, she'll get in! Same for your dd.

ReallyTired Mon 02-Sep-13 22:39:35

"Why don't they just go on SAts or levels over the course of year 5"

People would just get a tutor tod well at SATS and the low income child whose primary is in special measures wouldn't stand a chance.

I think with tutoring a parent has to be sure what they want to achieve. One of ds's friend had tutoring for English because he is an EAL child and would have been at an unfair disadvantage. I am sure he will do well at his superselective grammar.

ILikeToClean Mon 02-Sep-13 22:39:54

Thanks horsemad that gives me encouragement as I do stress I should have done more even though I know deep down if a child has the natural ability they'll be fine. Think it's just last minute panicking!

thebody Mon 02-Sep-13 22:47:39

you can actually flirt with boys and study hard you know.

my dds manage it and thankfully their local mixed comp is outstanding with brilliant results all round.

I went to an all girls top grammar and fucking hated it.

don't want that pressure for my girls but each to their own and everyone knows their child best. also we are so lucky with our local schools.

op I agree with you. if you need to heavily tutor them to pass then how will they keep up when actually at the school.

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