RGS Guildford entrance test

(25 Posts)
Labro Fri 28-Dec-12 22:32:33

Anyone else ds doing the entrance exam or got ds at RGS? Is it true that they don't need to be tutored for it! Feeling slightly panicky, Ds is predicted all level 5 for ks2 sats, only been at independent prep for a year, so is he likely to be overwhelmed or will he be fine????

JoanByers Fri 28-Dec-12 23:48:57

Have you tried him on the level 6 SATs? I think that is more the target, level 5 is pretty commonplace tbh.

Info here:

www.rgs-guildford.co.uk/_files/rgs_admissions_policy__protocol_2011.pdf

English, 1 hour
(a) Comprehension
(b) Creative writing

Maths, 1 hour
multiple choice, based on National Curriculum Level 5

Verbal reasoning, 1 hour

So I would look at: VR - does have a CAT score, ask the school, if he is getting over 130 here, then you don't need to do any work, a lower score and several hours spent with you and him one-to-one on this book: www.galorepark.co.uk/product/parents/704/how-to-do-verbal-reasoning-a-step-by-step-guide.html and then some of the Bond practice papers will be worthwhile.

Comprehension - download English papers from some of the harder private schools (i.e. those in the top 20/50 of the league tables); it shouldn't be any harder than anything here: www.nlcs.org.uk/admissions_11+/index.php

If your son does well on comprehension then you are left with essay writing, based on the 1 hour time you are looking at probably 30 minutes to write an essay, give your son a subject and ask him to write an essay in 30 minutes. It's important that he can constrain himself within this time, think about three points, a beginning, middle and an end.

If that's all good, then you can consider maths, I'm guessing this will be the easiest area for most of the candidates, so I'm leaving it till last and I suggest you do, there are some relatively hard papers here: www.mgs.org/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=347. Bear in mind that it is multiple choice.

All that prep done you are looking at a couple of points for the interview, you don't want him to look like a stuck-up prep school type, just ask him 'why do you want to go to the RGS' and come up with an answer like 'I like the fact there is chess club every day', and then be prepared obviously to talk about chess to follow up on that. I don't think you want him to sound too smooth and definitely not rehearsed but he needs some understanding of what the tutors are looking for, i.e. a bright boy who will make the most of the opportunities on offer, e.g., he can talk about drama performances he has done.

But I wouldn't spend long on this, an hour should suffice - they are a school getting bright boys As and sending them to Oxford to do Maths, and for that reason a shining performance on the entrance tests is your priority.

Labro Sat 29-Dec-12 00:14:46

Many thanks,
His vr was 122, though he'd never seen a vr test before doing the CAT one, so will have a look at that, his current school have give him some vr practise papers too.

Not too worried about the english, has high comprehension skills and will do as you suggest on the essay bit.

His maths teacher is going to do a couple of tutorials when they go back as he seems to freeze a bit in timed mental maths tests, so we're doing the bond ten minute tests over the holiday just to get him thinking 'quick'

Many thanks for taking the time to answer

trinity0097 Sat 29-Dec-12 10:25:03

They don't do a mental test, so I wouldn't waste time practicing this aspect of Maths. It's hard to say what to prepare as RGS do not give out past papers and multiple choice maths tests are not common (but easy to mark, hence why they probably do them!). Sounds like some practice of VR would be the best thing to focus on, get the bond books from whsmith.

Mutteroo Sat 29-Dec-12 11:35:09

Have you discussed with your son's teacher/Headteacher? Don't know many prep HTs that don't advise on senior schools? They could let you know if your son is on course to gain a place at a particular school & ensure help is given as necessary.

Labro Sat 29-Dec-12 12:03:54

Yes, bit of a long story, ds is also down for Reeds... was registered for lancing & hurstpierpoint but his father refused to sign paperwork (thats the long story!) which means looking elsewhere as well.

IvySquirrel Sun 30-Dec-12 19:06:37

Hi, my DS1 is in year 8 at RGS & DS2 taking entrance exam next week.
No extra prep at school as at state primary, but we have done quite a lot of Bond papers at home. Worked the first time round so fingers crossed.
Interview is in pairs and boys are asked mainly about their hobbies/interests/sports etc. They do not have to stellar performers, just a range of genuine interests they can talk about.
Don't panic, they are great at creating a relaxed atmosphere. Good luck to your son, it is a fantastic school!

Amber2 Sun 30-Dec-12 19:38:38

I am interested in RGS for DS (year 5) but likely looking at 13+ entry, as he is at a large prep where most finish in year 8, however that means he would have to do the 11+ and 13+ entrance exams...I just wondered if there was any disadvantage in aiming for year 9 entry this based on numbers...and whether there were many actually starting at year 7 from prep schools.One things that concerns me is if he went at 13+ and went for a scholarship he would have to offer level 3 French and while his English and Maths are strong his French currently is distinctly average, though I guess we have time to make that up.

The other thing is, perhaps I am crazy not to, but I am really loathe to get a private tutor, and will just do DIY with usual 11+ type books. Just wondered if most parents used that approach and succeeded for RGS. Nothing against tutors, but other than saving time and perhaps conflict, I am just not sure it's needed at this age when there are so many 11+ resources out there but other parents I know believe it is needed in the super selectives entry exams because of the sheer competition.

IvySquirrel Sun 30-Dec-12 19:53:36

Hi Amber2
Based on my DS1's year, I reckon about two thirds prep & one third state in year 7. Some leaving preps that only go to 11, some leaving ones that go to 13 2 years early.
I can't really comment on the pros & cons of leaving preps early as we were in state system, maybe a prep mum will be along soon!
Again from my own experience, we did not use a private tutor, my son was in an ordinary state primary (Ofsted Good rating) and he got in to RGS- so I guess you don't need one!

Labro Sun 30-Dec-12 20:45:25

Hi Amber,
My ds is doing the 11+ for deferred entry at 13, which is what the admissions office suggested (hes yr 6, his prep goes to yr 8) so he'll sit the 11+ then do the common entrance at 13 (they don't do a 13+ entrance exam) so for your ds he would sit the 11+ in January 2014. Admissions didn't suggest that this would disadvantage him and he can still apply for scholarship and bursary support.
All their literature suggests that tutoring isn't necessary as long as they are looking at level 5 for key stage 2 sats, the verbal reasoning is probably worth practising as with the bond type papers to familiarise with the type of test.

IvySquirrel, hope you don't mind me asking, which Bond practise papers have you used? (there seems to be an awful lot to choose from!)

I think I'm panicking as its all new to me and because ds knows he is at current school until Yr 8 doesn't feel much urgency to doing 'another test' in a few weeks, to a nearly 11 year old 2 years away seems like a lifetime lol

Amber2 Sun 30-Dec-12 22:12:04

Thanks for the responses Labro and IvySquirrel...bit of a dilemma this entry at year 7 or 9, on the one hand you think well if they pass 11+ it's a bird in the hand and they can leave at year 7 and forget about having to do a whole set of other exams at 13+ as a further entrance test and then whole other lot at GCSE, on the other hand, I have always thought it may benefit DS to belong to the senior boys in prep school for two years and the 13+ may be a good precursor to GCSES. With many senior indie schools now demanding pretests at 11+ for 13+ entry, I do fear the focus is shifting on teaching to the test ...even if some of that teaching is going to have to be at home

Amber2 Sun 30-Dec-12 22:32:48

You can probably tell..I would rather be focussed on nurturing a love of the classics in year 5 since DS has started latin than focusing on endless Bond 11+ tests...I am not sure what VR tests teach you than well...getting better at VR tests....they are a novelty to DS now but i am sure he will soon get bored of these!

IvySquirrel Mon 31-Dec-12 11:55:50

We have used Bond 11+ papers in English, Maths & VR. Maths just reinforces school stuff (approx level 5). VR is most useful as not done at school and DC need to be familiar with the question types to boost confidence IMO.
English are not that great as I feel the comprehension quuestions are not that well written and can be ambiguous. However the spelling/parts of speech questions are good reinforcement again .
So we have also used Sats practice papers as the comprehension questions are better.
Hope that is helpful!

trinity0097 Tue 01-Jan-13 11:29:21

There is no such thing as level 3 French at CE, there is the normal level 2 paper, and the easier level 1 paper from this year.

If a boy takes and passes admission test in yr 6 and has applied for deferred entry at 13, they just have to do Common Entrance, no additional RGS specific papers at 13.

Amber2 Wed 02-Jan-13 12:39:58

trinity0097

Thanks for the correction, on checking, it looks like RGS want the "highest tier" CE French paper and 65% in subjects at common entrance if entry is deferred to year 9 entry.

My point is .....prep schools kids opting to go for deferred entry at 13+ have the two hurdles of 11+ (which only focuses on VR, English and Maths) plus CE, which includes French at "highest tier" CE paper .. the same goes for the scholarship entry route at 11+ vs 13+ ...there are obviously a greater breadth of subjects you will be examined on at 13+.

It does make you ponder if it is better to not defer til 13+ entry given prep school candidates are then filtered twice so to speak .... I would still likely opt for deferred entry but what I kind of resent in the English independent school system even though I have bought into it, is that's a heck of lot of exams for private school DCS with increased 11+ pretesting being the norm, then CE at 13+ and then GCSEs! It seems the increasing norm of 11+ pretests for deferred entry benefits the schools so that is what they will stick to, but I do question why not just selection based on CE alone.

Amber2 Wed 02-Jan-13 12:47:19

I meant to clarify one think Trinity0097. I would think the 11+ even for deferred entry to 13+ is competitive -so it is not a question of just "passing" ...but a numbers game based on how well your cohorts do in the exam ...given there are only 50 or so places at 13+, ff you score high enough to come within that group at 11+ of prospective candidates for deferred entrants I would have thought you then get offered a place subject to 65% in CE

Amber2 Wed 02-Jan-13 12:47:52

apologies...I meant to say clarify "one thing"

JoanByers Fri 04-Jan-13 11:18:15

I don't think it's true that 13+ children are filtered twice.

If your child is in Y6 at a Y1-Y8 prep school and applies for 13+ entry then they will be tested alongside hundreds of others of the same age, sitting the same tests in maths, VR, and English, some sitting for 11+ entry and some for 13+ entry.

Based on this testing, and interviewing, they will be able to determine which candidates they want.

They will make offers for 11+ and 13+ entry based on this testing. The 11+ entry is unconditional, but the 13+ entry requires the child to sit the CE.

The entrance protocol explains this:

* if you wish you can sit scholarship exams, which cannot be failed, but if you don't pass then you will have to sit CE.
* CE is sat in June of Y8 at prep school. The boy must score 65% average across:

Maths (Higher Tier)
French (Higher Tier)
English
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Geography
History
RE
Latin (Optional)
Greek (Optional)

The exam will be sat in prep school but marked by RGS.

It is certainly intended that most children sitting the 11+ will be rejected, but if you pass that then you shouldn't need to worry about your child passing the CE subsequently, as the prep school's job over the next two years is to ensure they are ready for it.

trinity0097 Sun 06-Jan-13 09:01:11

He only exam that kids who defer entry find hard at CE is the level 3 maths, as it's the only core subject that has the level 3 papers which are harder, all the other subjects if they get offered a deferred place I never see them havin a problem. (and in the maths they get to the elusive 65%+ it just takes a bit longer to get there, in my experience!)

Amber2 Mon 07-Jan-13 11:03:08

Thanks for the advice...actually the level 3 maths should not be a concern for DS, as he is pretty advanced in maths already ...it was the 65% requirement at the highest level French paper I was pondering on but as you said the prep school should get him there. (I wrongly assumed "highest tier French" meant like maths,a level 3 paper) .

I am merely pointing out the obvious - that it is something to consider that one could decide to wholly bypass the stress of doing a whole set of entrance exams at 13+ by choosing against deferred entry and going after 11+. And that scholarship also at 11+ may be easier to get than at 13+ simply because it is in fewer subjects than the wider range of scholarship papers at 13+. For me, scholarship is not about the money, as I think unless you qualify on a means tested basis, is not a great deal, but more about having DS have the opportunity to enter into what is termed their scholarship programme.

On the other hand, ignoring all that, having a DC go through the rigour of 13+ exams may likely prove to be a good rehearsal for GCSE.

I guess it's not realistic but I just wish the education at this young age is not so geared to doing exam after exam as my DS likes to get into stuff that go broader than the school syllabus and I am not sure as to the inherent value of doing multiple VR and NVR practice tests other than to simply fulfil some competitive entrance requirements.

Labro Mon 07-Jan-13 23:25:03

Thanks for all the replies, DS (and I!) still feeling quite nervous about the whole thing, just hoping he doesn't have a rough time on Saturday!

Amber2 Mon 07-Jan-13 23:56:16

Best of luck to your DS Labro!....be good to hear how it went after the fact since my DS will likely be going through this next year...and i am also not planning on using tutors...just hope some diy and lots of practice pays off

Labro Tue 08-Jan-13 08:12:43

Thanks, coming into the whole thing late means ds has done a couple of vr practise papers and not much else! Hoping that this isn't going to turn into a disaster.

racingheart Tue 08-Jan-13 18:51:02

Labro if he's at a prep school, I really wouldn't worry. They are geared up to help children take these exams with confidence. They make sure the boys have the right knowledge.

It's only if they are state educated that you need some more practise as so much of the material has never been touched on, even in Ofsted Good and Outstanding schools.

Good luck.

Labro Tue 08-Jan-13 19:54:29

Thanks, hes kind of half and half lol as only been at prep since year 5, though discovered today that there are 2 other boys sitting it from his school. He is in the accelerated learning group at school and regularly scores 80% + in the exams they do, so hopefully you're right. Good luck to anyone else going for this and thanks everybody for your support and suggestions, its very much appreciated.

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