Anyone self-tutored their child for 11+? Please tell me your stories!

(17 Posts)
MajorClanger123 Wed 27-Jul-16 09:11:26

We live in a grammar area (although I wouldn't class it as "super" selective like I understand London or Kent to be).

I have recently turned down several tutors - a 1:1 and then a group tutoring session, for my son, on the basis that I feel fairly comfortable we could go this alone...

We have bought a selection of workbooks to start having a look at over summer (son just finished yr4) and my plan was to set aside 2 x 45min sessions per week from September for me and my son to concentrate on 11+ alongside general yr5 curriculum work. We will also use one local tutor for sitting mock exams nearer the time, plus perhaps some holiday sessions on areas that need work. Also, my husband went to the local grammar (30-odd years ago!) so he reckons he can perhaps do one of the sessions per week, me the other.

I'm under no illusion that it'll be easy, but I know of 2 boys (my nephew, plus a close friend's son) who have both recently passed the 11+ purely on home tuition with parents. I've obviously asked them for advice but was wondering if anyone else had any other stories / nuggets of advice on the best way to approach this?

Autumnsky Wed 27-Jul-16 14:13:41

We didn't do 11+ for Grammar school, but for a selective independant school. I think you certainly can do it at home youself.

You can check the website for 11+ forum, www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/
There are lots of information there, past papers, as they discuss under different area, you may find your school there.

One thing I would recommond is past paper from different grammar schools. The school our DS1 go didn't provide past paper.So we just followed Bond book, then I found some past paper from different grammar schools and independant schools, these are certainly more challenge than bond papers.

60schild Wed 27-Jul-16 14:29:16

You can definitely do it. There are lots of resources available on line. Bond books are great. DS enjoyed the 10 minute tests. There are also various apps which add a bit of variety. Make sure you find out the tests used. Our area has changed and there is more focus on English now. I have to confess that I might not have been so confident teaching that. I like that maths and VR has a right or wrong answer! Good luck.

Itsneverlate Wed 27-Jul-16 17:11:26

I did it and i believe a parent will do a better job than a tutor because a parent cares more. My Dd got to all highly selective schools we applied. though english is not my first language.

Longlost10 Thu 28-Jul-16 06:04:17

the whole point of working together at home is that it fits around you. we didn't have any timetable or anything, and we certainly didn't do it for a year. Some aspects, like NVR, have absolutely no rl values and really are not worth spending more than a couple of weeks on imo. Your child only needs to understand how to do it, that's all, beyond that, they will either have the ability or not, and unless they are right on the border line, as long as you have taught them to understand the questions, a years tutoring won't make any difference. English and maths need to be sound, but again, a some of the maths required is very specific, and not relevant to normal education, so again, a full year on 11+ maths is a waste of time, and won't make any difference.

What worked for us was about 6 weeks intense practice, starting part way through the summer holiday immediately before the exam, mostly concentrating on past questions, but my Dc were already advanced in maths and English anyway.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 28-Jul-16 06:17:13

I think that it depends on your child and your working relationship with them. I have one dc who would do nothing with me but loved having a group tutor and being there with a few other dc in a non-disruptive class. I have another who works well with me but occasionally reluctantly and a third who has always begged for work and tried to read books before they could even speak. You know your child and you know whether you can work together. The actual work is not too difficult other than the odd NVR question where everyone who looks at it will see a different pattern.

TheresaMaybutSheMayNot Thu 28-Jul-16 06:26:35

Totally disagree with longlost, you need to spend more than a few weeks on NVR - whilst natural ability is important there are techniques your child can learn to get through them quicker and the more they do, the more they will see the same things appearing again and again.
My children were both ahead in maths and English too. TBH verbal was the one they needed least help with, the key to verbal is having a good vocabulary so LOTS of reading a wide variety of books. There are some fiendish alphabet related questions on verbal which I always struggled with but my Mum got them and showed DC how to do them.

A lot of skill in 11+ is being able to work quickly, to move on from things you can't do, keep up the pace to get as much done as you can.
We tutored our two with some help from my parents too. I would say 1hr a week is enough for the first half of the year and then see where your DC is with it. By the summer we'd all had enough, spent the summer relaxing and doing only the odd bit of practice just to keep them ticking over.

Bond books are a good starting point but GL assessment is better/harder and from memory someone called Susan Doherty for NVR. If you go to the 11+ forum for your area they will have advice on what papers work for your particular test.

Good luck! It is a bloody awful system, all that pressure at such a young age but my two are in two great schools so it was 'worth it' in the end.

purplemummy81 Thu 28-Jul-16 06:26:49

We are in exactly the same situation, I think we've made the decision to give it a go ourselves. Has anyone tried the Bond website? Is it worth signing up to?

JustRichmal Thu 28-Jul-16 07:53:14

We did the tutoring for dd. Find exactly what exams he will be sitting and what board from the 11+ forum and teach to that.
Also it is worth getting a level5 (and possibly L6) revision guide and workbooks for maths. This will ensure he has covered all the possible syllabus for 11+. Also, maths, unlike VR and NVR will not be a total waste of time to have studied in the future.
I cannot think of one thing from VR or NVR which dd now uses at grammar, but they have to learn it to get in.They definitely get quicker with practice. These may have been replaced in your area by CEM, which are also unteachable and test only inborn ability. hmm

CatherineDeB Thu 28-Jul-16 08:01:25

We are working on this this summer, testing in Sept. More familiarisation of the things that aren't taught in school, VR/NVR.

There are lots of kids locally that have been tutored for upwards to two years!

Purple, we did pay for the bond website access at the start of the hols but DD prefers the books. As the tests are paper based that's fine with us.

We are just working through the 10 minute test books and will do a couple of proper test papers at some point during the holidays.

MajorClanger123 Thu 28-Jul-16 09:23:12

Thanks so much for all your comments. Our boys grammar has recently switched to CEM (apparently untutorable) - but I figure if your english and maths is up to scratch, plus you practice NVR / VR then you shouldn't be far off what will be tested.

The NVR reminds me of all the graduate milk-round tests I did many years back - I was rubbish to begin with, then over time the more I did the better I became.

I think we'll start off doing 1 hour per week through the winter, then perhaps up to more closer to next year. Part of the reason I don't want to do formal tutoring is that I feel lots of the kids burn out by the term before the 11+ - I know boys who have been consistently scoring top in the mocks pre-summer, but by the time the exam comes round they've gone off the boil and fail. Then ensues a massive appeals process by the parents who are shocked they've failed. I don't want my son to 'peak' too soon, so to speak!

buffalogrumble Thu 28-Jul-16 18:34:29

I have just started home tutoring for my son at the beginning of June. His exam is in September. I am fairly relaxed about it as he is a bright kid and can do the maths anyway - just needs nvr and vr prep.

LemonDr1zzle Sat 30-Jul-16 23:23:11

I know of several girls (out of 100s confused) who were successfully tutored by their parents only and got places at our local grammar (Kendrick, fairly selective). It is do-able by yourself, just make sure you get the right practise papers - especially practising multiple choice answer sheets, many kids come a cropper when transferring their answers to the answer sheet / grid. Yet another skill to master for the 11+ <<sigh>>

DoItTooJulia Mon 01-Aug-16 08:09:30

I self tutored ds for superselcetive 11+ (CEM).

Well, I say I did it, but ds did it really! I bought the ten minute test books and he did them over the summer before his test. I also signed him up for a one week revision course at the local independent school, where he spent 4 mornings on nvr/vr/cloze tests and maths and English and then one morning doing a mock exam, the week before the test weekend.

In the end it was about timings. The children who managed the fast pace of the timings did the best on the test. So exam technique is as important as basic knowledge in my experience.

I only did it for the summer holidays, I'm not sure if have coped doing it for two years tbh. Or ds-it gets quite repetitive.

Best of luck!

Badbadbunny Mon 01-Aug-16 11:59:42

Indeed, for our DS, it was exam technique that he needed help with. With the odd exception, he could answer the questions fine, but would either rush through too quickly and make too many silly mistakes or go too slowly and run out of time. Took a fair few practice papers to get him to plan his time properly.

As he'd not really experienced "exam conditions" at primary school, we spent a bit of time going through how it would work, making sure he went to the toilet beforehand and during the break whether he needed to or not. Making sure he knew to have a drink/snack. Telling him what to do if he felt unwell or needed the loo during the test. Also, telling him to keep his head down and ignore whatever what going on around him.

PettsWoodParadise Mon 01-Aug-16 12:31:11

We home tutored for grammar entrance and one indie. We tried a tutor for a few weeks but it didn't work out. I also work FT so it is perfectly possible. The key was that DD wanted to do it and she was already very capable. We were also trying for our closest secondary school so we weren't looking at it being a major journey if she passed. We did sit neighbouring grammar tests too as a back-up which took off the pressure. Two tests just needed a pass and one was superselective. We started in Y5 with an hour a week, a couple of mocks to identify areas to work on and then during the summer holidays half an hour with a couple of days off each week that she got to choose. I found that in reality DD did most of the work herself and we were there for support and guidance. For the indie test it was more challenging as some of the the maths was outside the main curriculum so did need more of our input.

Timing and technique as mentioned by others were just as important. Some tests in our region are very time pressured and home tests didn't compare to the time constraints in the real tests. Also we learnt in the mocks that marking the box diagonally rather than straight across meant she missed out on the mark so that was quite key and helped DD focus on accuracy in the simple things like marking the answer when previously she thought it didn't matter as long as she marked it. The mocks came back with helpful insights on what areas DD wasn't doing so well on and we could focus on those, we did those in the spring so we could use that information to good effect. Juggling question paper, answer paper and note paper all on a relatively small desk were also helpful to practice.

You can never predict everything that will happen DD wasn't best amused as she ended up sitting one test in a boys school where there was just a disabled toilet for the hundreds of girls sitting and she didn't get to go in the break time, but she coped as she knew not to make a big deal of it and not let it distract her.

rollonthesummer Mon 01-Aug-16 12:37:55

Yep-I tutored both of mine through the 11+. We are Essex so not sure how different that is to where you are.

The test itself is very different to what I'd had to do to get in 30 years ago (I went to the same school) so make sure you are very familiar with the actual test papers. Look at the eleven plus forums for advice.

Get past papers, learn to work at speed, try to read widely. Most importantly do little and often-the drip drip drip approach worked well for us. The children with parents who paid vast amounts for tutors but really had no idea themselves what their child was doing, generally failed.

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