OK, who's got a copy of a Common Entrance paper?

(73 Posts)
curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 18:20:00

Then we can all try it on our 13 year olds and see how they get on. Then we can send the results to Michael Gove, and increase the amount of research he's done by 100%...

scaevola Mon 03-Feb-14 18:24:28
cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 03-Feb-14 19:21:59

CE is basically KS3, except for languages. The ISEB website clearly stated that the syllabus of most subjects is modelled on KS3.

trinity0097 Mon 03-Feb-14 20:02:56

Some subjects are very similar to what is done in state schools, e.g. maths, Science, others are much more rigorous, especially History.

Klingyston Mon 03-Feb-14 20:10:21

Looks very easy for 13

SuburbanRhonda Mon 03-Feb-14 20:20:05

Surprised Gove wants anything to do with an exam labelled "common" ..... smile

ballylee Mon 03-Feb-14 20:37:09

You should note though that the most academic privates (where one is not applying for scholarships by doing much harder scholarship papers) require the highest level CE papers in subjects like maths, latin and French and a minimum of 70%, or indeed many (eg Winchester) set their own entrance exams which are much harder than CE.

curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 20:39:18

Why should I note that, ballylee? It's not remotely relevant to the Gove proposal!

happygardening Mon 03-Feb-14 21:24:08

ballylee the level of CE varies from school to school as does the required pass mark. A super selective school like SPS will require at least 70% at level 3 on all papers whereas as a less selective school may only want 50% and will accept level 1 on some subjects e.g. Latin, others ask for an average of say 60%. The pass mark required by each school used to be a secret but now many state it on their websites.
Win Coll does indeed set their own entrance exam loosely based on the CE curriculum, no pass mark is stated on their website but those who dont do well enough will loose their provisional place.

curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 22:12:08

And as I said none of this relevant to Gove's proposals. Good to give people the opportunity to share their knowledge, though grin

almapudden Mon 03-Feb-14 22:23:23

The science curriculum is based on the whole of KS3 including Y9 topics.

The Latin, French and History are really tough.

Shallishanti Mon 03-Feb-14 22:27:22

God forbid a school year might pass in which the poor sods don't have to sit an exam...

happygardening Mon 03-Feb-14 22:30:23

I can't see why or what the point is of getting state school pupils to sit a similar exam to CE at the end of yr 8. Most children in prep schools spend the whole of yr 8 and often much of yr 7 being "prepared" for CE. I personally feel too much time is devoted to it. It can be a source of anxiety for the less able and many parents despite already paying fees spend £££ on tutoring but under the current system it is required by most senior independent schools so it has to be done. But why inflict it on children unnecessarily, aren't children tested enough already?

cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 03-Feb-14 22:42:08

I was trying to make the point that by sitting KS3 state school children are already sitting a similar to CE type exam. Maybe someone should tell Gove because I don't think he knows.
Although if we're going to start telling him things he doesn't know..........

curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 22:53:44

Ks3 SATs don't happen any more. Haven't
For ages,

cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 03-Feb-14 23:06:19

Not officially, but they all have regular assessments during KS3 and they know which SAT level they are at. The information is there even if its not collated. Why would you sit CE as well?

Hulahaha Tue 04-Feb-14 06:03:59

The CE is really tough - I agree with HG . My DS has to swot for level3 papers which cover a high percentage ofiGCSE work at age 12 . He needs to get 70% in every subject . This means instead of being a child he needs to work quite hard . I would say however that the CE syllabus is very traditional and I don't mind him learning it - I suppose that what Gove wants . However DC have so many tests from GCSE onwards , I feel they should be enjoying learning at this age rather than sitting another test .

craggyhollow Tue 04-Feb-14 06:42:22

CE is much much tougher than ks3 assessments. Most prep schools spend years 7 and 8 preparing for it.

AuntieStella Tue 04-Feb-14 06:54:33

How tough CE is depends on which papers are sat, and which school is marking.

Like a sample of Britisn children sit additional tests for PISA, maybe a sample of children should sit tests to compare sectors? At 11 (SATS based) and 13 (CE based) or mix of exam style at both/either.

Then we'd see if there was any significant difference between the sectors, and hypotheses for causes could be tested.

craggyhollow Tue 04-Feb-14 07:08:09

I've done sats at 11 (my dcs have)

And ce

And I am telling you that CE is much much tougher

BUT I think a red herring which is why I now use a private school which has entry at 11+ to avoid CE

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 04-Feb-14 08:48:21

DS was at prep and sat CE last year, all level 3 papers for very good boys London Indy. DD is at straight through school which sits SAT tests regularly so you can see her progress.

I think the SAT route is better because it is a clearly measurable stepping stone on the way to GCSE. It is also easily comparable to other schools/national levels etc so you have a clear picture of where they are. EG being a 5a for maths is a much clearer than being told she got 86% in an internal maths exam.

Part of the mystique surrounding CE is that schools will ask for e.g. an average of 60%, but rarely state which level papers they require (very selective apart). There is no national standard for marking and schools set their own grade boundaries, so someone can get 60% on level 1 maths at one school and be marked as an A, whereas a child at another school could score 78% on a level 3 paper and only get graded a B. How on earth can this become an exam sat at every school in the country?

I think the mystique of CE suits some senior schools as saying that they require 65% plus at CE this sounds a lot more impressive than asking for SAT level 6, but will probably take a high 5.

ISEB are looking to make changes to CE and one of the suggestions is to make it more like SAT tests. So Gove is actually going in the completely wrong direction.

curlew Tue 04-Feb-14 08:51:32

For some reason I can't open the papers kindly linked to further down. I'll have another go, then get my nearly 13 year old to do one tonight and report back!

wordfactory Tue 04-Feb-14 08:54:35

Curlew I came on this thread to say I'd probably got some old CE exam papers you could have a look at grin...

TBH, I don't know what Gove is on about...many independent schools are trying to phase out the bloody CE.

Many now set their own tests at 12 (which tend to be very challenging). You might still be asked to sit the CE too (but not always), but it all feels a bit half arsed.

Hulahaha Tue 04-Feb-14 09:01:41

In many London schools , Boys have to sit 11+ pre-test as well which is the really crucial one . It's such a lot of pressure . My DD sat 11+ and has had a lovely few years , she is coping very well with GCSE study I think because she's not had this constant testing .

singersgirl Tue 04-Feb-14 10:36:14

I don't think Common Entrance is particularly impressive - I think several of the papers are old-fashioned and fact-heavy, and generally this way of testing encourages the infamous 'teaching to the test' and heaps unnecessary revision upon 12 and 13 year olds. Why can't children just wait until they do their GCSEs to have a miserable Easter holiday revising?

There are different levels of CE too and the higher tiers are very close to GCSE in subjects such as French and Latin. And, as others have said, there is reform going on in the ISEB and amongst schools who use/used to use CE papers.

I don't think there's much point using the History and Geography papers on children who haven't been taught the syllabus as they almost certainly cover different topics. Not harder, just different. Don't know about the English and maths.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 04-Feb-14 10:51:39

Singersgirl, CE geography is KS3 without the population bits.

History the first half is a sources question. The second is write a history essay, the scope of titles etc is so vast that DCs learn one essay and a backup and parrot it down. DS wrote his William the Conquerer essay in Y6 and spent 2 years polishing it. "teaching to the test" as you say.

Prep school tell parents that CE is GCSE equivalent, but its a bit like Everest telling you that double glazing is wonderful. Until someone links CE to SAT levels this is hard to argue against.

DS had an level 3 A grade maths from his London Indy, who are known to mark very hard. He has started the Edexcel IGCSE maths syllabus this year and is finding it difficult. He is currently learning to factorise quadratic equations - he hasn't done it before!

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 04-Feb-14 10:58:01

I should make it clear I am very happy at the education DS received at his prep, which is probably one of the most academic in SW London. I am delighted with his senior school and am sure he will do very well there.

But, I just get cross that CE is portrayed as something it really isn't, a bandwagon Gove has happily jumped on.

AgaPanthers Tue 04-Feb-14 11:27:49

Common Entrance is pretty minor: it's mostly only taken by boys, and it's only at prep level. The successful senior private schools admitting boys from state primary at 11 don't put them through it.

EdithWeston Tue 04-Feb-14 11:39:51

Many CE school however have no entry point at 11+, and state school joiners go into the prep and do have to reach the CE qualifying mark to progress. The 11+ selection process is however designed to find pupils who should be well capable of doing that.

AgaPanthers Tue 04-Feb-14 11:47:30

13+ schools with prep schools are basically completely different schools.

When you exclude the girls schools and the schools that are either split between 11+ and 13+ or are purely 11+, the significance of CE evaporates almost entirely.

EdithWeston Tue 04-Feb-14 11:54:40

I agree. Not all private schools have a 13+ entry point. And of those that do, not all use CE.

But for those which do, it is a significant exam, and remains the single most important factor in the 11-13 curriculum in preps (whilst spawning countless articles by commentators of varying levels of scholarliness about its future).

wordfactory Tue 04-Feb-14 12:11:12

I think the only thing that CE really demonstrates is 'this pupil will knuckle down.'

As said, it's dull and fact heavy. To get a 70% plus mark in the higher papers, you do need to revise.

This shows the senior school hat you're not a lazy arse, I guess grin. Coupled with their own intelligence tests at 12, plus interviews, plus reports, plus classwork portfolio, it gives a school a good picture of a boy.

It also keeps a boy working in year 8, when they've already passed the entrance test.

DS didn't have to do it, and he seriously chilled in year 8!!!!

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Feb-14 12:51:58

I was very grateful that my DDs did not have to sit the CE at 11. The exams for the schools they applied to required much more thought and gave them a chance to demonstrate potential and ability, not cramming. It really is relatively easy to get 100% in the Maths at 11+ with a bit of tutoring, hence it spawns a tutoring culture.

Then the school they went to had three years to challenge and inspire them without the need to conform to a prescriptive curriculum, one that has only recently been overhauled not to be centred on what are perceived to be boys' interests, the history was the same as was lampooned by "1066 and all that". Of course Gove would not have a problem with that grin

singersgirl Tue 04-Feb-14 15:09:02

Cake, I wasn't supporting Common Entrance - far from it. I have 2 sons, one currently preparing for GSCEs and one preparing for 'transfer exams' (the school's own exam, partly based on CE) and my opinion on the Latin and French is based on what I see them doing - the language and the grammar parts, not the Latin literature. What my 12 year old is required to do in French is very close to what my 15 year old is required to do for IGCSE. It probably wouldn't be good enough for a top grade at GCSE but it's not far off what's needed for a solid pass.

Anyway, that's irrelevant. My main point was that I thought that Gove was looking in completely the wrong direction for 'tests' for schools - backwards, not forwards.

AgaPanthers Tue 04-Feb-14 15:35:51

My DS is doing CE, it seems pointless to me, but I suppose it assures his new school what he has been studying in Y7 and Y8, but then it's all in the NC so who gives a stuff anyway.

curlew Tue 04-Feb-14 15:41:02

In my day you only ever did the Common Entrance when you were moving from prep to public school at 13. 11+ for posh people. I didn't realize it had changed.

AgaPanthers Tue 04-Feb-14 15:50:48

It goes like this:

* most girls schools, and all at state primary -> 11+, no CE
* boys and a minority of girls at prep schools, 11+ and subsequently the CE

But the schools don't actually care about CE, they care that you pass their 11+, and will accept/reject boys on the basis of the 11+. Once you've passed their 11+, then the CE is just supposed to be a rubberstamp - they've assessed your ability, and unless you don't do any work for 2 years, there's no way you should fail the CE.

EdithWeston Tue 04-Feb-14 15:51:06

I think that's still it curlew though ISEB who set the 13+ CE also set exams for 11+ and for pretests and that can lead to confusion about what exam people are talking about. Especially as there is an 11+ paper that can be used as qualifying not competitive exam if the school so wishes. And of course some schools set their own 11+, pretest, and 13+ transfer exams and scholarship papers. And some pretest in year 7 not year 6.

The only thing that's new is the rise of the pretest (alongside references and interviews) as part of the procedure for selecting for conditional offers.

I think it's why prep schools need a good head or someone with responsibility for transfers, just to hold parents' hands through all the differing processes and help them come up with a realistic plan of attack which the school knows it can prepare the pupil for.

Blobbyblobbyblobby Tue 04-Feb-14 16:11:21

I can't understand the pretence of state education being in any way comparable to public school (and Cameron et al not being superpriviledged) when you look at CE.

There is no way the brightest kid in a state school could pass it cos plebs don't get taught Latin!

If Gove is serious about levelling the playing field by driving state standards up (which he isn't, he's just doing his own little sealed knot version of a 1950s boyhood) he will bring back Latin and put MFL firmly back on state school curriculum.

The local school to me barely do any MFL.

curlew Tue 04-Feb-14 16:30:46

Still can't open the paper to try on my guinea
However, it's not going to happen is it? It's
Just another of Govey's whacky back of a fag packet ideas. His officials will rein him in.

TheWave Tue 04-Feb-14 16:44:37

Latin offered at our massive comp IF you wanted to take it. And 2 from a choice of 4 MFL and Mandarin. But plebs...really?

AgaPanthers Tue 04-Feb-14 16:55:12

Latin is just one subject on CE. It has its own paper. It's entirely detachable, and I'm pretty sure you can sit CE without Latin.

MFL is a different story, again it has it's own paper but it's far more more important than Latin.

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 08:35:24

I suppose Gove may impose exams at the end of year 8, with a view to introducing academic selection at that stage.

One of the arguments against grammar schools was always that 10/11 was too young.

I think Germany operates a system like this. Though happy to be corrected.

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 08:37:17

Aga you can sit CE without Latin. I remember one of DS friends doing just that because he was new to the UK and hadn't studied it sufficiently.

French, I believe, is non negotiable. And the higher paper assumes a good standard.

TheWave Wed 05-Feb-14 11:18:14

In Germany they get separated into grammar schools vs other types of school after yr 5 equivalent, so even earlier.

AgaPanthers Wed 05-Feb-14 12:20:43

French might be non-negotiable, but they still give you a grade for each subject (Maths, Science, Geography, etc.). You could remove MFL + Latin from the CE with no difficulty.

Blobbyblobbyblobby Wed 05-Feb-14 12:31:01

But the fact that Latin and French are there suggest they are seen as important by the institutions educating the children of the elite who will grow up into the elite of the future...so they probably are quite handy/worthwhile.

I know of no state schools within 20 miles of here where Latin has been taught in the last 20 years ('pleb' mesen).

Proper equality of opportunity would give importance to languages, history and the arts in state education but they seem to be seen as silly distractions from maths and science...it's a shame.

AgaPanthers Wed 05-Feb-14 12:40:09

French is definitely prioritised in the private sector. My kids' prep dropped Greek a few years ago and Latin feels like an after thought, but French they do from Y1 (age 5).

The problem state education has is that the gold standard is a C in Maths GCSE, another in English, and once you've achieved those, the 5 A*-C is guaranteed.

So comps spend a huge amount of effort on boosting kids up from D to C in Maths, working on English, because if they can get up from a shitty 45% 5 A*-C at GCSE to something in the 60%+ or 70%+ range, then they will start to become a first choice school sought out by parents who care about their kids' education.

Maybe an interest in History and Geography can follow alongside the naice kids their improved results attracted, but I suspect it's more like:

Step 1: - work very hard to pass Maths + English GCSE
Step 2: ????
Step 3: Profit!

When you are paying for an education, the school is free to market itself on any aspect of its education, but state schools, aside from a few grammar schools, have little to go on beyond a league table position entirely determined by the number of children achieving a C in Maths and English at GCSE.

curlew Wed 05-Feb-14 12:43:46

"The problem state education has is that the gold standard is a C in Maths GCSE, another in English, and once you've achieved those, the 5 A*-C is guaranteed."

I feeling a broken record on thread like this, but this is not true. It may have been but it isn't any more. Children are required to make "expected progress" and for a high achiever, that isn't a C. So the days of stopping once they reach a C, if they ever existed, are no more.

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 12:50:48

But Curlew there's no evidence whatsoever of OFSTED doing owt about it!!

And frankly Gove has just put his lap dog in charge. Do really have faith that they will hunt down all the under achievers and heads will roll?

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 12:54:56

The GCSE results at my niece's outstanding comp show that 4 kids got an A* in maths (no girls). 2 got one in Eng, 2 in End Lit (no girls). No A *s at all in history, german or Spanish.

That it woeful in a school with a reasonable intake, a faith school.

And yet it has retained its outstanding lable. Had a cracking OFSTED report.

Nothing has happened about these results. Nothing.

Blobbyblobbyblobby Wed 05-Feb-14 13:03:44

I think I have a fundamental difference of opinion with the government about the purpose of education.

Literacy and numeracy open doors to wider learning and appreciation of life imo. They shouldn't be the sole objectives of 13 years of education. I did art gcse with a boy who got nothing higher than an e in other subjects but he got a B in art. He works in a factory and still paints, my mum bought a postcard from him at the village fete last year!

AgaPanthers Wed 05-Feb-14 13:13:58

curlew, I can't see that that's true.

Here's the DFE's own 'league table' for an LA.


You see:

% making expected progress in English
% making expected progress in Maths
% getting 5 A*-C including English + Maths
% EB

The EB is still almost meaningless, and the 'expected progress in English/Maths' stats is undemanding:

Level 4 or lower - C (which is what they want for the league table anyway) will always get you 'making expecting progress'
Level 5 or Level 6 - B is 'making expected progress'

A B isn't much to ask of an able pupil at GCSE. And it's still focused on English + Maths. At private schools a third of all GCSEs are passed at A*.

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 13:19:02

Aga exactly.

Which is why schools like my niece's can get away with letting down its brightest pupils and still dance around like Jedward.

curlew Wed 05-Feb-14 13:21:24

"At private schools a third of all GCSEs are passed at A*."

Due, in no small measure, to the fact that all private schools are selective.

NewBlueShoesToo Wed 05-Feb-14 13:27:32

But a lot of the private senior schools now gave their own testing and interview system. CE is used to work out sets.
I like it that my prep school children have an excellent knowledge of History, Latin and French. They really enjoy what they are learning and have not been focused on tests.

PowderMum Wed 05-Feb-14 13:30:34

Wordfactory- at my DC local comp 25% got 9 or more GCSE at A or A*

Not that this is the point but it is to show that a non selective school can get excellent results.

My DD is one of those pupils and she is now on target for 3 top grade A levels, however despite being very bright she is hopeless at exams.

When she took her Y6 sats she didn't get the top grades and she continued to struggle through secondary whenever there was a test, eventually as she matured we were able to devise with her teachers a strategy that led to her being able to complete all her exams.

At 11 she would have had the ability and depth of knowledge to pass the 11 plus however I am sure that she would have been both bored senseless and completely stressed out if she then spent a further 2 years preparing for an exam that would determine her future.

Y6 to Y7 in state education is a big leap and the freedom that schools now have to develop the pupils, to let them find their feet, new friendship groups and to learn skills and subjects without any true pressure is in my mind invaluable.

Life is not just about passing tests it is about experiences and getting your school/life balance correct. For instance if I was looking for a graduate trainee (or school leaver trainee) I would be just as concerned about extra curricular activities and experiences as I would be about qualifications

Let's all hope that this is another flash in the pan idea from Gove that gets flushed away before it grows legs and starts to destroy further our education system.

curlew Wed 05-Feb-14 13:33:23

I agree that a B is not a particularly demanding target for a high achieving pupil. The point I was trying to make that the often repeated "fact" that state schools are only interested in/measured by Cs is not the case.

AgaPanthers Wed 05-Feb-14 13:33:52

'"At private schools a third of all GCSEs are passed at A*."

Due, in no small measure, to the fact that all private schools are selective.'

There is a private school for every child though, and some will take basically anyone. I think the decision to go private is more-or-less independent of academic ability, but obviously there are factors such as income, environment and possibly genes that give these kids a head start.

The idea that the independent sector has no room for the not-so-bright and they will tell them to find a comp school somewhere is simply wrong.

curlew Wed 05-Feb-14 13:37:52

Selection need not be overtly academic. Over subscribed faith schools also do better than take-all comprehensives. The very act of being selective, by wealth, religion or any other criterion you care to name means that a school will do better. Because it automatically de selects families who are not committed to their child's education, or who don't know how to engage with the system.

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 13:43:26

Powder the national average for A*/A is 21%, so the school you mention did well. But not brilliantly IMVHO.

DD's school is private. It is mixed ability. The % of A*/As is much higher.

So it can be done. It's not all about academic selection. Much of it is about resources and the will to do it.

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 13:45:05

Should have added that the % is higher than the local grammar which is far more selective.

Many girls go to DD's school who wouldn't have stood a chance of getting in the GS.

AgaPanthers Wed 05-Feb-14 13:55:44

Yes there's no doubt that selecting by wealth is extremely effective at excluding pupils who are likely to perform poorly. All of the 'top comprehensives' do it.

It does make direct comparisons difficult, though if you look at the varying outcomes for children coming in at Level 4 and above at age 11 between different state secondary schools there is huge variation, from schools where the brightest kids will get Cs, to others where they will end up with As and A*s.

Longsuffering2 Thu 06-Feb-14 15:49:26

Hi all - new to this thread and have found the collective knowledge here to be invaluable - thank you! Don't want to hijack your discussion re: Gove (tho personally love the fact that the man just spits it out without giving a hoot!)....
I am seeking to find out at historical data pertaining to CE grading on a national level - eg 10% of candidates passed with >70% mark etc etc.....I am a CE virgin and I'm trying to get a steer of feasibility / achievabilty purely from a statistical likelihood of DS getting >70% and whether or not to pursue possible conditional school offer. Any help no your hive of information would be sooo appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Longsuffering2 Thu 06-Feb-14 16:03:42

Sorry...just an add-on, I have asked ISEB and they don't have anything as they claim that results are not fed back to them. On reflection, being state comp educated myself - I find that truely astonishing! Imagine any major exam board having no idea of the spread of grading in its exams....that's remarkable and makes me wonder how on earth they are able to calibrate papers year on year......getting angry.

dog1dog2 Thu 06-Feb-14 16:37:11

The thing is Longsuffering, each secondary school marks the papers, they are not marked centrally by the ISEB. Therefore the school sets the pass mark and as you don't necessarily get % results, just grades, you never know exactly how your DC did. I would check with the prep head as they should advise you not to sit for a school that requires CE >70% if your DC is not up to it. If they think he/she is, then you'll be fine (as long as the school are good enough at preparing them)

Longsuffering2 Thu 06-Feb-14 20:09:22

Thanks Dog1dog2 - Head called me in this PM and told me just what you've said. I get that the receiving school marks the CE papers - just surprised there is not kind of central collation - without that feedback how can ISEB know if they've got the balance correct each year. Head said CE not a public exam therefore no need to collate. Kind of makes sense. Said DS abs fine to get >70%. Worries gone (for now) - thank you!!!

Longsuffering2 Fri 07-Feb-14 09:19:19

Thank you and sorry for hijacking original thrust of your thread......the independent v comp debate is indeed very immotive. My husband and I both attended poor comprehensives as kids (below national performance). We both saw alot of social issues within our schools - teen pregnancy, alcohol etc. By the 6th form, alot of those problems had gone. We both level with okayish A levels and zilch careers advice - but good enough grades to get into a RG University and get 2:1's. Our kids go to independent schools because we can afford it (just) and because the state option here performs well below state average - which we're not interested in. The point of my autobiography (sorry) is to say that we have both had first hand experience of trying to do well in an poor performing school - and it's hard and no fun. I often hear some parents / people say "if you are clever, you will do well wherever...." But I couldn't disagree more. We did ok, but I do recall some many kids with potential that didn't and left school at 16 to work in the local shop - such a shame. I love Goves vision of no outward distinction between independent and state - great, bring it on! I'll be first in the queue to join an excellent state school, except I doubt if there will be a place available for us. In this Utopia, I also wonder where the money will come from (independent folks pay the tax but don't get the service) to cover it all?

reddidi Sun 09-Feb-14 00:16:37

"without that feedback how can ISEB know if they've got the balance correct each year."

They don't need to - CE is not a public exam so it does not need to be as consistent and robust as GCSEs (!)

If a paper turns out to be a bastard with everyone scoring low, admissions tutors will be on to ISEB soon enough who will confirm that "we have had feedback that a number of students have found this year's Latin paper unusually challenging" or some such, and the schools can react accordingly.

singersgirl Sun 09-Feb-14 12:36:57

I guess it is the same for all schools, but my sons' school awards grades in bands, so regardless of how difficult the paper or strong/weak the cohort sitting, the top 10% of papers get an A, the next 20% or 30% an A- and so on. So the raw mark doesn't really matter.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sun 09-Feb-14 15:19:21

Hi Longsuffering

DS sat CE last year for one of top London Indys, all level 3 papers and they are known to mark hard. Boys tranfering from their prep sit an internal exam, and the very clever external candidates tend to sit scholarship entrance as CE is too easy for them! The average CE mark of the others was 79%.
70+ easily achievable, except for English if you get a really bad poem! If you do its hard for everyone and they need to fill those spaces!
Schools mark papers very differently so 70% from St Pauls could have scored a lot higher elsewhere. Grade boundaries are also set be the schools themselves, some have an A*, some don't, for some an A will be 70% for another 90%. There is no standardisation whatsover, which is why using these as a national test would be a farce.
Talk to your prep about your DS's senior school, and see what they think is achievable. They know their senior schools and know from experience how they mark.
Good Luck and sorry for the hijack OP.

Longsuffering2 Sun 09-Feb-14 19:21:48

Thanks cakesisalwaystheanswer......appreciate the sound advice.

mathsbridge Tue 30-Sep-14 20:03:34

You can try the practice papers that are available for free from www.1729education.blogspot.co.uk

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