can you pass the eleven plus without tutoring? any experience.(32 Posts)
We have suddenly decided to enter ds for the eleven plus next Sept. He is a year 5 with level 5 in both maths and literacy and on target to get level 6. He is super geeky. Do you think we are setting him up for failure if we don't go down the tutoring route? I will get him to do a few papers in the summer, is that sufficient? Dp and myself are not British, so this whole thing a bit new. Honest answers appreciated.
It's possible of course - but most children are tutored so if you don't tutor it isn't exactly a level playing field
Well both my sister and I went to grammar school without having an ounce of tuition.
Our parents bought us a book of "practice papers" which we did a few of, but never had a tutor or anything like that. So it's perfectly possible.
DD1 is at a superselective, and had no tutoring.
She did do plenty of practise papers, though.
Have a look at the elevenplusexams website for suitable materials.
It depends on the area. If you're in a place where 25% of the children go to grammar then he may well be fine with no tutoring but a fair bit of practice on sample papers. If you're in a "super selective" area then it's a bit more chancy, but some children do still get in with home practice alone.
My DD has just passed a selective school entrance exam without tutoring - or at least without any paid tutoring. I did do quite a bit with her myself though - went through past papers, checked over the syllabus, etc. There were a few holes in her maths, and she needed to be taught how to cope with an exam that really stretched her and where she was up against the clock. Getting a Level 5 in a SAT L3-5 paper requires a high score in an easy paper, which requires quite a different approach from a reasonable score in a much harder paper. DD also needed to be taught what length of answers to give in English comprehension paper, and how not to use the exact words from the passage if you are asked to explain something. That all seemed to be new to her (and she too had a L5 in English and maths at the end of Y5)
And I also took out a subscription to Bond online which do the verbal/non-verbal reasoning tests. They were really helpful and she said after the exam very similar to what she was given in the exam.
Level 5 at the end of Y5 and on target for a Y6 by the end of Y6 is very good. I would guess he'd be likely to do tell as long as he's got some idea what to expect from the exam.
Depends on how selective your selective school is. In our area hundreds of children that pass no not get places, because there are so many going for so few places (about 15 to 1).
If you've made the decision now, why would you not prepare him? It's not about being bright, it's about exam timings, performing under pressure etc etc.
Gosh, the eleven plus forum scared me stiff with parents starting the tutoring in year 4! I feel dp and I have been a bit lazy and have not organised ourselves early enough. About 1100 kids apply for our grammar school of choice and they take 180. So to me it seems super competitive. Paying for tutoring not possible though. I got him to do a couple of papers and he gets between 80% and 90% but no idea if he is speedy enough...really don't know what to do...
Doing practice papers is tutoring. Just because you don't pay for a professional tutor does not mean that you're not tutoring them yourself. When your child make mistakes in the papers, do you explain where they went wrong? Well that's tutoring. So when people say their child passed and they only had one practice paper waved in their general direction, it's usually bull.
I really wouldn't put a child into the exams without at least doing papers to get used to they types of questions. Also it is a good idea to do a mock examination somewhere. Most children have never been in a big hall by themselves, finding their desk, preparing their answer sheets etc.
Officially, the exams cover the NC syllabus to end of Year 6, but they do it at the beginning of Year 6 so you need to make sure they have covered the work.
You can get practice papers/Bond books etc from Smiths or from Amazon.
My son is going to a superselective in September. He's very bright, but he also worked hard to get a place. It's very competitive to get into these schools.
If you're talking about the schools where they take the top 20-25%, then you may get away with a few practice papers.
The 1100 number may not be as scary as it looks if they're all applying for the same four grammar schools. Speed is important - but practice will solve that - all the papers you can buy will give you suggested times.
And I have no idea where his holes are..
Can you get in without having a professional tutor? Yes.
Can you get in without any preparation or familiarisation? Unlikely, however bright you are. Most children do quite a lot of practice which increases the competition.
It is completely possible to prepare him yourself in six months. Start with half an hour a week and build up to more as time goes on, until he can do a paper under exam conditions and finish it with time for checking.
Both DS1 & DS2 have found the skills I taught them in 11+ prep very useful at secondary school. Logical thinking, exam technique etc.
Do the practice papers you're using not say on them how long is allowed for them? If not try some out from other schools that do - you can find them online. You find the holes by marking the papers for him and seeing where he went wrong, then exploring with him whether this was something he didn't understand or just a careless mistake.
Sorry, yes, I would tutor myself. I am just trying to work out if turning our summer into an 11plus project is a good idea, or if it is just too late and should just put my heart at peace. I will get some papers and get him to practice a bit and see if I have a nervous breakdown in the process.
Thank you so much, all sensible advice. I will give it a go and start with 1 hour a week.
I only started a few months before, and really it wasn't an unpleasant time at all. It was nice to get familiar with what DD could do and not do, and help her learn to do things better. And as someone else has just said, the exam technique and skills you teach them will be useful whether or not they pass. I wouldn't cancel any of your other summer plans, just fit a bit of practice papers, etc in round the edges.
You don't have to give the whole summer holidays over to it! Just get your DC to tackle it like they would a music exam. Short, regular practice, building up to more intense prep closer to the test. Depending on what subjects you need to prepare, Bond do workbooks of ten minute tests which we found useful.
Ds2 passed without us paying for a tutor
We bought past papers & bond books & he practiced those.
Will do the same with ds3
We started with the bond 10 minute tests - nice because they're ten minutes worked up to longer practice papers.
What SanityClaus said was right.
"Gosh, the eleven plus forum scared me stiff with parents starting the tutoring in year 4! "
Head right back there It's an 11-plus website, so that's what they talk about, so they are bound to seem obsessed. There are plenty of parents who don't start until year 5. Once you start looking into it yourself, you'll realise it's not so scary at all.
It's important to get the correct advice about the actual school you are going to apply to. Different schools have different types of exams. There's no point in wasting your hour a week on the wrong type of papers, for example. Also, I would go into it wholeheartedly, as your DS will enjoy doing the papers - that's if he wants to get in as well. There's no point in dabbling. Why waste your time?
This is the topic of the day in our household as well today. Had a meeting with dd1's headmistress and it now seems like dd1 will be doing the 11+ tests for our local school. We are going to start off with tutoring ourselves and take it from there.
SweetPenelope - exactly!!! It always infuriates me when parents say their child passed the 11+ without any tutoring - ignoring the fact that they tutored their child themselves which is exactly the same thing!
One of my son's friends passed about 7 years ago with no tutoring (paid or parental). We are in a selective (not super selective area). But it is unusual. I did practice papers with my kids and it wouldn't have occurred to me to start doing them until about 4 or 5 months before the exam (and all 3 passed) so I think you have plenty time OP.
Many people say, if they can't pass without tutoring they'll struggle at grammar. But the 11+ is a very blunt instrument for selecting children. I think you've got to decide yourself if your child is grammar school material (and it sounds very much like yours is OP) and then just do whatever you need to do to get them through over the 11+ hurdle.
I would also say that attitude is as much - if not - more of an indicator of success at grammar school than performance in the 11+. Of my 3, one got an incredibly high score, one got a very good score, one passed by the skin of his teeth. Guess which one gets consistently high marks in exams and has been told to aim for the best universities? The one who just scraped through. The other two have more natural ability - but don't have the same motivation and competitiveness.
It sounds like your local grammar is super selective OP. Super selectives are single schools who run their own exam and take those with the highest scores.
Ordinary selectives are where the exam is administered by the local authority for all the selective schools in their area. The local authority determines the pass mark and places are allocated based on distance from the schools people have applied to.
we did DIY tutoring, beginning in jan year 5, one evening every 2 weeks and then after easter once a week.
Practice papers, going over the different types of verbal reasoning questions and so on.
ds passed for a superselective. he is now, in year 6 where you ds is in year 5.
my niece did a preparation course for one week, in august before year 6, and then exam in sept. She passed for the best grammar in area.
Go back to the 11+ forum, and look under regions and then find out what the requirements are for your area. Our region had a 'how to do DIY tutoring' which gave you all the things you need to cover and a suggested timetable. You can also get lots of information, eg what sort of level is needed for the school you want.
With a bright dc you are not too late and stand a good chance, it is totally possible to do it yourself.
I know people whose children did test papers at home, more for technique. They all got in. Schools are becoming increasingly aware about tutoring meaning some children can struggle with the pace once they are in the school. In my area there has been talk of setting questions pupils cannot revise for to ensure they get the right children! So instead of a piece of verbal reasoning asking for something that shows creative thought! Maybe check the exam formats in your area are staying the same.
My neighbour's daughter got into a superselective without tutoring. She did some past papers. I think very clever kids will sail through. The tutoring clearly causes an issue for the more borderline kids who get by with familiarity with the test structure rather than intellect.
I found the 11+ forum incredibly helpful for home tutoring. We didn't have any professional tutoring but we spent lots of time with ds just going through practice papers and reinforcing what he already knew (or in some cases should have known!) from school. Lots of exam technique, lots of vocab, and in the last stages lots of timed tests.
One thing that let ds down at first was his tendency to make silly mistakes and not reading the question. This was especially important in the maths paper, where the actual arithmetic was pretty easy, but the questions were phrased in a way that required lots of concentration.
The other thing I would say is that it really helps to have a willing subject. Ds really enjoyed the work, we never felt we had to drag him kicking and screaming to do the papers. He did it because he liked the school we were aiming for, and he found the work interesting. I can well imagine that for some parents that might be easier with a professional tutor - my relationship with my son was more important to me than getting into a particular school.
Back in the day no-one had any tutoring and it didn't matter. Nowadays you put your child at a disadvantage by not doing it, as others who are less bright but better tutored might take your brighter child's place if you do not level the playing field.
Although, having said that, how does anyone know that all levels of tutoring are the same? One child might receive distinctly more than another, and another child might receive less, but better more focussed tutoring. So it is still not fair.
The only thing that would make it fair would be if no-one tutored, or if, as suggested, there was a test (like the Eton test) that you could not prepare for. Supposedly.
I would look at the actual school websites to find out what is in the tests and not just listen to possibly out of date advice.
One mum at school was shocked after her son took the Tiffin test that there were 80 questions in 50 minutes. It shouldn't be a surprise when it is stated clearly on the website.
You have had plenty of useful replies, but besides the expected standards in English and Maths, in some areas it is the 'verbal and non-verbal reasoning' papers that are hardest, because they are so different from anything normally encountered in an ordinary primary school.
So get all the info you can from the schools in your area, and then find practice papers to cover them.
As others said, read the questions carefully, and make sure you understand it and answer what they are asking. Relax and don't fret! (Pupil and parents!)
Thank you, lots of good advice. I will keep you posted and see if ds gets in.
This is my first post on here, so please forgive me for jumping in on an already established discussion but I would like to add that my DD failed her 11+ because we decided not to get tutoring for her. If we had she may well have passed. I dont know. Personally I think tutoring for 11+ is wrong as it hides real ability and puts children of less ability into a situation they may not be able to cope with, but equally now, our daughter has the ability and would do very well at a grammar and cant go. We are in the middle of an appeal. I didnt want to make an issue of the whole grammar school thing and we are only doing this because her current head feels very strongly that our girl needs to go to grammar rather than the local comp!(we have needed to be convinced!) I dont think the head has any hidden agendas here, but neither did I think my dd was anything other than average and maybe it was just because she is in a small school or something, I just dont know. I am confused by the whole thing, and just hope when it comes to our next child, we dont have to go through this again!
Dd did four practice papers of half an hour each and passed. I slid down the wall when we got the letter. Private tutoring is massive here !
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