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Withington Girls School Entrance Exams

(145 Posts)
yummymumoftwoandanangel Tue 14-Aug-12 12:16:12

We have registered our 10 year old daughter to write the secondary school entrance exams in January 2013. Can anyone please recommend any private tutors who are specialised in this particular entrance exam? Thanks.

ALittleScatterOfRain Thu 06-Sep-12 00:38:41

Hello, I don't know if you've managed to find somebody by now, but I thought I'd answer just in case! I'm afraid I don't know a particular tutor, but can give you some pointers if that would help. Feel free to ignore if you know this already though!

Withington's is a bit of a funny entrance exam, it's designed to test for potential, so it looks at how you tackle the questions, not just if you get the answers right. It's hard to tutor for it as they'll ask questions above the level expected for year 6 to test how the girls think.

There are two English papers (comprehension and essay I think), two maths (paper A is straightforward questions, paper B is more problem solving and applied questions) and a non-verbal reasoning test.

The best thing to do (whether you find a tutor or not) would be to get hold of some of the papers (if you go to the open day they sell them then) so your DD can go through them and get the feel of them. If she's never done non-verbal reasoning before you definitely should have a go as they're hard if you've never seen them before, they're different to anything she'd have seen.

I would say one of the most important things though is to be well read, it makes such an impact on vocab in the essay and it makes the comprehension easier too. It also helps at the interviews, I'm pretty sure reading is one of the things that's often talked about (although maybe not as much with the new headmistress, I'm not sure).

If I'm not being too nosy, is she at a prep school (because then you'd probably know all the above grin )? Where else is she thinking of sitting?

yummymumoftwoandanangel Fri 07-Sep-12 22:38:50

Thanks for the information. Our daughter is at a prep school but not one of the recognised prep feeder schools that send a high number of girls to Withington every year. This puts her at a slight disadvantage. We were at last year's open day and really impressed. Our daughter is consistently at the top end of her class in both Maths and English. We have been working through Bond with her for sometime now. The reason why we are looking for a tutor with knowledge of the Withington exams is based on advice that was given to us by a friend who is a headteacher in the Manchester area. He thought that a few final months coaching with a tutor would help immensely. We are also considering Manchester High School for Girls but then she hasn't done any Non Verbal Reasoning at all and this is putting us off a bit.

Ceebeejay Mon 10-Sep-12 12:07:42

I really wouldn't waste any money on a tutor for the Withington exam these days as under the new headmistress I don't know anybody who hasn't been offered a place - certainly last year. It will be interesting to see how the place changes in the next few years due to the lower academic standards of the girls being admitted under the new head.

nwmum Tue 11-Sep-12 12:04:36

Ceebeejay, I 've heard of girls who passed the exam but failed the interview at Withington last year. do you have add at Withington? What do you think of Man High?

ALittleScatterOfRain Tue 11-Sep-12 13:03:25

Apparently Manchester High's new head is really good, much preferred to the last one. Unlike the new WGS head.

Interestingly enough, she was a business woman first, like the new head at WGS- perhaps they don't make as good headteachers?

I should have said, I was at WGS until recently, and my DSis left this year.

I agree with you Ceebeejay it will be interesting. I know 5-10 years before I went, Man High was where you went if you were clever and Withington was more the school for young ladies. Perhaps it will swing back that way? I hope not, but then I'm obviously biased.

Try not to worry about the feeder school, some of the girls are very prepped for the exams but once they get there, they're the ones who struggle more <coughLadybarncough>. If you're daughter gets in because she's bright enough to go without being drilled, she'll be absolutely fine there smile

You will need to do non-verbal reasoning though, I think almost every school (including WGS) uses it now.

A good rule of thumb about the interviews is the earlier your interview the better!

yummymumoftwoandanangel Wed 12-Sep-12 12:00:23

Thanks so much for the information. It's been really useful. I will get a Bond book on Non Verbal Reasoning and she can practice at home. Judging purely based on their GCSE results for the past 3 years it seems WGHS has an advantage over MHGS. If we are lucky and she passes both exams then the final decision would have to come from our daughter herself. We would also attend the Open Days for both schools this autumn and give her as much information and assistance to enable her make an informed decision. At the end of the day it's not just about academia. Thanks once again.

Ceebeejay Fri 14-Sep-12 16:57:07

I agree with ALittleScatterOfRain re the quality of the new head at MHSG - very approachable and unlike WGS new head actually takes time to meet the pupils, wander around school and watch school performances. WGS head is too keen to work a standard 9-5 day and regularly disappears at the appointed time irrespective of what is going on - no interest in mixing with pupils or parents either bar the bare minimum. Also not popular with staff.
nwmum I did until recently - we observed new head for couple of years then, based on our own observations and feedback from girls higher up the school decided to transfer. I still have plenty of friends there so I listen to their observations with interest!! Interestingly not one is happy - one daughter is top of the year at WGS but not being stretched at all. Enough said or I will be outed!!

Ceebeejay Fri 14-Sep-12 16:58:04

yummymumoftwoandanangel - remember the next few years exam results are based on Mrs Pickerings intake of girls and not the new head!

yummymumoftwoandanangel Mon 31-Dec-12 11:06:13

Exactly two more weeks to go before the Withington Girls and Manchester High School for Girls Exams. Any last minute tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

13ismyluckynumber Sat 09-Mar-13 21:35:12

I'm going to be honest here, I'm completely outraged by this new vendetta against WGS and the new head. The standards of intake at WGS have not been lowered and the new head is not as bad as people have been saying. She took a while to settle in but she's beginning to settle in and adapting to the WGS environment. WGS' success is based on the extremely high quality of teaching staff and the dedication and hard work of the pupils. A well known phrase around the WGS area is 'What do girls from WGS and MHSG have in common? They all got a place at MHSG'. I find this to be completely true, WGS takes the cleverest girls, MHSG accepts the rest.

Librarina Tue 12-Mar-13 19:03:48

I would take the above post with a pinch of salt. There is a longstanding rivalry between the two schools, it was fierce when I was there in the 80's.

SeraphinaFuchsia Tue 12-Mar-13 19:41:11

I have just found this thread and must take issue with 13ismyluckynumber - this isn't any vendetta but bears out what we have been told from girls who have been under both WGS heads. No idea about MHSG but word is most definately that WGS intake is considerably lower in ability than it used to be. Girls are there that I know are average ability. I have no personal interest in the school at all so nothing to lose/gain

bmw66 Mon 18-Mar-13 07:58:13

Hi there my dd has sat the AGGS, WGS,MHSG AND THE GRANGE.
She got offers from all, and in her opinion the MHSG exam was the easiest to pass, we have opted for AGGS because of the obvious financial reasons aswell as the proximity of AGGS to us.
BTW when we had over "parent interview" at WGS the new head came across as very friendly,approachable and knowlegeable about her school and we were most impressed.
If we had to choose between WGS or MHSG we would have chosen WGS. To us WGS has always been the 'creme de la creme' of independent education in the North and the only school in the North in top 20 in country as per the ft-rankings of all schools, ( rank 19 as opposed to rank 122 for MHSG even AGGS came 82nd)
IMO WGS is simply in another league!
any child who HAS passed the WGS exam WILL pass the MHSG enterence exam ,I dout it would be the case the other way round IMO.

bmw66 Tue 19-Mar-13 17:17:36

BTW she got a academic scholarship at both the grange( which is a CM -Exam developed by Durham uni computer adaptive exam, sooner or latter you hit your limit right upto quad equations and complex algebra depending on previous correct answer now also use by Eaton ) and MHSG.WGS do not offer an academic scholarship"all our pupils are scholars" quote/unquote LOL Ya-right!!
the idea MHSG, is in anyway comparable to WGS is laughable, have you tried WGS paper 2 in maths , it make MGS paper 2 look like a walk in the park!!!( you can download it from their web-site under publications)

yummymumoftwoandanangel Sun 07-Apr-13 11:06:30

Thanks everyone. As I stated in a previous post our daughter in the end chose WGS. She also found the WGS exams tougher than the others. We showed the Maths Paper 2 to two friends who teach maths at secondary and university level. They were amazed at the high level and standard expected of the girls at that age. It has been a long and tiring journey but worth every ounce. I would keep you updated of her progress. Hopefully, her younger sister can join her in Year 3 soon. Now, it's time to save for the school uniforms LOL! It costs an arm and a leg.

bmw66 Sun 07-Apr-13 21:38:43

Good luck to your DD hope she reaches her potential.
If we had the finances we would of chose the same, but been offered AGGS we could not justify the expence(IMO AGGS the only real rival to WGS in the N.W)
good luck and well done xxx

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Fri 17-May-13 19:35:05

I think if there is any 'vendetta' is because she tried very hard to stamp her mark on the school very quickly. She made numerous changes in her first year, many of which pupils and parents weren't happy with and there were several things that weren't very professional (getting the previous headmistress's name wrong at a very big event, taking over the running of Oxbridge sessions for Upper Sixth and then never actually running any...).

She might be settling in now, but she really should have after three years! I mean, she's fairly old, she's not going to be there for years and years so should make the most of it.

Computer1 Thu 08-Aug-13 10:46:54

Yummymumoftwoandanangel- my daughter is sitting for Withington school entrance test in jan2014,any ideas how tough is competition as to availability of seats and pupils applying. Any advice re preparation will be much appreciated as unfortunately there is not much information does admission criteria work in terms of written exam and interviewes. Thanks

Computer1 Thu 08-Aug-13 10:48:38

As my daughter is not going to any of the feeder schools for withington but we have started doing few papers

bmw66 Sat 17-Aug-13 08:57:02

dear Computer 1
aprox 2/3 of the cohort who sit the exam are interviewed of which aprox 1/2 are given firm offers,
i.e aprox 1/3 of the original cohort are given firm offers , borderline candidates are put on waiting list I do not known what % though.
My DD also went to a state maintained primary, I would suggest start with bond books right upto the 12+ level then GL VR , we found the 13+ common enterence exam books useful for english prep , you will need to buy both question and answer books, if maths is not your thing get a profession tutor-it's a tough exam

bmw66 Sat 17-Aug-13 09:18:12

BTW most of the prep kids are very "prepped" for the exam and interview WGS know this and will IMO take this into consideration at my DD interview they only asked what where the advantages and disadvantages of co-ed schools nothing about the the exam papers
best of luckx

jalamwaca Fri 23-Aug-13 09:01:33

My daughter attends WGS and was previously at Lady Barn.Lady Barn teach to a much higher standard/level than most other feeder schools,I wouldn't say they were prepped for schools like WGS,they just are taught to above the national age requirements. To say LBHS girls struggle at WGS is rubbish too! My daughter is coping fine and loving it there as are all the other LBHS girls! MHSG is generally regarded as a sportier school but looking at recent results WGS are more successful. You just have to look at this years GCSE results as well....
WGS 96% A*/A compared to 86% MHSG. The school must be doing something right??
If you are considering sitting your daughter for the exam I would also say to get some past papers to have a look at the standard and bare in mind that it is a competitive, fast paced learning environment at WGS.WGS doesn't suit some as too intense.IMO I cant fault the school.I would choose Withington 100% over MHSG.

Runningchick123 Fri 23-Aug-13 12:48:14

I think part of the reason that WGS gets better GCSE results is because they have taken in a more academically able cohort to begin with. If MHSG take on some students that were not able to pass the WGS entrance exam then surely they have a harder task to get good pass rates as they have to improve the girls levels by a greater margin.
I think that both these schools are excellent within their own rights and different girls will be suited to the different schools for their own reasons.
If I had a very academically able girl then I would be targeting WGS, but would not be disappointed with MHSG.
As it happens I have boys and so neither school is an option, although my boys might be wishing they were at either once puberty begins grin.
I also do believe that ladybarn is an excellent prep school and rightly encourages its student to apply for the best schools as it expects that they will have a good chance of obtaining a place. There are some prep schools that have less success of getting children into WGS, MHSG or MGS but I don't think it's fair to say that the ladybarn children won't keep up once they get there and I would be interested to see actual evidence to back up that claim just because I'm a nerd and like to pore over research evidence

bmw66 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:20:10

The problem with indie schools is there is no legal compulsion for them to release CVA results unlike the the state sector so such comparisons are difficult to make.
heres some anectdotal evidence (yes an oxymoron I know)
my eldest son attends the The Grange in Hartford and they make a great song and dance about their value added 2/3 of a grade at igcse and 1/2 grade at A level, it is generally accepted the MGS cohort at yr 7 is much brighter then the Granges but results are much the same MGS A/A* 90% Grange 89% with 60% of all GCSE at A*for the Grange (figures for A* not on MGS website as yet) so which is the better school?

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