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11+ entrance and beyond... BUT HOW?

(14 Posts)
Fionamumtothree Thu 06-Dec-12 12:27:51

I have a daughter in year 6 who is struggling with her maths for the 11+ ... She's entering for 4 London day schools, namely North London, Highgate, Channing and Godolphin, but is averaging 50-70% on past papers. I've heard that's not going to be secure enough, but then, she has to end up somewhere!!

She just freezes when she sees a harder question. She's smart, but not when it comes to exams.... We've got Christmas to go. ANY TIPS???

Need something structured as she's going to use the holidays as an excuse to work slowly.

dinkybinky Thu 06-Dec-12 12:40:16

I would choose a less academic school as back up. The schools you have chosen are very academic if shes struggling in year 6 I doubt she will pass the test.
Also would your DD be happy in a school where the pace of work is fast and full on and be in the bottom sets or would she be happier in a school where they go slightly slower and shes in the middle to top sets?

Susanssarah Thu 06-Dec-12 12:51:42

I think it's a worrying time but the final push in December is a make or break.
If she's scared of exams, as my daughter was (she would break out crying in the weeks before when she got news of bad school tests), then put her in a test environment more regularly. Also, if you want something structured during the holidays, some teachers might be reluctant to provide help during their break, but then tutors might be helpful.
There's a maths courses for the 11+ on this christmas. My daughter's friend went to the one below last year and said it made her less scared on the exam day!

ReallyTired Thu 06-Dec-12 13:15:17

I am sorry that your daughter is under so much stress. I think you need to consider the long term happiness of your daughter. It can hit a child really hard if they fail the entrance exams to lots of schools. I was in your daughter's position and I found that my parents' disappointment in me was worse than anything. Failing exams to selective schools really dented my confidence.

Maybe teaching your daughter relaxaion techniques will help with tests as well as looking at exam technique. Ie. You daughter needs a watch and to time herself so she does not spend too long on any question. If the questions have a mark scheme then it gives her an indication of how much work is expected.

Its important to be positive and upbeat about non selective schools. She will not die if she ends up at the local comp. The course of her life is not decided on one day.

mholdcroft Thu 06-Dec-12 13:24:44

As we all know, exams are stressful and can cause performance anxiety. Some pre-exam tutoring can be really helpful with this - it can relax the pupil into understanding what is facing them.

It could also help for pressure and tuition to come externally - not from the home. Consequently the child will have a 'safe-haven'.

Short courses that supplement revision over the christmas break would probably, therefore, be a good idea, though of course each child is different.

Needmoresleep Thu 06-Dec-12 15:24:34

Is there a particular type of question she has problems with? My daughter did timed papers without fuss, and I then marked them in a bunch. It then became clear that she had problems with geometry, not the theory but simply spotting a couple of angles that would add up to 180 degrees etc. Each paper, whatever school, seemed to have a geometry question worth 5 marks. I got my son's maths teacher to give me a set of geometry questions and we practised spotting angles. (No big deal - just a game.) Hopefully that was then 5 extra marks secured.

APMF Thu 06-Dec-12 20:06:04

It irks me when I read a post that says tutoring is bad because, goes the argument, if a child needs tutoring to pass then that child will only struggle if he/she scrapes a pass. Well, i tutored my kids and now they are thriving.

However, in this case I have to side with the Tutoring is the Work of the Devil Brigade. I'm only familiar with some of the schools you mentioned but I've been told that 90% is the 'safe' mark. If, at this stage your DD is at 50-70% and struggling to make any further progress then maybe you should consider whether this is the correct path for her.

In my experience, the first few months rapid progress is made but it plateau at this point so any improvements over Christmas will me minimal.

But I could me totally wrong (it won't be the first or the last time smile )

Whatever you decide, good luck!

Farewelltoarms Fri 07-Dec-12 11:44:48

I was talking to a mother at a party whose daughter was having two hours of weekly tutoring in y4 to prepare her for a highly selective school 11+. The mother said, 'it's not that she's not bright, she's really bright, she's just coasting in the middle of her class'. I wondered whether she was in the middle of her class because that's where her ability was but we never admit this of our children.
I'm not saying that's true of your daughter, but maybe she's just not quite good enough at maths for those highly selective schools. You have listed four of the most academic schools in London - did you not think of perhaps applying to a fallback option? And the relaxation techniques etc seems like a great idea, as well as trying to communicate to her that this is not the be-all and end-all.

ReallyTired Fri 07-Dec-12 12:57:34

A significant amount of intelligence is down to nuture. A child who works hard for the eleven plus will benefit from the hard work whether they go to grammar school or not. Having a good knowledge of maths, mental arithemetic etc. sets up a child well for secondary school wherever they go. If a child fails entrance exams it is not the end of the world.

Failure is a part of life and if you have never failed then you have never lived. We all have to take risks in life to achieve sucess. Learning to cope with failure is an important part of growing up. Sometimes parents and schools shield children far too much from failure by not letting them try.

Praise your daughter for her hardwork whether she passes the exam or not.

I feel that tutoring becomes an issue when it squeezes out other worthwhile activites like playing with friends, hobbies and having enough sleep!

Eastpoint Tue 11-Dec-12 07:18:38

If she is at a private school ask them for some sample maths papers for the holidays. If not use the Bond papers, starting with the 10/11 papers. If she is very anxious why not start with the 9/10 papers to show her she can get high scores. We were told to ask our dd to do a maths paper then leave it for 24 hours then go through it with her. The 24 hr gap gives her time to look at it afresh. We did 2 maths papers a week in the holidays & 2 English papers a week & one day my dd did a 'back to back' maths then English with a 10 mins break in between.

I agree with Dinkybinky that you need a back up but it could be too late now registration has closed for most of the schools. Francis Holland, Queensgate, More House & St James may have some flexibility. If she strengthens academically she may be able to change school at 13+. Someone new has come into my dds school at yr10.

Good luck!

APMF Tue 11-Dec-12 07:38:25

There is no need to ask. Most of the schools have the past papers online and available to download.

APMF Tue 11-Dec-12 08:07:55

There is no need to ask. Most of the schools have the past papers online and available to download.

EdithWeston Tue 11-Dec-12 08:36:07

I wouldn't try to get a tutor as there's only about a month to go before the exams. They wouldn't even have time to investigate issues properly, let alone fix them, and your DD might find it stressful.

I'd go for the practice papers route.

Nonnus Tue 11-Dec-12 18:52:03

I do sympathise with you OP as I'm in the same position myself at the moment with my DS. We've been doing practice papers for weeks and he has improved but he isn't anywhere near as consistent as he'll need to be.

I am worried about this because the school he's going for is an academic one and I'm worried how he'll react if he doesn't get in. I failed the 11+ to an independent school myself because I failed the maths paper, and it was an absolutely crushing experience at the time. I found my diary from the time recently and the entry the day I found out was just heartbreaking.

The next year I sat 12+ for another - equally good - school and went there instead on a scholarship. I ended up with straight As at GCSE and A level and went on to a top university so in the grand scheme of things that failure wasn't so bad, though at the time I was devastated. I can't bear to think of DS going through that.

I think what you have to do is emphasise that whatever your fallback plan is, is absolutely fine, and that you just want to give your DD the best chance she can to do her best on the day but whatever the outcome you will love her just as much. Sounds obvious to us as parents but I think children worry about their parents' feelings when the child "fails".

Good luck. And your DD could improve a lot over Christmas with enough practice!

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