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SPGS exam last week

(31 Posts)
Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 06:39:46

Interested to hear feedback from others. My dd found it challenging and couldn't finish the science comprehension. Based on her feedback I really haven't a clue how's she has done??

Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 06:40:49

Sorry should say how she has done

OddSins Sun 12-Jan-14 08:58:42

The maths was the usual Maths Challenge Standard come Paper C (Have you seen those papers?? Tricky +). Apparently, the science comprehension was an interesting walk around different languages (DD2 enjoyed it! - usually a bad sign). Long day for the girls. Hey Ho.

Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 09:19:54

Oddsins- is yr daughter at a prep? ( re standard math comment) Mine totally walked into it from overseas and we had no idea other than the website examples what to expect. Bit gruesome really and now feeling was v naivesad

Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 09:23:47

But like u say- hey ho blush
Dd said she left a few questions out on math but was surprised they were not allowed to go back as the papers were collected when one section was finished- did yrs hv same comment?

OddSins Sun 12-Jan-14 11:19:45

Yes she is at a London prep. She is a whizz at maths but was struggling a bit on 1-2 questions from the last paper from what she said (lets ignore the fact that she will get some simple arithmetic wrong from paper A !). It is very time-disciplined deliberately presumably to try and sort out the natural mathematicians. The school I think tries to balance their intake so super writers will be high up the list as well.

It is an interesting school and usually (but not always) will get the right girls for its ethos. We are not in love with it by any means and actually have a couple of more local schools that will probably be fine for DD. But it has to be said their selection process is by far the most exhaustive. Didn't seem that many girls this year (allowing for the fact most girls apply to several schools and usually have SPGS as an aspiration rather than expectation). If you need a bursary, it is incredibly difficult but at this stage your chance of an offer is probably over 50% if fee-paying.

irisha Sun 12-Jan-14 12:00:43

My DD found paper C in actual exam easier than one of the sample ones, but she left out 2 questions (she thinks!) in paper B. I am actually glad they have separate time sections as it avoids someone getting stuck on a questions and missing out the ones further up which they could have solved. Also, my DD is prone to silly careless errors so will get a couple of things wrong on A so it's good they look at A, B, and C to check if someone can do more challenging problems. It is very much an aspirational school for us (rather than expectation) - our prep doesn't send any girls to SPGS so doesn't really know the standard required so we thought we'd just try.

I really like their selection process - it seems to cover various areas so being weaker in English or being prone to careless errors does not necessarily exclude you. At least that's the theory.

480 girls sat the exam, which I think is more or less the same after they cull 200-300 based on the pre-test.

Waiting for next week re interviews.

Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 12:41:58

Hi irisha
Dd had the interview the following day as we are overseas.
It's really hard to second guess the outcome and could feel it could go either way. Dd very strong in English , maths good but not a whizz.
Found this site via a waiting mother and she totally freaked me out. Basically said 50% of places will go to Bute house and Basset leaving 50 places for 400 girls ie 1 in 8 chance. Pity as I think it would be a great school for my Dd

Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 12:55:18

Out of interest should Dd be accepted where would be a nice area to live that is commutable .

irisha Sun 12-Jan-14 12:55:54

Stressedbutblessed, Bute girls will get 20-25 places. First time I hear about Basset House - it's not exactly a power house so I wouldn't imagine it's more than a few. Bute indeed sends 20-22 girls to SPGS every year, but for every other school it's not more than a few, 3-5 as a rule with 5 being on the higher side.

Also, it's not that Bute House has a preference - it's just one of the few London days schools which is primarily a 7+ entry. They have one class at 4+ of 20 and then add 40 at 7+, with fierce competition so, obviously, they will end up with a very bright cohort (majority of other girls schools select at 4+ with only a handful at 7+ which is very much a lottery and much easier to spot performers at 7+). So it's just that and nothing else - there is no agreement and previous Bute headmistress was not even that hot SPGS.

So fingers crossed for you (and for me!), but don't let the numbers freak you out!

Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 13:10:03

Yes definitely good luck to you and dd- post back if yr dd has the interview.
Maybe I found myself standing with the Tiger London mom who happily regaled how her dd and friends had been preparing for a yearsad
I came away v deflated. Hopefully school can see beyond tutoring!?!?
Good to hear re Bute and Bassett . There were only 6 overseas applicants.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 12-Jan-14 13:28:10

stressed we came back from overseas ten years ago and my DD, with only a bit of DIY maths to cover what her International School hadn't yet covered in the curriculum, got in everywhere we tried for, including SPGS. Being here for the process with DD2 at a prep was a real eye opener. I'm not sure if we were naive or the preps and parents get overly het up hmm but I am pretty sure they are after ability, and the right personality for the school, not cramming.

Stressedbutblessed Sun 12-Jan-14 16:06:55

Thx for confidence shooting P. Dd also at an International school so definite gaps in places. I thought it was pretty full on here but it was a real surprise . Almost glad we are far away for the moment as I'm sure I'd end up a nervous wreck if I stayed in London these next couple of weeks!
Which school did yr dd choose finally - did she settle in easily?

OddSins Sun 12-Jan-14 17:56:43


You can begin to see why I have some minor reservations about SPGS. It does attract uber-competitive parents and highly tutored children who work VERY hard. We have intentionally not tutored our children who are all in highly selective schools as we would like them to be comfortable in their cohort (well having said that I have done maths papers with them my self).

From my experience of the London day schools and SPGS, if you are at the top end ability-wise you will thrive anywhere. If you are middle of the range, SPGS will push you and perhaps provide added-value. If you are at the bottom of the SPGS cohort, it can be difficult for the girls (but they do not cull unlike some of the grammar schools around at 6th Form). It is worth remembering you can always reapply in 6th Form but most girls prefer to go to a mixed school at that stage.

There really are other excellent schools around especially for quieter, less confident but bright girls.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 12-Jan-14 19:05:42

Stressed She went to another very selective school because she found SPGS a bit cold and arrogant, a huge contrast to her slightly hippy dippy twee child centred International School. At the other school she hit it off with the Head, had a bit of a barney with her about North Korean disarmament and just felt they were more fun, and interested in her and her experiences. I'll pm you. I totally agree with oddsins SPGS a great school for the right girl but also hard going for those who are not, and I am not sure she would have done as well there. That said they are pretty good at knowing what that sort of girls is. However it is far from unusual for girls to make that decision, quite a few choose the other schools along the road in preference.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 12-Jan-14 20:29:16

Just saw you asked about settling in. She did find it hard at first. I think she was so excited to start there, then on the first day everyone knew someone and she didn't, plus having to get up to speed with the West London pre teen norms. She came out holding on to a brave face then burst into tears in the car. Her International School uniform had a fleece that they all wore so she naturally went in wearing the new school fleece, came home rammed it in the cupboard and never got it out again, it was so uncool! I had asked the bursar if there were any other returning expats and she said, slightly witheringly, just one who was returning from a very different country and culture as if why would that be a bond? They are now ten years on still very much best friends.

Most of these schools will have some sort of bonding day usually at an outward bound type place. That was the turning point for her, about 10 days of weepiness in. The Head of Year said she never stopped grinning ear to ear for the whole day, and she never looked back. The group of friends that came together then are still close.

Stressedbutblessed Wed 15-Jan-14 06:24:50

Hi Irisha,
what other schools did Dd sit for? Will SPGS be your first choice?

Stressedbutblessed Wed 15-Jan-14 06:25:52

Shooting - replied back thks smile

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Wed 15-Jan-14 10:48:20

Every entrance exam attracts annoying parents who stand around frightening others with how much preparation their child did, how much tutoring they had, how kids from xyz will never win a place and abc are dead certs.

IME, their children rarely win places grin. The fact this woman was mentioning Basset at all shows she has no idea what's going on. I'm sure your dd has a very good chance, I know a few girls from very ordinary state primaries who got into SPGS and similar, frankly for a school like that you either have the qualities they're looking for, or you haven't.

Re good commutable areas: Chiswick, Fulham, Barnes at top end. Shepherd's Bush and (obviously) Hammersmith are not quite so nice - though with some lovely streets, but a bit cheaper, cheap being a very relative term.

Stressedbutblessed Thu 16-Jan-14 08:10:51

Really my head was spinning by the time we were half way down the road and I felt so angry with myself.. but could have been jetlag . A large small glass of wine and the world was fine grin
Really left without a clue how it went Dd didn't seem fazed but then she is very laid back.Her interview answers weren't the best, but depends on whether the interviewer had a sense of humour ? when asked about something ( not saying since the interviews haven't taken place yet for the UK girls) Quote: " I think life is too short to worry about things like that" blush
Which area would you personally choose to live from the ones you have listed?

Blueberrypots Thu 16-Jan-14 08:55:51

Yes, I remember when we went to a 4+ entrance exam a few years ago, I was sat next to a parent who had collared a member of staff and loudly announced "my DH was head boy here x number of year ago - don't you remember him? No? Surely you MUST do! How many years have you been here? (Staff look embarrassed and just ended up nodding in the end).

. Everyone in the room was cringing, me and the other lady next to me were staring into our paper/mobile phone.

Thankfully she was the only insane person there, everyone else appeared rather normal to me, and just keen to get in and out as soon as possible!!!

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 16-Jan-14 09:23:30

If budget is large I'd choose Barnes or Chiswick, or the nicer bit of Hammersmith around Ravenscourt Park. Brook Green to be super close to school. If budget is unlimited I'd choose Holland Park [dreamy win-lottery emoticon]

Your dd's answer sounds good to me. Shows character. Good luck!

Stressedbutblessed Wed 22-Jan-14 07:24:38

Hi oddsins and Irisha wondering whether yr Dds have had their interviews yet?!

peppersaunt Wed 22-Jan-14 12:10:20

Just got a letter. DD got an interview!

Stressedbutblessed Wed 22-Jan-14 22:42:10

Good luck to Dd peppersaunt. Do you know if the school will contact parents even if the girls are rejected after interview? It's such a long process- feels like it's been going on forevergrin

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