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Year 5 - preparing for 11+

(48 Posts)
nicename Sun 23-Mar-14 11:36:08

What is a realistic prep plan for the 11+ exams?

I know that there are Bond papers etc and have past papers from the schools, but what is a 'good' timetable of study?

Quinteszilla Sun 23-Mar-14 11:39:26

Is your child in Y4 and you are planning ahead, or is your child in Y5?

We started preparing our oldest after Christmas in Y5. Some parents start tutoring in Y4.

Our youngest is in Y4 now, and I have just bought him a few extra books with maths for his level to ensure he has not got any gaps, and will do some work in these between now and the end of the school year.

nicename Sun 23-Mar-14 11:42:06

He is in year 5 now. We just can't afford a tutor right now and am worried that I am just not good enough to teach him!

Quinteszilla Sun 23-Mar-14 11:47:07

Around here most tutors are booked from January in Y5 and needs to be booked in advance as the good ones get booked up quickly.

Try bbc bitesize, it is really good for revision. Also, Mathletics is good.

nicename Sun 23-Mar-14 11:50:46

Sadly we missed a term because... Well I can't go into the soggy saga without lots of Very Bad Sweary Words. DS is now back on an even keen, thankfully and we need to get him back on track educationally.

nicename Sun 23-Mar-14 11:52:36

Out of interest, how much are tutors around you way? Ours are £58 ph (eek - and used to truly believe that 'a bright child could compete with money').

Quinteszilla Sun 23-Mar-14 12:20:57

£40 per hour around here.

We used Rising Stars and Bond books with ds1. Rising stars is good because it explains how to do it first. I also have Level Up maths Homework book, levels 3-5, it comes with a cd, and gives explanations too.

Other than that, with literacy I just suggest you have good books for him to read, and talk to him about the stories.

hercules1 Sun 23-Mar-14 12:47:59

Selective or superselective? You need to ensure you've covered up to end of year 6 curriculum in maths and English before the test but check what the tests are on.

nicename Sun 23-Mar-14 13:57:34

We are central London so it's supersonic selective! We are talking live-in tutor territory.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sun 23-Mar-14 19:37:58

The answer depends very much on what you need the tutor for.

If you think your child needs a lot of help getting up to scratch on English and Maths (i.e. they are not in the top 10-20% of their class) then 1) they will need a lot of tutoring and 2) why would you want to push them into a super selective school? Let them find their own academic level. Choose maybe 3 schools of differing academic rigour (high, medium, low) and see where they come out.

If you think your child is one of the brightest in school already and really only needs exam technique and perhaps a bit of help on getting extra marks and some reasoning, then you don't need much at all. Our son fell into this category. We did 10 hours (1 hour per week) from November with 2 schools exams in January. He passed both, interviewed and got offers from both. Don't over prep such a child and don't stress them.

PM me if you want specifics, but have discussed elsewhere too.

Good luck and relax

ladydepp Sun 23-Mar-14 20:58:46

I agree about not pushing too hard, little and often is the key. Use the school holidays to do a little bit of work each day, whether it be Bond books or other reasoning books, a bit of maths, sample comprehensions etc...

Reading is incredibly important, reading aloud can really help with vocab and comprehension. A couple of pages a night really helps. If he gets fed up, try reading to him as well as this can help with both those things too.

If your DS is not doing homework each night it might be worth introducing some mental maths and other work each night Mon-Thurs. Maybe just 30 mins or so. I always think they should have Fridays off!

During holidays/ weekends get him to do his work in the morning as this is generally when the exams are. It also means work is done for the day!

There are masses of sample papers on the Internet, start with the really easy ones, maybe just the easiest pages from each and see where his weaknesses are and work on those.

There is a lot of info on

Good luck!

nicename Mon 24-Mar-14 06:28:00

His old Head was sure that he would easily pass the WUS exams. He is bright (was cruising top of the year there) but has had his confidence knocked when we moved him - with hindsight, a very very poor choice of school.

He is now at a brilliant school but still has that niggle in confidence that we are trying to fix. We are very wary of 'pushing' him.

Blackwattle Mon 24-Mar-14 08:52:44

Sent you a PM.

houseisfallingdown Mon 24-Mar-14 20:13:56

Quint- can I ask how you found a tutor? I think I live pretty close to you ( lots of lurking on secondary school thread blush). I have a DC in Y3 at state primary in SW London and hoping for private secondary. All the Mums with older kids go on about booking tutors in advance etc but go very quiet when asked about how to find one! All very secretive.

nicename Tue 25-Mar-14 09:33:44

Its when they say 'tutor Oswald? Oh nonono. He is a natural genius!'. Uhuh, who's that visiting little Oswald three times a week for lessons then?

missinglalaland Tue 25-Mar-14 10:04:34

Commiserations nicename. I have a daughter in Y5 in state school too. She is at the top of her class too. We would like to send to an independent school too.

We've done some Bond books after school a few times a week which she usually sails through. Then two weeks ago, I gave her an old entrance test from a local indy, a nice one but not particularly aspirational. Bloodbath.

The problems (and I will be detailed here, because perhaps they are in part due to the differences in curriculum between state and private schools.)
1. She does long multiplication via the box method (too slow on a timed test)
2. She has never learned long division (8 out of 16 questions she missed involved an element of division!)
3. Place value with decimals (she learned it quickly and forgot it quickly; her ongoing lessons don't seem to incorporate it.)
4. In reading comprehension she never restated the question in her answers, and never pulled out specific quotes or instances to back up her points (and she is supposed to be working at level 5B at the moment confused.)
5. In the writing piece she was obsessed with jamming in as many adjectives, similes and adverbs as possible. As well as exclamation marks and semi colons. It was a big Rococo confection. Not good in my opinion. There is no convincing her to clean it up. Apparently, Hemmingway would never make it to level 5 in the National Curriculum!

So, here we are. I need to drill her at home with all these basics and keep drilling so she doesn't forget, or we need to adjust expectations. At the moment we are adjusting expectations really. After being in school all day she doesn't want to sit down to more and harder homework every day after school. We don't want to deny her school clubs, friends, or music. It upsets me because I know she is capable and would have no problem doing any of these tasks, if they would just teach them and work with these concepts at school. I remember learning all these things at school and not forgetting because them because once you had learned long division for instance, it kept coming up in other things that you did because math builds and it kept being reinforced.

I am totally confused about what is going on at school. I feel like their agenda is not my agenda and not the independent school agenda either. We cannot afford prep school and it is too late anyway. There are only so many hours in the day so you can only make up so much ground at home without spoiling their lives. In our case, I think we missed the boat. sad

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 25-Mar-14 15:03:04


Your post is really helpful. It pin points exactly the sort of thing that will get a non-prep school bright kid that extra marks to pass 11+.

What is clear is that you have really good insight into what is needed and also where you child needs to improve. That alone means you have a great chance. I think you should be encouraged and not think it's "too late" at all. You have almost 10 months before most 11+ exams in January and 6 months before most grammar school 11+ exams.

My son is at a good state primary and the curriculum will be broadly the same. I think I could have "tutored" him in how to get the good stuff in his head on to the page and get the extra marks, but in the end I chickened out and found a tutor (10 x 1 hour lessons) to do it for me. She was very experienced, could see exactly what was needed and knew exactly how to get him to listen, learn and do it in test conditions with great success.

Sometimes that gap between what you see now and what your child can achieve seems big, but your child can achieve a lot in a short space of time in the right conditions.

PS - don't worry about the school agenda, just make sure they get the most out of it and get homework done to the highest standard.

PPS - try some online learning methods like Mathletics. Sometimes kids respond to using a computer in a positive way.

Elibean Tue 25-Mar-14 16:21:19

Very helpful posts on this thread, thank you, I too have a Y5 dd in top sets who may or may not take the 11+ for local indies.

That said, our local state school is getting better and better, so we may actually choose it over the indies - for locality, for mix, for resources etc.

I find 'little and often' is the best tip, and we started tutoring dd once a week but no pushing and not much homework in January this year. Her tutor (who is experienced at helping kids get into local selectives and supers) says 18 months - 6 months depending, and 12 months for most.

I realise having good state back up makes a vast vast difference to being able to do, and not just say, this - but keeping the stress levels down and enriching rather than stuffing seems key to me.

houseisfallingdown Tue 25-Mar-14 16:35:48

All very helpful thanks.
Elibean- I think we are near to you. As I mentioned above, how did you find a tutor as it's all very secretive around here!

missinglalaland Tue 25-Mar-14 17:51:55

MarriedDad thank you for the encouragement thanks. I think I needed that little pep-talk smile.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 25-Mar-14 20:17:11


"Her tutor (who is experienced at helping kids get into local selectives and supers) says 18 months - 6 months depending, and 12 months for most."

I do gasp a bit when I hear that. Whist I know we all want the best for our kids, I think we also have to be careful not to push too hard, overstretch them or get them to a place where they will always be over-working to keep up.

My strategy is to widen the brief rather than push my kids really hard. I would regard more than 3 months of tutoring (once a week) as pushing too hard.

Having done all the open days and due diligence, I picked out a list of 6 schools (but could have been fewer), any of which I thought my kid would be "happy" at. All are, allegedly, more academic than the local comp (misleading stats alert!) but they represent a range of ability/difficulty getting in from "unlikely" to "worth a shot". Rather than push really hard to get my kid to the top one, I let him find his own level with a little help.

This is all very well coming from someone who now has a place for their kid, but I do remember feeling very much like everyone else here and I am in the same position all over again with my daughter.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 25-Mar-14 20:23:40


I found our excellent Tutor using Google Maps.
Centre the map on your home.
Then search for Tutor and see what comes up.

It was really great finding someone who lived a couple of hundred yards away. She travels all over London to tutor kids, but was much more keen to come to our place! She was also able to be much more flexible in the few days leading up to the exam - easy for her to spend 30 mins with us on the Sunday and still get to her friend's Sunday lunch!

For what it's worth ....

Elibean Wed 26-Mar-14 10:12:12

House we found dd's tutor by word of mouth - but we found her because dd was having panics about maths in Y4, so it was purely to boost her confidence. Nothing to do with getting in to anywhere, at the time. She had a term of tutoring (which she enjoyed) and her confidence soared. Then we went back this year to talk to her about secondary schools. Do pm me if you want contact details (though please, not anyone else, because last time I offered I had floods of pms!) as I can't be doing with the secretive stuff - its total nonsense smile

Dad, I know what you mean and I feel the same about stress and pushing - I really do. Odd as it sounds, so does dd's tutor, though I guess its her job to get kids to where their parents want them to be, a lot of the time. Sadly. On the plus side, she says she won't go along with the parents who want under 7s tutored intensively.

In our case, we felt taking a slow leisurely route to get the curriculum covered and confidence up was the right way for dd - she doesn't do 'intensive', its more supportive than anything else. But I think we're unusual in this, according to the tutor.

dd has about half an hour to an hour per week of school homework, and about half an hour of tutor homework. She does three after school activities, one of them only 45 minutes. And she has made a dent in the sofa where she likes to sit. Trust me, she is neither stressed nor pushed wink

Elibean Wed 26-Mar-14 10:14:24

Oh - and I agree about choosing schools, too. We've seen four, taken dd to see 3, plus the local comp which I think we're all leaning towards anyway (apart from dd, though she's wavering). Within the ones we've taken her to, dd can find what feels right for her.

houseisfallingdown Thu 27-Mar-14 09:27:46

thanks Elibean- I will pm you

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