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11+ - What exactly do you considering coaching as opposed to preparing?

(15 Posts)
andien Mon 09-Feb-15 10:36:29

Following up on the SPGS thread about tutoring a DC already at a prep school - just wanted to ask what mns see as the difference between "coaching" vs preparing for the 11+. Can honestly say that the curriculum of DDs good Ofsted did not include everything on the exams (algebra, mixed fractions, complex word problems) and there is no way she would have strolled into exams and passed them without preparing.

Ladymuck Mon 09-Feb-15 10:46:31

Isn't it just one of those irregular verbs: I prepared, you coached, he/she over-tutored?

For whatever reason I don't see the same angst when it comes to GCSEs, when it seems even more common to use a tutor.

MN164 Mon 09-Feb-15 11:13:37

Getting into semantics and meaning, but for me "coaching" implies setting out a detailed roadmap to follow to navigate an exam/interview whereas "preparing" seems less prescriptive on details and more likely to include broadening experience and knowledge along with a bit of "relax, it's just one of many options ...."

Probably just my way of reading into words though ....

andien Mon 09-Feb-15 11:37:03

Yes aside from the semantics - I'm genuinely interested in what coaching is supposed to entail because I just don't see how coaching/prepping would help an academically poor or average child to pass a selective exam.

Ladymuck Mon 09-Feb-15 11:59:48

Usually it doesn't, provided the exam has been well prepared. But, some 11+ exams aref multiple choice tests which are prepared from banks of such tests. If a child practised questions from the bank sufficiently then you could get some odd results, with more average children getting into grammar schools ahead of their brighter peers.

However many schools have changed their entrance exams in the last few years, and it is more common for the most selective schools to have 2 rounds of testing, a multiple choice round (because this is cheap to mark) followed by more detailed maths and English papers.

Hoppinggreen Mon 09-Feb-15 14:09:05

We are having coaching/tutoring call it what you what for DD for the 11+
She is very academic but I think that sending her I to the exam " blind" would be cruel. She doesn't cover some of the things she needs at school and doesn't do exams as such either.
A good friend of men invigilates the 11+ locally and says that without fail each year when the papers go over some children will put their hand up and say they don't know what to do and others will start crying as they have never seen anything like the paper. Even a total genius needs a bit of familiarity with the process ( not saying DD is a genius by the way).

bienemaya Mon 09-Feb-15 14:27:22

The schools (especially the academic, very selective ones) are increasingly testing 'potential' rather than learned facts. Also, a lot of emphasis seems to be placed on CATS scores done at primary/prep schools and the Head's report.

So, all this 'coaching' has very little value in my experience, other than make parents feel better perhaps?

bienemaya Mon 09-Feb-15 14:28:40

"needs a bit of familiarity with the process"

Yes, I agree with that. Make them familiar with the types of questions, read lots of books, talk about them etc. But that is not the same as regular 'coaching'.

andien Mon 09-Feb-15 14:49:01

Bienenmaya but what is coaching to you? I had no idea as Ladymuck pointed out that some schools were using "question banks". We did tutoring for our dd who is 5A in SATS. IMO she would not have passed the exams she sat without the tutoring. Tutoring included learning material school simply did not teach.

Ladymuck Mon 09-Feb-15 14:55:43

I think Bienemaya is referring to independent schools, rather than state superselectives, where indeed references and interviews form an important part of the selection process, and the entrance test is more about meeting an acceptable standard. Places at superselective grammars are usually awarded primarily on score, rather than say catchment, so it is essentially a competitive test where you need to come in the top 90/120/150 in order to get a place.

BearsAndAngels Mon 09-Feb-15 15:02:08

LOL at Ladymuck

For me 'coaching' is about learning more in specific subject matter that is likely to be tested (depth and breadth), and 'preparing' is about familiarity with the style of questions. 'Coaching' is learning those endless lists of anonyms and synonyms and whatever, whereas 'preparing' is having a go at some questions and understanding how to organize thoughts to answer.

I think it is possible to coach a middle ability child through an exam (well certainly 11+ in my area. The grammar schools round here have a quotient of pupils testament to that.).

bienemaya Mon 09-Feb-15 15:03:40

Our experience was that the selective school exams were not so much about what candidates had learned, but rather how she tackled 'problems'. In other words some schools are looking for potential/intelligence rather than an ability to solve algebra/add mixed fractions.

bienemaya Mon 09-Feb-15 15:04:48

Yes, I was Ladymuck. Thanks for clarifying.

TheFirstOfHerName Mon 09-Feb-15 15:05:36

Isn't it just one of those irregular verbs: I prepared, you coached, he/she over-tutored?


TheFirstOfHerName Mon 09-Feb-15 15:11:17

This is my understanding:

Preparation: what the child does themselves, given a couple of workbooks and some sample papers. See: familiarisation.

Coaching: implies parental input, teaching exam technique, vocabulary drills etc.

Tutoring: money exchanges hands, the tutor has previous experience and possibly a teaching qualification.

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