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How Many 11+/CE will your DC be Sitting

(15 Posts)
123littlepigs Tue 05-Apr-16 00:02:14

Just wondering really how many exams is it normal to sit? Is 6 too many? What will you DC be doing or have done.

Also, how far is too far to travel to a senior school? Let me know your experiences!

Noitsnotteatimeyet Tue 05-Apr-16 07:55:43

Yes 6 is too many and imo 45 minutes door-to-door is the limit for a commute. It doesn't matter how fabulous a school is if your DC is exhausted by a massive or tricky commute or can't take advantage of the extra-curricular stuff because they'd miss the bus

The standard advice is 3 - one aspirational, one comfortably within reach and one back-up. If your child is exceptional then just a couple, if they're borderline then maybe a couple of backups giving you four

You will hear a lot of parents (party on MN) panicking that there are no backup schools any more and that everywhere only wants the top children, but realistically there's a limited pool of candidates who are a) exceptionally bright and b) have parents who can pay the fees, especially given the astronomical rises in school fees which have put them out of reach of many families who would have traditionally opted for private schools

My DC is at one of the schools which is usually thought of as aspirational - they're very happy there and comfortably in the top sets and there is a much broader academic range than you'd think

Noitsnotteatimeyet Tue 05-Apr-16 07:56:23

Particularly not party ...

Monopolymama Tue 05-Apr-16 09:24:33

My DS went for 4.. Sounds a lot but didn't work out that way - the 11+ were all in one week so it was over and done with - then a boarding school 3 months later . My DS is bright and breezed through the tests but stumbled on the interview for one . It really depends on where you are - London is insanely competitive and there are no guarantees . He was only 10 when he sat the tests so pretty young .

AnotherNewt Tue 05-Apr-16 09:37:02

It's only certain hotspot areas of London where the 'safe' option is no longer safe. (London demographics are straining both private and secondary place numbers).

When I started out in all this, it was 2/3/4 for 11+/pretests. Nowadays it's 3/4/5. And I have heard of people attempting more, but I do wonder about that, both in terms of demands on the DC in exam season and also whether it really increases the chances of getting offers.

It all depends on where you are, really. And how selective your local schools are. A clever and well-prepared candidate could easily pass all the exams well enough to receive offers from all their schools; other candidates do not. And I'm not sure that increasing the number applied for in the first place is going to make it more likely that a borderline candidate will get an offer somewhere.

Journey I think depends on convenience. One longish reliable bus ride is easier than something that requires changes. And of course if you're rural, it's going to be a long way to anywhere.

Michaelahpurple Tue 05-Apr-16 11:48:49

I think it get more complicated if you you want to keep boarding and day open as it is hard to be below 4 at that point if there is to r any hedging. I am very much wrestling with this especially as it seems impossible I. Year 5 to choose what sort of school would be right in year 9 buy to keep optionality one would have to sit preselection at too many schools.

No easy answers here I am afraid

namechangedtoday15 Tue 05-Apr-16 12:01:28

It depends on the exam format, the timing of the exams and how your child copes with exams (i.e. whether s/he puts themselves under pressure because of the need to do well).

DS did 3 over 8 days - Saturday (3 hours), following Monday (2.5 hours) - normal school week so school on Monday afternoon and then as normal for the rest of the week, 3rd exam Saturday (3 hours).

As it happened, the 1st exam was the school he wanted and he did very well although he put himself under alot of pressure and was still exhausted by the Monday. He still did well on the 2nd exam, but not quite as well as he should have done. The 3rd exam was good too.

If you have a preference think carefully about how you manage the exams, whether they're the 1st one, 2nd one etc and how much "recovery" time they have in between. They're only 10.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 05-Apr-16 12:59:47

Dd only did two. But that was down to the fact the closest state grammars were too long a journey to even consider, and of the independents only the two were suitable.

However if there had have been more the number wouldn't have bothered me, she's the type who enjoys exams rather than being remotely stressed. And if she'd been less relaxed, I definitely would have found an exam for her to do before the ones that mattered, even if she'd never be taking up a place.

lottiebear69 Tue 05-Apr-16 14:01:32

It really depends on how you feel your DC will cope with the exams and whether you think they will definitely get in to one that you like. I think coming from state sector is harder as you get no advice form HT about which ones they will realistically get into and you are unlikely to have seen them sit any similar style exams so ouve no idea really how they'll get on. It is an horrendous time whatever anyone says and i would say sit as many as you feel comfortable sitting and if you like 6 schools sit 6!. we did 6 but spread over 3 weeks 2 no chance but good practice, 3 possibles and 1 fallback - the first two were for practice as they went on they seemed to find them easier and if you're in london it is hard to get in even the back up ones! if you sit only 3 and they get questions they don't like in two of them you are cutting your chances right down. I know parents with super bright children like noitsnotteatimeyet will disagree but if you have a normal kid coming from a state background i would say 4 should be minimum. With commute the closer and easier the journey the better, it means they can do after school activities and hang out with friend in the very long holidays...

123littlepigs Wed 06-Apr-16 01:34:29

This is great advice! Does anyone know what happens were two schools of interest have set their exams both on the same day? Can you request another sitting?

PettsWoodParadise Wed 06-Apr-16 06:44:29

DD did three state grammar tests plus one indie. It worked for her and she did really well. You may find the Elevenplusexams chat area helpful on the subject of exams on same day. We didn't have any clashes but I know others who did and the Independents were more flexible than the state schools. Some purposefully all have on the same 'super saturday' in September to avoid exam tourism as it can cost the schools / regions a lot of money to have so many sit a test who are really just using it as a mock or back up.

AnotherNewt Wed 06-Apr-16 06:55:22

"This is great advice! Does anyone know what happens were two schools of interest have set their exams both on the same day? Can you request another sitting?"

Yes, schools I know all have a reserve date for those who are ill, have clashes or some other unbreakbake reason they cannot be there on the main exam date. But given what PWP says, it is worth checking.

The other thing to check is when acceptance (and non-refundable) deposits are due. Because unless you are prepared to lose one or more deposits there's no point in having a running order whereby your fallback school demands a firm reply whilst you're still waiting to hear from others. In some areas, school all go pretty much in a clump, but there can be outliers.

Sistersweet Wed 06-Apr-16 08:25:50

We are doing 2 but she's already at 1 and they'll offer a place plus she's a sibling at the other and easily the required standard plus they give priority to siblings. If we didn't have that then I would do 4 plus any state schools which were suitable.

TuttiFrutti Wed 06-Apr-16 14:26:31

This is a very interesting thread and I just wanted to add my personal experience to a couple of comments above.

It's only certain hotspot areas of London where the 'safe' option is no longer safe. (London demographics are straining both private and secondary place numbers).
Also Surrey - I can think of two schools which just five years ago were regarded as back-ups, and are now pretty hard to get into. I know children who have been forced to board as there are no day options available for middle-of-the-road pupils.

Yes, schools I know all have a reserve date for those who are ill, have clashes or some other unbreakbake reason they cannot be there on the main exam date. I know one very well-thought-of school which doesn't have reserve dates at all - it has a take it or leave it attitude, and I know of one boy who was ill on the day of the exam, the school refused to give him a reserve date, and he ended up taking the exam with a raging temperature (he failed).

123littlepigs Sun 10-Apr-16 00:18:45

Good to hear about the reserve exam dates for clashes.... tuttifruitti would you care to share which school does t have a reserved test date? Settled on 4 schools all within an hours distance on public transport. No to coax DC to try the journey will be the real test 😂 Though plenty of time to worry about

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