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Advice about 11+ exam

(19 Posts)
Reshmaj Tue 01-Mar-16 10:49:27

piggywigwig....i am a mom of year 5 boy who is great in maths but struggles in inference. Could you tell me from where to get the past CSSE papers?I will b buying what i can online.but its only limited.I want to make him practise as much as possible on tough comprehensions

If any one can help i will be infinitely thankful.


amidaiwish Tue 05-Nov-13 09:26:16

Most tutors say one year is sufficient to prepare - so starting in Jan yr5.
I know plenty of kids who start around easter in yr4 though, usually those whose parents are worried about and think they need more help.
Are you planning on doing it yourself or getting a tutor?

Boot123 Tue 05-Nov-13 09:14:25

Dear all - please help me
I’m a working mum and finding it extremely difficult to coach my kids for this 11+ exam. What is the good age to start the coaching for this exam? I was able to notice that most of the schools does not accommodate these exams in their daily curriculum. In that case what is the best way to teach your kids. They are in year 4 so can someone please share their experience with me. I really appreciate your help here.

ohforfoxsake Mon 07-Jan-13 22:28:29

My DS1 did his last year, DS2 starting in Feb (he's year 5). They have a tutor. Obviously practising the papers is really, really important, but our tutor is very big on instilling self belief and confidence. DS1 enjoyed his tutoring and even looked forward to his exams (which is more than can be said for me!)

Very best of luck smile

piggywigwig Mon 07-Jan-13 22:06:15

Thankfully the CSSE English isn't a multiple choice paper per se, although some questions, like those where you have to identify whether something is an abstract noun, concrete noun, pronoun etc and what literary device is employed, are multiple choice. Only the VR is a true multiple choice exam and there's no past papers available for this.

You can get past CSSE papers from here...

Sometimes they come up on eBay, too.

If you need the answer sheets, then perhaps you may be able to get access to some more help on the Essex part of the 11 plus exams forum.

grumpyoldbookworm Mon 07-Jan-13 21:33:19

Also try word puzzle books (WH Smith etc), playing hangman to help spelling, and card games to reinforce number bonds e.g. Blackjack - if you start with, say, 5 bits of Lego each and bet them the kids very involved! Or maybe that was just mine...

loopsngeorge Mon 07-Jan-13 21:23:46

Thank you so much, this is all a great help. Do you know how I would get past answer sheets? A friend has given me some past papers and just like you said I found a couple of the multiple choice answers open to interpretation. I showed it to my mum who was an A level English teacher and she agreed, so to see what they expect would be really useful.
I'm going to have a look at the resources you mentioned - I really must knuckle down to this rather than researching summer holidays grin

piggywigwig Mon 07-Jan-13 15:12:33

When we'd got our hands on all the past CSSE papers we could, the Visuteach papers were an absolute lifesaver. We eventually downloaded them all and even those in the pre-2010 format were still useful. All I'd say about the Visuteach, is that some of the marking schemes/answers were a little questionable in places and we (me, DH and DD1) didn't necessarily agree with their prescribed answer. In those instances, if we felt it was open to a wider interpretation, we allowed DD2 to have some marks. Aside from that, I was a harridan with my marking shock

I'd also highly recommend getting hold of Daughtrey's "Punctuation Rules and Practice" books 1 and 2. They were brilliant - I learned some stuff, too and I went to a GS wink

Don't forget the Bond "How to do 11+ English" - there's lots of tips in there and some very useful exercises. There's also free stuff on their website.

If you haven't already seen a past English paper, then I highly recommend getting your hands on at least two and looking at the answer sheet. Whilst I don't advocate teaching to the test, I'd say it's very useful as a DIY parent, to see what they expect they children to write, in terms of sentence length and depth of information. This proved to be an invaluable source of help.


letseatgrandma Mon 07-Jan-13 14:54:26

I agree with everything Piggywigwig has said-great advice there. I know I am a teacher but don't actually think that is necessary to DIY successfully-you just need to be clear on what will be covered and motivated (and motivating!) and calm in your approach.

I would take a look at the Visuteach website for comprehension papers-they are excellent and v similar to the csse ones.

Good luck!

piggywigwig Mon 07-Jan-13 14:48:50


I can highly recommend going to the Essex section of the 11 plus exams site

There's lots of DIY tips on there.

It's a real dilemma DIY'ing, isn't it? I did it with DD2 for the September 2012 exam. I'm not a teacher and have no expertise or training in the field of education. At this point in time, I don't know whether DD2 has "passed" or not until I get that magic email on 1st March telling us whether or not she has a place. So at the moment, I can't say whether I've DIY'd successfully, as all I have is her exam score. I can give you a few ideas for the CSSE exam, though smile

The CSSE English comprehension is notoriously challenging. Starting this early, means you can hopefully encourage your son to write in full sentences and develop his inference skills - absolutely imperative. It's also very important for him to be a competent speller - make sure he knows the main rules and the "bogey" words that often catch children out wink. Good punctuation and to a lesser degree grammar, are also vitally important. In the past, there have been two sections which test spelling and punctuation - on average, these sections account for around 20 of the total 50 marks. Confident children can easily pick up a large number of marks by successfully completing these sections, and more importantly, getting them out of the way before tackling the actual comprehension questions. It's "money in the bank" wink

The Bond English and Comprehension books are very helpful - watch out for the last Bond Comprehension book as it's very challenging and pitched more at the 13+ market. Athey and Alpha also do some nice comprehension practice, although the format of these and the Bond isn't the same as the CSSE and there's some stuff he won't need to cover. No practice is wasted, if you start fairly early.

Read to him regularly and get him to read to you - talk about the characters, settings and the action. What you're attempting to do, is encourage him to see beyond the words - to think about why the characters have acted in the way they did, "What would happen if "Mr X" hadn't said that?" all those kinds of questions. It doesn't have to be heavy and a chore, otherwise it might spoil the love of reading. You can start with some of his favourite books and then perhaps think about moving on to something a little "meatier" - more in keeping with past papers. Try to vary the type of reading and genres - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, newspaper reports from the broadsheets, historical and modern classics.

I could bang-on about this all day, with numerous tips etc but I don't want to bore anyone.

loopsngeorge Sun 06-Jan-13 23:42:21

yes, just trying to get my head round all the different 11+ books! Any tips for working on the reading comprehension?
We are in the Chelmsford catchment area but will also look round the Southend schools as I hear lots of good things about them.

letseatgrandma Sun 06-Jan-13 14:48:19

Good point, well made, Piggywigwig ;)
Pickiness is allowed in such situations!

piggywigwig Sun 06-Jan-13 13:35:43

Many apologies for being picky but I thought that the Chelmsford schools were no longer superselectives, as they've imposed a catchment area, with a two-tier qualification score for "in-catchment" and "out-of-catchment" ?

letseatgrandma Sun 06-Jan-13 12:25:48

We're Essex as well. Just to let you know that the Bond VR books aren't terribly useful for the Essex VR paper. Ok for Y4 probably, but I wouldn't bother with any of the others. You probably know this anyway, so ignore me if I'm teaching you to suck eggs! Are you aiming for the super selectives in Colchester/Chelmsford or one of the Southend schools?

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Sat 05-Jan-13 22:09:07

TBH, the local forums on the elevenplusexams website were the best source of info for me. Each grammar school area has different tests, some have verbal reasoning only, others have a mix of non VR, VR, English, Maths etc, some have 21 types of VR questions, others 15 types. The local pages on the above website will tell you what your area has.

I bought some computer software questions from The Tutors from the website shop, as my DS loves the PC and found answering questions by clicking a lot more fun than doing the papers. This proved to be a great introduction to the types of questions and I bought some paper versions for him to do in the last month to get him used to managing the question paper, answer paper and scrap paper etc. My LA uses GL Assessment so I concentrated on their VR papers.

I only did about 3 months of practice with him altogether, but I think that's probably the bare minimum. He did pass smile [phew] but I could have done with doing more vocabulary with him, ie getting him to read more widely than Harry Potter and Doctor Who!

I wish I had drummed into him to go to the toilet in the break between papers as he didn't bother and had to go during the second paper, missing a few minutes of it! Bright, but no common sense! grin

loopsngeorge Sat 05-Jan-13 21:53:18

Yes, I've been trying to start doing some prep with my son in year 4. Verbal reasoning is not too bad and we have been using the Bond books, but its the reading comprehension I am struggling with "teaching". It's like getting blood out of a stone to get him to write a full sentence for the answer!! Also it doesn't seem to be something that he does regularly at school.
I feel that I should be able to do this tutoring myself but there seems to be so much at stake. We're in Essex by the way.

letseatgrandma Thu 03-Jan-13 18:16:00

Yes, I've just done this with my DS-no tutor and he passed with the highest mark in his year!

Which area are you in? What subjects does the exam cover? Is it a super selective or just a selective?

TotallyBS Thu 03-Jan-13 18:06:15

Identify which schools you are interested in and download past papers (if available) from their website. From this you can get an idea of the type of questions you can expect from specific schools. Then widen the search and download papers from other schools that have similar papers.

Armed with a generous supply of past papers, get your DD to work through them at her own speed. Identify weak areas. Fix them. Then get DD to work to the clock so that she gets used to the pressure. Then get her to work under exam conditions.

When you start will vary. Some parents may start 'early' and do an hour a week for a couple of years. Others start 6-9 months before the exam and will do 1-2 hours a day.

lindsey1403 Thu 03-Jan-13 14:19:42

Hi, one of my new year's resolutions this year is to help my daughter prepare for the 11+ exam. However, I don't want to hire a tutor due to the cost.
Are there any mums out there who have done this and want to share some tips please?

I've found some good weblinks that I wanted to share: - lots of material on this website. - material is designed to help parents help their child which is nice.

My daugther is in year 4, which is a bit early, but the websites suggest starting prep at this point.

Any advice appreciated.


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