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When to start 7+ exam prep for Jan 2014?

(15 Posts)
FWLL Wed 08-May-13 09:21:01

DS is in Year 1 at a pre-prep and is down to sit exams for 3 competitive London preps in Jan next year. When should we start doing Bond papers etc? Any experience / advice much appreciated!

mothersanonymous Wed 08-May-13 09:53:11

You want to aim to get to at least one year above his actual age (possibly two) by January. So I would be inclined to try him at his 'correct' age range or the next one up now to see how happy he is with it and how much work you need to do over the next few months. IME it's better to do it gradually and non-stressfully so you avoid any feeling of cramming later. You may be able to get some advice from his current school too and do ask if they are using Bond books themselves as you don't want DS repeating the same tests.

FWLL Wed 08-May-13 12:31:16

Thanks for replying, mothersanonymous. Very helpful.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Wed 08-May-13 12:38:33


Better to take it leisurely now than do a mad dash later on. 30min-60m spread over a week isn't that big a deal IMO.

horsemadmom Wed 08-May-13 13:30:28

Isn't this what you are paying the pre-prep for? My DS's school would have gone berserk if a parent was doing Bond books at home. This is their job!

Mominatrix Wed 08-May-13 13:39:44

I agree with horsemadmom. Is your pre-prep not going to prep them over the fall term? I'd hesitate to start now with things like Bond books as there is still quite a bit of academic growth your son will do over this term and the summer. Instead of Bond books, I would focus in on having your son read a wide variety of texts and books and improve his comprehension by asking him questions about what he is reading. Over the summer, have him keep a diary and write letters/postcards to friends and family. Make sure he is keeping up with what he is learning in the classroom (number bonds, multiplication tables) and that should be quite enough for now. Additional prep really is not necessary, but people do it due to parental anxiety.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Wed 08-May-13 13:45:25

How did I miss that the OP's DC was pre-prep?

If the pre prep isn't prepping your DC fir the 7+ then what are you getting for your money?

Clothqueen Wed 08-May-13 23:37:40

Hi, I did this with my son this year Jan. He is at a pre-prep. Depends what schools you are going for but if its KCS/CC/Westminster most people start gentle preparation nine months before. I agree don't do bond papers till summer hols but then you do need to work through them at a steady rate. Definately do lots of reading. Read to them texts also beyond their reading ability as well so they get exposed to wide range of vocab. Remember that most children sitting 7/8+ will come from pre-preps and the vast majority will be either tutored ontop of that OR parents will spend regular time with them doing preparation. Its just what you are up against. Its not about what you are getting for your money either. Every year the standard goes up so without stressing your child, and taking notice of where your pre prep head thinks they should aim for, this is the reality.

FWLL Fri 10-May-13 00:14:38

Thanks for all the replies. It's quite interesting to hear the different viewpoints. My gut instinct is to do extra work with him at home, starting now and avoid last minute cramming.

mumteacher Fri 10-May-13 00:31:43

Does depend on what age your current school finishes. It doesn't make business sense for a school that runs to 8/11 to prep for 7+.

Anyway, bk to your op 9-12 mths is usually what I suggest. Starting as the earlier post mentioned, doing a little each day. If you're using bond books start 6-7 maybe not doing all of them, just the ones at the end of the book and moving on to the next level. Maths, mental, story, comp, vr, non vr is a fair amount of ground to cover.

Def' achievable in the time left.

FWLL Fri 10-May-13 09:57:27

Thanks, mumteacher. DS's pre-prep goes to 8 and does prepare for 7+ but still encourages parents to do extra bits at home to supplement what's done in school. Following my original post on Wednesday, I went out and got the bond books and have so far tried DS out on 7-8 Maths and VR. He seemed to breeze through them unaided so I'll give him some non VR and English over the weekend to identify where the focus for him needs to be. One question I have relates to the English - the Bond English books don't look great for comprehension (quite short papers, not enough questions). Are there any other comprehension b

FWLL Fri 10-May-13 09:58:33

... books that you could recommend? (I'm assuming you would know because of your mumsnet nickname!)

Mominatrix Fri 10-May-13 17:25:10

I am really surprised that your pre-prep encourages parents to do extra work beyond what they do - sounds like pretty poor value for money. As someone who successfully went through the process, I think you are starting our awfully early on Bond books, but you know your son better than I do.

In terms of suggestions for books, take a look at the Colet Court website - they have a recommended reading list for 7+ and 8+. The majority of boys will be above the level of the list, but it is a good place to start.

mumteacher Fri 10-May-13 20:51:48

Try tree tops books for comprehension -lots of inference and in depth questioning.

FWLL Fri 10-May-13 21:04:02

Thank you!

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