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7+ or Bust

(56 Posts)
Haironfire Thu 29-Oct-15 11:31:31

Are there any other parents preparing their DC for the 7+ exams in January slowly going insane with study over half-term? DS is getting tired with 3 hours work a day excluding breaks but his tutor said we must press on. We sound positively lazy compared to the tutor's other students. This is the first time I've prepped a DC for the 7+ and it sure is a slog.

Laura0806 Thu 29-Oct-15 15:20:03

seriously , 3 hours work in half term at 6 or 7 years old. Is that the norm because my view is that if that amount of work is necessary, its the wrong school and far too much pressure. My dd will be doing 11+ next year and I owuldn't dream of doing that kind of work

Laura0806 Thu 29-Oct-15 15:22:07

maybe Im just terribly ignorant though

brokenmouse Thu 29-Oct-15 15:56:50

My dd will be doing 11+ next year and I owuldn't dream of doing that kind of work

If it's a super selective, everyone else will be doing at least that.

Haironfire Thu 29-Oct-15 16:04:45

Laura that is absolutely the norm. It's not much if you compare it to what they do at Pre-Prep school.

Laura0806 Thu 29-Oct-15 17:50:04

Really? gosh well we have no chance then! 3 hours a day from how long before? Well you deserve it with that amount of work but can all these children keep up with the work once they get in? My dd would probably do that kind of work but no way will my others.

Mominatrix Thu 29-Oct-15 18:13:15

Hair, please excuse my bluntness, but you speak tosh. My DSs went to pre-preps, were successful at supers electives - one did 6 weeks of additional prep (outside his school's 7+ prep) to cover NVR/VR and the other did no additional prep. It is the norm around you because parents are paranoid and hyper competitive. It is not necessary.

The tests are not rocket science, and so inaccessible that a reasonably bright (yes, just reasonably bright) child who is focused will not be successful. What is necessary is maturity and the ability to focus - something which I am not sure is tutorable, however those children who are willing to sit through 3 hour daily sessions are probably just demonstrating these skills.

Laura0806 Thu 29-Oct-15 18:56:50

maybe its those that don't go to prep schools? My children are in state schools so no preparation at all but still coudlnt' do 3 hours a day. If they failed after all that where does it leave your self-esteem?

nightsky010 Thu 29-Oct-15 19:00:22

I'd say it sounds normal for London preps. But then there are many people who consider it normal to buy tutors for Reception entry assessments. Different world!

timeforachangeofusername Thu 29-Oct-15 19:02:38

We did a maximum of 45 minutes a day. No more because he would have not been able to concentrate for longer. He got in.

Please be reassured - I don't think you need to do that much. Some prep sure, but the last thing you need is a sad little kid who has been over-prepped.

From what I saw, kids sometimes didn't do well on the interviews/activity days because it wasn't as novel and therefore wasn't as much fun (and furthermore kids do get poorly and that really impacts the tests).

brokenmouse Thu 29-Oct-15 19:26:36

Yes but the OP's child isn't at a pre prep. How much work would you be doing at home if the school.did nothing?

mertonmama Thu 29-Oct-15 19:37:09

I think 3 hours is way too much!

Both DS1 and DS2 passed the 7+ for a sought after Londin Prep from a state primary.

We did have a tutor for an hour a week for a year beforehand but even in the run up to the exams never did more than an hour a day of 'sit down' work. We did do a lot of other stuff which helped (reading, museums, games etc).

The level of prep you're undertaking sounds like overkill and I would worry that if that's what is needed your DS might not thrive once in. Why not take your foot off the pedal a bit for now and step it up closer to the exams?

SuperWorried Fri 30-Oct-15 10:21:15

DS is also sitting 7+ in the coming Jan. Focus is not an issue for him as we've tried putting him in 3-hour sittings for a couple of times recently just to see how he would cope with exam situations. But that's about as far as we want to stretch him. Light work during the HT and he's enjoying the break like a normal school boy so far. Feeling pressure as a parent when reading so many kids are going through the heavy tutoring and preparation. So not sure whether we are doing the right thing for our little (overly)confident boy. One question for the experienced ones: leading up to the exam days, how much stepping up would you do for your little ones? Are there anything helpful in particular to focus on rather than simply putting the poor kid into hours and hours of tutoring and practice?

nowirehangers Fri 30-Oct-15 13:14:03

I always seem to be posting on here about this. I have 3 who did 7+ from state primaries, without tutoring just a bit of fairly slapdash help from me doing a handful of test papers. I only started preparing them at autumn half term (only decided to enter the oldest at around this point) and certainly never did ANYTHING like 3 hours a day, they would never have co-operated and I would have lost the will to live. It's simply not necessary.

I've never really asked dcs' friends' parents in these schools how much they did, but the impression I get is that most of their cohort weren't massively prepared either (quite a few came from pre-preps), they're just naturally bright kids whom the school is somehow able to spot. I did also see a few meltdowns on exam day by kids accompanied by hyper-ventilating parents, the stress had clearly got to them. So please, give your ds a bit of a break. Good luck.

Haironfire Fri 30-Oct-15 13:39:09

SuperWorried did you orchestrate the 3 hour sittings at home or were they mock exams offered by test centres?

SuperWorried Fri 30-Oct-15 13:54:31

Hair, I am all DIY. Haven't gone through the tutor route so far but as the exam days approaching, I'm more and more worried whether I should start looking for one just in case. Not sure whether the pressure will get to me in the end...

Haironfire Fri 30-Oct-15 14:29:54

SuperWorried you sound SuperOrganised!

Itshouldntmatter Fri 30-Oct-15 14:41:07

Wow. My 6 year old Y2 is exhausted after her term at school. She has been ill (I think because she was so tired). I can't imagine trying to get her to do 3 hours work a day over half term. I think she would just end up with burn out.

Just to say, is there any chance that the tutor could have set such incredibly high study demands because if your DS doesn't manage that, they can say it isn't their fault he hasn't got in? That is probably not it at all, but it sounds like a pretty phenomenal demand, and the exam isn't until January!

What ever the case, good luck to your DS OP. It sounds like he is working really hard for this.

MN164 Sun 01-Nov-15 15:57:48

"normal" isn't the same as "healthy". There are a lot of parents pushing their children in an unhealthy way. It's up to you to join them or not.

Mominatrix Sun 01-Nov-15 18:15:07

I'd want to know what the qualifications of the tutor I was using - particularly they are telling you that 3 hours of prep for an exam a day, everyday, is normal for a 6-7 year old. I do know only of one tutor who does this - s/he has no teaching qualifications and his/her tutor business is based on prepping his/her sons/daughters in this manner for 7+ schools and being successful,then taking on a few students the year after and being successful. Success brings other parents looking for a magic formula, and s/he cherry picks students (or allows them to leave due to exhaustion with his/her method) until only the strongest remain.

S/he has no understanding of child development, teaching methods, educational theory - just how to cram for particular exams.

I would be very, very wary.

tippicanoe Mon 02-Nov-15 10:51:25

Hair -- my son was accepted at 7+ to a highly "competitive" London prep school. Other than normal school homework (from a pre-prep but not a highly "academic" one), he did no additional work and certainly did not do any test preparation over half term or Christmas holidays. As someone said above, the tests are not rocket science. They are designed to be tests for 6-7 year olds!!! and they test what any bright 6-7 year old should be able to know and do based on normal school work. The tests are not 3 hours long, so it is not necessary to have your son practice sitting a 3-hour test. The tests are short, about the length of a normal school lesson, and there are breaks in between, so it requires no more concentration than a normal school morning.
It is, frankly, grossly unfair to any child to impose the sort of pressure you seem to be imposing on your son. He will never be 6 again. Please don't miss the opportunity to let him enjoy his childhood!!! His future happiness depends much more on having a happy childhood than on gaining entrance to any particular school.

TJEckleburg Mon 02-Nov-15 11:13:43

If your child needs to do that much prep for a 7+ exam, they will not survive at the school.

thenewbroom Mon 02-Nov-15 14:26:20

well said tippi

MN164 Mon 02-Nov-15 16:52:06

Perhaps this should be "7+ and bust" instead?

At least it isn't 3+ .....

mumteacher Mon 02-Nov-15 17:16:39

I would highly recommend a few three hour sessions with 20 minute breaks running up to the assessment since many of the assessments will be structured in this way.

But three hours everyday may not be so productive. I recommend
writing story plus VR day 1 (maybe 1 hour)
comprehension NVR day 2 (1 hour)
Maths VR day 3
Maths NVR day 4
3 hour timed session with breaks day 5
Take the weekend off (or revise mental maths if you really can't)

Quality over quantity

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