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7+ King's College Junior, St Paul's

(12 Posts)
Banners75 Fri 28-Oct-16 22:49:07

Does anyone know what the listening test entails at kings college junior at 7+? I was told the boys have to listen and follow instructions as part of the assessments. Or is this a mental maths test? Also my son goes to a state primary, the story writing is very basic. Can anyone recommend any good books or how they teach this in the academic preps that prepare you for the assessments. Lastly whoever has been through the process especially for St. Paul's, do you know how they weight each paper? I'm pretty sure my son is good at the maths but the English side not so good, he is the youngest in class. Do both maths and English have to be equally good results or if maths is very high but English low/ middle still acceptable?

LizzieSiai Sun 30-Oct-16 01:24:28

St Paul's and KCS are very selective so your son will have to do very well in all aspects of the assessment. If you go on their websites, they usually have sample papers so you know what to expect. What you should bare in mind is that your son has a summer birthday so the assessment will be marked in light of his age...this is great IMO.

My son has a late birthday (he's 6 in April) and I'm currently prepping him for his 7+ assessments that will take place next year. I have spoken to tutors who say that boys are usually better at Maths than English so I think it's best to make sure he's prepared because you don't want him missing out even though he has potential.

For mental maths he'll be expected to work out and answer questions such as 3x4+5. With story writing, I have been advised to encourage my son to write short stories...approx. 10-12 lines that have a beginning middle and end. Also, you could write your own story then ask your son to finish it off.

May I ask how old your son is now and whether you'll be looking into other schools as well such as Westminster or Dulwich?

Banners75 Sun 30-Oct-16 07:12:58

Thanks for replying. He was 6 end of April. Yes story writing is tricky, most of the time it's a great story verbally, it usually involves some superhero with an alien or a dinosaur doing some kind of mission, am trying to get him to keep things simple. He also forgets to read over what his written and just writes as his thinking.
With maths he is much better we started things slowly in the summer but I find if he misses a week or two of doing a practise paper he forgets concepts.
Comprehension is also improving although with "why" and "how do you know "questions he still writes "because I read it" which makes me laugh!
Am applying to St. Paul's, kings Junior and Latymers.

TRL Sun 30-Oct-16 09:54:51

Hi Banners, my 6 year old (birthday mid-March) is taking KCJS and St Paul's Juniors in Dec/Jan this year. We're struggling to work to time limits, particularly in English story writing and mental Maths - he's fine if given endless time to do things. He scores highly on written Maths and Comprehension on an average day but who knows what a 6 year old will do during a string of exams?! Probably look out the window and forget there's any urgency in DS3's case.... I don't know anything much about the listening at KCJS but gathered it's a case of following instructions 'to tick the triangle with three dots or circle the elephant with a red trunk' sort of thing.
How are you covering reasoning papers?

Banners75 Sun 30-Oct-16 11:04:25

Same here! We struggle with time aspect to. I have bought a visual clock but he doesn't notice it, and when I set him a task the list of excuses he needs to take a break for are endless! For reasoning we are doing bond books, not really done much as yet as we decided to concentrate on the maths and English. I am going to try and do the mental maths in the car on the way to and from school. If anyone has a mental maths paper or know what level the questions are I would really appreciate it. I did get some papers from exam papers plus. They are difficult, if that is the level required, there is no way my 6 year old will be able to do in his head, even I needed time to calculate mentally and that was with writing something down!!!

1Dadhere Fri 04-Nov-16 14:28:57

Hi, our boy took the 7+ at KCJS last year and is enjoying himself there at the moment. The lead up to the entrance examinations, however, was tough! He found the math fairly easy, but the English was a big struggle - especially the essay writing under time pressure. We practiced almost daily leading into the exam and he improved quite a bit with guidance on (i) level of complexity required (he liked writing very complex stories but took ages to get started) and (ii) working at the right / quick pace. Our basic essay writing standard was 3 paragraphs each with 4-5 sentences - beginning, middle, end was the basic structure. With a simile or 2, and if possible a metaphor (we practiced these).
While we, the parents, were quite stressed about the exam, we tried our level best to keep our child as relaxed as possible - although sometimes that didn't happen, but generally speaking we made sure he was in a relaxed, fun mindset *especially in the last few days running into the exam - I feel this is very important.
Anyway, I include a couple of websites that I found to be quite helpful (pl note I am entirely unaffiliated with any of them). Best of luck!
(We got English packs, which were helpful)

Banners75 Fri 04-Nov-16 14:53:34

Thanks for reply. I have discovered both of these websites and found them to give excellent advice and the exam paper plus papers are great. I am struggling with stories too, trying to do a story every other day but time factor is an issue. Is there always an option of a fiction story and recount or is it always one option? Hopefully the practise until the actual exam will get better. Did your son sit St. Paul's or Latymers? Do you have experience of the level required in mental maths. I have the papers from exam papers but the questions are very difficult. Is that really the level required? Lastly my son has the interview in 2 weeks at KCJ.Is it just an interview for him or the parents too, maybe obvious but I forgot to ask! Thanks in advance.

1Dadhere Mon 07-Nov-16 12:54:27

Hi, I'll answer your questions in sequence
1) I do think there is usually/always an option of a fiction story - from what I remember KCJS gives 2 choices for essay topic - one tends to be continuation of the comprehension piece/story and the other is a fiction/ creative writing topic (in my son's year they were given a picture of children doing various things and asked to write a story of what may have been happening in the picture).
2) My son didn't sit St Pauls or Latymers - we considered St Pauls but school asked us to focus him on the one we preferred between StP and KCJS to ease exam pressure, and we preferred KCJS.
3) Exam papers - KCS has old exams on their website. The maths one will give you good (exact) feel for what to expect. From memory the exam paper ones had some sections/subtopics that weren't on the KCJS exam and some other qn types that weren't going to be tested. I would look through the exams beforehand and cross out particular questions that I thought weren't relevant (to prevent him getting hung up/confused on irrelevant items). Colet Court / St Pauls had a detailed math syllabus (more detailed than KCJS) and we used that to prep him for the KCJS test (i.e. ensure there weren't any sub-topics that he was missing, and identify areas he needed a bit more focus in).
And do remember that most successful applicants don't get 100%, I read somewhere that most successful applicants tend to get north of 70%... I ended up thinking 80-85% in maths was probably necessary, and 90% was very good (I may be wrong).
4) Listening test / mental maths: The listening test is NOT a complicated mental math test. They didn't ask any complicated math questions - the questions were quite basic (relative to the written test). It isn't intended to trip up children, but merely to test whether they can follow directions. The examiners read a short story and then ask some basic questions (e.g. where did the story take place? on a beach or in a forest? that type) and also ask the children to follow some basic directions (e.g. for answer 21 'circle' the zebra with the most stripes'; etc.).
I will note that the story and questions are from a loudspeaker, so mention to your child so he knows to expect that. Or better yet you can read/record a story and some practice questions, and have him do a dry run or two - so it's not new and unfamiliar on the day.
5) Interview: this is NOT a pressure interview. They are not trying to trick, stymie or stress the kids at all. Parents not interviewed, just the child. 15-20 min; one interviewer and two children at a time. The vibe is happy and cheerful (I've spoken to many boys, both those who got in and those who didn't, and they all remember it as more of a chat than an interview; most seem to have enjoyed it). They seem to follow a set format - initially the kids are settled and relaxed and asked some easy relaxing questions - 'tell me about your hobbies, or your family, interests'. Then they take it from there. Each boy reads a short passage and answers some basic questions about what they've read. In terms of mental maths, at some point they are asked to recite a maths table of their choice - not very impactful whether it's 12 times table or one of the easier ones (we were worried that rather than doing any of the other harder ones that he knew, our soon took the easy option and did the 5 times - but it ended up not mattering).
I think it's important to remember that they are really not trying to pressure, trick or confound, they want the kids to enjoy the experience and like the school. From our own experience at KCJS (and listening to several other parents' experiences) they really are just trying to assess where the child is academically, socially, and in terms of maturity, and it's done in a calm, low pressure, and very friendly manner.
6) One thing that was tested and that we worked on towards the end was to speed up 'alphabet skills' - for e.g. rearranging words - how many words can you make out of the word 'England' or 'incredible', etc. Also knowing the alphabet really well (is N before or after H? ) helped in getting through various 'verbal reasoning' questions quickly. The last few days we played various games with scrabble tiles to improve alphabet skills (assisted with spellings too).
Hope that helps.

TRL Mon 07-Nov-16 13:35:06

1Dad, I think you might have just made my week! We have DS3's 7+ KCJS interview tomorrow and everything you've written is so very helpful - I can stop worrying for him ...right?!

Thanks for all the advice. smile

LizzieSiai Mon 07-Nov-16 19:27:44

1Dadhere thanks for all the info! This is amazing. TRO please let us know how it goes tomorrow...good luck to your DS!!

Banners75 Mon 07-Nov-16 21:11:06

I agree, you should just made my day too! This is excellent advice and tips. Good luck to all.

TRL Tue 08-Nov-16 17:39:58

Thanks, Lizzie, and Dad1, you pretty much scripted his interview from what I managed to glean from him! His lasted nearly 30 mins and he was still chatting to the interviewer on his way back (as the 4th of 5 children, he clearly doesn't get enough adults actually interested in him normally!). He's looking forward to seeing the other boy he was paired with again - he hopes on the activity morning. So he certainly had a very happy time and it was relaxed and child-centric. Hope your son gets on well, Banners

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