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Prelims coming up

(40 Posts)
prettybird Fri 27-Nov-15 22:29:39

How are the fellow Scottish MNers getting on with their offspring as their prelims approach?

Ds is in S4 and sitting 8 Nat 5s this year, so it is his first experience of exams and mine as a concerned mum.

He seems to have his head screwed on though: he told me that his school said that if they got a written request for study leave, he could get it - but admitted he didn't need it.

Prelims start on Friday 4th (with PE) and finish on Monday 21st. He's most pissed off that 2 of his exams (French and Geography) are on the same day but got no sympathy from us

He is also extremely pissed off that I'm going to force shock him to go to school on the 22nd, even though it's only a short day and hardly anyone will be in hmm

3nationsfamily Sat 28-Nov-15 09:26:42

Our prelims (Edinburgh) for S4 are not until after Christmas. My DD is in S5 and her Higher prelims are at the end of Jan and finish just before half term- no timetable as yet. Little sign of any serious revision being done so far! They only get study leave in between exam days during the two week exam period but can go in to school library which will certainly be more productive for my DD with too many distractions at home.
One of the best things that our school does is run revision sessions in the
Easter holiday - about half a day on most subjects, depending on the teachers willingness to do the extra work. So glad we didn't go away over the holiday so she made the most of it and it really helped.

Bunbaker Sat 28-Nov-15 09:30:49

Is this the equivalent of mock GCSEs?

Surely your DS will have had internal exams every year? At DD's school they sit the year 9s (13/14 year olds) in an exam hall setting to enable them to get used to it in plenty of time for GCSEs.

Passmethecrisps Sat 28-Nov-15 09:37:32

Different setting bun. In Scotland we follow a two block system so most kids won't have any experience of exam hall type exams until prelims at this time of year. There are plenty of other assessments but this is their only shot at the big test.

Passmethecrisps Sat 28-Nov-15 09:40:04

Our school is doing prelim leave which can also be used for those doing nat 4 only who need to work on AVUs. We are running master classes at the time the kids would have gone to class so they can get some tuition prior to the actual prelim.

At the end of the day it is just a practice so as long as work up until now has been good it should all be fine.

Bunbaker Sat 28-Nov-15 10:09:18

"most kids won't have any experience of exam hall type exams until prelims at this time of year."

That's why at DD's school they set internal exams that aren't important in an exam hall setting when the pupils are in year 9, just to get them used to it. DD was really nervous sitting exams in this setting when she was 13, but the experience was really helpful.

I don't know why more schools don't do this. After all they have everything set up for the GCSE students already.

Passmethecrisps Sat 28-Nov-15 10:19:02

Generally speaking outs cope fine without the extra prep time. It is just a test at the end of the day. Too much focus can go too far the other way and convince the kids that this is something world ending.

In Scotland we have never ever had typical exam-hall exams before this stage in S4 and it doesn't seem to have any impact on their outcome

prettybird Sat 28-Nov-15 10:46:19

I don't think you can say "never": I remember "proper" exams every year from S1 when I was at school (albeit over c40 years ago shockblush). But it's not been the norm for many years.

Although, I have a friend whose ds is at Jordanhill and she says he's been doing exams rom S1, so maybe there are still schools who do it.

I think this year the Nat 4 candidates are also going to be getting "study leave" and sitting exams (even if it's just their NAB ? ) as the school decided it was causing a two tiered system, with some kids being "allowed" out of school and others still in school.

I think the Higher prelims are after Christmas. Gives them a bit longer to have covered more of the curriculum.

Ds' class is apparently going to be starting on the Higher Maths curriculum in January! shock

Passmethecrisps Sat 28-Nov-15 11:22:42

You know, you are right. I have a vague recollection of S1s being marched in for their Midyis testing.

Some of our very able s4s who show an interest in continuing to higher will be given enrichment stuff to prepare them. They won't actually cover the curriculum.

Great if they are so confident in nat 5 that they are happy to move on though.

I hate the two tiered effect created by nat 4/5 so I am in support of them also getting study leave as long as it is carefully planned.

Our senior prelims are towards the end of January - still not really enough time to cover the whole curriculum but seeing as they are no longer used for appeals it is not as much of a problem

prettybird Sat 28-Nov-15 11:31:40

I've bought ds (at his request) the Hodder Gibson past papers for all his subjects (except Maths, as his Naths teacher had managed to get a job lot so only cost me £5).

I'm presuming he's working his way through them hmm. I feel very hands off, but at the Parents Night we were told to continue doing what we were doing which is nothing wink. I get barked at every time I go into his pigsty bedroom.

myotherusernameisbetter Sat 28-Nov-15 23:08:23

Ours start Monday....no idea if DS is doing the study he marked up on his planner. He seems pretty laid back - i suspect a fright may be ahead.

I managed to get some past papers/study guides for a couple of his subjects 2nd hand and said if he found them useful I would buy them for the rest - I don't believe he has opened them up and hasn't requested any more. DH has offered to teach him how to study effectively and has been blanked.

Oh well, what will be will be. smile

prettybird Sun 29-Nov-15 10:54:18

I think the fact that ds' Maths teacher (who he loves) got hold of the half price past papers made ds think that past papers must be a "good thing" wink and as a result wanted them for the rest of his subjects. Interestingly, the exception was English but he has such a scary intense teacher for that I think he feels that she's slave driving working them to such a high standard he'll be ok for it.

I wonder how many 2nd hand past papers/study guides were bought and never opened grin?! They're not cheap, even off Amazon shock

Good luck to your ds.

Passmethecrisps Sun 29-Nov-15 10:56:58

You can download past papers and marking schemes from the sqa website. Of course with nat 5 there are a limited number.

prettybird Sun 29-Nov-15 22:08:01

Oops - shows how much attention I've taken of what ds tells me: his 1st exam which is PE so at least I got that right is on the 11th and not the 4th blush

He was juggling his studying today in between watching some of the Davis Cup and the Bath v Leicester rugby game. His own rugby game was cancelled due to the horrendous weather.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 29-Nov-15 22:29:09

We have English tomorrow. DS now admits that he hasn't done enough studying. He says he knows his quotes but "can't remember" which books etc he has done...

He has packed a bag to take with him and just asked for pens and pencils so it's just as well I had some in. He seemed more concerned with what was in for him to make for lunch when he gets home. He is a bit concerned about what he can do with the bag as they are not allowed anything in with them in the exam and he doesn't have a locker. As he will have to make his own way home and it's currently chucking down with sleet, he will need to take a jacket and his phone (in case train is cancelled) and money, key etc. and he'll still have the best part of a mile to walk to the station and nearly two from the station home. I can't really take a fortnight off work to accommodate the prelims. I've told him that he should be able to leave it by the door of the exam hall (inside not outside which was his suggestion)

prettybird Mon 30-Nov-15 00:12:48

Hadn't thought about bags in the exam hall. Will have to ask ds what the procedure will be at his school.

Ds has English on the same day as Geography (I think - it might be French and Geography). He's annoyed 'cos Geography is his favourite subject so he will be under added pressure.

Good luck to your ds for his English tomorrow (today wink) and I hope the weather isn't too bad.

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 30-Nov-15 00:35:42

Thanks. smile Geography is my DS' s most hated subject but he had to take a social subject in the interests of having variety ( according to the school) and it seemed like the option with the least verbal communication required from him so he went for it. Although the variety thing is a bunch of crap. DS 2 currently looking at his options and he can manage to pick his without any arts or modern language or technological subjects. In essence, 3 social science, 2 sciences and maths and English.

prettybird Mon 30-Nov-15 08:34:38

Kids are supposed to continue both an Expressive Art and a MFL until the end of the Broad General Education stage, ie end of S3.

However, as ds' school got them to make their choices at end of S2, ds had to drop all the Expressive Arts and ended up doing Computing Science. It wasn't by choice though, it was just that the Arts subjects were in the same columns as Chemistry, Physics and PE. Iirc, it wasn't possible to drop a MFL (they'd been doing two and were able to drop to one).

I don't have a strong memory of the columns though as ds' subjects pretty much chose themselves.

Has your ds done his Geography field trip? Ds has had his trip (on "riverine landscapes") cancelled twice due to bad weather and they're now due to go in January. I was a little annoyed at the £10 cost if it's an integral part of the course.

Ds has the opposite problem to yours - he won't shut up in Geography. Although when we asked him (and his teacher shock) who it was he was talking to, he said the teacher! confused

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 30-Nov-15 10:38:45

They don't do selection until S3. They more or less follow the BGE timetable as set out but do move up slightly earlier (just after Easter). DS2 is in 3rd year smile.

Yes he has done his field trip - they had two actually as they also went to the Highland show. There's was fairly local and I think I had to give him a few quid for the bus and his usual packed lunch. He's also had a Physics trip and an Art trip too.

DS1 doesn't speak - at all! He's already told DS2 (my source of all info) that he isn't taking Higher English for exactly that reason. Current English has told him not to be stressing about his speech while he is doing his prelims and that he can take one friend to her one lunchtime and do it.

Because it's quite a small school (<800 pupils) there isn't always a lot of choice of subjects.

prettybird Mon 30-Nov-15 11:17:28

Ds knows I'll insist on him doing English Higher and is resigned to it grin (The other 4 will all be Sciences). He's in a good class with a good albeit scary teacher though (same teacher since they were set after the October Week in S1). His class did Spoken pieces at the end of S2 and the 3 kids (which included ds) who got 1s then already have those banked in their portfolio. One less thing for him to be concerned about grin

No Physics trips here - but there again, that's the one teacher I've had concerns about.

Ds' school has over 1200 pupils so there's a wide range of subjects.

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 30-Nov-15 12:23:29

I've had a text and he said it "went well" which is actually quite enthusiastic for him as usually everything is "fine" or "okay".

I think so far he has in mind to do Computing Science, Engineering Science, Physics, Maths and I think he is hoping to do Graph Comm which is the subject he wanted to do instead of Geography. If he gets decent grades in Computing and Art, he may be able to go straight in at Higher. However I am sure it said he needed and A in art which I am not sure he is quite at.

DS2 looking to do, Maths, English, History, Modern Studies, Business Management, Physics and Chemistry.

For Physics they went to some place over at South Queensferry and did some stuff involving bridges and water I think - he tells me nothing smile

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 30-Nov-15 21:05:15

Oh well, tonight's prep for Maths tomorrow seems to be on-line gaming with friends.....

prettybird Mon 30-Nov-15 21:38:22

I'm still trying to find out what ds' prelim timetable is hmm

I may have to go on to the school website to investigategrin

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 30-Nov-15 21:45:21

Ha ha - ours in on the website so you may be lucky.

As an aside, have you heard anything about consent forms for S4 injections?

prettybird Mon 30-Nov-15 22:33:20

I have a vague recollection of either ds mentioning something about vaccinations or even me signing something. I'm very pro-vaccine so wouldn't have thought twice about it.

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