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Tell me tales of poor Prelim results that have turned into Nat 5 passes....

(41 Posts)
WankersHacksandThieves Wed 25-Jan-17 23:19:40


Ds2 hasn't done very well in his prelims, he is a bright lad and should have done better but tbf did minimal study. Maths is a particular worry - 26% that needs to be turned into a decent pass.

So, did it all work out in the end for your DC and if so, what was the key? Tutor? Hard studying? practice questions?

Groovee Thu 26-Jan-17 08:09:43

Our school would recommend not sitting the Nat 5 on such poor results. Dd did badly in her dance and biology last year scraping a C as she was poorly. Yet got 90% in the exams in May.

But a number of her friends were pulled out of Maths for getting less than 40% as they were worried that their confidence would get worse. They're all sitting this year and doing much better. Dd went from just scraping a C in the Exam in may to getting 78% in the prelim this week.

ttlshiwwya Thu 26-Jan-17 11:11:31

My DS2s BF mainly Cs and 2 Ds (Maths and English) at prelim last year and ended up with A and Bs. He's smart i.e. in top sets for everything (albeit at a low performing school) but never bothered revising or attempting any practise questions. I know his mum and the turnaround was a mixture of a tutor for one subject, his dad helping him out in some other subjects, changing the wifi password to keep him off his gaming and him actually doing some revising including past papers.

ttlshiwwya Thu 26-Jan-17 11:21:07

Cut off for maths is 25% at prelim at my DCs school although they do make exceptions.

prettybird Thu 26-Jan-17 13:58:33

Is it just that he did no revision or can he not do the maths?

If the former, then I'd recommend what ttlshiwwya suggests: a combination of a tutor and restricted gaming.

From what I recall of how you've described your ds2, he's bright, so he should be able to pass Nat 5 Maths - but it is now going to take some effort on his part.

Good luck!

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 15:53:28

Thanks all.

He did some revision but in reality very little practical stuff, I think he flicked through the study guides for half an hour.

He is bright but his self confidence is at zero. We did some exam technique stuff with him and he definitely thinks that helped. He's ended up with 2 Bs, 1 C, 2 D's and 2 Fails.

He really wants to do National 5 maths this year as he is really not enjoying it and the thought of another year doing it again is filling him with dread. I think he is motivated enough to study hard. His last report said that he seems to manage well enough in class and understand the technique they are studying at the time but he seems to be unable to translate that into exams. He hasn't had an issue up until the last year or so. My feeling is that he needs to intensively practice questions until he gets to the point where he can recognise what the question is asking him to do/what maths technique he should use. On that basis, i'd be supporting him to do Nat 5 this year and hope the school would do the same, but I can definitely see the benefit to doing it next year too.

We will come up with a proper supervised study schedule this weekend and combine that with raising his confidence and cracking the whip. The studying will be done away from his bedroom and temptation. What we did with DS1 was give him a small netbook with no capacity for gaming and allowed him to use that in the study room for doing things like the bitesize on-line units.

He's accepted that he needs to spend the next few months focussed in order to make his 5th year a better year.

There isn't a great tutor availability locally. I think we are going to get DS1 to spend some time with him showing him how to do the questions. DS1 got 98% in last years Nat 5 and is very patient with him. He did spend an hour with him before the prelim but I think it was just too little too late as DS2 did say he found it useful.

On a brighter note he nearly got an A in Modern and got 64% in his English, only just got a C in History but was one of 7 out of 40 to pass. His BM and Chemistry were both mid 40s, so there is hope really in all of those that he could get a pass/decent pass. His French was mid 30s but he apparently got zero for the written paper but we don't yet know why. tbh I'm not too bothered about French. I've said it would be a shame to waste a year of work though so he should find out where he went wrong in the written paper as he could perhaps get a pass there.

It's Maths that is the issue - he's convinced himself he can't do it and is saying that in general he expects the worse in everything as then he isn't disappointed....that attitude isn't helping. He's also made some comments that he isn't doing that bad compared to the other boys. I've told him he's a pupil not a boy and also to stop comparing himself to others, he needs to instead compare his performance to his ability.

We've managed to not shout but have said we'll be disappointed on his behalf if he doesn't match his results to his ability - no idea if we are doing the right thing or not. confused

Sorry for the essay and well done if you managed to read all that!

ttlshiwwya Thu 26-Jan-17 16:37:24

Sounds a good plan and the fact that he's accepted that he needs to do more work over the next few months is half the battle.

Would the school let him ditch French? He could then concentrate more time on maths practise questions which should help immensely. My DS1 was really sound at knowing how to apply techniques but struggled to know how to start. The more he practised the better he got and his marks jumped massively (from zero to full marks for certain types of questions which really helped his confidence - it was either all or nothing for him).

Are you in Glasgow? I think some of the Glasgow colleges are running weekend Maths support classes - however if they are anything like my DSs supported study at school they are only useful if you don't understand a particular area and they are covering this. Both my DSs preferred to work on their own as they felt they got more done.

Isadora2007 Thu 26-Jan-17 16:41:20

Dd (16) did crap in her prelims then got all As Bs and one C in the exam. We have 15 weeks now so start with regular past paper questions for maths and other subjects too. Mind maps for history and MS are good. Learn the poem quotes for English etc. Have it all laid out and do little but often.
Save your money on a tutor as any bright pupil should be able to pass Nat 5 without a tutor.

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 17:32:05

Thanks again, we are not in Glasgow but as you say sometimes these things can be counterproductive.

We have parents night before Feb holidays so I'll try and see if dropping French would be a possibility/help. He'd have to stay at school during any dropped periods as we don't live local to school. I'm not sure if there are any Maths S4 classes timetabled at that time as Maths doesn't appear in the columns.

dnwig Thu 26-Jan-17 17:37:07

Not Nat5 but daughter failed her maths prelim but got an 'A' in the exam. We did have a tutor though.

nothruroad Thu 26-Jan-17 18:30:36

It's very easy to improve his French writing grade - the majority of the exam is identical each year. He should have a draft for this he can learn by heart. The task is a job application letter with 6 bullet points he must cover. If he missed out too many bullet points he will get 0, simple as that. It really is a very simple paper to prepare with a small amount of regular effort and then he could easily get 12 or 16 out of 20.

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 18:43:53

Thanks nothruroad i suspected it was something like that. he said that he'd had to remember something but he'd forgotten bits and had to improvise. He seems to be struggling with his memory at the moment. I'm honestly starting to think he may be dyspractic.

His memory is terrible, he is disorganised, takes forever to do the simplest of tasks, he loses stuff constantly, is poorly coordinated, clumsy, doesn't do sport as he is not good at it though I've always just put it down to being lazy. He is still rubbish at doing his shoelaces and his handwriting is so poor that he is now typing most of his exams. It only came to mind because DH made a comment (not when he was there) that he'd better be able to do something with his brain as he is handless in terms of doing anything practical.Oh and he is still scared of the noise the hoover makes even though he is 6'1 and a 44" inch chest!

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 18:49:44

Oh, and i think he said he got 10/20 for listening so working it out he must have got 15/30 for reading so if he managed above half score for the writing and for the talking assignment then that would be a pass (the mean score for the talking assignment last year was 24.9/30 so at least 15 shouldn't be out of his league?), so maybe shouldn't be too hasty to drop it?

Isadora2007 Thu 26-Jan-17 18:55:08

If he sits and fails nat 5 he will be awarded a Nat 4 anyway. So it's worth keeping up the courses he is doing but prioritising study based on the Highers he wants to take at S5/6.

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 19:01:54

He wants to drop Chemistry, French and Maths which leaves him 4 and he'll then choose another to crash, hopefully Philosophy if they offer it next year or RMPS. I'd feel comfortable with either of those as they are more in his comfort zone and anyone doing philosophy will be crashing as it isn't offered at Nat5. As long as he writes a decent essay then RMPS should be fine. he already has a good interest in current affairs and morals and likes a good argument grin

nothruroad Thu 26-Jan-17 19:06:54

I definitely wouldn't be encouraging him to drop it if he has half marks in reading and listening. He has loads of time to learn his writing before the actual exam. When is the talking, do you know?

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 19:15:41

I'm not sure when the talking is but deadline is beginning of March I think. He has passed (just) trial runs of the talking and he said they will be concentrating on it for the next few weeks. So, as you say, if he can get the writing thing sorted out, he's not far away from a pass.

I'm actually feeling less depressed about it all so this has been really useful, thanks everyone smile

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 19:17:09

When I said he wants to drop Chemistry, French and Maths, I meant after the Nat 5s, though to be honest he'd think all his birthdays and christmases had come at once if I said he could drop them now!

FlippingBottleFlippers Thu 26-Jan-17 20:08:15

3rd year of prelims for my DS and every year his final exam results have been better than the Prelims. I think in some subjects, it helps to complete the curriculum so that they can see the whole picture.

dementedma Thu 26-Jan-17 20:13:23

Bloody Hell I could have written your post literally just back in from parents evening! Bright son but 33% for physics, 31% for computing etc etc. All staff saying nice kid, capable but no focus and no effort. So frustrating. He is the youngest in his year,still not 15 so lacks maturity which is part of the problem.
We are going to make a revision study planner with set things to do on set days,which might help him to focus. Also signed up for maths study club one lunch time, physics study club after school one evening. And less bloody x box!!!

dementedma Thu 26-Jan-17 20:16:06

Oh and wankers.You described perfectly my dyslexic daughter in his behaviours. Seriously! Has he been checked out.
She is now in her final year at uni and on course for a first, but k owing she was dyslexic made a huge difference to understanding how she studied. Mind maps are your friend here.

IHaveBrilloHair Thu 26-Jan-17 20:23:24

Dd's got two results, (last exam today), she got a B in physics and failed maths, she's gutted, she was predicted a c, she has ability but no confidence and also missed a lot of school
She has a maths tutor, but had only had a trial session with him before the prelim, today was their third session and he has reassured her and will be going over where she went wrong.
She starts with an English tutor next week and I'm going to see what/who else I can get on board to help.

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 26-Jan-17 20:32:13

Thanks Flippers

Ah, a partner in pain demented!

He's never been checked out, DS1 is borderline aspergers but we've always put DS2's issues down to laziness and bloodyminded-ness. I love him with all my heart and soul but he was a stubborn thrawn bugger quite a lot when he was younger, he is now a very chilled and laid back teenager. He has honestly lost everything from the glasses off his face to the laces out his shoes. I can't even watch him attempt to put a clean pillowslip on. I am in touch with learning support from the point of getting him to do his exams using ICT so might be worth a chat. He doesn't misspell or reverse his writing or anything, would that still be dyslexia? He has never got to grips with mind maps though DS1 finds them useful. At one point we thought DS1 had dyscalculia as he couldn't (and still can't) do his times tables. However given that he manages straight A's in Maths, Physics, Computing, Engineering etc, maybe we were barking up the wrong tree!

Good luck to your DS - you may find the book "The Lazy Students Revision Guide" useful. We used it with DS1

dementedma Thu 26-Jan-17 20:44:24

Ooh,thanks for the link! DD did have some spelling and language problems but main problems were short term memory, understanding sequential instructions such as," phone grandma, make a note of what shopping she needs, post the letter on the table and remember to make a hair appointment" would possibly result in a hair appointment,the rest forgotten! Using a laptop instead of a pen helped, coloured mind maps were a big success, and explaining idiomatic language was a must. The phrase " you need to pull your socks up" would result in her actually tugging her socks up!

IHaveBrilloHair Fri 27-Jan-17 13:51:07

I've ordered the book too, anything that can help!

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