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11+ advice please!!

(15 Posts)
Girlyheaven38 Tue 07-Jun-11 14:00:32

Hi - does anyone have any advice on how to prepare their child for the 11+ exam? I would be grateful for any info at all, preparation, amount of work to do in the weeks between now and the test, which is in September, number of test papers to do etc etc. My daughter has been having fortnightly tuition since Christmas to get her up to speed with her numeracy and literacy but as yet has done no past papers. She is currently in the top sets in her class and achieved level 5b literacy, 4A in both numeracy and writing in the January SATS. Her numeracy is normally her best subject but her teacher said her score was hindered by her not checking and she expects her to get level 5 when tested again in a couple of weeks. Bit worried as the test is looming and dont want to pressure her too much but want to give her the best chance! Thank-you!!

enidroach Tue 07-Jun-11 19:49:10

There are lots of archive threads on MN. A lot of people use Bond books to practice for the exam - verbal/non verbal reasoning/maths etc. Sometimes the schools you want to apply to can give you a sample paper - so you know what sort of thing they will be asking.

pickledsiblings Tue 07-Jun-11 19:51:49

What region Girly?

lilolilmanchester Tue 07-Jun-11 19:55:08

if you feel you can say which authority you're in, people can advise on best practice papers for those exams. Practice papers are essential IMO. Where I am NFER/NELSON were closest to the 11+ - but it's a while since my DCs did the 11+ so I can't advise what is right currently even for here. It's worth finding out as I bought some extra 11+ papers only to find they were nothing like the exams here so a waste of money. Her tutor might be able to advise? And might also offer 11+ tutoring. I have to be honest, having one who passed and one who failed - it really isn't about passing/failing, but about getting the right school. Worth bearing in mind....

fluffyhamster Tue 07-Jun-11 23:16:17

DS1 did it last year.

He was doing about 3 papers a week at school from September, and then we did 30 mins a day in the holidays (exams were for an independent school, and in January).

DH/I always went through the papers with him afterwards and chatted about where he'd lost marks. In Maths for example, we identified which 'types' of questions seemed to cause him problems, and spent extra time on those.

For the creative writing/ English paper I spent some time talking to him about exam technique e.g. only a couple of points are needed if a question has 2 marks, but probably a hefty paragraph with multiple points if it's worth 8 marks!

The secret is probably to do 'just the right amount' so that they 'peak' for the exam. If you work them too hard it just turns them off. Some of our friends found the '10 minute test' Bond books great for short practice every day.
DS did very well and got scholarships, but I'm quite lucky in that he's the sort of child who relishes a challenge, and tended to approah the whole process as some sort of giant quiz!
DS2 will be a completely different kettle of fish in 18 months time sad - I will need to muster all the carrot & stick techniques I can find!

beachyhead Tue 07-Jun-11 23:19:13

Where do you find papers to give them 3 a week?

fluffyhamster Tue 07-Jun-11 23:27:56

There are LOADS of papers about!
DSs exams were fairly standard Maths/ VR & NVR / English Comprehension & composition so we just made sure that any papers covered these areas.

We (and the school)
- used published 11+ books/papers
- used past papers provided by the schools DS was targeting (many provided 3-4 years worth)

I also bought some off Ebay, which was very cheap, but was a bit of a con, as they were just papers which were freely available elsewhere on the web - but I guess someone else had done the hard graft to find them!

I also went to the websites of many of the top independent schools/ grammars - many of them have example past papers to download.

The 11+ forum has lots of good advice and links too.

Girlyheaven38 Tue 07-Jun-11 23:36:58

Hi, thank-you for all your responses!! She will be sitting the 11+ for LGGS in Lancaster. Just slightly worried I havent done any papers with her yet, ie timed papers and need to get her used to the verbal reasoning which has been touched on in tuition but not enormously. I do feel I should do a plan between now and the test but as Im on my own (husband and I split up 2 years ago) its difficult to monitor when shes not with me as its almost always me who does the homework with her and her 2 younger sisters. Just want to get a happy medium and not overface her too. Suppose Im getting a little bit anxious and really if I have to do too much for her then maybe its not the right school!!! We also have a v good second choice school so are vlucky in that respect.

lilolilmanchester Tue 07-Jun-11 23:37:27

but you DO need the right papers for your area - no English comprehension/composition here for example, just maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning - although one of the boy's grammar's does have an essay as a tie-breaker I believe... MN/your tutor/parents of children who did it in your area or your DD's teachers are good people to ask.

lilolilmanchester Tue 07-Jun-11 23:38:28

(cross posted, sorry, didn't see your last post before my last comment)

fluffyhamster Wed 08-Jun-11 10:04:16

Don't stress too much about doing LOADs of papers. We did a lot, but we knew he was on target for a scholarship, so I would have hated him to miss it by not being prepared enough, so I probably went over the top the other way!

I'm sure I read that the marginal benefit after the 3rd or 4th practice paper in a subject is greatly reduced?

But do try to simulate the exam conditions as much as possible. We used to put DS in another room, at a table, with a clock and leave him to it, just giving him a '10 minutes' remaining warning towards the end of the time. I have known very bright kids come unstuck on the daye because they haven't learnt to manage their time properly.

Also teach her techniques such as putting a little cross next to questions she may leave out at first, so they're easy to find quickly if she has time to return to them at the end. Also things like underlining key words/ themes etc in comprehension, and strategies like having a quick skim of comprehension questions BEFORE reading the text so that your brain is working on them subconsciously when you actually then read it.

HTH & good luck to your daughter.

fluffyhamster Wed 08-Jun-11 10:07:30

Just another thought - if you get the Verbal/ non-Verbal reasoning 10 minute test books they're the sort of thing you can do, a bit like puzzle books, when you're waiting somewhere. DS used to do them if we went out for lunch at the weekend. (god, we sound sad... grin)

There is also apparently an iPhone app which they can use to test themselves on, and build up their scores.

feckwit Wed 08-Jun-11 10:12:26

I think if she is the right person for grammar school then she doesn't really need extra help. All we did was buy a set of papers off ebay, one for VR, one for NON VR and one maths and english so my son could see an example of what sort of thing might be on it. He came out and said it was nothing like what I showed him anyway!

That's because many areas try to change the formats so children can't be tutored - it's very tough on a child who hsn't the natural ability to end up in the grammar system. After all, wouldn't most people rather their child was top of a slightly less academic school than bottom of a more academic one? It is very demoralising in that instance.

The only other thing I would say, is the greatest "gift" I think you can give your child is a desire to read, read and read because that increases general knowledge, instills good grammar and vocabulary and supports all academic learning. That and watching the news every day so they know what is happening around them...

aliceliddell Wed 08-Jun-11 10:15:21

Agree with fluffy re time management. work out exactly how long per question, say 'next' every interval. If it's multilpe choice, guess instead of leaving blank.

seeker Wed 08-Jun-11 12:11:30

Tables. Up to 15 times.

The single most useful thing to spend time on.

The second is timing. Lots of kids find it very difficult to leave a question they can't do. Sit with a watch and move them on when the 90 seconds or whatever it is for each question is up.

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