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Eleven+, need help!

(8 Posts)
CardyMow Fri 29-Jul-11 12:29:09

DS1 is wanting to sit the 11+ in September NEXT year (He's just about to start Y5, so would be sitting in Nov 2012). I am a lone parent on benefits (young baby), so cannot afford a tutor.

Can someone give me some advice on what I can do personally to help him. (He's aiming for CRGS).

I have the age 9-10 Bond books for Verbal and non-verbal reasoning, but have found out that NVR isn't tested for in Essex. Apparently the English paper is notoriously hard, and as it's his weaker subject, what practice papers or other resources would be best to give him a clue on how to approach this exam?

The Bond VR book for age 9-10, we have only just got. He is consistenly getting 75%-80%, with no prior experience of these sort of questions.

His school does NO prep for 11+, too busy cramming for SATS. Also, his is a very small school year (30 only), and his class has a high percentage of SN/ LD. So although the teachers are differentiating the work for DS1, the average NC level for his class at the end of Y4 is only lvl 3c. Whereas DS1 was lvl 3a at the end of Y2.

His primary school did do an 'IQ' test when he was just age 8, and he had a 'verbal IQ of 132'. Don't know if that's relevant to the possibility of getting high enough marks in the 11+ to get into CRGS?

Is it even possible to get into CRGS if you can't afford a tutor? Have registered on the elevenplus forum, but cannot post questions yet.


IamnotStiller Fri 29-Jul-11 13:28:59

In my opinion it is possible to do the 11+ preparation without a tutor but potentially needs a lot of time and a child willing to take the parent's 'lead'. We have been through the process and DS1 is starting at one of the super selectives this September. We only started in November / December of year five but had a tutor first every other week and then from May once per week, who did seven mock exams with him. We did the Bond books, starting from level 3, building over level 4 to 4+ and then to 5 and 5+. If you go to the 11plus forum site and call up Essex, this will give you lots more information on what to practise, especially when it comes to Verbal Reasoning. We went through the experience with a "try to do it in case you get a place but if not then at least we've tried" rather than putting on too much pressure. Hope this helps and good luck!

MillyR Fri 29-Jul-11 14:14:54

You need to go to the 11 plus exams website and look on the Essex section of the forum. Find out exactly what type of exams will be sat and which resources you need to use to prepare for them. There is no point doing the bond books if you are in a GL assessment (formerly NFER) type VR exam area.

My DS got into a grammar school (less then 10% of children in the LEA get in, no catchment area, but not an Essex school) and he did not have a tutor.

The 11 plus exam people (some of whom are tutors or appeals officers) say that it takes 18 months to prepare a child for the 11 plus. But this 18 months is mostly doing stuff that many parents do with their children anyway even if they are not going to a grammar school. You need to make sure that he can do the KS2 Maths well (and perhaps a bit that is not KS2 Maths depending on the school). You can use the Peter Robson books and the My Maths website. If he doesn't have a good grasp of fractions, decimals and percentages then the Carol Vorderman site is good for this. I didn't use it for DS but am doing for DD as she is not good at Maths. If she ends up at the Comp then having done the extra Maths will help her there.

Papers to prepare for GL assessment type VR are : Letts (the new ones, the old ones are identical to the GL assessment pack), Gl assessment, IPS, AFN, Tutors and Susan Daughtrey (but not Susan Daughtrey Bright Sparks).

The test papers/books should not cost you more than £50 over the 18 months. If you have little money, don't bother with the Carol Vorderman as it is expensive.

Ignore people who say that if you have to prepare you will struggle in the school. DS prepared with me at home and he is in top set so has not struggled. I do not know of any child in the school who didn't prepare at home or with a tutor. I know many children who had a tutor and didn't get in. I know many children who didn't have a tutor and got in.

breadandbutterfly Sat 30-Jul-11 16:55:48

Nonsense - you can do it without a tutor and it needn't take 18 months.

I tutored myy dd for 6 months and she passed. You don't have to be a genius - it's only aimed at 11 year olds after all - either to tutor or to pass.

Agree with recommendation to look at 11+ website for tips on your area. I'd recomend doing a practice test early on, just to see how your ds does and then go through it with them to find out why they got it wrong eg ran out of time, didn't understand the question, haven't learnt topic yet (eg lots of yr 6 maths in my area) - then tailor your tutoring accordingly.

About 1.5 hrs/week over a year should be plenty.

In my experience, those kids tutored by parents did better than those with paid tutors - no tutor cares as much as you do. Plus it massively improved my relationship with my dd - she really appreciated the quality 1-1 time, and it was good for her to realise that mum isn't a complete idiot after all. wink Whatever the result, it's worth doing, as although stressful it was a good experience. Also allowed me to pick up on areas where her school had done bugger all - I was really shocked by the slapdashness they had let her get away with - instilling the need to present work so you (let alone others) could read it, to double-check work and not assume one never made a mistake, to follow the established rules rather than invent your own for the hell of it confused - all these were the real areas I had to work on, and that I hope will stay with her, when the details of verbal reasoning question types have long since been forgotten. smile

dramafluff Fri 12-Aug-11 12:25:14

I just let my daughter do past questions (the answers are in the back) from books in WHSmiths. I had a check through and then only talked to her about it if I felt she was WAY off the mark with something and clearly had not understood it. I would not have considered tutors or really formal practice tests - very pressurising. She did a few timed papers towards the end just to see how it panned out. All went OK. You don't need a tutor.

MillyR Fri 12-Aug-11 14:52:38

Bread and butterfly - I didn't say you needed a tutor or that it would take 18 months, so I've no idea why you are saying that! I clearly said my DS didn't have a tutor. 18 months is for kids whose parents don't routinely help them at home anyway, by listening to them read, helping them with homework etc - I doubt the OP falls into that category.

Drama, there is no difference between tests in books and tests on paper in terms of how 'formal' or 'pressurised' they are - it is just about making sure the material you are using is the same kind as the tests in your local area. Most of the papers come in books anyway. There are different kinds of 11 plus.

IamnotStiller Mon 15-Aug-11 23:05:19

I would just add that you can do it without a tutor as long as your DS is happy to cooperate with you practising with him - something my DS found difficult (he managed to get a place at KEGS). His tutor did not overly push him, just practised and instilled confidence. One other thing I did when we started the process was to speak to DS's headteacher, who not only gave us some advice on what to practise but could give us a good idea about his academic suitability and how he would cope at such a school as a person. Another thing I found very helpful was that his tutor did a lot of mock exams - again helping confidence.

Yellowstone Tue 16-Aug-11 11:32:52

I'm with breadandbutterfly and so far seven of my DC have got in to a so-called super selective.

Please don't be deterred or worried by the MN mantra that you need a tutor to succeed, it's pernicious and not true.

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