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11+ or not?

(24 Posts)
CardyMow Sat 10-Sep-11 18:41:17

I can't afford a tutor for my DS1. We live a bus ride away from CRGS. He was assessed by his state school at age 8 as having a 'verbal IQ' of 132. He has had two awful teachers in a row, but his interest in education has been reignited by having a superb teacher this year.

DS1 wants to go to the Grammar school. How would I prepare him for the tests? SHOULD I get him to do the tests, or is it unlikely that he would get in? He is working at NC lvl 4a for English, (but IS capable of more, he didn't knuckle down last year due to a personality clash with his teacher - and he's not the only child that has had problems with this teacher, it is ongoing for years). He is working at NC lvl 5b in Maths. These levels are end of Y4 levels. I don't really know how that compares to the average, as my older dc, DD, has SN, and is working below those levels at 13yo.

His birthday is in the Easter holidays, so he is 'mid-year' IYSWIM.

I have tried to register on the 11+ forum, but when I go to log in, it is saying that my details are incorrect, but when I try to re-register, it is saying that those details are already in use?

What could I do to give my DS1 the best chance of getting into the school he wants to go to? I know that Essex doesn't do NV reasoning - which is a shame as he is quite strong on that! I have the age 9-10 Letts VR 10-minute practice book, and he is getting 78-89% on those, but that's only been since the last week of the Summer holidays.

My Nan actually tutors for the 11+, but in Herts rather than Essex, and she is going to email some exercises for him. The problem being that she is unsure what to focus on in Essex.

So, does anyone know if I'm barking up the wrong tree getting DS1 to sit the 11+ based on his NC levels etc? And if I'm not, then what resources would be best to help him out?

Sorry for long post!

CardyMow Sat 10-Sep-11 18:43:19

Forgot to say - he has just started Y5. He would be sitting the 11+ in November 2012.

Oh - and how do you even apply for your dc to sit the 11+? I have NO idea, as when I sat mine, the whole year group sat it.

LynetteScavo Sat 10-Sep-11 18:48:50

I'm not in your area, but I would imagine his school would give you all the info (but not until the summer term around here) All the info should be on the LA website (if you search hard enough!)

His levels sound like he's in with a decent chance of being offered a grammar place. But then I know of able children not gaining a grammar place and middle of the class children being offered a place. If you don't put him in for it, you will never know if he would pass or not. And if you decided you didn't want him to go to the grammar school, it would be easier to transfer to another school, than the other way round.

racingheart Sat 10-Sep-11 19:26:59

He sounds very well in with a chance. Level 5 in yr 4 is outstanding. Level 4a is strong.

Try re-joining 11+ forum from scratch using a new password. They really do know everything, right down to specific details about the exact school you are trying for.

CardyMow Sat 10-Sep-11 20:13:25

I did that - it came up with the message 'email address already in use'. I only have one email account.

I know his English is slightly weaker than his Maths - his Maths abilities outstrip mine tbh. What books should he be reading?

racingheart Sun 11-Sep-11 00:05:34

Loudlass, does it ask if you've forgotten your password when you try to log in? If so, they email it and you can start again. Or can you contact them direct and ask them to look into it. It really is a good resource. Worth setting up a new hotmail or yahoo free email account for, just so you can log in, tbh.

kayah Sun 11-Sep-11 00:12:23

they gave this:

as a recommended list of books

maybe your nan cour read that forum for you?

kayah Sun 11-Sep-11 00:17:21

looking at them - we used some in Sutton Grammar schools

bright sparks

one post says :
"VR test uses questions from the 21 type stable.

Please remember that as there is only 1 VR test, there will only be approx 12 types on the paper, however that 12 will be chosen from the 21.

Papers that cover the 21 types include: IPS, The Tutors, Susan Daughtrey [Bright Sparks Series ONLY] Walsh. "

CardyMow Sun 11-Sep-11 00:19:01

It didn't ask if I'd forgotten my password (which is unlikely as I use the same one for everything - which I know is daft, but otherwise I'd be forgetting it!). And I've searched the site and can't find a 'contact us' bit anywhere. <<Grrr>> I will set up a separate email account in the morning and try again, I think!

kayah Sun 11-Sep-11 00:23:01

"Bond books are very good for English and maths. Lots of tests, you can start with easier papers and work up, reasonably cheap. VR needs to be multiple choice and 21 types. The VR thread on this site is very useful. Good luck."

"We did Bond books from Jan yr 5, but only 1/2 papers a week until the summer, then increased to 1 of each subject per week & finished off from mid September onwards with actual past papers. I wouldn't do actual papers until then, they are pretty tough & can demoralise if they're not ready. Preparing DD2 for this year's exam now.
Do your homework and plan your intended progress, this forum is great for advice & the CSSE site tells you what you need to know. Lots of other resources on the internet too.
Be prepared that your child will get peer pressure from those that are being tutored - they all compare notes in the playground & there is the urban myth that you can't get in without a tutor !"

from threads there

confidence Sun 11-Sep-11 12:15:18


It's very important that you find out first of all the precise requirements for your borough / school. Is the test devised and administered specifically by CRGS themselves? Or is it run by Essex LES as a whole, for all of their grammar schools? Find out, then contact the appropriate authority and find out what papers are included. The reason for this is that 11+ requirements vary hugely across the country, and you could waste a lot of time just working through Bond books etc. that might not actually be relevant.

Do sort out your 11plusexams forum thing. Can you ring them? That place is a gold mine of information and you'll be able to find out there where to get past papers (if possible), which commercial publications are most like the CRGS papers, etc. That would be your next step. Then get as much stuff as you can, plan a trajectory working towards it gradually over the time available, and go for it.

In the meantime, get your DC as interested as you can in reading. Don't worry too much about what he reads or what is relevant to the exam. Just get him to love it and follow his own passions. Read with him, if you don't already. Find out what kinds of books he likes and get more of them, maybe a little more advanced. Place clear restrictions on TV watching etc and have certain times of the day with quietness in the house, where you sit quietly and read and model it to him as a "normal" thing to do. Encouage him to read at the table while you're preparaing dinner - talk to him about what he's reading etc.

For maths, mastery of times tables is the basis of everything when working at speed. So before even knowing too much about the specific requirements you could spend some time really hammering this. Start from the easiest ones and work from there. Make games out of it, connected with his own interests. Do it verbally, written, in as many ways as possible. Don't stop until it's as easy as eating breakfast.

My view is that you have to approach this from the deepest level of the interests and motivation of the child. Specific exam preparation is then the final layer that sits on top of that. The fact that your DC wants to do it is a great start.

And I wrote on another thread on the subject here that IMO parental involvement, tutoring and support is far more important and effective than paid-for tutoring. A sensitive and dedicated parent will tailor things to their own child and monitor their progress much more effectively.

racingheart Mon 12-Sep-11 22:18:34

confidence, I'm going to risk sounding thick here. Not being mathmatically inclined at all, I haven't a clue how to make games from times tables, linked to my son's interests. Do you have any examples? he's getting there, but slowly.

confidence Mon 12-Sep-11 23:59:57

What's he interested in? What motivates him?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 13-Sep-11 00:31:54

Most schools have an open evening designed for yr5 pupils and parents - IIRC they recommend which type of practice paper to use at these, along with details of admissions procedure (that's probably on website). One quite important detail for familiarisation is whether they use the multiple choice type or not.

GSs tend not to really want over-tutored kids - familiarisation with the types of question over the summer prior to the 11+ should be enough for a bright enough kid. Which it sounds like your DS is - go for it!. (Our DDs GS gave a guideline that successful applicants would probably be working at level 5 at the end of yr5)

Yellowstone Tue 13-Sep-11 08:18:59

Loudlass if he's 4a/ 5b at the end of Y4 in an ordinary state primary and you're close to CRGS and he wants to go, it would be a travesty of the system not to put him in for the test.

He should fly in.

Just don't get put off by the must-have-a-tutor propaganda which dominates part of this site.

breadandbutterfly Tue 13-Sep-11 19:38:42

Seconded. He sounds like a bright lad with an excellent chance of getting in. Also do recommend getting onto the forum on the 11+ site. Incidentally, can you not read it (if not post) even if not registered??

If he's doing VR, the other 11+ site ( has some v good video tutorials for free - explain methods behind any types of questions he finds hard.

kayah Tue 13-Sep-11 23:10:36

He is bright, remember my kids tutor saying that in order to start prep for the exams a child must be level 4a at the end of year 4, otherwise there's no time to catch up (well, most of the time, I am sure there are exceptions)

racingheart Tue 13-Sep-11 23:57:45

Hi confidence,

He's interested in art, especially drawing manga style cartoons and making his own comic books. Also likes Warhammer, is an obsessive Lego builder, designs his own complex airships etc. He loves music, plays piano and loves karate. I haven't a clue how to translate any of this into maths games!

CardyMow Wed 14-Sep-11 00:14:00

Yellowstone - Journey to CRGS is one bus, 40 mins in morning, 30 in afternoon, from outside my front door, to the stop right outside CGRS.

BreadandButterfly - I can read on there, but not post.

I have tried to get on there, but my lack of technological ability is hampering me somewhat. I have never set up an email address - my Ex-P set up my current one for me about 8 years ago. I do not have the first clue how to! blush. So until I have had time to work out how to set up a new email address, I think I am unable to re-register.

I have spoken to DS1's class teacher (also the deputy head) and he told me that DS1 is more than able to pass the 11+. He is going to talk to the HT to help direct me with suitable practice materials, and the HT will give DS1 some 1-2-1 time to teach him how to use the formats of the papers like multiple choice etc (VR is Multiple choice). I am shock at the literacy exam from last year though - apparently the dc got given a section of Captain Corelli's Mandolin to read and answer questions about.

And primary schools don't seem to even do simple book reports like I had to when I was at school. I think I am going to have to dredge my memory banks and teach DS1 how to do this! DS1's teacher admitted to me that the dc are taught how to pass the SATS, not how to pass the 11+, and it was totally different skills needed to do so.

Racingheart - With DS1 I found that I could work his obsession with Pokemon to my advantage where times tables were concerned - i.e. If there are 9 pokemon trainers, and each has 6 pokemon, how many pokemon are there altogether? Then when he answered 54, I would tell him yes, 54, so 9x6=54. It helped him, anyway.

Though I don't think that would help now, given the fact that his maths ability outstrips my own, they have a special teacher brought into the primary to 'stretch' him and one other lad in his class. They have been doing a 3-day project to do with number patterns - Fibonacci?? DS1 knew what he was on about, anyway.

<<Sound of wind whistling over my head!>>

CardyMow Wed 14-Sep-11 00:15:50

Racingheart - I forgot to say, maybe that approach would work wrt your ds's interest in Warhammer, to do with groups of the little figure things? (Not knowing much about Warhammer other than what I have seen in the gaming shop in my town...>>

GrimmaTheNome Wed 14-Sep-11 09:47:24

Great you're getting support from the school!

That bus journey is similar to my DDs, it should be fine - its quite normal for good grammars.

Yellowstone Wed 14-Sep-11 10:13:02

Loudlass, that bus journey is standard here too. I have to say I'm amazed at the support from your school: DD4 is in a tiny school with Y3,4,5 and 6 all taught by one teacher together in a single class with no chance of a special teacher to stretch, not in a million years. And help from the HT! You're very lucky indeed.

kayah I'd have thought 4a at the end of Y4 was on the very comfortable side. I'd have thought your tutor was overstating it there.

CardyMow Wed 14-Sep-11 17:21:59

Fairly large primary - 420 pupils, and they spend most of their SEN budget on G&T...believe me, I know, two of my other dc have SEN, and get sod all help. They spend that money on the dc that are going to make their school look good...Conflicts me that DS1 benefits from money that should rightfully have been spent on my DD when she was there, and also DS2, but it's not my budget to decide how they spend the money...<<Slightly sore point...>>

CardyMow Wed 14-Sep-11 17:23:14

They got one girl into the (selective based on 11+) Girls' high school from last years' Y6.

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