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How are YOUR stress levels prepping for entrance exams???

(25 Posts)
minstrel75 Wed 31-Oct-12 01:05:41

.....my nerves already feel shredded and we have months to go! Someone described the whole thing as a sickening roller coaster and thats exactly what it feels like. DC is v strong in maths (part of g&t group, selected for enrichment class at top local prep) but bit average in English so some days does well in practice papers and I feel fine, while others (like today) DC gets 80% and 68% in two VR papers and I feel like we might as well give up and opt out of selective schools all together (although I, of course don't tell Dc this!).

Please let me know its not just me and that everybody feels this way at some point. And also that it all works out in the end.......

Any help in regaining my sanity much appreciated!

TIA.

Moominmammacat Wed 31-Oct-12 08:29:20

It all comes out in the wash. I had one night feeling as if I would explode, early in the process and then I thought I would be no use to anyone if I carried on in that way so I opted out (so much so that I only noticed one exam a few days before). DS got three super-selectives, went to a very good one and came out with pretty similar results to primary school friends who'd gone to the local comp. There's a place for everyone somewhere and it's up to them to make the best of it. Good luck!

Dancergirl Wed 31-Oct-12 14:09:29

We've been through it last year and will be doing it again this year. After everyone told me how stressful it was....I found it not at all!

Sorry OP but I really think parents make FAR too much of this. Yes a good secondary school is important and we all want that for our dc, but parental support throughout secondary school plays just as big, if not bigger, a part in our dc's success at school.

All you can do is prepare your dc as well as can but tbh even with thorough preparation, if your child has an off day on the day of the exam, that could be it! Nothing you can do.

And if your child doesn't get in to a particular school, it probably means they weren't right for that school.

Sickening roller coaster...??! Just a tad OTT OP. Get some perspective.

Sulfur Wed 31-Oct-12 14:12:36

I am not doing anything special with my Y6 DD. Should I?

I think she needs to write a story and do a maths paper.

breadandbutterfly Wed 31-Oct-12 15:24:13

Agree with dancergirl- and moonminmamma - bright kids can do well anywhere and good parenting is as/more important than school.

Don't stress! If it's the right school, they'll get in and if it's not they won't.

BooksandBrunch Wed 31-Oct-12 23:56:21

Minstrel -Your post did make me laugh. I was there last year. Body still trying to expel the damage the stress caused. I only have one son and swear my body couldn't cope with doing it again.

Yes, for us it did work out and son in a great school. Not sure if totally agree that the school doesn't matter. My ds was in an awful primary school and besides his friends, hated it. It felt like I was dragging him head first to do anything work wise.

The school he's in now; it's like I have a different kid. He talks about the great teaching. How he loves French - hated it in primary school. He can't decide whether maths or English is his favourite topic - once again, he talks about the great teachers for both of the topics. And to top it all, he himself get's up in the morning a bit of study during half term - without me saying a darn word. It's a miracle I tell you.

Perhaps I'm one of the lucky ones, but my ds just hated being in an enviroment where the teacher spent the entire time on behavour related issues.

I reiterate - Yes it sure did just work out and made all the worry worthwhile.

picturesinthefirelight Thu 01-Nov-12 00:01:05

Dd has already had her offer. Children at the attached junior no longer have to take the entrance exam which is held in November as long as they cinsustently get good results in their yearly tests.

She has decided not to apply for any other schools (she had been considering vocational performing arts schools)

difficultpickle Thu 01-Nov-12 08:11:52

I read an article in the Evening Standard (London evening paper) that said people spend up to £50/hr on tuition for entrance exams and can spend as much as £10,000 overall. I thought that was rather unbelievable. 200 hours prep seems a ridiculous amount let alone the hourly cost.

trinity0097 Thu 01-Nov-12 11:46:38

Don't forget that it is your child taking the tests not you, it is your child that will do any additional revision not you!

We always get some parents each year that get so anxious about the tests/revision themselves they forget that actually it's the child that is being assessed for a place at the school not themselves!

Beanbagz Thu 01-Nov-12 11:56:02

DD has done a few practice papers at school and she has a couple to do over the holidays. She's done the maths one already and planning on doing the English tomorrow.

Other than that we haven't done any extra work & definately no tutoring.

I feel quite calm about it but i can see she's still making silly mistakes and i know she's better than this when she's concentrating. She did a L5 Maths SATs paper this year (in Y5) and only got 1 question wrong in the whole paper.

My only concern is that we are putting all our eggs in one basket by her only taking one entrance exam (to the school we & she really wants to go to).

changejustforyou Thu 01-Nov-12 21:03:22

well, I suppose it also matters whether your primary school does some practice papers or not, ours don't. I think it's useful to get them to at ;least get them to do some VR tests, so they know what it's about.
More stressed about all the other afterschool activities, how to fit them in.

minstrel75 Fri 02-Nov-12 00:21:44

Thanks for the empathy, understanding and taking to task! Realise my op was slightly hysterical and am now feeling much calmer and sanguine about it all. Think that my Dc is suffering from practice paper fatigue and is making silly mistakes because of boredom and a lack of urgency as a result of doing them fairly frequently (weekly). Have now decided to take a step back from the papers and just talk through some stuff so dc can have a bit of a breather.

Am sure I'll have other barmy moments before this process is over though even though I do deep, down believe it will all work out for the best and that dc will end up at the school that fits best.

Interesting that you have decided to only sit one exam beanbagz. We are unsure how many to put dc down for, do we spread our bets (5/6 exams which I know some kids do but seems a lot and risks exam fatigue) or just focus on the 3 favourites?? What was your thinking in going for just the one?

NellyJob Fri 02-Nov-12 00:27:13

sorry but I think it's all a bit OTT - poor kids - so much pressure for the parents' own gratification. or something.

Hamishbear Fri 02-Nov-12 00:28:32

I thought that most schools used the independent schools exam these days so not sure how so many different exams are possible? In North London I believe you sit same exam whether it's Habs, Channjng or St Albans?

Some independent schools offer their own exam but often don't release past papers. Is it better to do one consortium exam & a schools own paper elsewhere to increase odds?

Also I thought independent school exam at 11 was known as CE - as at 13 - is this not the case?

Thanks

minstrel75 Fri 02-Nov-12 01:11:26

Bit judgy nelly! I know it may sound a bit unfair to be putting kids through exams when they could go to the local (in our case failing) state school with no pressure but to assume that's its all because parents want to show off and get a bit of reflected glory is a bit harsh, certainly based on the majority of parents I know who just want their children to access the great experiences, exposure and education that a lot of these selectives can offer. Do you have a different experience or is your view merely based on daily mail stereotypes?

NellyJob Fri 02-Nov-12 01:27:41

ffs what does the Daily Mail have to do with it exactly?
how did accusations of reading the DM become an unthinking insult?

minstrel75 Fri 02-Nov-12 01:36:29

Because the notion that kids are only entered for selective schools because of the ego of their parents is a completely unthinking stereotype (churned out by, among others, the DM) that bears little resemblance to the parents I know. You didn't respond to the specific question though. Is your view based on personal experience or received wisdom?

NellyJob Fri 02-Nov-12 01:49:17

oh right...well I wouldn't know about that because I don't really read it (closely grin).
Obviously I touched a nerve, for which I must apologise.
I did detect a touch of 'showing off' in your OP about your g and t kid at a 'top prep', how you might as well 'give up' when he only scores 80 per cent, etc....
In my personal experience...well there's no choice where we live, it's the local school or nothing - not sure whether that's a good thing or not....

difficultpickle Fri 02-Nov-12 08:11:58

Hamish there are lots of schools that do 11 entry but as you pointed out and I posted previously on this thread these wont be CE exams. Entry at 11 is far more straightforward as the amount of papers they have to do is far fewer. Having said that at 13 you'd expect to do only one CE exam and maybe a scholarship exam at most. I'm staggered that some parents think it is acceptable for their 10/11 yr olds to do as many as 6 entrance exams.

difficultpickle Fri 02-Nov-12 08:16:53

Hamish apologies I posted my comment about CE at 13 on another thread where someone had posted that the age 11 exams were CE blush

Beanbagz Fri 02-Nov-12 08:20:00

It was as musch about cost minstrel75 as it was about not putting DD under more pressure. I don't see the point of paying £25-£75 for her to sit an exam for a school she has no intention of going to. But i have a meeting at school this month so they might advise me otherwise.

Prep school has a 100% sucess rate in securing a place at chosen schools so we'd be pretty unlucky for her to be the one child not to get offered a place!

Hamishbear Fri 02-Nov-12 10:05:51

Confused - at 11 plus it's one paper (ISEB set) - Eng, Maths & sometimes Science - for many independent schools? What do you call it for Channing, St Albans High etc, 11 plus? I thought CE but not sure. Main intake at 11.

clb Fri 02-Nov-12 10:19:52

In London, the exam girls take at 10/11 for private schools is called the 11+, but it's a different exam from that girls may take for grammar schools.

Almost all the London private girls' schools belong to one of two consortia for the purpose of exams, in order to cut down on the number of exams a girl has to take. Each consortium sets papers in English and Maths. Channing's in Group 2, I think, along with eg North London Collegiate and City. Habs Girls' and St Paul's Girls' set their own papers.

I don't know about St Albans, I'm afraid.

KingscoteStaff Sun 04-Nov-12 22:26:54

To be honest, once a child understands the layout of the V/NV tests, there is very little point in getting them to practise loads. Apart from anything else, they are phenominally boring and demotiviating!

Do 4 or 5, and mark them together so that your son gets to know the different types of questions, but after that the scores tend to plateau.

If your school do interviews as well, then that is what you should be concentrating on - makes supper conversation much more fun...

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 05-Nov-12 13:39:57

Hamish - there is the 11+ and then there is the entrance exam for many independent schools which is for children who will be aged 11 (plus) at entry. Most independent schools that do this refer to it as 11+ entrance though it is not THE 11+. For the independent schools that do an exam for entrance for 11 plus, it is usually 3 or 4 papers: English, Maths, then either one, other or both out of VR, NVR.

CE is taken at 13.

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