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11+ verbal reasoning and maths

(34 Posts)
goldie81 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:48:34

help!!! I'm stressing already about my daughter doing exams in sept! How much work should she be doing??!! She's reasonably intelligent but i obviously want her 2get into a good school!

difficultpickle Sun 14-Apr-13 11:17:45

We are in an 11+ area but ds won't be doing it. I'm amazed at how many people I know reserved tutors from year 2. Some started tutoring in year 4 and everyone I know has tutors lined up to start at the beginning of year 5. This is the same whether the children are at private or state school (the private school doesn't prep for 11+ but does do CATs to assess whether the dcs are capable of passing 11+).

Before ds changed school and meant he wouldn't do the 11+ I only knew one friend who had planned 11+ tutors. After ds moved I was amazed at the number of friends who then confessed they had booked tutors. I thought I was pretty close to some of these people so I was surprised at the level of secrecy about it. Ds is committed to staying at his new school until 13 so I'm pleased we won't have to face this.

In my day (over 37 years ago!) we did three practice papers in class and that was it. No tutors, no mention of anyone getting tutored (I'm not sure they even existed back then). It was viewed as an exam to decide what was the most suitable school and there was no shame attached with failing and no reward for passing. I can't believe what it has become now. We are in Bucks and the council has revised the exam to be tutor proof but everyone is still going ahead with tutoring.

happygardening Sun 14-Apr-13 10:40:34

Oops posted on the wrong thread by mistake.

happygardening Sun 14-Apr-13 09:30:05

Christ's Hospital which is virtually all full boarding from yr 7 and does sports scholarships and offers means tested bursaries to all its applicants.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 11-Apr-13 08:31:51

allagory: if you think the academic selection test is a lottery, what is your opinion of the music selection process?

It wasn't until I'd seen two cohorts through this that I realised quite how arbitrary it actually is.

gazzalw Thu 11-Apr-13 08:23:10

I think you just need to chill. If you have an able child they will get through the 11+ exams as long as they have some practice behind them. We started in March with DS doing the 11+ (and other selective) exams twixt early September and mid-November of the same year.

He wasn't the most willing of students so we certainly didn't 'over-do' the prep - he was doing Bond-online with half a maths/English/VR/VR test every couple of days too right up until the summer hols. But we didn't teach him per se - it was practice and just going over the questions/maths he didn't seem to get.

FWIW I think there was a reasonable amount of maths that they hadn't yet covered in KS2 syllabus (by the beginning of Year 6) but some schools might be more ahead than others on such things so you can only really find out thro' practice.

We slightly buried our heads in the sand about DS's English (wrongly so with the benefit of hindsight), so did not really concentrate on essay-writing etc....However, it became evident that when DS needs to, he is quite capable of pulling a good essay out of the bag (just that for most homework at primary school he couldn't be bothered to!) so all was well.

DS is now at a super-selective. I think what clinched it for him was less the six months' practice of the different components than speed and not getting stressed about exams. They are however less easy to 'teach' than the core skills required of the tests.

I think that the 11+Forum website is scary indeed. Some parents seem to expect the earth of their DCs in preparing for the tests. It is really not fair to put 10 year olds under that much pressure and the sense of disappointment is no doubt ramped up significantly, the more there is riding on a positive outcome :-(.

As DS passed three 11+ exams we are considered to be 'experts' by other parents at the primary school our DCs attend(ed). We are not. I would certainly not sanction prepping them for years in advance. I think six months to a year is long enough. Certainly by the time DS came to do the 11+ exams he was really fed up with the practice (even though it still constituted only about an hour of his summer hols' days) and was making loads of careless mistakes in his papers. As we all know from our own experiences, one reaches saturation point and anything thereafter can confuse and be counter-productive.

What I would advocate is starting with the Bond books and then moving to other worthy exam prep closer to the exams. It also helped that the Susan Daughtrey prep books and others had shorter tests in them so DS saw them as more appealing (and was therefore more receptive to them) in the final push to the exams!

Good luck and I don't envy any of you. We have a 7 year old DD who has all this ahead of her..... ;-(! And we've worked out that she will be prepping for 11+ as big bro' is doing his GCSEs!

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 11-Apr-13 07:53:18

enlondon: if she understands the meaning of the word then I think that is enough. DS1 went through a phase of explaining the meaning of each word within the context of Star Wars! smile

allagory Thu 11-Apr-13 00:42:57

We are doing same test..but not til next year. We'll start tutoring soon. I know others who have already started. I know very bright kids who did not get in this year but did get offers of scholarships to independent schools, so I think you have to see it as a bit of a lottery: there is only 1 place for every 6 children that apply.

There is a 11+ Vocab app advertised that which covers the following, which might be a good way to start:

Compound Words
Spelling Errors
Alphabetical Order

enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 23:28:32

A question about vocabulary. I read with my daughter and ask her for the meaning of certain tricky words. Is it important that she is able to define them or say a synonymous word or is explaining in a relatively lengthy way good enough? That is what she does. She may know what it means and give me examples etc but she can usually not define it.
Should I work on that?

steppemum Tue 09-Apr-13 00:13:29

the website is scary, but go to the help section and look for DIY tutoring. There are some helpful outlines of what you needs to do and how to do it. they suggest which books eg there is a good book which has an explanation of all the VR question types and how to do them. Very straightforward

ThreeBeeOneGee Mon 08-Apr-13 16:24:28

There aren't any other grounds left. After the academic places and siblings, there aren't enough places left at our local schools for all of the local children, some of whom end up having to go to schools miles away.

OhDearConfused Mon 08-Apr-13 13:41:08

i found the 11plus website scary - a seriously scary site. Not for the faint-hearted. Whilst I don't deny its competitive and that some preparation for these tests is needed (by way of familiarisation, timing of papers, and so on), the people there take it to extremes.

ThreeBeeOneGee - if all the schools have partial selection, why worry about it? Won't there be a decent enough cohort of bright children that it doesn't matter if you get in on other grounds?

Nerfmother Sun 07-Apr-13 14:35:38

beegee I don't envy you. Its like a snowball - I just can't get my head round it, and I don't have time to do as much as I need to, when you look at everyone else. Awful system.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 07-Apr-13 09:15:32

"It was like their job was getting through the 11 plus?"

Yep, that sounds like me a couple of years ago. In our area, it's not a case of choosing between a grammar school or a comprehensive school. Most of our comprehensives are partially selective (including two out of our three nearest schools).

So to get a place at the local school, DS1 had to either live within 300-400m (we don't), have a sibling there (he doesn't) or score higher than nearly all the other children in the test.

Because of this situation, most children in our area sit the test, and if a few start tutoring in Y4, then nearly everyone feels they have to. 2500 children sit the test, and at each school there are fewer than 50 academic places.

Nerfmother Sun 07-Apr-13 08:26:02

i found the 11plus website scary - lots of very determined parents, it was like their job was getting through the 11 plus?
anyway. i guess you have to learn the stuff in order to stand a chance.

steppemum Sat 06-Apr-13 23:21:10

do use the elevenplus website, it has lots of help.

and some of those who have tutored for 2 years will get in and then struggle. True VR should be able to be done by bright children who haven't been tutored. So familiarising them with questions and practising up to speed is most important thing

DaffodilsAhoy Sat 06-Apr-13 23:02:28

THIS is good for vocab.

Rainbowinthesky Sat 06-Apr-13 22:29:53

Oh, don't worry. My blood has run cold numerous times over the last year when I hear the extent to which other people are going to with their dc who are the same age as mine and going for the same school.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 06-Apr-13 22:28:30

I made a 'vocab book' (just a notebook with A-Z indexed pages) and then whenever they read to me (three times a week required by school) I would ask them to define two or three of the longer words. If there were words that they were unable to define correctly, I made them look those words up and write the definitions in the book.

Reading books written more than a generation ago really helps with the sort of vocabulary that comes up in these tests. Swallows & Amazons, that sort of thing. The vocabulary they need to learn is a post-war middle class one, as that's the background of most of the people who write the questions. If necessary, they can use one of those electronic dictionary bookmarks to look words up while they're reading.

Nerfmother Sat 06-Apr-13 22:24:44

Rainbow - thank you for taking my comment in the right way, I meant personally chills me (ie I'm not doing enough) not that you are wrong?

goldie81 Sat 06-Apr-13 22:14:01

Wow thanks For all that info!! Vocal is the biggest issue- so have found list on elevenplus website so think will try working through that & see how we go!

Rainbowinthesky Sat 06-Apr-13 22:09:30

Dd is in a crap school though which is struggling and has had a string of supply teachers this whole year. She is already hugely disadvantaged to others.

Nerfmother Sat 06-Apr-13 22:06:32

Actually, it could be an hour in a good week. But I only bought books a few weeks ago.

Nerfmother Sat 06-Apr-13 22:05:15

God, posts like rainbow's chill me (sorry) - ds is yr5 and I have only just realised that the tutor thing and coaching is not a myth. I don't have time to do all this on top of homework and my job - extra maths I'd be happy with but learning and practising a completely random thing is so unfair - non verbal and verbal without practise would just be ridiculous.

Op - take heart. I am managing to fit half an hour once a week in between everything else.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 06-Apr-13 22:04:30

Forgot to say that with the Maths, you might want to make sure she has covered all the topics at school. The paper only tests KS2 material, but at our children's school the teachers were 'saving' some of the topics to do in Y6. Not helpful when the test is in the middle of September. I used the Bond 'How to do 11+ Maths' book to find gaps in knowledge.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 06-Apr-13 21:59:52

Ah, the S.W.Herts consortium. As it happens, I'm something of a (self-proclaimed) expert.

Maths: 50 questions in 50 minutes. None of them hard. Unfortunately this means that the average score is very high. In order to get a mark of the WBGS/WGGS/Parmiters ilk, your daughter really needs to be getting 47/50 or more. Accuracy and checking are vital. There should be plenty of time for both.

VR: 100 questions in 45 minutes, which is a lot. They need to be quick on this one as well as accurate. The papers are Moray House. According to DCs who have been through it, the closest papers in style and content are Athey. Bond books are fine for practice but don't have the full range of question types so a range of papers would be best. Susan Daughtrey's 'Technique and Practice' books are pretty thorough. Most marks are lost on the vocabulary questions. The average mark on this paper isn't as high, but your daughter needs to be getting about 85/100 or higher to be in for a chance at a place at one of the schools mentioned above.

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