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can you pass the eleven plus without tutoring? any experience.

(32 Posts)
iamnotaprincess Thu 13-Mar-14 20:19:48

We have suddenly decided to enter ds for the eleven plus next Sept. He is a year 5 with level 5 in both maths and literacy and on target to get level 6. He is super geeky. Do you think we are setting him up for failure if we don't go down the tutoring route? I will get him to do a few papers in the summer, is that sufficient? Dp and myself are not British, so this whole thing a bit new. Honest answers appreciated.

hmc Thu 13-Mar-14 20:25:51

It's possible of course - but most children are tutored so if you don't tutor it isn't exactly a level playing field

IShallCallYouSquishy Thu 13-Mar-14 20:26:09

Well both my sister and I went to grammar school without having an ounce of tuition.

Our parents bought us a book of "practice papers" which we did a few of, but never had a tutor or anything like that. So it's perfectly possible.

SanityClause Thu 13-Mar-14 20:28:12

DD1 is at a superselective, and had no tutoring.

She did do plenty of practise papers, though.

Have a look at the elevenplusexams website for suitable materials.

TheWomanWithTheMysteriousLump Thu 13-Mar-14 20:35:49

It depends on the area. If you're in a place where 25% of the children go to grammar then he may well be fine with no tutoring but a fair bit of practice on sample papers. If you're in a "super selective" area then it's a bit more chancy, but some children do still get in with home practice alone.

purpleroses Thu 13-Mar-14 20:37:53

My DD has just passed a selective school entrance exam without tutoring - or at least without any paid tutoring. I did do quite a bit with her myself though - went through past papers, checked over the syllabus, etc. There were a few holes in her maths, and she needed to be taught how to cope with an exam that really stretched her and where she was up against the clock. Getting a Level 5 in a SAT L3-5 paper requires a high score in an easy paper, which requires quite a different approach from a reasonable score in a much harder paper. DD also needed to be taught what length of answers to give in English comprehension paper, and how not to use the exact words from the passage if you are asked to explain something. That all seemed to be new to her (and she too had a L5 in English and maths at the end of Y5)

And I also took out a subscription to Bond online which do the verbal/non-verbal reasoning tests. They were really helpful and she said after the exam very similar to what she was given in the exam.

Level 5 at the end of Y5 and on target for a Y6 by the end of Y6 is very good. I would guess he'd be likely to do tell as long as he's got some idea what to expect from the exam.

HanSolo Thu 13-Mar-14 20:38:10

Depends on how selective your selective school is. In our area hundreds of children that pass no not get places, because there are so many going for so few places (about 15 to 1).
If you've made the decision now, why would you not prepare him? It's not about being bright, it's about exam timings, performing under pressure etc etc.

iamnotaprincess Thu 13-Mar-14 20:41:29

Gosh, the eleven plus forum scared me stiff with parents starting the tutoring in year 4! I feel dp and I have been a bit lazy and have not organised ourselves early enough. About 1100 kids apply for our grammar school of choice and they take 180. So to me it seems super competitive. Paying for tutoring not possible though. I got him to do a couple of papers and he gets between 80% and 90% but no idea if he is speedy enough...really don't know what to do...

SweetPenelope Thu 13-Mar-14 20:41:30

Doing practice papers is tutoring. Just because you don't pay for a professional tutor does not mean that you're not tutoring them yourself. When your child make mistakes in the papers, do you explain where they went wrong? Well that's tutoring. So when people say their child passed and they only had one practice paper waved in their general direction, it's usually bull.

I really wouldn't put a child into the exams without at least doing papers to get used to they types of questions. Also it is a good idea to do a mock examination somewhere. Most children have never been in a big hall by themselves, finding their desk, preparing their answer sheets etc.

Officially, the exams cover the NC syllabus to end of Year 6, but they do it at the beginning of Year 6 so you need to make sure they have covered the work.

You can get practice papers/Bond books etc from Smiths or from Amazon.

My son is going to a superselective in September. He's very bright, but he also worked hard to get a place. It's very competitive to get into these schools.

If you're talking about the schools where they take the top 20-25%, then you may get away with a few practice papers.

TheWomanWithTheMysteriousLump Thu 13-Mar-14 20:45:21

The 1100 number may not be as scary as it looks if they're all applying for the same four grammar schools. Speed is important - but practice will solve that - all the papers you can buy will give you suggested times.

iamnotaprincess Thu 13-Mar-14 20:45:26

And I have no idea where his holes are..

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Mar-14 20:45:55

Can you get in without having a professional tutor? Yes.

Can you get in without any preparation or familiarisation? Unlikely, however bright you are. Most children do quite a lot of practice which increases the competition.

It is completely possible to prepare him yourself in six months. Start with half an hour a week and build up to more as time goes on, until he can do a paper under exam conditions and finish it with time for checking.

Both DS1 & DS2 have found the skills I taught them in 11+ prep very useful at secondary school. Logical thinking, exam technique etc.

purpleroses Thu 13-Mar-14 20:47:36

Do the practice papers you're using not say on them how long is allowed for them? If not try some out from other schools that do - you can find them online. You find the holes by marking the papers for him and seeing where he went wrong, then exploring with him whether this was something he didn't understand or just a careless mistake.

iamnotaprincess Thu 13-Mar-14 20:47:57

Sorry, yes, I would tutor myself. I am just trying to work out if turning our summer into an 11plus project is a good idea, or if it is just too late and should just put my heart at peace. I will get some papers and get him to practice a bit and see if I have a nervous breakdown in the process.

iamnotaprincess Thu 13-Mar-14 20:49:45

Thank you so much, all sensible advice. I will give it a go and start with 1 hour a week.

purpleroses Thu 13-Mar-14 20:51:07

I only started a few months before, and really it wasn't an unpleasant time at all. It was nice to get familiar with what DD could do and not do, and help her learn to do things better. And as someone else has just said, the exam technique and skills you teach them will be useful whether or not they pass. I wouldn't cancel any of your other summer plans, just fit a bit of practice papers, etc in round the edges.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Mar-14 21:08:53

You don't have to give the whole summer holidays over to it! grin Just get your DC to tackle it like they would a music exam. Short, regular practice, building up to more intense prep closer to the test. Depending on what subjects you need to prepare, Bond do workbooks of ten minute tests which we found useful.

saintlyjimjams Thu 13-Mar-14 21:10:16

Ds2 passed without us paying for a tutor

We bought past papers & bond books & he practiced those.

Will do the same with ds3

saintlyjimjams Thu 13-Mar-14 21:11:12

We started with the bond 10 minute tests - nice because they're ten minutes smile worked up to longer practice papers.

Cretaceous Thu 13-Mar-14 21:54:01

What SanityClaus said was right.

"Gosh, the eleven plus forum scared me stiff with parents starting the tutoring in year 4! "
Head right back there grin It's an 11-plus website, so that's what they talk about, so they are bound to seem obsessed. There are plenty of parents who don't start until year 5. Once you start looking into it yourself, you'll realise it's not so scary at all.

It's important to get the correct advice about the actual school you are going to apply to. Different schools have different types of exams. There's no point in wasting your hour a week on the wrong type of papers, for example. Also, I would go into it wholeheartedly, as your DS will enjoy doing the papers - that's if he wants to get in as well. There's no point in dabbling. Why waste your time?

dils75 Thu 13-Mar-14 23:07:59

This is the topic of the day in our household as well today. Had a meeting with dd1's headmistress and it now seems like dd1 will be doing the 11+ tests for our local school. We are going to start off with tutoring ourselves and take it from there.

longingforsomesleep Thu 13-Mar-14 23:44:22

SweetPenelope - exactly!!! It always infuriates me when parents say their child passed the 11+ without any tutoring - ignoring the fact that they tutored their child themselves which is exactly the same thing!

One of my son's friends passed about 7 years ago with no tutoring (paid or parental). We are in a selective (not super selective area). But it is unusual. I did practice papers with my kids and it wouldn't have occurred to me to start doing them until about 4 or 5 months before the exam (and all 3 passed) so I think you have plenty time OP.

Many people say, if they can't pass without tutoring they'll struggle at grammar. But the 11+ is a very blunt instrument for selecting children. I think you've got to decide yourself if your child is grammar school material (and it sounds very much like yours is OP) and then just do whatever you need to do to get them through over the 11+ hurdle.

I would also say that attitude is as much - if not - more of an indicator of success at grammar school than performance in the 11+. Of my 3, one got an incredibly high score, one got a very good score, one passed by the skin of his teeth. Guess which one gets consistently high marks in exams and has been told to aim for the best universities? The one who just scraped through. The other two have more natural ability - but don't have the same motivation and competitiveness.

It sounds like your local grammar is super selective OP. Super selectives are single schools who run their own exam and take those with the highest scores.

Ordinary selectives are where the exam is administered by the local authority for all the selective schools in their area. The local authority determines the pass mark and places are allocated based on distance from the schools people have applied to.

steppemum Thu 13-Mar-14 23:56:44

we did DIY tutoring, beginning in jan year 5, one evening every 2 weeks and then after easter once a week.

Practice papers, going over the different types of verbal reasoning questions and so on.

ds passed for a superselective. he is now, in year 6 where you ds is in year 5.

my niece did a preparation course for one week, in august before year 6, and then exam in sept. She passed for the best grammar in area.

Go back to the 11+ forum, and look under regions and then find out what the requirements are for your area. Our region had a 'how to do DIY tutoring' which gave you all the things you need to cover and a suggested timetable. You can also get lots of information, eg what sort of level is needed for the school you want.

With a bright dc you are not too late and stand a good chance, it is totally possible to do it yourself.

HayzE75 Fri 14-Mar-14 00:13:09

I know people whose children did test papers at home, more for technique. They all got in. Schools are becoming increasingly aware about tutoring meaning some children can struggle with the pace once they are in the school. In my area there has been talk of setting questions pupils cannot revise for to ensure they get the right children! So instead of a piece of verbal reasoning asking for something that shows creative thought! Maybe check the exam formats in your area are staying the same.

RiversideMum Fri 14-Mar-14 07:08:27

My neighbour's daughter got into a superselective without tutoring. She did some past papers. I think very clever kids will sail through. The tutoring clearly causes an issue for the more borderline kids who get by with familiarity with the test structure rather than intellect.

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