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Revision tips for CE please

(34 Posts)
inthename Fri 12-Dec-14 09:50:15

We have the books, but ds revision technique is letting him down. poor set of end of term results and I need to get his brain in gear! He's bright, capable but claims that the information 'goes out of his head', hates past papers etc etc! so, coming up against a wall of teenage angst but we need to get some solid revision done over the holidays.

Bunbaker Fri 12-Dec-14 09:54:31

What is CE?

inthename Fri 12-Dec-14 09:58:20

sorry, common entrance exams

happygardening Fri 12-Dec-14 13:16:08

Back off? Just a suggestion not a criticism of you personally. My DS started revision for the harder and sat earlier Win Coll entrance exam in the Easter holidays. CE is just about learning facts and regurgitating them onto paper in June

PastSellByDate Fri 12-Dec-14 13:59:51

HI inthename:

I'd look in your region on the eleven plus forum:

DD1 passed for a grammar from ordinary comprehensive - no tutor but we did a little each week (2 hours games/ practise really Thurs evenings + weekends and extra reading nightly)...

free rice:

How many words can you make:

CGP literacy workbook Year 5 (lots of grammar/ spelling rules)

bought the set of children's classics from The Book People & read them (either DD1 reading to me or me reading to her) - discussed vocabulary (meaning of words/ word choice) & plot.

Bond 10 minute quizzes (we have all NVR/ VR/ Maths/ english here - so we did 2 each a week across a week).

NRICH maths puzzles: - upper primary

mathsfactor (we finished arithmetic school & started algebra school).

If your school subscribes to My Maths: play the games + work through NC Level 5 library (we did this gently over the summer).


by stealth:

High quality tv documentaries: science/ history/ nature/ etc....

Museum visits

Historic Houses

Theatre trips


On practice papers (which we did in the summer before the exam) - I used to add up all 4 subjects/ divide by 4 and multiply by 300 (notional possible perfect score) for an approximate score. And that more or less was spot-on for the actual score.

Don't go mad and sign up for on-line things - they loose interest.

Don't make it a battle. Explain why you think it's important but let it be their choice.

Do give them rewards for great scores or lots of good work (trip to the park/ ice cream/ tv or video game time/ movie).

Don't make it the be all and end all - there's no guarantee they'll pass.

singersgirl Fri 12-Dec-14 14:00:21

Bribery? We paid our son 50p per revision 'slot'.

Theas18 Fri 12-Dec-14 14:16:10

Stupid q but does he really understand the reasons behind the exams ? Ie this exam will determine your future completely? A good mark ( define that) will get him to school a ,a middling mark to school b amd a poor mark to c ( I assume you are set up with a spare school or two?)

If you are both in agreement that school a is where he should go then he needs to graft. Yes it's hard work, but it needs to be a slow steady climb of bit sized work till the exam. Maybe he needs help to organise his " bites"? You can't eat an elephant all at once after all! And to continue the metaphor maybe start with the toenails - the hard bits ! You might need to nibble those toe nails a few times before you eat them!

It's possible that your aims for him and his aren't the same. Ask this. He might actually prefer school b. The you need a reasoned discussion to alien your goal.

At 12/13 cause an effect should be clear. We had very little trouble with 11+ work because they knew why and where it could lead.

Good luck!

happygardening Fri 12-Dec-14 15:01:14

Thea has made a fair point does he want to go to the school you will state as you first choice in a few months? Secondly is your head actually saying he's capable of getting the % required by your first choice CE? What is the required % and at what level? Assuming it's not 70% + on all papers at level three I would worry to much. Has he ever achieved this kind of mark? Do remember very few if any fail to get the required mark for their chosen school unless they are ignoring all advise.
This is a long term, most children by now are tired and a little under the weather, all yr 8' hear about at their prep school is CE, how important it is, how it will effect their future (I'm sceptical about that frankly), every lesson since they started in Sept it's all about CE, the correct way of answering questions, what to revise etc etc. I'm not surprised your coming up against a wall of teenage angst. He's bored to tears with it.
Why don't you and he write a sensible revision time table: I don't know half and hour three times a day 5 days a week (seems a lot to me but I don't do this sort of thing) decide what to do, which individual areas etc, to look at identify areas he's unsure on and those he's confident in so he's got a good balance and just give it a go. The only thing I did was assist in the learning of Latin vocabulary, which we got from the back of a text book, and French verbs, I bought a book of amazon ?200 common French verbs, past perfect imperfect future perfect present etc (you don't need all of those for CE ask you school which ones you need) and we went through 10 a day, ditto Latin but as I said above not till the Easter hols.
I think you need to chill out and let him also chill out.

IndridCold Fri 12-Dec-14 16:47:25

I'm in complete agreement with happygardening here, leave it and let him enjoy a total rest over the Christmas holiday. If he is at prep school he will spend all of next term going over his exams, and revising and tightening everything up for the summer. If you do too much now, he will just become fed up with the whole thing.

singersgirl Fri 12-Dec-14 21:37:03

I assumed he had mocks after Christmas for which he needed to revise. Mine did.

inthename Fri 12-Dec-14 22:44:44

singer, thats where it gets confusing! They had 'soft mocks' a couple of weeks ago which he didn't do very well, but had been off school most of the week before with a stonach bug. The actual mocks aren't until march but they have been given revision packs and past papers to do over Christms. He has to get 60% at level 2

summerends Fri 12-Dec-14 23:36:21

I know that this may seem easy to say when we are not at that stage of uncertainty but I agree with HG, Indrid and Thea. Boys at that age often lack normal energy levels anyway and certainly a few weeks off may allow him time to rest and clear his brain and just give him a physical and mental boost. If he does n't seem any better by half-term you can have the chat with him then. That will give him plenty of revision time for CE. Even if he does n't do well in the mocks and starts working after Easter, there is loads of time.

goinggetstough Sat 13-Dec-14 08:29:37

I agree time off is important as is revision, but surely there is a compromise between the two. My DCs both had revision to do in the Christmas holidays prior to CE. Admittedly one was taking a scholarship which happened earlier. My DS though took CE in June. He had a week off and then did a small amount each day so that he had completed all the work set. We sent them to prep school to prepare them for senior school so as the school sent work home this was part of their preparation. However, he did it in such a way that it didn't take over the Christmas holidays. We wrote a sensible revision timetable, bought lots of revision food and he did it. All DCs are different but my DS certainly benefitted from the little and often approach. Not all DCs find it easy to learn facts etc

summerends Sat 13-Dec-14 11:11:15

I am a great believer in little but often, (although throughout my life I sadly have been not so sensible). However when there seems to be a certain fatigue and lack of motivation but still a long time before the exam it certainly is worth considering a complete break and also release inthename from the unpleasantness of having to nag her DS. With CE being in June that still leaves 5 months of preparation which at level 2 for a bright boy must more than ample if not overkill. Little but often from the next term would be most valuable IMO for vocab learning and maths if not secure.

LIZS Sun 14-Dec-14 09:13:42

Honestly, I'd lay off the revision for now unless he has entrance tests in January. He will be subjected to endless past appears for the Spring term. If you must, identify a few weaker areas and focus on those. When you say he didn't do so well in the mocks how far of the 60% was he ? Is it a realistic target and how many do the chosen school/s actually decline on the basis of CE or over offer ? He is only 12/13 , endless testing and revision in holidays is going to be the norm for the next 5 years, so let him relax while he can.

oneearedrabbit Sun 14-Dec-14 18:58:29

My advice would be, no actual revision, but if you can manage one hour a day to spend:
proper reading
bit of French and Latin vocab
tables and perhaps Mymaths if you can supervise and ensure he's on task
any other bbc subject stuff he finds interesting.

I E not an hour on each, but an hour doing something structured, with you.
The school will be doing masses of revision as June gets nearer, your job this holidays is just to keep the brain ticking over.

dodo3 Mon 15-Dec-14 08:36:24

Are you talking about indie entrance exams in Jan or CE exams in June ?

almapudden Mon 15-Dec-14 09:00:08

If he has an apple device - iPhone, iPad etc - there's an app called Pipiatum which tests CE Latin vocabulary and grammar. I highly recommend it, it's based around an algorithm which remembers which words you know and which you need to work on, so it tailors itself as you go along (I'm not in their pay, I'm a Classics teacher grin).

But as others have said, beyond Latin and French vocab and encouraging him to read widely, I wouldn't overdo revision at this stage.

happygardening Mon 15-Dec-14 10:05:44

dodo I believe the OP is talking about CE exams in June.
60% at level 2 is well within the capabilities of a bright child at even an average prep. Leave the revision, enjoy the next few weeks only a lunatic or the obsessively conscientious would want to revise over the Xmas hols. Enjoy Xmas, forget CE for a few weeks.

singersgirl Mon 15-Dec-14 10:30:48

My sons had mocks immediately after the Christmas holidays and they had drawn up revision timetables with their class teachers before the break. But if your son doesn't have exams then I'd just give him a break now.

Michaelahpurple Mon 15-Dec-14 10:57:18

My boy is only year 7 buy fwiw I suggests a good few days ostentatiously off and then think what will be good long term investment work, rather than cramming for which it is too early. Latin and French vocabulary are always a bore to keep in top of during term so ideal for short bursts of investment. Then check if there were any obvious gaps exposed by the recent exams - if he doesn't understand the perfect tense or simultaneous equations HP him master them. Finally, judging by my boy's files perhaps have him go through his notes making summaries or filling in gaps so they are ready to be learnt from in the Easter hols.

dodo3 Mon 15-Dec-14 11:18:41

I thought all schools had entrance exams in Jan

EdithWeston Mon 15-Dec-14 11:34:03

Competive exams are typically in January. Common Entrance (the qualifying exam for those with conditional offers) is in June.

OP: is he adrift in all papers, or only some subjects? Has the school said anything about holiday revision (maybe issued a revision pack?) because if so, straight bribery for head down and get through it might be needed.

If not, then try the softer approach of encouraging learning through activities: reading a decent newspaper and talking about how current events stories are out together, watching documentaries, watching French children's telly in YouTube, watching the RI Christmas lectures etc could all keep him using his brain without it being too pointed.

happygardening Mon 15-Dec-14 12:04:06

dodo most major independent schools that start at yr 9 require non scholars to sit CE in June. It consists of separate exams testing English, math, at least 1 MFL usually French, geog, the three sciences, RS and Latin (this can be optional), Some schools will have pre tested/interviewed already and offered a conditional place. Each school sets the % a potential pupil will be required to get, some require an average, some a certain % in some subjects e.g. math and English others want the same % on all subjects, fairly obviously the more selective the school the higher the % and also the higher the level required. Parents state their choice of school around Easter, the ISEB write CE and the finished exam papers are sent to your chosen school for marking this takes about 10 days I think. If you fail to get the required mark and therefore are not offered a place at your chosen school, which few do if they've followed the advise given by their prep school, then your prep school head will contact other schools to try and get you a place somewhere else.
Most yr 8's at prep spend most of yr 8 preparing for CE for their chosen school because this is ultimately what parents are paying for.

Clavinova Mon 15-Dec-14 12:53:32

I thought the op's ds had several entrance exams in January plus a CE only school in June - he doesn't have a conditional place yet and needs a bursary as well. His year group have been given revision packs and past papers to do over Christmas and he scored badly in recent mocks - I suggest he 'knuckles down' to some work soon but concentrates on those subjects to be tested in January only over Christmas. OP have you actually seen him revise or does he just retreat to his room? I think you might need to hover over him a bit more and 'test' him regularly on what he has learnt - it sounds as though he needs more support with his revision. You've said in the past that maths is a particular weakness - the only way to improve maths is by doing maths past papers, preferably with the answers so you can mark it for him afterwards and go through his wrong answers. If there's a particular type of sum he/you can't do perhaps someone on here can help if you post the question, or the people on the elevenplusexams forum would be helpful for this - loads of posts asking for help with maths problems over there.

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