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Tutoring for Grammar Schools test

(25 Posts)
MC15Pat Thu 29-Oct-15 09:12:12

Hi,

My daughter is in year 5 and we have started our search for secondary schools. We would like to consider applying for Grammar schools also but I was shocked to hear how expensive Tutoring is and we cant afford it. I would like to know if any of your children have been successful with the test without having a year or two of extra tutoring in preparation for it?
Also, are there any books I could get for her to practice?

Many thanks to all of you for you help.

SelfRaisingFlour Thu 29-Oct-15 09:40:59

There are loads of 11+ practice books at WH Smiths or on Amazon etc.

You need to find out what particular schools test on and then use the books. It can be done at home if you're able to explain the answers to the child.

The best place to look first is on the websites for the schools. Our local grammars keep changing their tests so it's best to look at the websites for the up to date admissions criteria. Also look at catchments.

Make sure to go the open evenings to get a feel for the schools.

Autumnsky Thu 29-Oct-15 11:18:34

If a child is supper bright, and goes to a good primary school, then it should be fine just doing some practice paper at home.

If a child is normal bright , but want to get into a supper selective grammar, I guess you need to get her to start to practice everyday for half an hour from now on. If the grammar school is a normal one, then you can be relax,still need regular practice, but not so much.

You will find lots of information on the 11plus forum. And I think you can do all the preparation yourself if you have time.

getoffthattabletnow Thu 29-Oct-15 12:37:39

If your child is bright - level 6 bright do Bond papers at home.10 minute tests can be done daily.We did a months work at home with about 3 tuition sessions on exam technique .DD ended up with a Scholarship .We live in a rural area though and the school is selective but not a super selective.
Wish it was so easy to tutor ds1 for common entrance though!

jeee Thu 29-Oct-15 13:51:18

The Eleven Plus forum is very useful - it'll tell you about the 11+ for your area. www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/index.php

However, be aware some of the posters are very intense.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 29-Oct-15 15:26:05

I was just going to post a link to the same website. I think its really useful, if you go on the "forum" then under "regions" you can find out the format of the texts and what other parents are doing in terms of preparation. As others have said, it can get very pressured, the whole 11+/entrance exam is a whole different world particularly the closer it gets so my advice would be to try to take it in your stride, don't feel pressured.

I don't necessarily agree that practice papers are enough (depends on your area). Certainly here there are questions that your child might not necessarily have come across (NVR, Cloze English exercises) and I'd have thought it might be offputting to go straight to a practice paper rather than working through various examples / looking at how to tackle those questions first.

getoffthattabletnow Thu 29-Oct-15 15:39:52

I do agree that a good tutor will help.We just used our local friendly Tutor to point out deficiencies and then we worked on those at home.We needed tips on how to approach non-verbal reasoning mainly.She also terrorised my DD into working hard ( as she normally coasted at school)This particular lady has tutored most of my children at one time or another and was happy to help periodically.

MC15Pat Thu 29-Oct-15 15:58:08

Thanks so much everyone for your very useful advice!!!

paddyclampitt Thu 29-Oct-15 17:35:47

DS passed without tutoring but he did practise the past papers and worked through the Bond books that we bought on Amazon.

The school actively discouraged tutoring as they said that those who had been heavily tutored struggle to cope once they actually arrive.

All school are different though!

WritingBeagle Thu 29-Oct-15 18:13:34

My DD just passed the 11+. She needed a super selective level score because we are out of area and we did use a tutor. I do think its possible to tutor yourself, with a couple of things to bear in mind.

First, check carefully what your daughter will cover in school, especially for maths. There are definitely areas that come up in 11+ that isn't covered in school until year 6, so you will need to teach those areas, not just do practice papers. Eg DD hasn't yet done algebra at school and hadn't covered areas/perimeters or probability when she sat the exam.

Second, I think how well it works depends on how disciplined you are. DD did an hour and a half's class every Saturday plus the work that came out of that and then started doing 2 practice papers a week from Easter of year 5. I think without the regime of a regular class, life would have got in the way and we wouldn't have done anywhere near as much work with her. If you are the organised type, though, this shouldn't matter. Also, start now. Little and often from now is far better than panicking you are behind at Easter.

Third, think about teaching exam technique, not just topics. This can be really key. DD had one practice test with tutor where she blew the timing and got a really low score on the paper. This was a good thing - she learned from that in a practice and didn't have it happen in the real thing.

Good luck, whatever you decide. It was a really tough year, DD had to work very hard and worrying about whether we had done the right thing in putting her on the rollercoaster was very stressful.

Suffolkgirl1 Thu 29-Oct-15 18:20:15

(2 children in superselectives without professional tutoring and a third with a qualifing score.) Go to the forum suggested above, select the right geographical area and go from there. There is plenty of recommended resources for whichever type of exam she would need to take. All my DCs have had tutored friends who have failed to pass, a tutor is not necessarily the answer.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 29-Oct-15 22:40:21

writing raises a good point. I've had 2 children go through it, both tutored. With one of them we probably could have DIY'ed if I'd have had the right materials. Conscientious student, keen to learn etc.

DC2 - Just completely different story. We'd have killed each other. Clash of personalities (learning styles / approaches / probably my lack of patience in the face of their can't be bothered attitude. It needed to be someone outside the family, almost like a "teacher" figure, lessons away from the house.

So yes, as I said above, absolutely can be done via DIY tutoring but be realistic about how you (not just your DC) will approach it.

Washediris Fri 30-Oct-15 07:37:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertrandRussell Fri 30-Oct-15 07:41:21

But make absolutely sure you know what the test will be- they differ hugely from area to area.

Washediris Fri 30-Oct-15 08:20:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Washediris Fri 30-Oct-15 08:21:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheWanderingUterus Fri 30-Oct-15 08:39:37

We did about six weeks of practice with DD (August until the mid Sept test). It worked out to about an hour or two a day, but she is a very conscientious child, who had visited the grammar and loved it, so she was very motivated. She is also quite bright.

Maths- practice papers and some maths sheets I bought off Amazon (£4 for two hundred sheets). We identified her weaknesses and worked just on those.
English- our local test has twenty minutes of composition (one description, one instruction) and they are penalised for poor spelling and grammar, (so we got a grammar workbook for that) and she did some timed practices. We also did vocabulary work and I bought some comprehension practice tests (Bond). The group that set the tests had free practice papers on the website, plus the option to buy more (£37). All in all I spent about £120 on bits and pieces.

I think the big thing is exam training, so not wasting too much time on each question, being aware of the time, working quickly and checking your work. That took DD the longest to pick up.

We couldn't afford a tutor but I felt under a lot of pressure from DD's classmates' parents. Two of them are tutors themselves and there was a lot of school gate discussion. Some of the kids had been tutored since Foundation. DD was the only one in her class to get over the 'Green' pass mark (almost certain to get a place), so it worked for us.

mgm1966 Thu 05-Nov-15 15:37:26

What are the charges for tutors for 11 plus?
I am paying £25 for two hours. Is it too much?
She is really a good tutor. I don't want to leave her.

spanieleyes Thu 05-Nov-15 17:25:20

£25 is ridiculously cheap for 2 hours of good tuition, around here you would expect to pay double that!!

namechangedtoday15 Thu 05-Nov-15 18:03:15

£37.50 per hour here.

£25 for 2 hours - I am genuinely shocked. Thats obviously £12.50 an hour. I have never heard of a tutor charging anywhere near that.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 05-Nov-15 18:04:25

Just to confirm - that is 1:1.

If you're talking of a group session (say 6 children) then that might be cheaper?? Is that what you mean mgm?

mgm1966 Sat 07-Nov-15 09:51:33

It is a group lesson (4 children).
1:1 is £35 for two hours not for one hour.
We are in London.
She also does video tutoring on Skype for 11 plus and GCSE.
she is very known tutor here because of her pass rate and the practice material. She doesn't asked us to buy any books.

PettsWoodParadise Sat 07-Nov-15 14:35:59

DD passed three local grammar tests without a formal tutor but it wasn't without preparing in different ways. She was also starting at a high level being top of her class. I researched the tests (the Elevenplusexams site is very useful), we did practice papers and identified any areas of weakness and worked on those. That is with me working full time. DD was very self-motivated. Biggest push was the six weeks of summer hols before the tests and she did half an hour a day, five days a week, choosing two days off each week. Once she went back to school at the start of September we gave up on more practice as we felt if she didn't know it by then there was no point, that was ten days before the first test. She also read a lot. Did two mock tests in a big hall under exam conditions. We tried Explore Learning and it didn't work for us. We tried a tutor for a few weeks and decided they were ineffective. In contrast a friend of DD's who had 4 hours of tutoring every week for a year did not pass. We found the best investments were the Letts (rather than Bond) ten minute tests plus the 11plustests mocks which sent good feedback about areas we needed to work on. The mocks were about £65 each but worth it in my view.

gazzalw Sat 07-Nov-15 19:58:34

We did lots of 11+ papers with DC1 at home in the six months leading up to the exams (no formalised tutoring). He passed five selective tests and is currently at one of the Sutton super-selectives. BUT he's not exactly flying high despite being one of the few to have passed all of the 11+ exams that he did. TBQH I think that because he was so successful he's been resting on his laurels ever since...

What worked in his favour was speed (which was not been taught but comes naturally to him) - he completed all of the exams unlike many of this friends. BUT interestingly now his speed counts against him much of the time as he can be careless.

Many of his school friends he's at school with were tutored and continue to be (as they're on their trajectories for medical school already) hmm.

SE13Mummy Sat 07-Nov-15 23:08:22

As others have said, do check the make-up of any selection tests you think you may want to enter your DD for. Most LAs will have a description on the secondary admissions part of their website, often with a sample test available to view/download.

My DD recently sat and passed the Bexley selection test without any tutoring. It was entirely her choice to sit the test and she knew that DH and I were very happy to support her in her preparation for it but that she would not be tutored for it. In January of Y5 she had a go at one of the CGP practice papers (we'd bought a set of 2) so she could see whether or not it was something she wanted to put herself through. Once she'd decided that she did want to take the test, we bought a few 11+ books (comprehension, maths and non-verbal reasoning) which she worked through during the summer holiday for approx. 10-15 minutes per day. Her lowest score was the non-verbal reasoning which was no surprise as she'd been unable to complete all those items. No doubt, a more work-intensive summer or perhaps tutoring would have improved her speed but her pass was a very comfortable one and guarantees her a place at the grammar we like.

Interestingly, about 20 of DD's year group took the Bexley selection tests. DD and one other child were the only two not to have tutors - they both passed, as did 4 others.

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