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11+ tutoring Qs

(9 Posts)
tangerino Tue 08-Mar-16 12:41:58


We're applying for 11+ entry to a few independent schools, all of which are quite academic.

My son is academically bright and I'm not worried about his ability to do well at one of these schools. However, I'm wondering whether it would be worth getting him some tutoring to help him understand what the schools are looking to see, how to manage his time in the tests etc. Where we are (London) school entry is v competitive and tutoring seems to be the norm.

If I go ahead with this, when should I start? The tests are in December 2016 and January 2017. Weekly from September? I have no idea what's the normal amount of time to spend on tutoring- I'd rather avoid spending too long for all sorts of reasons and part of me thinks I could just give him a few practice papers to practise his timings and leave it at that, but I'm worried about disadvantaging compared to the other applicants.

Any thoughts would be v welcome. Thank you.

Badbadbunny Tue 08-Mar-16 12:47:42

Some people have their kids tutored for a year or two before the 11+. Others have just a few sessions far closer to the tests for just preparation and exam familiarisation.

The best thing to do is get hold of some past papers (available sometimes from the schools or they can be bought from good bookshops or online). Check which exam papers the schools use as they can be quite different. Try giving a sample to your child to see how they fare. If your schools are highly sought after, you could be looking at pass rates of 90% plus, so that's what you need to be aiming for. If your child does well, then perhaps just a few months of tuition. If they're struggling to get that kind of mark, then you need to be starting tuition now, although you may already be too late.

You also have to factor in whether your chosen tutor has any space for new pupils - some are booked up well in advance, so if you leave it too late, you may not have much choice. Some tutors will give an initial exam/appraisal before they take on the child and won't take them on if they don't think there's enough time left to guarantee a good pass.

4whatthatsworth Tue 08-Mar-16 14:11:04

Hi Tangerino. Do you mind my asking if he is in a prep or state primary? Many preps will strongly advise against tutoring as it can actually be counterproductive as a slightly different teaching method can confuse or overload the child. If it's a prep that sends pupils to the schools you are looking at year after year, they should guide you through the process and it should be enough.

If in a state primary, your DC may need familiarisation with the formats of the papers for technique purposes. Advice on how to write a good short story in 25 mins, answering the comprehension paper in full sentences, etc.

My advice ( having done this process twice) would be to choose no more than 4 schools - one as more of a "back up option". Get past papers for these schools if possible. Do they have a VR /NVR component similar to the Bond Style papers? If not, there is no point whatsoever wasting the next few months practising these techniques and you can use the time for focusing on Maths and English instead. For instance, at the school my DC attend (Latymer Upper) the reasoning is built in to the maths and English papers in a way that can't really be tutored.

If your DC has a particular hobby, may be time to big it up so he has something to talk about at interview!

MumTryingHerBest Tue 08-Mar-16 14:39:11

OP it might be worth seeing if there any posts on this site relevant to the schools you are looking for:

There may be some posts on the following thread as there is a fair amount of cross over between selective privates and selective state schools.

tangerino Thu 10-Mar-16 19:30:04

Thanks very much, everyone- thats really helpful.

SAHDthatsall Thu 10-Mar-16 19:48:33

You need to state which schools really and hopefully someone can help. Many of the exams are similar but different and seem to be aimed at quite different levels. Eg my son was great at maths (my tuition :-) ) and in one exam just finished with seconds to spare and in another had time to do it twice to check!

HamptonHogwarts Fri 11-Mar-16 07:24:38

Hi there
I am a retired teacher and until recently worked at a very well known all boys' school. I offer English coaching in a friendly one to one format, and would certainty agree that the earlier the coaching starts, the more confident and improved the student becomes. Basically, you just have more time to help develop their reading and writing, plus there is the time to promote the wider reading, which is very important as well. A common interview question would focus on their reading choices, so this is another way that the one to one English coaching helps. I've PMed of luck!

HamptonHogwarts Fri 11-Mar-16 07:25:22

Certainly agree, sorry...typos haunt me without my reading glasses on!

Anxiousmum11 Fri 11-Mar-16 21:51:35

A friend recommended to me a free 11plus maths tutor online whom you can ask questions and he will answer them for you. He replies quite promptly and he's really good. He also provides answer booklets to some schools' test papers like City of London School for Girls, etc. I've used some and they are great. Good luck and hope this helps!
His website:
FB page:

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