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St Olave's Mock test

(35 Posts)
southeastmum2014 Mon 19-Jun-17 12:53:20

Dear 11+ Mums,
Any one here who took two mock test at St Olave's? I need some help please. My son reported that they gave the same Mock paper to him. He took the first mock on 3rd of June and the second one on 17th of June and said the question paper was same. They charge £60 for each test. I just felt it was unfair to repeat the question paper and make us pay £60 for each sitting. I understand the mock test is run by parents but nothing on the webpage says that we will repeat the mock paper.

MrsPatmore Mon 19-Jun-17 12:58:08

Perhaps contact the PTA who run these tests and request a refund?

southeastmum2014 Mon 19-Jun-17 13:18:39

Hi MrsPatmore
Yes have contacted PTA and asked for refund. I just wanted others to know this as well. And in case anyone else gone through same experience then come forward to join this. I don't have £60 to waste and time at this stage of 11+. I feel cheated.
Cheers

PettsWoodParadise Mon 19-Jun-17 13:54:16

I was only ever under the impression they had one test and multiple dates due to high demand. They do offer some free tests for those who can't afford it. Their FAQs say they don't recommend booking for multiple dates (possibly for this very reason) but don't know if this has just been added or not. I know another provider that holds tests for Bexley, Kent and St Olaves / NW and when you book you can specify which set of papers you want to sit and they have two different sets of papers as they have numerous dates but not numerous sets of papers. Smaller sets of papers can also be helpful to get an overall picture of where a child is in a wider cohort than just those that sat that day.

southeastmum2014 Mon 19-Jun-17 13:58:31

Hi PettsWood Paradise,
They should put a disclaimer that the mock paper is same for all test, at least keen parents like us would not book two tests. To repeat the paper over multiple days does not make any sense to me at all. It should be clearly written in their FAQ that same paper will be repeated. No where in their FAQ, it has been mentioned that it will be same paper, otherwise I would have not booked two. Moreover, they cancelled my original date of mock from may and moved me to June. At least then they should have mentioned that one test is more than enough. It seems like they are just trying to make money unethically.

user1489830224 Mon 19-Jun-17 17:43:36

I have always thought it unethical that any school should run mock entrance exams (even if managed by its PTA). In St O's case it was started purely to raise funds for the school (which I have some sympathy for). I believe the St O PTA now have to offer free mocks to those unable to pay to comply with the educational equality guidelines for state schools. Can the education authorities really ensure that the school does not view any of these mock exam papers or even mark them? It is a very grey area and could give some students an advantage when it comes to the real entrance test. Does the school know who has taken the mock exams and who has not? southeastmum2014, the actual St O's entrance test is now two tier, is this why you booked two mock tests?

Anne2300 Mon 19-Jun-17 19:58:38

We took the test last year and we knew that it was the same test for all the sessions. You get a report for the session cohort and another one with the whole cohort (all sessions together), so the paper must have been the same for them to compare all the candidates from different sessions. It was quite clear last year that you shouldn't book multiple tests. It is quite expensive, but if you are aiming for St O, the test is a good familiarisation doing a difficult exam in a large hall and reality check.

It is a shame that they have to charge so much for these mocks, but I think that if you really can't pay you can contact the PTA for a free mock.

southeastmum2014 Tue 20-Jun-17 11:16:10

user1489830224, well yes and also to get him time pressure of actual exam.

St Olave's PTA has replied to my email and asked me to amend my post on Mumsnet. I have been asked to read the FAQ again. Just in case the PTA mother or mothers who are reading this - I can kindly remind you to read the FAQ yourself. Here is the actual copy/paste:

Can I book my child for more than one test date?
We do not recommend this.

I am sure a person who is more intellectual than me can explain if this sentence mean that we use the same mock paper again. I have had several email exchange with PTA since March, and I am sure PTA could have clarified/pointed out that I can only book one test. Is it that difficult to make sure that one parent can only book one test?

I appreciate PTAs efforts towards raising funds for the school and I am more than happy to contribute. I will give you £60 as a contribution to school but what you did was completely unethical. You have to put a disclaimer to say that you use same paper or you will not allow two mock bookings. As simple as that.

Please don't make my post a political ground. Many parents like me would have paid you £60 per mock and would have experienced this. As I respect your stand of raising money for school, I am sure you should respect that parents like me are doing our best to make sure our kids get in good schools but this experience/cost was not the best to undertake.

southeastmum2014 Tue 20-Jun-17 11:34:19

Anne2300, we had no idea it was the same paper. And yes £120 was a lot of money for two mock test with same paper.

user1489830224 Tue 20-Jun-17 12:00:00

southeasternmum2014 - glad to hear the St O PTA are watching Mumsnet! I've just had a look at the website and their FAQs. Front page states: "We are again organising a series of Familiarisation (Mock) Tests to give pupils a true experience ..." So they use the plural. Admittedly on their FAQs they do state that they do not recommend booking for more than one test, BUT they do not explain why. The wording across the website is ambiguous. They need to state clearly that there is only one set of questions. I take it they were happy to take your second £60 and did not contact you to warn you it was the same test paper? Perhaps the offer of a £60 refund would be a good idea in this case?

southeastmum2014 Tue 20-Jun-17 12:33:18

user1489830224 : thank you so much for understanding me. I am not against them raising money for school via mock test but technically they should disclaimer that same paper will be used at least at booking stage. FAQ is very vague and we both read it (husband & I) but did not think it will be the same paper.

user1489830224 Tue 20-Jun-17 12:50:09

I suspect from now on the wording will change! Pity that PTAs have to raise money in this way, normally money raised by PTAs is given from within the school's parent community, not from prospective parents on the outside. A possible minefield of problems there. As you're still keen on the school try to keep communications as amicable as possible, but I think they will learn from this MN thread!

southeastmum2014 Tue 20-Jun-17 13:05:39

user1489830224
Very valid point raised about money from prospective parents. I have nothing against PTA fund raising and I have been very polite/professional in my approach to them. Although it is not professionalism to point in an email that I change my Mumsnet post. Clearly someone is reading this post. I would suggest they answer here rather than behind email.

Honestly, if a Mumsnet post threaten my child's entry to school then I possibly wont be sending my child to this school. I think I raise a valid point about their vague description of the FAQ and mock test. They cannot raise money for such a good grammar school in this way.

I have saved a copy of their FAQ for future and if the wording changes then alas my efforts will have saved future parents of repeating this mistake/money.

southeastmum2014 Tue 20-Jun-17 13:14:56

Dear Mums,
Just to point out that a friend just pointed out that Wilson's run similar familiarisation test and they mention clearly that one test is enough as the paper is repeated. Here is the link -

www.wilsonspfa.org/familiarisation-tests/faq

Cheers

mamaslatts Wed 21-Jun-17 13:49:48

Sorry to hear he did the same test twice, the wording is a little ambiguous but maybe they didn't realise he had already done one test when he sat the second? More importantly, did he get a higher score the second time round??

My son did the mock test and we have just had the results. He did really well in some areas but completely bombed the English comprehension. He said that some of the passage was written backwards - did anyone else's child tell them this? Also, does anyone know the rough percentage needed to be in the running for a place?I know its a mock test and hard to say but just wondered if you had to be getting 80% or above (my random guess).

One last question, is St Olave's about the same level as the Kent test or more difficult?

Sorry for hijack blush was going to start my own thread ...

PettsWoodParadise Wed 21-Jun-17 14:08:33

Competition for St Olaves is very high, mainly due to there being no catchment. Some boys don't live anywhere near but do the test and will move if they pass. Kent pass (emphasis on pass) is far far easier than St Olaves but the score you need if you are OOC for Kent may be on a par with St Olaves, but it depends on the school you are aiming for. From my experience I've seen boys pass Bexley and get high scores in Kent but not get a place at St Olaves due to the very high standard, especially in the maths. DD is at the sister school and some have brothers at St Olaves and some are at Bexley or Kent grammars.

southeastmum2014 Wed 21-Jun-17 14:49:39

mamaslatts
yes my son said the same thing. He was fine with comprehension and we haven't received the test results yet. I honestly wont be counting this MOCK results as valid anyway. My understanding is the St Olave's is toughest exam in Kent.

I still haven't had any reply on my refund from PTA. I hope they are reading it and have seen the link above. They should learn some ethical way of running tests by Sutton schools. In their email they have said that it is fund raising event and more money they get it is better. I think it is not so good way of making money by cheating parents.

southeastmum2014 Wed 21-Jun-17 14:50:25

They have emailed me twice for change of date and rebooking my test so they clearly knew that my son was sitting twice.

user1489830224 Wed 21-Jun-17 15:59:14

mamaslatts - this is one of the problems with these type of mock exams run by the school/PTA. Does either the school, for its real entrance exam, or the PTA for the mock exam, quote 80% or above as "in the running for a place"? I thought St O didn't estimate on what the pass mark is. I may be wrong though. There are now two levels of entrance test I believe. St O does not have a sister school - yes, there is a girls' grammar in Bromley but there is no connection. St O is a CofE school and the girls' is a secular school in a large MAT.

MrsPatmore Wed 21-Jun-17 16:32:27

The level for any of the super selectives without catchment is very high in London and the surrounding areas. Circa 1700 applicants sat for the first round last year (124 places). The maths is hard and the second stage is tough for English. This mock is a good indicator of where your ds sits in the cohort but, for those with lower scores, don't give up! . There is still plenty of time to prepare for the real test and a lot of the top scorers will have multiple offers and will go elsewhere.

MrsPatmore Wed 21-Jun-17 16:34:41

Also, ostensibly St O's distance themselves from this mock test. However, ds found that there were some almost identical format mock test questions in the real test particularly in maths so it was a useful exercise.

user1489830224 Wed 21-Jun-17 16:47:21

Yes, LBB website shows 128 places (124 plus 4 choristers) available and 457 applicants for 2016. So that 1700 is easily whittled down.

mamaslatts Wed 21-Jun-17 23:50:10

Thank you user and Mrspatmore , we are mainly looking at Skinners or possibly The Judd (although so few OOC places now) useful to know we are probably looking at the same standard as St O's. Might have to start managing expectations..

mamaslatts Wed 21-Jun-17 23:52:28

thanks also to pettswood

user1495443009 Thu 22-Jun-17 13:03:30

DD sat the test and we have now got the results which are disappointing, only 18 correct answers out of 60. She is top sets at school and the school reports are very good so we thought we would give it a go; she also has a tutor once a week but in general we have taken a relax approach as we don't want to stress her out; however I am now thinking we should stop the tutoring and don't get her to sit the exams as it seems to me she is not grammar material and we are wasting our time and money. Do any grammar parent have any advice?

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