Talk

Advanced search

CATs score in top schools

(28 Posts)
ramennoddles Mon 30-Oct-17 21:57:30

What kind of scores would be expected at a highly selective school? Do CATs truly show potential? Why does the 11+ use reasoning?

Mominatrix Tue 31-Oct-17 11:06:19

Based upon the Oh-so-reliable London rumour mill, I’m told that prep schools give the figure of 135 for the most selective senior schools.

We did not do/won’t do 11+ so I can’t really answer the 2nd part of your question but can only guess that it is used as a crude iqish test.

Michaelahpurple Tue 31-Oct-17 12:16:30

I think that is a bit harsh Moma. Our prep suggests a minimum of 125 to consider the most selective LONDON schools.

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 31-Oct-17 12:57:20

If 2% of the population score 130 in standardised tests, you can see that's too high because most children will apply to 3+ schools so won't necessarily take the school even if offered.
Say there are 600 applicants which is about right for the top London independent schools. If 130 is the cutoff, then only 12 would get offers - way too low a number even allowing for a self-selecting bright group who decide to apply.
I've heard the 125 guideline as well, but do think a score of 120 will suffice for all but the most competitive school. Whether you'd enjoy the school after scrapping in or not, I am unsure.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 31-Oct-17 13:47:53

Our prep is 125+ for most selective London schools, and lower for other top 100 Indys, 115+ told to apply but 120+ definitely in.

The London rumour mill is run by the "my child is a genius brigade". It works along the lines of "you have to be a genius to get into a top London school, my child has a place therefore he is a genius, making me the very proud parent of a genius". These are the same people who's baby slept through at 4 weeks old, were potty trained at 6 months and could read Dickens in reception.

Mominatrix Tue 31-Oct-17 14:46:29

Apologies the sarcastic tone of my previous message. I share cake's cynical attitude towards the London rumour mill as my DSs are in schools which have desired senior schools by the pushy parent brigade and rumours of their schools rarely line up to the reality at the schools. The woman who told me that the number was 135 was telling me that my son, who is in one of the most desired schools, would never get into Westminster or Eton with his 130 CAT as they wanted 135.

MuseumOfCurry Tue 31-Oct-17 15:04:12

My youngest is in at Winchester, waitlisted at Eton and rejected at Westminster.

His scores ranged from something like 118 for spatial I think, to 137ish for quant and 141 for VR. I think I've forgotten one.

My oldest attends one of the aforementioned and his scores were much the same, although different strengths and weaknesses.

MuseumOfCurry Tue 31-Oct-17 15:11:19

If 2% of the population score 130 in standardised tests, you can see that's too high because most children will apply to 3+ schools so won't necessarily take the school even if offered.
Say there are 600 applicants which is about right for the top London independent schools. If 130 is the cutoff, then only 12 would get offers - way too low a number even allowing for a self-selecting bright group who decide to apply.

I can't agree with your logic here, the average profile of a child who sits for Westminster for example is already well above average since their head will have made attempts to prevent those who don't have a fighting chance from sitting the exam.

CATS are meant to be a proxy for IQ, so by all means a school like Westminster is going to be looking in the 130+ range. Whether the CATS exam is actually a good measure is up for debate, both of my kids have said it's outrageously easy compared to computer-based school entrance exams which to me suggests it may not effectively separate the merely bright from the exceptional.

TheFrendo Tue 31-Oct-17 15:18:38

FanDabbyFloozy,

I agree that 130 would be too high.

However, your numbers assume that the 600 hundred applicants for your top selective school are representative of the entire age cohort countrywide. That will not be the case. Surely, you are not going to get many children below the upper quartile applying?

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 31-Oct-17 21:29:34

I knew my logic was flawed but equally running the numbers tells us that 135 is ludicrously high.

But to the point of whether the group is all top quartile, I have to disagree. Preps repeatedly say that they can predict where the kids will end up getting offers but parents ignore their advice and enter them for schools out of their league. People quote the "1 stretch school, 1 solid chance, 1 banker" and take the stretch school a little too far.

Possibly common entrance is where this doesn't happen as the multiple offers scenario doesn't come up. Not my area of experience at all..

Moninatrix- that comment about Eton and Westminster sounds like sour grapes! I hope it wasn't a friend..

OrchidDelight Tue 31-Oct-17 22:55:03

I disagree that we can tell much from numbers alone. Doesnt the top 2% get 130+ idea come from distribution of scores for IQ tests which are not prepared for, so wouldn’t a CAT test / IQ Test / Common Entrance for which children are heavily tutored mean that more than 2% are getting 130+ due to the tutoring? In addition to the tutoring, demographics skew things as well; there are a lot of wealthy and well resourced families from all over the world living in London and going for these schools. So already there are greater than normal numbers of high IQ children.

OrchidDelight Tue 31-Oct-17 23:04:17

A Mumsnet Colet Court parent said the school recommended 125+ for progressing to St Paul’s and that below that they’d struggle.

Also, I’ve heard that Harrow will take a boy of IQ 125 minimum if they are very talented in other areas.

I have also read as a vague guideline that the CAT score required is roughly double the CE pass mark. So 55% CE = CAT 110, 60% = CAT 120, 65% =130. Which mostly sounds realistic to me. But then when you get up to 70% CE for Eton & St Paul’s / Westminster it’s very hard to believe that is 140+ CAT. I cant believe even Winchester would ask for 140+! Though maybe @HappyGardening could comment?

FanDabbyFloozy Wed 01-Nov-17 14:10:56

A question - CAT has been not really used around these parts. Can you prepare for it in the way people prepare for 11+/CEM/GL etc.?

MrsPatmore Wed 01-Nov-17 15:05:09

When we visited Westminster Under one year, a parent asked about CAT scores during the Open Day. The Master said they were looking in the region of 135+. They take the top scorers from the pre-tests through to the next rounds so there are plenty of boys that score this. I'm assuming the pre tests are like CATS from the feedback ds gave me. My ds sat CATS from Year 3-6 and consistently scored 140+ across the board in all years. This is not to boast but to illustrate that the schools are perhaps looking for truly able children.

However, I would say the 11+ intake at WUS is very selective but at 7+ or 13+ may be selective in a different way ie CE scores would be known at 13+ for example and there is only a fairly basic test at 7+ so they may take children in then who turn out to be not so able later.

The Senior school's ask for reports from primary school so can probably weed out those whose scores suddenly shoot up in Year 6 due to prior tutoring perhaps?

Incidentally, there was a programme on a while ago about boys applying for a foundation scholarship at Harrow. They sat CATS tests initially and there was a glimpse at the paper scores. All who got through to the next round scored 139+ but I suppose they needed to be at scholarship level to be considered.

MrsPatmore Wed 01-Nov-17 15:06:15

Re; preparation for CATS, yes I think you can boost a score with GL/CEM prep and work on speed.

MuseumOfCurry Wed 01-Nov-17 15:58:48

However, I would say the 11+ intake at WUS is very selective but at 7+ or 13+ may be selective in a different way ie CE scores would be known at 13+ for example and there is only a fairly basic test at 7+ so they may take children in then who turn out to be not so able later.

The CE scores aren't known at 13+, the 13+ offers are conditional upon the CE. My understanding is that the 11+ entry is the more difficult than 13+, this may be because more sit the 13+, but they're both ferociously competitive.

Mominatrix Wed 01-Nov-17 17:33:06

But why would you prepare for CATS - I only knew after the fact that they had been taken, and they were only given once in Year 6 to make sure that the senior school was still a good fit for the boys as there is no additional entry exam for the junior school boys. I don't believe they are administered by the target senior schools, but by the preps to guide parents on appropriate schools to target so prepping for them seems strange to me.

Why would someone CATs need to take every year? just curious.

Mominatrix Wed 01-Nov-17 17:34:01

Argh - why would someone need to take CATs every year.

teta Wed 01-Nov-17 19:49:05

Ds will be applying for a local international school early next year that test using Cat tests .Given that a test a year ago showed underlying abilities of 130 - if he practices how much will he be able to improve?
Or this that a piece of string question?
His school have given us some practice tests but Ds reckons he has enough homework ( for common entrance) as it is.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 01-Nov-17 21:17:43

My reply was general for the top schools but for Westminster alone 135+ wouldn't surprise me. Its different to other schools except possibly Winchester and treading very delicately attracts quirky, exceedingly bright boys. It doesn't have a rugby team.

WitchOfTheWaste Thu 02-Nov-17 07:34:38

My son (Y5 state primary) has just done CATs, and we've been given the results but I'm not quite sure how to interpret them. People here are talking about one score but we've just been given four individual paper scores - are you just taking an average to get one score? Do they all do the same test at the same age, or does the school choose the level? And what's the maximum score??

MuseumOfCurry Thu 02-Nov-17 08:55:24

I just looked at my son's, and it appears that the 'overall' is a straightforward average of the 4, although confusingly, his is off by 1.

I recall, perhaps incorrectly, from my eldest that extremely high individual scores will carry more weight in the calculation, although that doesn't seem to be the case with the most recent one for my youngest.

Anything above 130 is considered 'exceptional'. I believe the maximum score is 141.

Hope that helps.

WitchOfTheWaste Thu 02-Nov-17 09:02:28

Wow, ok, thanks. He got 141 on two of the four papers, so maybe I should have said a bit more than 'well done, darling' grin.

MuseumOfCurry Thu 02-Nov-17 09:12:43

Smart boy, well done to your son, Witch.

Have you any plans to sit him for a selective school?

WitchOfTheWaste Thu 02-Nov-17 11:46:44

Hadn't thought about it until v recently!! Had always assumed he would go to a Kent grammar (assuming he passes 11+), but recently we've been looking at Sevenoaks too, as I love the IB and the co-ed. I hadn't thought about any other selectives, but his CAT scores make me wonder whether he might be a scholarship candidate elsewhere, and whether that's something we ought to be looking at. The thing about state primaries (and this isn't a criticism at all) is that they're not focused on children 'getting in' to particular secondary schools, so it just hasn't particularly been on our radar, whereas I guess it probably would already have been discussed with us at a prep.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: