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11+ Independent School Exam - Essay Writing

(22 Posts)
Kutik73 Sun 21-Jan-18 02:54:13

DS has just done his 11+ exams. He didn't have a tutor and he attends a state primary where no 11+ support is available. So we didn't really have any proper input how those papers should have been tackled. Now I am wondering if DS did something wrong...

We did a couple of practice runs prior to the exams. He started his creative writing without planning for the first go, so I told him to plan first ALWAYS. He started jotting down his plan before starting the actual text after that. I advised him to do so for the exam assuming he would get some extra blank papers for note taking/jotting down ideas.

On the exam day, there were no extra blank papers provided so DS wrote down his plan on the paper he was give to write the actual text. Later he realised he was only one who did so (around him). He said others just got on with starting the actual text without writing down any plan on the paper. He was not concerned though - he naively trusted my advice...

I thought writing a plan was a norm. But now I am not sure if my advice was correct for this particular circumstance, especially if many others who most likely had a tutor or supportive prep didn't seem to do so. Was he supposed to plan in his head? Have I set him up for disadvantage because of this?

It may be nothing to worry about. But a small thing started looking a big deal...

ProfessorSillyStuff Sun 21-Jan-18 05:00:30

I think his teacher will be impressed and you have started him early with a good habit ready to do gcses smile

godricshollow Sun 21-Jan-18 08:12:52

They will not pay any attention to the fact he wrote a plan IMO. It's certainly not a bad thing at all.
Good luck!

NWgirls Sun 21-Jan-18 09:12:35

This is really not something to worry about. It is standard advice to plan first - my (state) DD was told this by her tutor, and it would not surprise me or bother me if my DD had written a few bullets of her plan at the beginning - they will hardly deduct points for something line that. They will probably ignore the plan and score the essay as if the plan was not there.

Kutik73 Sun 21-Jan-18 09:35:10

Thank you for your comments. Yes I do hope the examiners just ignore the plan bits. But I was wondering how common it is - to write down a plan like he did. What did you advise your DCs? Did you advised to WRTITE a plan or just told to plan before hand ( so it could be done in his head)?

notanother11plusmum Sun 21-Jan-18 09:51:27

My DS planned his in his head despite my advice to the contrary.

nocampinghere Sun 21-Jan-18 10:16:25

you really don't need to worry!

some sort of a plan either in head or on paper is a good thing. What are you worried about? I'd be more worried if he just mindlessly started to write/ramble.

I have no idea if my dds wrote down their plan or not. probably not, but not because they weren't told to have some sort of plan before they start writing.

Kutik73 Sun 21-Jan-18 10:17:50

You mean you preferred him writing down? I feel it may look a bit babyish and so 'untrained' that he wrote down his plan on the actual papers...

Hoppinggreen Sun 21-Jan-18 10:24:03

Hopefully it won’t matter but THIS is why Tutoring is a good idea.
It won’t make a child unsuitable for Grammar pass but it WILL give children an idea of what to expect and how to tackle the actual exam.
I have a friend who invigilates the 11+ in this are and she says that each year there are ( probably very bright) children in tears when they turn the exam paper over as they don’t know the technique needed. Most Primary schools either by purpose or due to lack of resources can’t /wont prepare for Grammar.
I am only saying this in case there are people reading this who’s children will be doing the exam in the future as I realise OP’s child has already done it
Fingers crossed for you OP, it doesn’t sound like a major issue

Kutik73 Sun 21-Jan-18 10:31:58

It sounds like what he did was not a major issue but certainly not what would have been done by tutored DCs (hence more knowledgeable what to do in exams). DS always claimed he planned in his head before but I strongly advised him to write down his plan so that he wouldn't forget what he was going to write... Perhaps I should have left him as he was.

Clavinova Sun 21-Jan-18 10:45:15

I feel it may look a bit babyish and so 'untrained' that he wrote down his plan on the actual papers

Not at all - I think it will look like he has been tutored. GCSE students (aged 15/16) are taught to write essay plans for their English GCSEs - they are not given separate paper to do this. DS2 (year 5 prep school) has also been taught to write a brief essay plan (whether he remembers to do so is another matter!)

The only problem is whether your ds spent too long on the plan and not enough time on the actual essay. Did he finish the essay and spend time checking for errors? What was the essay title? If it was an easy/common theme then perhaps the other boys were just reproducing essays that they had written before and didn't need to plan.

Kutik73 Sun 21-Jan-18 10:59:27

Thanks Clavinova. I don't think he spent too long on the plan. He simply isn't that kind of boy. grin He said he finished his essay. It was a story writing.

Oh dear, I hope he didn't appear he was heavily tutored by writing down a plan! I hear many schools don't like tutored DCs and tried to weed out those who appeared to be overly done. We didn't do any preparation until the winter holiday. He got a bad mock result for comprehension so we worked on PEE stuff during the holiday together with some writing practice (mainly on planning). His answers for the comprehension paper may also look like he had been tutored! Grrr.

Clavinova Sun 21-Jan-18 11:21:46

I still wouldn't worry - if your ds has done well in the exam he will be called for an interview without a doubt. He may well be asked further maths or English questions at the interview to check for over-tutoring.

lilybookins Sun 21-Jan-18 11:27:15

My (state) school DD essay planned and she did v v well in all four of her exams. You’ve no idea if the others did or didn’t essay plan as if they did they would have had to do it on the paper just as your son did. I don’t think it looks remotely babyish. I honestly wouldn’t worry - they just want a great, imaginative piece of writing (with great SPAG obviously, that is important) it’ll be fine.

sooooooonowwhat Sun 21-Jan-18 11:36:21

I really wouldn't worry - ds is at a prep and they are told to always plan (and he generally does or at least he says he does!)

nocampinghere Sun 21-Jan-18 11:58:52

You're in that nightmare time between exams and results and driving yourself slightly nuts - not being mean, we all did it.

It will be fine! An essay plan on the paper will not make any difference to the marker, if anything they'll be impressed. Relax wine

lilybookins Sun 21-Jan-18 12:20:21

Stop worrying about looking over-tutored or even tutored at all! Any kid from a state school needs some extra help however bright they are just to get them used to exam technique. But the biggest thing is that they are up against kids who have spent the last five (or more) years prepping for these exams at their prep schools and are given oodles of help and advice (both to the parents and the kids) - without some kind of intervention from a parent or a tutor in the period in the run up to the exam it would be cruel not to give your child some help. I know how bright my daughter is but she had no prep towards these exams at school (school v anti independent schools) so if I hadn't given her sight of what to expect and helped her with what was expected she'd not have had a hope in hell. As far as I can tell many of the prep school kids have tutors too (which I was a bit shocked about) so your child will not look any different and if anything I think the fact he's from a state school will stand him in good stead as essentially he (and you) have done it all on your own. Be proud, not worried ! Lots of luck

Kutik73 Sun 21-Jan-18 13:27:51

Thank you all. What DS did was bear minimum of preparation. He could have done more and earlier or with a tutor. But it's OK. We both agreed with this approach. For some reasons I'd started doubting our choice, but I am back to the earth now thank to your kind comments. Hopefully I can tell you the outcome with a smiley face.

sazzy5 Sun 21-Jan-18 14:17:33

My DC were at state weren’t tutored and would’ve done a plan. Mainly because there is so little time to write and they had a tendency to go off track. Both got into highly selective schools and I doubt that the markers have enough time to think about the plan etc. Good luck.

Kutik73 Mon 12-Feb-18 16:26:08

Just to let you know the outcome. DS received an offer with a major scholarship. The letter said he did very well. Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing during those stressful times. smile

camcam1 Mon 12-Feb-18 21:04:29

Congratulations OP. Wishing your ds all the best at the school. My ds was in exactly the same position last year: no tutor, state school and wrote his plan on the answer sheet- then offered a generous scholarship. He is thriving at his independent school.

Kutik73 Mon 12-Feb-18 23:02:52

That's amazing camcam1. Your boy must be super bright. DS is always in top set, predicted Greater Depth for all the subjects in SAT yet very much unsophisticated and not a model student at all. I also realised Greater Depth is nothing when it comes to 11+. The competition and standard are ridiculously high. So I was surprised he made it to be honest. I must say his scholarship is music not academic so his performance in the audition may have saved him!

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