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Last 5 days before the 11+ - how would you help prepare?(14 Posts)
Apologies for length.
DS1 will be sitting tests for a local private senior school on Saturday. It's the only private nearby that's suitable - if he doesn't get a place he'll go to one of the local comps, which are OK. He is on a diagnosis pathway for possible ASD, I have diagnosed ASD myself and am trying to ensure he has a less hellish time in senior school than I did.
We haven't been intensively tutoring, just practicing the 3 tests (verbal reasoning, maths and creative writing) with a couple of hours a week over the past 6 months. In these, he's typically getting 85%-95% in verbal reasoning and maths, and producing a just-about-passable bit of creative writing (really not his forte, but the school say they are used to that pattern and it's not necessary to shine in all 3)
Yesterday (Sunday) for the first time we got him to do all 3 tests back to back. Unfortunately it was a bit of a flop. He stressed out so much about absolute accuracy in the VR that he left loads of questions unanswered (he got nearly all that he did answer correct, but due to being slower only scored about 67%). Maths was similar and only about 65%. Writing was not much worse than usual but not great. He wouldn't get a place on that level of outcome.
He wants to do another run-through with all three, but I am wary of over-tiring and over-stressing him, and he has school of course. The school is a standard state primary that don't do any 11+ prep and are focused on gearing for the May SATS.
My plan currently - but I would love some advice if you have bothered to read this far -
Today, tomorrow and Wednesday - take him out of school around 2:30pm and bring him home to have a rest for 30-60 mins, before tackling some practice.
Today - do a VR and a Maths. Tomorrow do a Writing, and spend some time on Exam Technique/Time management etc. Wednesday do another all-three back-to-back (which would be exhausting I know).
Thursday - not to do any papers, but to go through recent attempts and look for lessons to learn and things to remember.
Friday - nothing at all, just rest (considering keeping him home from school all day for a full day of rest)
Does this seem a reasonable balance? Or too much?
Especially keen to hear from parents of ASD kids who have already been through this and have their child at senior school now.
hopeful bump for the lunchtime crowd...
personally I wouldn't be doing any more back to back papers? v stressful and it's likely that on exam day he'll get some breaks in between?
if it's English he struggles with then I'd read some opening passages/poems and get him to pick out a killer word or 2 that he likes from each and could see himself using. maybe come up with 5 similes/metaphors that he might be able to squeeze in somewhere?
I also got dd to write a couple of descriptions of people - she managed to recycle some of her idea on the day.
And maybe discuss some of the story titles you have from practice papers - how would he start them? Get him to write the opening sentence - it's always the hardest?
I agree with PP - I wouldn't do any more back to back papers. I completely understand how fraught these last few days can get (we're in the middle of it!), but at this stage I think there's an element of "what will be will be" and I think DCs have done all the learning they're going to do at this point. Not hugely helpful I know.
I think it's so difficult to re-create exam conditions at home and I wouldn't be too concerned about scores on papers done at home. I bet your DC will rise to the occasion on the day and will find the stamina to deal with the back to back exams - I'm sure adrenaline kicks in for them.
FWIW, we are just doing a few 10 min tests here and there to keep things kicking over and just recapping the basics which DD finds particularly tricky. If creative writing is an issue, how about asking your DC to spend 5-10mins planning a story or - as PP says - writing the first line?
My ds had just finished sitting 4 11+ and most of them took around 5 hours to sit the 3 papers. Which is to say, there are a lot of breaks in between papers so nothing like having to sit down and do all three back to back. I'd not stress too much about that side of things. If he's fine well on practice before but this time struggled with time, I'd focus on my exam technique first and about staying calm and not getting frazzled
A friend, who teaches at a private school, informed me that nearly all the children who took the test were accepted. It was only the children who were tiring to get a scholarship or assisted place whose tests were really scrutinised. However the children's self esteem and confidence was boosted by passing the test! This will not be universal in private schools and obviously depend upon the popularity and number of places available.
I’d just do a paper a day max. Then some time to go over any errors with you so it’s more useful for him. Good luck to you both!
If this is a school outside of London, and not ultra competitive, I think he will be fine. Just don't get him too stressed about it. I think *darlingoscar has completely the right approach. Make sure he is happy on the day by arriving in plenty of time and having all the equipment he needs ready, plus spares. Have a reward for when he comes out. We chose not to tell our DC the results day, to further reduce stress. His school had 5 papers in one day. The first comment from my DC was about how good the break time cookies were!. Most schools look after their prospective students well
the school is a bit competitive but I don't know how this fits on a scale of "competitiveness" - I have heard its around 3 applicants per place so we can't be complacent. would that be a fairly normal ratio or are other schools much more "oversubscribed"?
we have been told there's a 5 minute break between each test but the tests aren't that long - with breaks included the whole thing will be done in just over 2 hours. I really feel for the kids who are applying to loads of schools and doing 5 hours worth of exams for one school!
he did just a VR paper yesterday after we had a chat about keeping calm and techniques to use the time efficiently. He got 90% and he is feeling better which is the main thing, but he says quite sensibly that he already knew he can get 90% when its just one test on its own, and the thing he doesn't know yet is if he can get 90% when it's sandwiched between two different other tests.
We have just come to the end of 4 independent school assessments and 3 grammars. We never once practised doing all papers back to back at home - it was all I could do to get much more than a 10 minute test done with the occasional longer paper. I'm sure he will be fine just don't over think it. Good luck!
Try to get in some physical exercise the day before. We went swimming as it always tries them out. Swim 7-8 straight into pyjamas and off to bed when they got home. Mine are never asleep before 9 on a normal night but you might want to adjust the timings a little. I think at this stage the best you can do is keep him calm and hope he sleeps well.
came up with a compromise for the 3 in a row - I've put together a shorter version of each of the maths and VR so he can practice switching from mode to mode with only 5 mins between (which he does want to practice) without having to do a 2hr+ stint on a school night.
am also going to keep him home from school on Friday and will follow @TW2013 advice for plenty of exhausting exercise that day but no academic work.
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