Super bright kids

(59 Posts)
Abirdinthehand23 Fri 14-Feb-20 20:32:34

Where are all these super bright kids who are getting multiple offers at 11+ coming from? It seems from reading all these threads that there are so many super bright kids who seem to pass these entrance exams with ease.

Is it innate ability or have most been highly tutored or prepped and how are these children so compliant and willing to sit down and be willing to prepare?

Surely statistically the distribution of intelligence means that there is a disproportionately high number of uber intelligent children.

Are CAT scores really a determinant of future success or provide some form of proxy for how well children will do at the school?

OP’s posts: |
Ratrace123 Fri 14-Feb-20 20:39:54

In my experience a lot of kids who were multiple scholarship offered were naturally high ability but tutored within an inch of their life. Shame as they can only accept one offer yet had swiped prizes that wouldn’t be re-distributed back out to pupils who might have had a school as genuinely first choice. Some Heads are onto this now so won’t add a scholarship to an offer if it’s apparent that child has their school as back up.

Frostyskies1223 Fri 14-Feb-20 20:48:23

OP, I have experienced the SW London independent school 11 plus entry system and the bottom line is the top schools write exams to attract bright children who will thrive in their environments, the content doesn't stray much from the KS2 curriculum but a prep school or a tutor teaches exam technique & VR/NVR. Many of the offers from the top schools go to the same group of children hence when you are taking part in the exams & interviews you see the same dc again & again. If you look at the destination school pages of some prep school websites you will see 24 children may generate 60 offers. Some of those getting 4 or 5 offers today will end up taking a grammar school place when they are released on 2nd March unless the private schools can match them with a 100% bursary or scholarship.

Tiredofelevenplus Fri 14-Feb-20 21:31:08

I will be very honest here. DS is a genuinely bright child. He had two offers this week. We are really hoping to get a third one, which would probably be our first choice. Let’s way and see what happens there. Having said that I truly believe that DS is genuinely bright, he has indeed been tutored in exam technique and I do believe that that helped him cope with the demands of these particular assessments. Bottom line, in my opinion: firstly and foremost, be realistic on whether DC would thrive at any particular independent school; then, by all means, provide some additional support if you are able to (it does not need to be a professional tutor if you have the time, ability and inclination to provide such support yourself). It is really tough to be submitted to this level of stress when you are only 10 or 11 years old; it is however the world we live in. Good luck to all!

Frostyskies1223 Fri 14-Feb-20 21:37:13

Also OP, if you follow the Higher Education Oxbridge thread on MN a large % of the contributors have dc who have Oxbridge offers and if you follow the forum on 2nd March some of the contributors will get offers from the top grammar schools in U.K. like QE & HBS where 1000's apply for a 100plus places so the nature of these forums attracts a certain type of parent.

Battenburg11 Fri 14-Feb-20 21:48:22

I thought my child was very bright but today we got told by City School for Girls that she is on their waiting list.

Personally I think not only does your child need to be super bright but also oozing in confidence when it comes to interviews at these super selective independent schools as well as being very strong in sports etc.

But I may be wrong but I do wonder how can these 10 and 11 years be so clever.

leeloo1 Fri 14-Feb-20 22:30:36

My ds is very bright (cat scores of 136), but we didn't tutor and he isn't having much success in the 11+ exams.

I think in hindsight we should have had him tutored, so he would have been faster and learnt 'tricks' for whipping through the questions the right way. 😔

bashstreetkids Fri 14-Feb-20 23:46:41

I am fairly certain that people are far more likely to post good news on this forum. Therefore you get a distorted view of how children are doing across the board.

My daughter has secured offers with academic scholarships in this year’s SW London 11 plus. She is at a prep school and they practiced papers all last term, so the school prepared her well. We are genuinely astonished by her results and we don’t feel that we have pushed her very hard.

I think that she was in the right head space and is fundamentally quite academic. There is no doubt that practicing exam papers and VR/NVR has been very important for her confidence and exam technique.

bashstreetkids Fri 14-Feb-20 23:52:43

Also, I meant to say to the other posters, whose kids have been waitlisted- I am certain the waitlists will move. If people are holding multiple offers, they can only accept one, so there should hopefully be a redistribution. Good luck- it’s such a stressful process for everyone.

Fifthtimelucky Sat 15-Feb-20 07:51:52

Surely it's no surprise that the brightest children are getting multiple offers if they are sitting multiple exams? I'd be much more surprised if that wasn't the case.

Similarly, the brightest children 7 years later are getting 5 offers from top universities, though obviously some of them may get a knock back from one or two, especially if applying to the most prestigious universities and/or the most competitive courses like medicine.

My older daughter is extremely bright. She stood out at primary school, got into the most selective school in our area and from there went to Oxford. I have no idea what her CAT scores were and she never had any tutoring but it was obvious to me even when she was a toddler that she was very bright.

Ratrace123 Sat 15-Feb-20 10:42:33

What I’m seeing more and more are mums who felt that they had let themselves down by not getting formal tutoring for their child, which is sad especially at 11+. Another stick for mums to beat themselves up over.

Ratrace123 Sat 15-Feb-20 10:48:06

Sorry - meant let their kids down - not just themselves.

Baaaahhhhh Sat 15-Feb-20 11:40:48

Contrary to Ratrace123 the girls I knew who got fist-fulls of offers and scholarships were not tutored, but just naturally bright. Many of them achieved sports and or music and or art as well as academic. I must admit it did annoy me a bit when it was obvious that some of them were "scholarship shopping", doing several entrance exams at many schools of which they had no intention of going to, thereby depriving other of the chance.

Ratrace123 Sat 15-Feb-20 11:49:12

That’s fantastic news @Baaaahhhhh
I know of some too, in the minority but great that the 11+ system can still identify and serve them too.

Autumnnightsaredrawingin Sat 15-Feb-20 12:00:18

My daughter is bright, but not exceptionally so. She has always been in the top few children at her state primary, but as plenty of people told me, that doesn’t mean an awful lot!

I think we were lucky that she peaked at the right time. She suddenly started being interested in practice maths papers, and would challenge herself to beat her dad etc. She got offers at 5/6 of her schools, but no scholarships, academic or otherwise. She had a very small amount of tutoring as she is at a state primary who obviously don’t prep.

We applied to a range of schools in terms of academic reputation, because we honestly had no idea where she sat in terms of other girls sitting for similar schools. We were genuinely surprised that she got the range of offers. I think where she was at an advantage was she has a high level of ‘extras’ to offer, in terms of high level sport and drama, and I am sure this carried some weight in her interviews.

We feel genuinely lucky to have such a great choice, and because we have friends on WL and because I don’t believe it’s fair to hold places at schools you know you definitely won’t take, we have already declined several of our places.

Tiredofelevenplus Sat 15-Feb-20 12:18:38

Autumnnightsaredrawingin, fully agree with your approach. Also had a talk with my son and the joint decision was to write to three schools and withdraw his applications altogether, mid-process, before we have the results (as offers that came in this week means that we would no longer consider these particular schools, for a set of reasons including geographical location). We don’t know at all if my son would have had offers from these schools, of course. But he might, and we don’t need them.

Reginabambina Sat 15-Feb-20 12:24:27

I received every scholarship I applied for in my day. No tutoring, no pressure, I just decided to sit for scholarships and my parents paid for it. Tbh I don’t even think I was super bright, just relatively bright. Every year there will be a group of children that get first pickings because it’s the most able that get offered everything first. But of course they can only accept one place so then the next tier of kids will also get multiple offers, and possibly the next tier too. Suddenly you have a large proportion of children with multiple offers but they aren’t all the best ones, a lot of them were second, third or fourth on the list.

Ratrace123 Sat 15-Feb-20 12:25:15

Wow @Tiredofelevenplus - that is a very unusual thing to do. To be mindful of the impact that withdrawing mid process would have on overall offers will no doubt have a material impact on some kids' offers. Hats off to you.

Reginabambina Sat 15-Feb-20 12:27:00

@Baaaahhhhh but if they turned down the scholarship it would just go to the next person down the list and so on until someone accepted.

Ratrace123 Sat 15-Feb-20 13:01:30

No that’s not how it works @Regina - Most schools do not repurpose their scholarship prizes. They are determined at offer stage against all children who sat the exam.
That’s precisely the point of my posts.

Tiredofelevenplus Sat 15-Feb-20 13:59:09

Hi Ratrace123! Thank you for your words, darling. I will tell you what happened: on Thursday, when my DS had his first offer, he was felt so happy, he felt so relieved, he felt so proud of himself and his ability to reach for the stars... And I just thought to myself: “You know, I wished that all children could feel the same way my son is feeling right now. There will be many children feeling sad tonight who deserve to feel the joy, pride and relief of being selected in a potential school’s main/first list. And we can do our tiny little bit... We can play our tiny little part here... And I can try to convey to my son the importance of doing this...”. It unfortunately never occurred to me until I saw my son’s face. And then it was just obvious...

Prufrockspeach Sat 15-Feb-20 14:15:01

My DSs both got offers from all the schools they sat for 11+ which included super selective London schools. Both had high CAT scores (in the top stanine though not at the very top) and both were always in the top sets at school. However, I did have to spend time with both of them prior to the exams finessing their exam techniques...for example, showing your working, managing your time, familiarisation with the types of questions that might come up etc. They did some of this as their prep school but I don’t think it was enough. But this was done over the half term and Christmas holidays prior to exams....not for a year prior!

Ratrace123 Sat 15-Feb-20 14:50:00

Not sure what the norm is re #schools entrance exams. Most parents will probably select 2-3 schools which they think their DC will thrive in, genuinely not knowing what will convert to offers/scholarships and will do the decent thing in returning offers ASAP.

‘Scholarship shoppers’ are in the minority but there is a ripple effect. The worst case - I saw was where one child was made to sit 7 Indy schools plus the grammars as parents didn’t have time to look at schools properly to narrow the list. She was naturally bright but had a year of tutoring for ‘extra edge’ - swept all the prizes and the mum would gleefully boast about playing schools off each other.

In another case a family with the resources at their disposable had a child with multiple offers (not all scholarships) and paid deposit for three schools so DC could have the summer to choose and make up mind. shock

Baaaahhhhh Sat 15-Feb-20 14:56:56

Ratrace123 I know someone who did this as well. Three deposits at several hundred pounds, in order to hold the places. In the meantime the rest of the wait list who could not afford to hold places at other schools, had to make their minds up without the luxury of not worrying about a few hundred pounds down the sink.

Baaaahhhhh Sat 15-Feb-20 15:01:35

Reginabambina but if they turned down the scholarship it would just go to the next person down the list and so on until someone accepted

As already noted, this doesn't happen in the majority of schools. Some put the excess funds into bursary pools, most just disappear. Because of this I know some schools now offer small scholarships to existing outstanding students at key points in their school journey. This is an acknowledgement of good work done, and of support of the school. I like that approach.

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