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Atom Learning, useful? When to start?

(31 Posts)
Coconut2010 Thu 18-Jun-20 08:51:55

I have been recommended to subscribe to Atom Learning for my 10yo DD who will be sitting 11+ exams for independent schools. Some pre tests shall be happening in October/November.
Would you recommend it? How does it compare to Bofa (which I used in the past for my other DCs).
When would you recommend me starting the subscription? Isn’t now a bit too early? I was thinking about starting in September but I don’t want to leave it too late.
Thank you!

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mumcreates Thu 18-Jun-20 11:55:42

We used Atom for my DS last year, we found it very useful. Definitely preferable to Bofa, infact I would say not really comparable. We found out about it late so, only used it for a couple of months.
My DD is the same age as your DD and I subscribed for a month over the Easter holidays to keep her busy, plan to subscribe again in August till she writes her exams in Oct/Nov.

Beachcomber74 Thu 18-Jun-20 13:03:18

Expensive. You would be better to spend the money on a tutor.
If your child is motivated and happy to sit and do the screen activities but when we subscribed DS only did it a couple of times so felt like total waste.

Coconut2010 Thu 18-Jun-20 14:10:23

Thank you for your replies. She already has a tutor focusing on English as English is not our mother tongue, and at the moment I have the time to support her on the VR/NVR and maths so I thought Atom could complement it nicely and get her used to on screen assessments. For those who have been using Atom, do you know if parents can review the tests DC have done and go through the mistakes with them, ie does the system store these tests that have been completed for further review? thanks again

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leeloo1 Thu 18-Jun-20 14:35:02

Ds had it for a year, last year - at the time it was £400 for the year. It was good in some ways - mainly for nvr and vr I'd say, but:
-it was clunky - you had to scroll up and down to answer questions; or for comprehension you had to scroll between 4-6 different pages to find answers which was really unhelpful.
-After the first month we had a report saying what he needed to work on, videos to watch etc - the links didn't work and we never had another!
-there were 'points' he had to get in each subject, but he always focused on some subjects and ignored others. When I told him off and asked why he showed me some subjects were completely gold ticks (eg were finished) but he was being asked to practise them loads - it didn't make much sense.

You can go through questions they've got wrong, but the explanation videos are very simple compared with the problems, so aren't much help.

I didn't find I had as much oversight as I did when ds was doing the paper based 10 minute tests etc and I feel we lost ground using it.

If your dc is doing iseb then it is good as Galore Park produces atom and iseb, so apparently some of the questions are familiar. If your dc is doing paper based exams I wouldn't use it.

Sorry thats a rant, I hope it's helpful...

iamthankful Thu 18-Jun-20 15:23:38

I used it last year for my son last year, bought the 6 months and we did the mock tests. My son told me straight after coming out of his iseb test that he saw some "exact" questions from Atom in his Maths paper. My feeling is, it may not have been exact, but surely would have been similar enough for him to have thought so. Also he said the test platform looked just like Atom's, which is a plus. My son got a scholarship, difficult to say how much input Atom had to that. The questions in Atom are more difficult than 10 min tests (or perhaps my son got difficult questions after getting a number consecutively correct, as I know Atom is adaptive), this really helped him.

mumcreates Thu 18-Jun-20 16:25:16

iamthankful

I used it last year for my son last year, bought the 6 months and we did the mock tests. My son told me straight after coming out of his iseb test that he saw some "exact" questions from Atom in his Maths paper. My feeling is, it may not have been exact, but surely would have been similar enough for him to have thought so. Also he said the test platform looked just like Atom's, which is a plus. My son got a scholarship, difficult to say how much input Atom had to that. The questions in Atom are more difficult than 10 min tests (or perhaps my son got difficult questions after getting a number consecutively correct, as I know Atom is adaptive), this really helped him.

My DS said the same after his iseb pretest last year and he got offers from the super-selective schools he applied to, that might not be entirely down to Atom but it definitely helped. I also spent time working through and explaining the corrections with him and this really helped. He's also a tech-inclined so, the online testing was preferable to physical books.

Coconut2010 Thu 18-Jun-20 17:33:54

Thanks all, this is super helpful!
I know that at least one of the pre tests will be online so Atom might indeed be useful. However I don’t think they are set by ISEB. One of them might be CEM and the other one is the girls consortium exam.
Actually does anybody have any insight on the consortium exam, whether it’s more similar to GL or CEM or totally different?

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LondonJJ Sun 21-Jun-20 14:44:14

Our DD used Atom learning for 6 months last year in preparation for the Consortium exam. She found it very useful. It’s multiple choice like the consortium test and there aren’t lots of past papers etc to practice. Try and get some feedback from your current school as well, but I think starting now would be worth it.

Coconut2010 Sun 21-Jun-20 15:23:00

LondonJJ

Our DD used Atom learning for 6 months last year in preparation for the Consortium exam. She found it very useful. It’s multiple choice like the consortium test and there aren’t lots of past papers etc to practice. Try and get some feedback from your current school as well, but I think starting now would be worth it.

Thanks LondonJJ, this is very interesting to note that your DD found it useful for the consortium exam.
I think I’m definitely going to get a subscription but maybe from September. We still have loads of Bond, CPG and similar books to finish! The school has not given us any guidance yet, we haven’t even started discussing secondary school choices confused Fortunately I went through it a few years ago with other DCs so I have some ideas.

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sonmum10 Sun 11-Oct-20 12:05:08

Has anybody have any vies on Atom learning for 8-9 yr olds?
Thank you

sonmum10 Sun 11-Oct-20 12:06:36

Particularly on the type of subscription- basic/standard or premium. Which one is most useful?
Thank you

Doobiedooo Sun 11-Oct-20 14:58:34

It’s not for 8-9 year olds. Do not waste time or money. Your child will be disheartened by it. You will be disheartened! At 8-9 (year 4?) focus on reading and solidifying maths.

Coconut2010 Sun 11-Oct-20 15:17:55

I agree with @Doobiedooo, taking a subscription for a 8-9 year old would be pointless.
We ended up taking a subscription last month when we realised that all the schools DD is applying to have switched to ISEB or CEM online pretests.
Whilst the mock tests are great to prepare for these exams, we have been very disappointed by the topic based practice tests which are far easier than the mock tests and add no value as DD always scores 100% or 83% (1 mistake). We therefore focus on the mock tests but that wouldn’t work for a 8-9 year old as these mocks are really targeted at 11+ pretests.

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montlieu Mon 12-Oct-20 13:04:29

Can anyone confirm whether ATOM is truly adaptive in all 4 subjects or mostly the maths please ?

Coconut2010 Mon 12-Oct-20 14:51:15

Atom's FAQ section does not specify that the adaptive feature is limited to certain subjects so I assume all 4 subjects are adaptive.
The adaptive feature might be more visible in maths though as I believe there is a wider spread of abilities between the best and the lowest performing children in Maths than in other subjects?

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FlossyLondon Sun 25-Oct-20 12:17:41

DS completed his ISEB pre-test last week and we'd been using Atom Learning through year 5 and 6. DS said the comprehension is very similar - click through the pages (no scrolling) and similar math questions. We've definitely found it very helpful not just for pre-tests but for general confidence levels as DS is quite bright but there are gaps in knowledge from our time in the US when he was younger. I'm going to keep our subscription going - it's not cheap but DS actually doesn't mind using it and he is improving in Eng and math which his teachers have commented on. Also it should be helpful for some of the senior school tests in the new year IF he makes it through the pre-tests!

In terms of when to start, I asked about this for my younger DD - the Y3 and Y4 content will release before Christmas but will be more geared towards building foundations rather than test prep. We'll give it a go in December. Until then, wait until Y5 before subscribing or it will be too challenging most likely!

Coconut2010 Sun 25-Oct-20 12:53:01

Thanks a lot @FlossyLondon , that’s very interesting feedback. We shall be continuing the prep on Atom then. How did your DS find the VR and NVR part of the actual test?
Do you mind telling us what sort of score your DS was getting on Atom or what your prep considered as a good score for the very selective schools (if he was at a prep) ?

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RoniH Mon 26-Oct-20 05:55:52

Hi, thanks for the useful info about Atom learning. Our school have told us that the ISEB examining board have said that the maths this year will be ‘different’ to previous years but they didn’t explain how!! Just wondering if your son can give any insight into this?! Tricky question I know! Thanks in advance x

FlossyLondon Thu 29-Oct-20 15:33:02

@Coconut2010 yes, the VR and NVR is interesting. This is where we found the biggest improvements esp in NVR which was totally alien to my son before. Yes he is at a prep in London - the mocks to start with were not good, SAS on Atom of around 105 but we managed to push this to a point where he was scoring above 120 on Atom most of the time and this seemed to be in line with his CAT score too. It wasn't a case of completing endless mocks. We did practice questions and it seemed to be particular types of questions holding him back like the different shapes etc. so we focussed there. We did a few mocks before the actual pre-tests again and that's when we saw the improvements. The end of topic tests in the course area are not that helpful in my opinion but the ability breakdown is so go off that! Our prep did a webinar for parents on CAT scores and what types of schools we should be aiming for. 120+ seemed to be the general goal for top schools but obviously some are higher - Westminister, St Paul's etc. Probably more like 130+. DS isn't quite at that point. @RoniH I'm not sure tbh...DS found the math fine - no big surprises. There shouldn't be anything that they haven't covered in school!

Coconut2010 Thu 29-Oct-20 17:15:23

@FlossyLondon Thanks again for sharing your feedback about the whole experience, that’s very interesting! Fingers crossed for your sons’ results.
It’s funny because it’s also in NVR that DD has seen the biggest improvement, by far. She’s improved elsewhere as well but nowhere near as much. That makes sense because at school she’s always scored lower in NVR compared to VR (which stumped me because my older DC were the opposite!) but it serves to show that with good practice even NVR can be improved.
I envy you so much to be done with ISEB now. My DD’s exam is in a couple of weeks, I can’t wait for this to be over and make a bonfire out of all the 11+ books!

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RoniH Thu 29-Oct-20 19:08:39

Thanks @FlossyLondon, good to hear the maths wasn’t too hard.. I think last year the kids thought it was so that’s good news! Or maybe everyone has just upped the amount of preparing they do!

RussianZoe Sun 01-Nov-20 21:54:33

@Coconut2010 All the best for your daughter's exams, I bet you both can't wait for them to be over. I have used Atom and Bofa, and Peak Prep and found Peak Prep by far the most user-friendly and the right level of content. They have a free trial so you could still use them for some last minute mock tests. My daughter found the Atom content too hard and so got really discouraged sad

RoniH Mon 02-Nov-20 07:01:26

Hi, thanks for your message. I’ve never heard of peak Prep! I’ll have a look at it today- thank you. Did your daughter find the level on Peak Prep to be similar to that of the actual test then? Did she take the Pretest this term? Thanks so much for your advice!

Coconut2010 Mon 02-Nov-20 08:07:20

I had never heard of peak prep, it might be very good but I’d be wary... FYI I’ve noticed there has been a poster indirectly advertising for peak prep under several user names, answering all the posts related to ISEB mentioning peak prep and talking about its merits above other any other platform. A couple of weeks ago one new post advertising about peak prep was removed on this secondary education board.
Again it might be very good, I have not idea, but I’d be wary of businesses trying to take advantage of parents’ anxiety, especially at such a late stage in the preparation.

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