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The final push

(41 Posts)
Teddingtonmum1 Mon 16-Dec-13 00:09:34

My DS has 2 entrance exams whitgift & reeds in 4 weeks , he has been working hard but his results on practice papers seems to still be erratic one day he gets 100% the next day its 60%. am planning to stop study over Xmas but will need to resume work w/c 30th as I'm at home for the next 10 days. Am planning to have an intensive 10 days before the exams can anyone advise the best way to tackle it , DS can't do long sessions works better doing short bursts for 30-45 mins is it better to do one day on one subject or mix it up ?

MiniMonty Mon 16-Dec-13 01:31:19

Entrance exams in January ????
Pretty weird...

antimatter Mon 16-Dec-13 01:59:39

I wouldn't at this stage stop for Christmas.
Mixing subjects is ok providing he has breaks.

I would limit screen time. Let him relax with somr physical activity. If you are at home between now and beginning of spring term you can easily do 2 or 3 tests a day. He needs to learn to work with clock and read instructions. Not to spend too much time on each question etc.

Ladymuck Mon 16-Dec-13 08:04:22

Are the papers you are doing of similar standard or are you doing the various sample papers on websites? Ie are you comparing like with like?

For each paper, are you happy that there are no knowledge gaps and that you are simply looking at exam technique and stamina? Don't underestimate the stamina needed for a day's worth of exams, especially as Whitgift have a lengthy essay in there.

basildonbond Mon 16-Dec-13 14:45:12

Minimonty - all the independent 11+ exams are in January confused

OP - you have to strike a balance between keeping them on the boil and overdoing it. Dd is doing two exams in January and will be doing lots of reading (as always), quite a bit of general chilling and dog-walking and a little bit of brushing up any areas in maths and reasoning where she doesn't feel 100% confident. Her school gets the year 6 children to go in on the last Friday of the holiday for a full-scale mock exam - if yours doesn't do a similar thing then maybe you could set that up at home?

JustAnotherUserName Mon 16-Dec-13 14:57:56

I'm planning on stopping doing full papers.

DS knows his maths and grammar by now; or should do and if not its too late. I am confident he won't forget what he does know in the next four weeks or so. Just general chilling, and doing 20 or 30 mins a day over the holidays, so he can remember the basics and a little practice of the more stretching maths questions.

I suppose every DC is different - mine is just completely fed up with all the practice over the last months, its time to rest for the frenzy of activities in January.

maree1 Mon 16-Dec-13 23:06:53

For English, these might be worth a look regarding content and for some award winning age related essays. For Maths practise with past papers – and then some more past papers – and then some more.

Teddingtonmum1 Tue 17-Dec-13 21:44:50

At the moment we are doing an hour a day , bond, GL, he is weak in VR and English so will have to have a bigger push the week before averaging between 65-85% depending on which part of the day u catch him !!! His strong in Non VR but unfortunately they dont test for at whitgift Have consoled him that theres only 3 weeks to go then its all over and then i start to grow an stomach ulcer through worrying & playing the waiting game got 3 options would be happy with just 1 offer at this rate !!. Got 2 weeks over Xmas so will try and keep up the hour a day then up to an hour am & pm in jan for the last few days but as they say you can't know everything and if he doesn't know it now it's too late !!.... Anyone have any idea on pass mark for whitgift entrance exam ? Admissions advised they will interview a large number of boys who sit the test am guessing they won't bother with the ones who totally flop it but am told the interview can make or break a boy that's borderline luckily ds is confident in an interview and can chat away so no concerns there just got to get him to interviews and hopefully he'll shine otherwise I give up I'm totally exhausted as we've DIY 'ed but on the upside my verbal reasoning has improved roll on march and it's all over ( unless ur on a wait list sad )

basildonbond Tue 17-Dec-13 21:48:15

you're not seriously thinking of sending your son from Teddington to Whitgift each day????

Teddingtonmum1 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:03:10

there is a school bus from Worcester park or Wimbledon or the train to clapham junction then change for south Croydon plus we have family in Croydon or worst ways I could move and rent not sure , will worry about getting the place first !! Wanted weekly boarding but whitgift has such a lot of extra curricular he could easily be kept busy til 5.30pm / 6 pm but we shall see ...

basildonbond Tue 17-Dec-13 22:29:58

it just seems bonkers to me, sorry - don't get me wrong, it's a great school and my ds has been very happy there but no school is worth that kind of journey ...

Teddingtonmum1 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:39:16

Does your ds take the school bus ? I work with someone and they live in hounslow and their daughter used to go to Reading grammar it seems the distances kids are travelling are nuts the admission officer at whitgift said they have someone who commutes from Brighton !!! Am thinking anything over 45 -1 hr is too much ?? What's normal ???

basildonbond Tue 17-Dec-13 22:50:25

no he gets the train - the bus would be hideous as they'd get stuck in traffic both ways and it's not that flexible

the train is easy - but (and it's an enormous but) the train journey is less than 15 minutes and he doesn't have to change

just because other people are making their dc do stupid journeys to go to school doesn't make it any less stupid ... sorry to be blunt but just think of all the good schools he'd be passing, state and private, every single day for 7 years, any one of which would be able to meet his needs just as well as Whitgift or Reeds

dd's doing exams in January - she's exceptionally academic and her current school were pushing for her to sit for SPGS - I vetoed that as the journey for us would be too much for an 11 year old - she's my third and as I said before I have realised that NO school is worth that kind of disruption to your child's life on a daily basis - they would miss so much by having such a long, difficult journey - time, easy socialising with friends, flexibility

Teddingtonmum1 Tue 17-Dec-13 23:32:57

I agree have seen some crazy journeys on mn especially to tiffins etc I even think some of the school buses are a tad early some pick up at 6.55 am !!! I wouldn't do that myself for work everyday let alone a 11 year old but I guess kids must do it or they wouldn't run them.

Ladymuck Wed 18-Dec-13 07:44:09

Do pay close attention to the weekend fixture list too. Whitgift do put a lot of their clubs etc in lunchtime, but sport fixtures are more likely to overrun. If your Ds has contact with his father at weekends then he will need to know what he is being signed up for.

Most local boys find the pace quite gruelling in the autumn term. Adding 2 hours of commuting will not help. As you're aware a key part of the application process is the interview and Whitgift interview parents too. You will need to be prepared to answer the "Why Whitgift?" question.

ll31 Wed 18-Dec-13 07:52:40

Seems like an awful lot of pressure for 11 yr old. Does he want to go there? Are his friends going?

Ladymuck Wed 18-Dec-13 08:05:24

In terms of passmark, if you are after a full fees place then provided you do decently (over 75%) in the VR paper and don't do disgracefully in the others you should get an interview.

basildonbond Wed 18-Dec-13 08:11:14

Ladymuck is spot on - ds was exhausted in the first term if he'd had to cope with a really long journey on top of that it wouldn't have coped. I can guarantee that none of his friends will live anywhere near you so that parties, sleepovers etc will be a logistical nightmare. Plus there are frequent parents evenings, concerts, talks, sports fixtures etc which somehow you'd have to get you and your ds to. My parents live in Teddington, just next to the extremely popular state school you disregarded, so I know just how gruelling that journey can be.

Whitgift is a fantastic school and has been perfect for ds and if you lived closer I certainly wouldn't be trying to put you off but honestly, what you're suggesting is simply not fair for an 11 year old - there must be more suitable alternatives (inc state schools)

MrsSteptoe Wed 18-Dec-13 10:13:16

Not applying to Whitgift, but out of curiosity: are they more interested in the VR score than the maths score? Our tutor has given us the impression that Dulwich at least is primarily interested in the maths (and the NVR, tho I don't think W tests NVR)

Ladymuck Wed 18-Dec-13 11:30:53

Maths is more of a qualitative mark than you might expect as the boys either:-
a) get it all right
b) make some silly mental maths mistakes along the way (of the 5+8=12 sort), but clearly know the maths
c) have gaps in their knowledge (usually space and data (averages) related), but are otherwise sound
d) haven't a clue.

So if a boy gets 65% say, you know he isn't in category a, but you don't know, just from the score, whether he is in b, c or d.

English similarly is qualitative.

The reasoning paper which is usually written externally and is standardised is therefore the one purely quantitative number.

This is where indie markings are very different from the grammar computer-marked process where the score alone matters. Ideally you want a good showing across all the papers, but a good VR score can get you an interview if one of the other papers is weak.

MrsSteptoe Wed 18-Dec-13 11:46:25

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.

JustAnotherUserName Wed 18-Dec-13 12:00:17

Interesting, but for most Maths:

b - most indies emphasise you must show your working. That will show whether silly mistakes have crept in.

c - most indies tell you that no more than usual KS2 maths is tested, so most DCs will have been prepared for that (even if some schools are lagging and yet to cover it all by january). So I doubt (or am I being naive) that any will not know the full "curriculum" for the test (gaps having been filled by parents or tutors).

d - won't get anywhere near 65%!

JustAnotherUserName Wed 18-Dec-13 12:06:38

Out of interest, LadyMuck, did you pick 65% at random (or is that a "passmark" for a school like Whitgift - which my DS is sitting, as it happens?)

Ladymuck Wed 18-Dec-13 12:31:17

The point I'm trying to make is that there isn't a "passmark" as such for maths. There are plenty of boys at Whitgift who scored less than 50% in either English or Maths (but not both, and with a decent reasoning score). 65% was plucked out of the air as the highest mark I could think of that someone scoring below average in reasoning might achieve in maths.

Ladymuck Wed 18-Dec-13 12:36:25

And as for being naive, in terms of standards, Whitgift have an extensive primary schools outreach, and an incredibly generous bursary scheme. There will be children sitting the exam who are incredibly underprepared compared with most MNers. It may be worth preparing your son for this, as it was clear some boys had never sat that sort of exam before (eg would ask the teacher to explain the questions to them etc). It is not only the brightest kids who sit.

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