11 Plus prep(8 Posts)
So, our eldest is currently in year 4. We are looking at the girls grammars and I'll be taking her to the open evenings in the next month or so. BUT neither DH nor I are from this area originally, neither of us went to grammars or sat an 11+, and we are generally completely clueless.
We would like to prepare her at home, is this realistic? We can't really afford a tutor (she gets FSM, it's really not an option at the moment). What sorts of things will she need to be doing to stand a chance?
Does anyone have any recent experience of what to expect that they'd be happy to share?
Thanks in advance!
Well we have used the Bond Online website for both our kids. It costs 60 quid for a years and they can do as many tests as they like so well worth the outlay and much cheaper than throwing your money at a tutor. My son did this for a year and passed all 5 11+ exams he went for. Daughter is now doing it and has got scores that started at 40 and 50% and is now hitting 80-90-100% on the modules so it certainly works for us. The only difficulty is making the kids understand why they are practicing as to them it's 'work' when in fact it's really giving them extra options at year 6 particularly as all the schools are difficult to get into now because of the growth in school age children. If you can give your child another 5 options above the default 6 then it increases their likelihood of getting a school of their choice rather than a third or 4th choice on their form.
I've not come across that, thanks I'll have a look. £60 seems quite pricey but I guess if we bought books the costs would soon mount up. Can I ask which schools you're aiming for? Sounds like it's more than the Sutton grammars?
Any other suggestions welcome!
Get thee down to 11+ forum
tons of information and free resources e.g past questions etc.
Thanks for the link. It's like a different world over there! Everyone seems quite...intense.
Personally I'm always a bit wary of the 11+ forum - it is indeed very intense AND uber-competitive. It can be rather full-on (particularly if you are new to the 11+ mularkey and are not necessarily a 'Tiger' parent type!). Nevertheless it is very useful for bang up-to-date and informed insider knowledge which can never be a bad thing!
We used a variety of online and 'hard copy' resources for DC1. You may even be able to order in some (without charge if you do it via your children's library cards) via your local library.
It is possible to 'home tutor' successfully but it depends on a variety of factors (but not having been to a grammar school or having direct experience of sitting 11+ exams yourself won't count against you I wouldn't say - it means you come at it with 'fresh eyes'). Just for starters think about:
- how motivated your child is to go to a grammar school (and sit the exams);
- how motivated you are to undertake the 11+ prep. journey with your DD;
- how well your DD will respond to being tutored by you;
- how likely your DD is to get in
We didn't start tutoring DC1 until midway thro' Year 5 but think we were very naive in our 'laid back' approach. Happily he did pass his 11+ exams and is currently attending one of the local grammars. We did some work every day with him, building up from about 20 mins to half a paper a day during the summer hols just ahead of the tests. He was very motivated to go to a grammar school AND very competitive with his class peers many of whom also sat the tests. Think these factors, together with a
doggedly determined consistency of approach by us, and his own natural speed and lack of exam nerves were what gave him the edge.
Even starting at this point in Year 4 could be considered 'late' in many people's eyes. There are several DCs at DC2's school who are very clever indeed (already doing Level 7 Maths etc...). However they've effectively been 'hothoused' by parents all thro' primary school.
You can imagine how hard it will be to compete with hundreds (if not thousands) of children, most of whom have been thro' similar very rigorous preparation for these super-selectives. However that isn't to say it's impossible by any means!
So you will need to really do your homework thoroughly about what's necessary to cover, ensure you have sufficient resources to keep up momentum, pick the brains of other parents as and when you need additional info or insights (whether in person at school or via online parenting forums) AND really have your DD 'on side' with taking the 11+ journey.
Quick update: DD had a free assessment with an 11+ English tutor today. She flew through it, and the tutor said that she didn't need specific tutoring for the exam in English, just carry on doing what we're already doing (erm, nothing other than giving her free rein of the bookshelves ).
I think I need to find something similar to do with Maths, as I suspect that's where her weakness will lie - and also keep drilling her times tables!
I've read up on the admissions criteria for WHSG, and it has places reserved for local children on FSM, which DD is. Does anyone know how this works? If she does the exam and gets a decent mark, presumably she'd go into all 3 lists of potential students, for non-catchment, catchment, and FSM, and if she gets a high enough mark she'd get a place from the non-catchment list, if not then she'd drop down to the catchment list and hopefully get one, or if not drop down to the FSM list and get a place that way? Can anyone confirm that that's how it works? I'm not sure if I'm reading it right!
Thanks for feedback so far, it really has been useful.
In the interests of ensuring you get the correct information, we would strongly suggest you contact the Registrar/Admissions Officer at WHSG and ask them this question directly. They will be only too happy to help.
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