Tag Archives: entrance exams

Exams

Exams are looming for quite a few pupils so I thought they might like this picture!

 

exam

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The early bird…….

So many people wait until school starts in September to think about starting or restarting tuition.

Things are usually fairly hectic at this point and it’s only too easy to keep putting it off for another week. The end result can be, that your son or daughter is already playing catch up and to make matters worse the tutor of your choice can’t fit you in on the only evening that Kevin or Tracey doesn’t have football or drama.

Why not get ahead of the game and start tuition in mid to late August? You will have  a good choice of teaching slots and your offspring will start school with a real advantage. Some of the entrance exams are in October/November which doesn’t leave much time for tuition to work its magic, if you delay starting until mid September.

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Congratulations

Well done to one of my pupils who has managed to gain entrance to Reading Boys School at 13+. To put this into perspective the school takes 100+ pupils at 11+ and only 10 at 13+. So this was a major achievement.

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11 + exams looming?

I make no apologies for recycling this blog as it follows on perfectly from my previous post!

If your child is at present in the state system but intending to take 11 plus, Common Entrance or entrance exams for a private school they may be at a disadvantage.

They may very well be gaining excellent marks at their school, even top of the form, but they may not have studied some of the areas which private schools take for granted. This is especially true in English where knowledge of parts of speech and accurate spelling and punctuation are often given greater weight in the private sector. I find many pupils are not used to their written work being marked for all punctuation and spelling mistakes; they are often rather shocked by the amount of red when I return homework. Their teachers may concentrate more on the imaginative/creative content in order to encourage writing. This is not necessarily wrong – just a different approach. Teacher training courses often tell prospective teachers not to mark everything as it will discourage  pupils.

Pupils who are already at prep schools and within the system will be more used to these standards. When I taught in a prep school,  pupils of 8 or 9 were often tackling work at the same level as secondary first year. Scholarship exams for the most prestigious schools can be way above GCSE level in subjects such as English, Latin and  French. There are many excellent books that can help your child prepare for 11 plus and naturally (!)  I would suggest that some private tuition can be of great benefit. Coaching in moderation can help level the playing field for state school pupils in particular.

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Moderation in all things!

Obviously I believe in the value of private tuition or I wouldn’t be doing it, but I also believe that you can have too much of a good thing.

There are lots of situations in which extra help can be valuable. It can help to build self-confidence. It can help with a subject that a pupil finds particularly tricky or has fallen behind for some reason, or where they don’t get on with their teacher. It can give an extra focus to exam revision or course work preparation. It can help boost exam grades – first time round or retakes. What it shouldn’t be, is a substitute for childminding during the holidays – keeping children occupied when their parents are busy or working (and, yes, it does happen!). Nor do I believe that children should be regularly tutored in more than 2 or 3 subjects, as a general rule. There may be the odd exception such a change in school which involves a temporary need to catch up.  All parents want to help their children succeed in education but sometimes excessive tuition can result in huge pressure on a child. If they can’t get into that school, or gain that scholarship, without a huge amount of outside help, it may be that it’s not the right school for them.  No-one wants to see a child struggling in a school that’s too academic for them, their confidence eroded as they perceive themselves as failure.

Some children do need a bit of a push; some just need some gentle encouragement and a good tutor should recognise which approach is appropriate.

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II plus exams looming?

If your child is at present in the state system but intending to take 11 plus, Common Entrance or entrance exams for a private school they may be at a disadvantage.

They may very well be gaining excellent marks at their school, even top of the form, but they may not have studied some of the areas which private schools take for granted. This is especially true in English where knowledge of parts of speech and accurate spelling and punctuation are often given greater weight in the private sector. I find many pupils are not used to their written work being marked for all punctuation and spelling mistakes; they are often rather shocked by the amount of red when I return homework. Their teachers may concentrate more on the imaginative/creative content in order to encourage writing. This is not necessarily wrong – just a different approach. Teacher training courses often tell prospective teachers not to mark everything as it will discourage  pupils. Pupils who are already at prep schools and within the system will be more used to these standards.

When I taught in a prep school,  pupils of 8 or 9 were often tackling work at the same level as secondary first year. Scholarship exams for the most prestigious schools can be way above GCSE level in subjects such as English, Latin and  French.

There are many excellent books that can help your child prepare for 11 plus and naturally (!)  I would suggest that some private tuition can be of great benefit. Coaching in moderation can help level the playing field for state school pupils in particular.

Moderation is the key word and I’ll enlarge on that in a later blog.

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