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 Post subject: MAT format - SW Herts
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:22 am 
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Hi, I wanted to ask a question about this year's MAT test for the SW Herts Consortium. My daughter took the test on a reserve date at the beginning of this week, so I just wanted to check that the reserve tests are all done before I ask it. One of the sets of questions wasn't in the format we were expecting, and I wanted to see if we had misunderstood something or if it threw other people as well. Perhaps someone could let me know if it's Ok to ask a question of this sort now? Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:01 am 
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the problem with some if the tests (and I don't know if this one is included) is that they can use the test for many months ahead and right up until next summer eg if people move in to the area - so best not to discuss questions on the recent paper.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:18 am 
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hermanmunster wrote:
the problem with some if the tests (and I don't know if this one is included) is that they can use the test for many months ahead and right up until next summer eg if people move in to the area - so best not to discuss questions on the recent paper.


I take your point absolutely. But I would like to know whether there's an official agreed 'format' for the music tests. Perhaps I missed something obvious, but it was hard to find consistent materials to help with preparation. For the rhythm section, in particular, the task seemed to vary a lot between the different materials that I found, and I don't think it's clear, from the description on the SW Herts site what to expect from this set of questions. I hope it's OK to say that! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:46 am 
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You are not supposed to know what they are going to ask you.

It is supposed to be a test of musical ability, not of how much you have prepared. DG


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:42 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
You are not supposed to know what they are going to ask you.

It is supposed to be a test of musical ability, not of how much you have prepared. DG


Um, no - it is stated by the Consortium to be a test of musical aptitude, which a person may have even if never having been called upon / had the opportunity to display musical ability.

The Admissions Code is very clear that where a school tests for either aptitude or ability, it has to employ tests designed to assess whichever one they say they are testing for.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:21 am 
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It is an aptitude test. Both my dds and many others I know of have taken this test and have scored very highly as it is testing for your natural aptitude in Music.

The poster was stating that they felt they had not been given enough preparation material to be ready for what is essentially designed to a test of a students response to what is being played to them. DG


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:31 pm 
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Daogroupie wrote:
It is an aptitude test. Both my dds and many others I know of have taken this test and have scored very highly as it is testing for your natural aptitude in Music.

The poster was stating that they felt they had not been given enough preparation material to be ready for what is essentially designed to a test of a students response to what is being played to them. DG


Ok, point taken. But nevertheless, it feels reasonable to allow 10 year olds to have some familiarity with the format of the questions and what they're going to be asked to do before they go in. Otherwise I think it's asking a lot of them to get their heads around all of that, on the spot, in an unfamiliar setting.

I'm sure that nearly all who are successful in the MAT will have done some practice, even if it's just listening to a mock test to get used to how the questions are asked, the speed of the questions, and what an answer sheet might look like. And I'm conscious that with the texture questions there is an element of tuning your ear to what you're hearing - I'm sure practice can help with this.

I really don't want to labour the point - what's done is done. But I was just curious about the rhythm questions - which seem to ask you to do different things in different tests that we've seen. My daughter was a bit thrown and simply said she didn't even know what she was meant to be doing. I thought it might be helpful for parents in the future to clarify this (and I was also simply curious about whether we'd got the wrong end of the stick somehow). But if seeing how children respond to the unexpected is part of the test then I won't say anymore.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:05 pm 
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Ok, point taken. But nevertheless, it feels reasonable to allow 10 year olds to have some familiarity with the format of the questions and what they're going to be asked to do before they go in. Otherwise I think it's asking a lot of them to get their heads around all of that, on the spot, in an unfamiliar setting.

I'm sure that nearly all who are successful in the MAT will have done some practice, even if it's just listening to a mock test to get used to how the questions are asked, the speed of the questions, and what an answer sheet might look like. And I'm conscious that with the texture questions there is an element of tuning your ear to what you're hearing - I'm sure practice can help with this.

I really don't want to labour the point - what's done is done. But I was just curious about the rhythm questions - which seem to ask you to do different things in different tests that we've seen. My daughter was a bit thrown and simply said she didn't even know what she was meant to be doing. I thought it might be helpful for parents in the future to clarify this (and I was also simply curious about whether we'd got the wrong end of the stick somehow). But if seeing how children respond to the unexpected is part of the test then I won't say anymore.


I agree completely. Familiarising a child with what to expect and some practise definitely make a difference. There is a technique to the texture questions for example. From distant memory there were differences in the real thing from the practice tests we used, I think predominantly with the sound, but it was close enough to be helpful. Good luck.


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