11 Plus Exams Forum

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Author:  Kimmitten [ Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Timings


details of test removed by moderator
My friend was chatting with our tutor about the timings and she said that the timings are known to be very tight and so they teach the children to 'guess and go'- I was just curious if your children found the timings tight, and if so, does anyone know what the benefit in having such a short time for each section is intended to be? I can't see how it's a marker of intelligence to be able to work really fast, and obviously in an exam setting we're encouraging them to take time to read the question carefully, which on top of nerves etc seems to me to make this a big ask? Obviously there has to be a reasonable time limit but I'm unclear on the rationale of it being so short, it seems that it would be better to allow enough time for the children to complete the questions properly (rather than 'guess and go'?!) so you can genuinely compare who has more correct answers? Can anyone explain it or are you as confused as I am as to the perceived plus points of this?

On another matter, did anyone not put their child for the Kent test as well as the Medway? We only did Medway on the blanket advice of our tutor (that preparing for the Kent test is a large amount of additional work and not worthwhile unless you are literally on the border), and now we majorly regret it! Anyone else only done Medway and can reassure me this wasn't a stupid move?! It seems like everyone came out of the Kent test saying it was easier than the Medway test and that they had more time to finish.

Thanks :D

Author:  PerpetualStudent [ Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Timings

Hi Kimmitten,

Grammar schools, generally speaking, are recruiting for students who can learn quickly. The ability to read quickly and think quickly is therefore an advantage. The 11+ exams are testing students only on the curriculum they should have covered in school so students who know the material well and are familiar with the style of questioning will be able to answer more quickly. Hence, tight timings help to differentiate amongst the most able of the students.

Good exam technique can make a significant difference to a student’s overall score. There is no point puzzling over a tricky 1 point question if it takes so much time you miss out on answering 5 other questions you could have answered very easily. Sometimes a question comes up where you can eliminate two of the possible answers quickly but it would take too long to work out which of the remaining possibilities is correct. So you take an educated guess. There are no points for questions you don’t answer but you may well get a few extra points by making random guesses on questions you would otherwise leave blank. ‘Guess and go’ as a strategy would therefore apply to those questions you couldn’t answer quickly in the first place.

The only advantage in doing the Kent test as well as the Medway test, would be to give you more options when choosing a school. If there are local schools you like in Medway then you’re not really missing out by not doing the Kent test.

It doesn’t matter if everyone else sitting the Kent test, as well as the Medway test, found the Kent one easier. All the Kent results are standardised to a mean of 100 so if the raw results skewed high standardising would spread the scores out again i.e. if everybody got 75% and over the lowest scores would be adjusted down. The reverse happens in the event of an unusually hard test. Then students with a maximum score of 141 turn out to have raw scores of, say, 50%.


Author:  Kimmitten [ Sat Oct 02, 2021 8:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Timings

That's interesting what you say about testing on the curriculum- there are areas of the test that our kids haven't covered in school yet, the tutor actually said to them ('them' being a group of children from various schools) 'you won't cover this until year 6'. Is this not usual then, and maybe due to covid?

Author:  PerpetualStudent [ Mon Oct 04, 2021 3:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Timings

Hi Kimmitten,

This thread covers a discussion on curriculum coverage with respect to Kent:


Of course Kent and Medway use GL and CEM designed tests respectively. This link below here discusses CEM syllabus coverage but in other areas. Some counties do state their exam only covers material up to and including year 5 but I didn’t see a similar statement on the Medway pages.


It looks like CEM practice material often goes further than the year 5 curriculum or the real test and many year 5 students will have missed some elements of the syllabus due to covid. So it may well be true when tutors tell their students they won’t have covered this yet at school, but this may not matter for the actual test.

I don’t think it hurts to see some harder/more advanced questions if it’s part of an exercise in not getting thrown in an exam, and learning how to deal with the harder questions. But it could be counter-productive if a student is getting discouraged or is being pushed to learn advanced material at the expense of a solid grounding in the topics they absolutely have to know.


Edited 1x to be more general

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