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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:11 am
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Thank you both for your honest replies - appreciated. From what I understand, the CEM exam scripts are not in public domain. So, all available material on VR, NVR and Maths are essentially interpretation of individual publishers and given that CEM wishes to mitigate the 'tutoring' aspect (I think I've read it somewhere - please correct me on this, if I'm wrong), there must be a random element to CEM exam questions, in particular for NVR. So, my question is, if someone closely follows the Y6 curriculam (English and Maths), shouldn't that be enough?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:05 pm 
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My son is sitting the CEM exam this September. We haven't had a tutor till just a couple of weeks ago and this was mainly to help him focus a bit during the summer holidays as it was difficult to get him to work while his sibling was playing, so I felt a tutor would be beneficial. She is not doing anything I couldn't have done, but my son is focused during this once a week lesson, so I think it's worth the money for the summer holidays at least. But otherwise I have done all the prep myself. We used CPG books, practise papers and 10min tests. My son scored pretty well in the couple of mocks he's sat so far, well above average, so I think the CPG material prepared him well. It all depends on the day if he will pass or not, but so far, I feel we have done OK without a tutor.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:45 pm
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We had a similar situation - daughter was doing the 10 minute tests and was not completing too many of the questions. We just practiced (daily) and gradually we found she was completing one more question per week or so. We also made sure she knew what the goal was so that she could actively make an effort, rather than just complete the 10 minute practices aimlessly.

Also CEM is very tough timewise so many of the entrants will have this issue. We focused on on trying to make sure she got more questions right each week of practice (even if just one extra answer correct per week of 10 min tests) rather than quantity answered.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:45 pm
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We fully DIY tutored for CEM (and she passed).

NVR - we found NVR is NVR whatever the exam board so used the GL NVR practice guide and papers, plus Bond NVR practice tests (old unmarked ones bought off Ebay), we started with the 8-9 year ones to introduce NVR and then moved up to the 9-10,10-11 and 11-12 year tests every few months.

VR - we found word lists available on the web and used Quizlet to compile lists and then do the flashcard tests. Reading classic texts regularly (eg Little Women, Anne of Green Gables etc) also helped. I recall she didn't know what the words 'dank' and 'dilapidated' meant on the test (4 years ago so surely publishable now) as examples. I also copied text from online news reports and then rearranged some words in some sentences, or removed words and got her to substitute words from a list to make it a logical read.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:18 pm 
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Thanks enema - sounds like you had a successful and productive time with her. For full DIY tutoring, there are clearly some risks which perhaps can be overcome by constant monitoring and that on its own carries a huge advantage, I think, in terms of knowing my daughter's situation exactly. In your case, how soon did you start - full 12 months in hand or later? Did school provide any help? VR, Comprehension or Maths?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:02 am 
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Generally state schools are not allowed to offer any help for potential grammar school children - they also do not do NVR (in the CEM sense) in state schools at all, although they are very common in private prep schools (along with 11+ practise, ad infinitum), as a prep school relies on destination statistics for its future money.

It is perfectly possible to not use a tutor successfully - we did it twice - and not use paid for mocks either - we did that twice too. Accuracy and speed are important - work on accuracy now and then challenge her to work faster, moving on (but marking a multiple choice answer, and a mark so that she can go back if she has time). By marking an answer she has a one in 4 or 5 chance of guessing the right one - and in practice may well have narrowed the choices down to one in two anyway - but it also means she won't get out of sync on her answer sheet if it is separate to the question paper. By putting a small mark next to the question she can come back and work on it if she has time at the end (unlikely as it is tight on time). Time management is something a tutor helps teach a child but it is merely using the time to the best of her ability.

Practise NVR - there are different styles - and it is useful as they become more obvious the more you do - my boys used to do those for fun as they saw them as puzzles rather than work.

Many parents use a tutor because they either do not feel they are educated enough to carry out the process, especially if English is not their first language, or they do not feel they have the time, or don't want to do it, or don't want to alter their relationship with their child. All valid reasons. Equally others do it because they feel more in control, feel they know the way their child learns best, feel they are able to cope educationally adn can afford it. In reality the truth may well be somewhere in the middle!! The tutor industry is unregulated, however, which means for every conscientious one there are probably two or three playing on parental fears - and big tutor companies (often those which run mocks) can be amongst the worst culprits with parents reporting how badly their child did and how the company suggested they sign up to more tutoring to stand a chance.... :shock:

Whichever route you choose, ensure you make it very clear that the 11+ is just about improving options for Y7 - it is not pass or fail - remind her all the time that her "getting in" to a grammar school does not define your love for her - her trying her best and working hard is what makes you proud, and anything she does now will stand her in good stead, wherever she goes.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:11 am
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Hi kenyancowgirl, thanks for your reply. After reading all of the replies, we've decided to stick with our plan for full DIY tutoring at home, got all the books and stuff. We'll probably go for a Mock exam, later in the year (post July). Just one question, what would be the best way to get some help from school, should we engage with the class teacher and give him/her our plan of what we're doing at home and bring some degree of co-ordination between home and school and perhaps encourage the school to give her more challenging in-school tasks (Maths and English/Comprehension) & homework etc? Surely that's not an unreasonable request.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:46 am
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Our primary school (state) did not get involved in any way with regards to prep for the 11+ and I think generally state schools don't. Much of the content of the test is not even taught until year 6 at school and NVR isn't taught at all. The only info we got was an email telling us when the open days for the grammar schools were and a link to the admissions process. Many children do not sit the test so the teachers can't really be expected to give additional help to those children who are sitting it. Saying that, a good teacher will always challenge and encourage a more able student which was the case at my child's school in year 5 and 6.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:26 pm 
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Well poppety, your reply is interesting. Our experience with the school is actually pretty positive. DD does extremely well (exceeding) and we always have kept the teacher in the loop and made sure school knows what she’s doing in home and to our great satisfaction they always challenged her in both Maths and English. Indeed, this is what Ofsted advised the school – take individual student’s initial academic ability as a starting point and push them upwards, (e.g., she was asked to practise Schofield & Sims book 5 mental arithmetic at the beginning of Y4). Generally, 11+ preparation is nothing extraordinarily different from what a good student should do anyway (apart from the NVR), so in that respect, I think it should be perfectly possible to take advantage of the huge experience and resources available from the school/teachers? This final point was also echoed in CEM’s advice on their website (if I remember correctly) and from my brief interaction with the AGGS head teacher during their open day.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:26 pm 
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We had a fantastic primary school too and my daughter was certainly challenged and pushed to achieve her full potential. Work was set accordingly e.g., the more able students were given Schofield and Simms level 5 homework, others level 4. My point about the school not preparing the children for the 11+ was mainly with regards to the elements of the test which are not taught in the curriculum such as the NVR and aspects of verbal reasoning. As I said. I think it is pretty standard for state schools not to offer support in these areas. It sounds like you have a great primary school so of course speak to them and see what they suggest.


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