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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:18 pm
Posts: 49
So, I'm hoping that the current and prospective Newstead parents (or those with girls who took the exam but went elsewhere) can share some wisdom (and hopefully stop me worrying because I clearly do NOT want to pass any anxiety onto my daughter!!). Essentially, I'm just trying to work out how to best prepare her for the exam.

She does have a tutor who focuses on English and verbal reasoning and creative writing. Newstead is our closest option, and therefore would be top of the list (if she does well). She is going to do other exams (Kent and Sutton), but ultimately she loves creative writing, and so that is fun for her.

We are doing the non-verbal reasoning component ourselves. My concern stems from the fact that she finds the Bond nonverbal reasoning really easy. But she finds some of the other NVR much harder. She is working on the 11+ - 12+ and is getting 10/12 mostly, although at this stage much slower than the 8 minutes goal. She has also done some CEM NVR and finds those rather harder too. I'm worried that the exam will be harder still. I'm also worried we will get through all of the material we have. She started writing the answers outside of the test books, but I realised that it was a better technique for her to systematically cross out the ones she knew it wasn't, so now she marks in the books.

She will keep practicing, but I'm not sure what the best materials are. I'm also not sure if a mock for just VR and NVR is necessary, to get an idea of the level. I know that Newstead PTA did their own exam last year, but I have seen some others at Crofton Halls, and assume there are others too.

I guess my questions are - should she be able to do all NVR (CEM/GL)? Is Bond the right level or is it indeed easier than the test? Are Mocks worth it? Do they help to identify weaknesses accurately? And are they at the level of the test?

Thanks so much!!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Do not panic.

Newstead only has the NVR and VR, no creative writing. However if she enjoys it then extending her vocabulary and exploring new ways of saying the same thing will be beneficial for the VR.

It is hard to tutor for NW, it is a tricky test and less obvious than the others (DD did Kent, Bexley and NW several years ago and now in Y9 at NW). We didn’t have a tutor but used the Letts and Bond ten minute tests for familiarisation and mocks for techniques and timing. We also did lots of fun word games and things that were decidedly not eleven. She was (still is) an avid reader and whilst she had a very advanced vocabulary already she had a paper slip as a bookmark that she’d write down words she didn’t know and we’d discuss at points where we both had time.

Bexley the timings are tight and maths and English are more along the curriculum and what would be learnt in schools.

Key to the whole process is that your DD wants to do it and finds the tests fun and feels motivated to want to try as she has seen the school and identified with the girls who go there. Newstead is a great school but will not suit every girl.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:18 pm
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Thanks so much PettswoodFiona. She isn't doing Bexley (not practical to get to), but she is doing Kent. There is creative writing (or rather, writing - it isn't necessarily fiction) in the sutton second round. But ultimately, it doesn't matter because she loves the writing. How many mocks did your DD do?

My DD is generally very fast with less attention to detail, so we have been working on slowing her down and trying to get her to pay attention to the detail - that is how we are 'tutoring' for the NVR (and indeed everything). I worry there are techniques to teach her, but I think she is doing okay simply going slower. We will just need to get her to go faster with her slower, more attentive, technique. She has always been an avid reader, but she has gotten more particular so it has become harder to get her to read widely. But she reads her favourites over and over again. Again, she is so incredibly fast, it is hard to get her to slow down to make note of words she doesn't understand. However, she re-reads them many times, and I think for that reason her vocabulary is good.

Did you do any mocks for Newstead in particular? The one I have just booked is for Kent, and I thought that might be good at seeing overall what her strengths and weaknesses are.

In terms of who the school suits - what I'm looking for for her is a school where it is okay to be very academic, and where she doesn't need to pretend to be less academic to feel like she fits in. She likes to fit in. She is competitive, but she doesn't like to stand out. I also want a school where she will learn to be challenged (but I hope within a supportive environment), and where she can learn to fail. I am hoping that is Newstead. I also would like a school where being 'cool' isn't the only acceptable way to be. I'm guessing in all secondary schools there are cool kids, but I'm hoping that there is more scope for girls to be more than that. My main concern with Newstead is that I believe they allow the girls to have mobile phones in schools. I really wish that they were banned! But still, that is a small thing :)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
We did two mocks, held about four months apart so she had learn from one test and time to improve. I'll pm the provider to you. The provider gave feedback on the types of question that were incorrect so we could focus on those. We tried a tutor for a few weeks but the problems is they seemed to have a one size fits all and were not concentrating on gaps that DD had so do keep a good eye on the tutor.

Your DD has tons of time between now and September. DD spent about an hour a week doing practice, typically two ten minute tests and then tests I set based on words she had identified in her book or ones that had come up in mocks or she regularly got wrong. During the summer holidays that changed a small bit but more around fun stuff like crosswords to compliment the eleven plus specific stuff. Once she went back to school - no more practising.

Newstead is not a school about fitting in, it is a school where the girls are very much themselves and need to be confident about who they are. The girls are supportive of all the variety and difference that goes on in young girls lives. The school put a lot of trust in the girls and yes the mobiles is one of the the examples but for DD it has only been positive. I think in a different school it would be a different matter.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:18 pm
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It would be great to know what mock centre you used, thank you.

To be honest, the tutor is as much to provide a way to challenge my DD, whilst throwing in a bit of comprehension, VR and creative writing stuff. We have tried tutors in different ways, and I decided that the pure 11+ tutors didn't really work for us. So the tutor is an English teacher first, and an 11+ tutor second. VR is not my strong point, and so I'm happy to outsource that. NVR I can help with much more effectively.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:47 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
The school may allow mobile phones, but if it's not actually compulsory for the girls to have them (like the schools that insist on students being bought a tablet / laptop to be used in school) and you don't want your DD to take hers to school, or have one at all, you can always be the parent and forbid her to tale / have one, of course?

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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