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Archive for February, 2014

The end of non-verbal reasoning tests?

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

We’ve recently heard that Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, in Cheshire is changing their entrance test.

For students applying for entry in September 2015 (or beyond) they have decided to remove the non-verbal reasoning paper. This decision has been taken because non-verbal reasoning isn’t something that is taught as standard in schools. In our experience many students were ‘caught out’ by this unfamiliar subject and often spent a good part of their entrance exam (11+) tutoring on this area.

The changes are still in the consultation phase but it looks likely that there will be more emphasis on English and literacy skills. The entrance exam (11 plus) will probably now involve a multiple-choice English assessment.

We’ve already had a number of enquiries about English and literacy testing for entrance exams as rumours are that other grammar schools in Manchester and Cheshire (Stretford, Sale etc) may also decide not to continue with non-verbal reasoning and add an English component.

If you’d like to chat to us about entrance exams, and literacy and English assessment for grammar schools in Manchester and Cheshire then contact 121 Home Tutors today.

 

Did you revise over Christmas?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Last year the Government decided to remove the modular exam approach to GCSEs and A Levels. They also removed opportunities for unlimited resits and instead students sit all exams at the end of the academic year (in June). The aim of the changes is to make learning more rigorous and increase standards at GCSE and A Levels.

This is the first year we have seen the impact of the changes and we’re concerned.

At 121 Home Tutors we have seen a drop in the number of enquiries during the autumn term for GCSE and A Level tutoring. Normally the bulk of our enquiries would come in during this time as students prepared for the exams during the academic year.  There are some students who recognise that preparing ahead is important but we’re worried that as June seems so far away many are in danger of leaving things until the last minute.

Many of our students would have used the long Christmas break to revise for their exams in January. But this year there’s no (or very little) revision to do – for either mock or real exams.

Are we storing up problems for later in the academic year when we’re expecting a flood of panicked students who have left revision until the last moment. One benefit of the January exams is that they revealed weakenesses, which could then be corrected, earlier in the year. There’s now no opportunity to do this and we’re worried it’s leaving some students open to failure. So here are 2 things to think about in the next month…

– Where are your weak spots – look at them now and decide if you need tutoring help.

– When are you planning to start revising? At least think about when that might be and ensure you have plenty of time for all your subjects (and a life!).

If you think you like some help preparing for GSCE revision and A Level exams then drop us a line at 121 Home Tutors.