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Archive for the ‘private school entry’ Category

When should you start studying for grammar school entry?

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Is your child sitting the exams for 2017 entry into Manchester or Cheshire grammar schools in September? If so, it’s a great idea to start getting your child:

  1. Familiarised with the range of questions if sitting verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers
  2. Practising exam technique for some of the more challenging types of questions
  3. Testing themselves with practice papers to identify areas of weaknesses to work on
  4. Practising thinking under pressure against the clock
  5. Reading … lots. Short stories, novels, non-fiction. Anything to develop their vocabulary
  6. Looking up unknown words. A really fun way to do this is to use Word Hippo
  7. To be super observant… Get them to spot patterns and shapes in everyday things; write about places you visit together as a family; sharpen their times tables with Squeebles – a fun app

And if your child dislikes reading initially, try instead to hook their interest in words by downloading apps such as Word a Day – or take your pick from these *scrumdiddlyumptious word games!

Finally, try to reward progress and success to keep your child motivated. Too much pressure can switch them off. Always aim to balance hard work required with a sense of fun and challenge.

How to crack 11+ exams in half the time

It’s true: these tests don’t always test ability. They test how to think quickly on your feet – plus expect you to think logically, numerically, imaginatively, verbally and non-verbally within a short space of time.

If your child needs help juggling how to do this successfully, get in touch with us here at 1-2-1 Home Tutors. Our fantastic tuition team of 11+ specialists can offer term and holiday tuition across the Manchester area.

*A Roald Dahl fan? Check out more of his famous, made-up words here.

What is Verbal Reasoning?

Monday, March 7th, 2016

If sitting the 11 or 13 plus exam (for 2017 entry) in the Manchester area, you need a brilliant grasp of verbal reasoning.

Verbal reasoning, in short, is word and language problem solving. That means you could be tested on vocabulary knowledge, grammar, spelling and word usage.

That’s just for starters. A verbal reasoning paper also tests your ability to spot patterns, apply logical thinking, and understand the relationship words have with each other.

Know your vocab!

Word knowledge is an area many 11 and 13+ students struggle with – mostly because of the way many questions are set. Often you have to:

  • Remove a letter from one word and place into another
  • Change the first word into the last, by changing one letter at a time
  • Spot prefixes or compound word patterns

Sometimes, questions are more cryptic. There are coded sequences to master where you have to decode words using numbers and letters. This means you need tip-top logical thinking, as well as James Bond code breaking skills!

Let the games begin

1. Play the dictionary game: close your eyes and put your finger on a word on a random page. Read its meaning, then think of a rhyme, synonym and antonym for it.

2. Play the group game: In two minutes, write down as many types of boat (steamer, ship, dinghy, barge…) Challenge yourself to all sorts of ‘types of…’ groups. Types of hats, trees, herbs, colours, footwear etc

3. Take the change a letter challenge. Pick a random four letter word and change a letter each time to form a new word. salt – halt – hall – ball – bill – sill – silt

Entrance exam tuition

The key to entrance exams is to think fast on your feet. Therefore, learning English, Maths and reasoning techniques is essential.  A one to one tutor can teach you all of these and more.

For entrance exam success in the Manchester and Cheshire area, call 1-2-1 Home Tutors.

The end of the 11+?

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Chelmsford County High School for Girls recently announced they will be replacing the 11+ (11-plus) with a new selection system. The headmistress of the school took this step because she felt the existing 11-plus discouraged girls from applying because their parents couldn’t afford the tutoring required. The new test is designed to be ‘tutor proof’, meaning everyone who applies has a fair chance.  Other schools in the south of England have made similar decisions after seeing a tutoring and coaching culture develop.

The tests that are being used to replace the 11+ are supposedly more unpredictable, and able to distinguish those who are naturally bright from those who have been intensively tutored. Our concern is that rather than creating less demand for tutoring the unpredictable nature of the test will increase the need for tutors.  These schools are not stopping selection just changing they way they do it. Selection on academic ability must always require some testing, for which there will (and always has been) tutoring.

We haven’t yet heard of the 11 plus style selection tests being scrapped or replaced in Manchester or Cheshire but we will watch closely what is happening in the rest of the UK. Manchester Grammar School do carry out an assessment day and interview as part of their selection to try and  lessen the focus on tutoring to get a place.

We do agree that parents panic when it comes to selection and the 11+. Over the last few years we have had enquiries for younger children. This seems to be because parents are told by school or other parents that the ‘best’ tutors are booked up years in advance (this usually isn’t the case) and they need to get their name down. We do agree that pressure at such a young age isn’t ideal and much of the ‘preparation’ work with younger children should be done at home in a fun way.

If you’d like to know more about 11 plus (11+) tutoring for Trafford and other Manchester grammar schools call us today. 

Secondary school – did you get your first choice?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

On 1st March Year 6 primary school children found out which secondary school they will be going to. Some local authorities report that over 90% of children were allocated their first place school. But data from 2011 shows those numbers vary depending on where you live. For many parents and children not getting into their first choice can be a crushing disappointment – it can cause practical problems such as transporting children in different directions and emotional issues such as facing being separated from well-established friends.  So if your child didn’t get their first choice what are your options?

  • Don’t discount any route at this stage – you can accept a place at one school, appeal to others and go on the waiting list of other schools.
  • Give your allocated school a chance – go and visit, speak to the head and teachers. Form your own opinion and look objectively at any practical issues getting in the way.
  • If you do want to appeal then focus on the school you wanted and what it can offer your child over and above the school they have been offered a place at.
  • If you are appealing understand the grounds on which you can appeal, be prepared to be specific and offer lots of evidence. It is worth revisiting the entrance criteria for a school.
  • The appeal process needs to be based on fact, not your gut feeling or local gossip. Roughly 1 in 3 appeals are successful.
  • If your child didn’t pass the 11+ then take a moment to reflect – maybe grammar school wasn’t the right path for them?
  • Have a Plan B if your appeal isn’t successful – could you consider independent schooling or home schooling, even for a short period?

If you need advice on tutoring at secondary school level in Manchester or Cheshire (Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Heaton Moor, Wilmslow) for Maths, English and many other subjects, contact 121 Home Tutors.