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    Preparing for the 11-plus

July 26, 2017

Everything you need to know about Bexley grammar schools – and how to help your child get into one

Are you considering sending your child to one of the Bexley grammar schools? Every year, more than five thousand children sit the Bexley Selection Test so at least that many parents are aware of them. But the 11 Plus can be a bit of mystery if you don’t know what it is; don’t know anyone who has put their child through it; or don’t know what’s required to help your child pass the test.

Bexley grammar schools

There are four grammar schools in Bexley:

  • Bexley Grammar School (Mixed)
  • Beths Grammar School (Boys)
  • Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School (Mixed)
  • Townley Grammar School (Girls)

In order to make it into any of these schools, children need to sit the Bexley Selection Test, which covers:

  • Verbal ability: covering vocabulary, comprehension and verbal reasoning. Verbal reasoning is not part of the national curriculum, so your child will need to be taught a good portion of it, which is where the expertise of an experienced 11 Plus tutor can be extremely beneficial.
  • Numerical reasoning: mathematical problem-solving, which Bexley Council says covers up to and including Year 5 level.
  • Non-verbal reasoning: this paper tests a child’s ability to see how objects relate to each other and to make logical deductions. Non verbal reasoning is largely an extension of maths topics including symmetry, rotation, reflection etc, but there is a little more to it. Again, non-verbal reasoning is not part of the National Curriculum, but at Geek School, we teach children the necessary techniques to master non-verbal reasoning.

There are two test papers during the Bexley selection tests, each containing mainly multiple choice questions that relate to all of these areas. Each paper lasts about 50 minutes, and is broken down into sections, each of which has an allocated amount of time. Children take both papers on the same day, with a break of 30 minutes in between.

What is the 11 Plus pass mark?

It is worth knowing that the pass mark for selection tests is not 50%. Instead, test scores are weighted to that 50% of their overall score is for verbal ability, and 25% each for numerical and non-verbal reasoning. The results are also standardised, which means they are adapted to take into account your child’s exact age. So, children who are the youngest in class will have that considered in their score with a slight adjustment in their scores.

The highest possible score is 280 and the mark children need to attain fluctuates every year, but is usually around the 214 to 216 mark. Every year, the Bexley Selection Panel decides what the threshold mark to be considered selective (i.e. the pass mark) should be that year.

As there are currently 800 places in total in the Bexley grammar schools mentioned before and 5,000-plus children writing the test, just passing will obviously not guarantee an offer of a place at one of the schools. In 2016, 1753 children achieved the selective score (i.e. 216 and above. As you can see, there were far more children who ‘passed’ than there are grammar school places, and in this case, each school allocates places according to their oversubscription criteria. In most cases, the deciding factor is how close the child lived to the school.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. One way to guarantee your child gets an offer of a place at one of the Bexley grammar schools is for your child to be one of the top 180 scorers. If your child achieves this, they will be guaranteed their grammar school of choice.

When to register your child for the Bexley Test

Registration for grammar school selection tests usually open in May or June (every borough sets their own schedule) and closing dates vary, but are usually in early July. Children are registered for the exam when they are in Year 5 – not Year 6, ready to sit the exam in the first or second week in September of Year 6.

Find out more information about Bexley grammar schools and the Bexley test at www.bexley.gov.uk/selectiontests. If you would like to discuss tuition for your child, contact Joycellyn on 05957397602.

July 24, 2017

What are the Best Books for 11 Plus Preparation When Your Child is Getting Ready for Grammar and Independent Schools?

Is your child preparing for the 11 Plus exams for a grammar or independent school place? If so, you’ll probably be wondering what the best books for 11 Plus preparation to buy in order to help your child get the results – and fast!

Gone are the days when there were just one or two 11 Plus book publishers in your local WH Smiths or Waterstones to choose from. The 11 Plus is a big area of interest to just about every academic publisher that provides book for primary school aged children; and so the books and packs that are available can be overwhelming f the 11 Plus is new to you. Throw in verbal and non verbal reasoning (two topics that are not part of the National Curriculum) and it can be quite a daunting prospect.

In the following video, 11 Plus tutor (and founder of Geek School Tutoring) Joycellyn Akuffo looks at two of the most popular 11 Plus preparation book publishers (what many consider to be the best books for 11 Plus preparation): the age old Bond books; and the CGP books to help to demystify what each book can achieve and when your child should be using them. Which one is the best for 11 plus preparation? What are the differences between them? Both of these questions and more are answered in the video.

At Geek School, we pride ourselves in being the 11 Plus experts. Having helped numerous children successfully pass their grammar and independent school tests, our formula for success is tried and tested – and it works every time.

Many of our students have made gained offers and scholarships for top private schools, including Dulwich College, Trinity, Whitgift, Eltham College, St Dunstan’s, Colfe’s, Sydenham Girls, Old Palace Christ Hospital and more!

If you found this video helpful, and you’d like to book 11 plus tuition for your child in preparation for the 11 Plus, get in touch today. Call Joycellyn on 02086583239 to discuss your child’s needs.

July 5, 2017

Geek School Tutoring 11 Plus Intensive Course in Bromley

Geek School 11 Plus Intensive Course is running again this August. It’s the last few weeks before the grammar school tests begin in September, so it’s a crucial time to revise and fill in any knowledge gaps. Children sitting the Kent, Bexley, Medway, Sutton, Wandsworth, Newstead and St Olave’s tests will do well to get intensive tuition during the summer months to firm their knowledge and work through any gaps in their learning. If your child is sitting the independent school exams later in the year, this course will also work wonders for them, as the curriculum is largely the same whether they sit a grammar or independent school exam.

Every year, we have children joining the course whose parents have been looking for a private tutor in the Norwood area, private tuition in Bromley or 11 plus support in Beckenham – many come even further than that! So, if you’re looking for anintensive summer 11 plus course, look no further.

What is covered in the 11 Plus Intensive Course

The 11 Plus Intensive during the summer holidays course covers all the four subjects in the 11 Plus: English, maths, verbal reasoning and non verbal reasoning. All exams types are covered (i.e. GL Assessments and CEM papers).

11 Plus Intensive Dates and Times

Tuesday 15th August to Thursday 17th August 2017 (3 days)
Tuesday 22nd August to Thursday 24th August 2017 (3 days)

Time: 9am-5pm

Cost: £150 per week

Lunch: Not included (please pack a packed lunch)

Location: Bromley

The Success of the 11 Plus Intensive

Lasy year, many of our students on the 11 Plus Intensive Course excelled in exams for high-profile private schools (gaining scholarships, too), including Dulwich College, Trinity, Whitgift, Eltham College, St Dunstan’s, Colfe’s, Sydenham Girls, Old Palace Christ Hospital and more! We also had great success in the grammar school tests for Kent, Bexley, Sutton, Newstead and St Olave’s. All those who were successful in the grammar school tests attended the 11 Plus Intensive.

The Geek School 11-Plus Intensive is run in very small groups, so book early. Call or text Joycellyn on 02086583239 to discuss our child’s needs today.

January 20, 2017

10-Minute Maths Genius Course

  • Is your child struggling to hit those high scores in their 11-Plus preparation?
  • Does your child get a mix of high and low scores, making it difficult to gauge the level he or she is working at?
  • Does your child do well, but you still think they could do with a bit more revision?

At Geek School Tutoring, we see a a whole mix of abilities and the underlying criteria for success for children of all levels is one factor: practice. The more, the better; the more, the better the scores for the grammar school tests and the independent schools.

So, we’ve created a FREE programme to help children reach their full potential: The 10-Minute Maths Genius course.

It’s completely free – there really is no catch. All you have to do is sign up for the FREE emails and everyday, a 10-minute maths worksheet will be delivered straight into your inbox for you to print. We’ve even included the answers so you can really see how your child is doing, without the hassle of having to work out the answers yourself.

It’s too good to miss out – join today!

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January 11, 2017

Fifty 11 plus interview questions, tips and advice for independent schools

Congratulations! If your child has been called in for an interview, following an 11 Plus exam at an independent school, they’ve done well enough to get through to the next stage. Of, course, this doesn’t guarantee an offer for a place at school, but your child is one step closer to an offer, which is excellent news!

If you want to take the worry out of getting this all-important preparation for the independent school interview right, you probably want an expert to walk your child through all the things they need to know. That’s where our Independent School Interview Course comes in handy.

 

Preparation for the 11 Plus Independent School Interview
Schools will be looking for bright, articulate, confident and well-mannered children who can fit in with the school and give back to the school as well. Every school knows the type of student they are looking for, so it’s very important that your child doesn’t pretend to be someone he isn’t.

Pretending to love Greek mythology and then not knowing anything about Kind Oedipus, or Hades will ring alarm bells and will make it obvious that your child has been primed for the interview – very dangerous territory. So, the biggest tip of all is: be natural!

What to Practise 11 Plus Interview Questions

Some children ooze confidence and are not flustered about the thought of being interviewed. If your child is like this then you’re halfway there, but there are still some things to remind your child of:

1. Give a confident handshake when one is offered.

2. Look the interviewer in the eye when being spoken to, and when replying to questions. Not doing so will appear rude, or coy – neither of which are effective, especially hen trying to give a good impression.

3. Ummm….no! Try to take a pause and think quietly without saying ‘ummm’ every other word. It looks a lot more polished.

4. Ask questions! Just like adults going for job interviews, if you’ve made the effort to attend, you’ll naturally have a question or two about the job and the place of work. Your child should go into the interview with a few questions prepared that are specific to the school. Carry a small notebook and ask away! No more than three questions, however, as this is a very busy day for interviewers. Time to go on the school website and have a look through the activities and clubs etc, and think about anything you’d like to ask.

5. Watching the news – BBC News, CNN, reading the newspaper (the free Metro paper or the broadsheet newspaper websites for the Guardian, The Times etc will do!). It’s quite common to be asked about current affairs (see interview question below), so watching and reading the news will help.

6. If asked a question that your child has been practising at home, she should take a paus so it looks like she is thinking about a response and doesn’t make it obvious that it’s been practised at home.

7. Have a conversation about what to tell the interviewer when asked about the schools that she has applied for. If your child is doing eight school exams, it’s probably not a good idea to state this – you want to give the impression that there is only one school of interest. It’s acceptable to mention two or three other schools, but reeling off seven others might not give the best impression.

8. Sit still – but not like someone in a straight jacket! This just means avoiding fiddling, slouching or tapping feet etc.

9. Tell your child not to worry if the interviewer has a different opinion about a topic to theirs, they may enjoy hearing your child’s viewpoint – and it’s could also be an interview tactic.

10. S.M.I.L.E.

Don’t Sound Like a Robot During the 11 Plus Interview

Please don’t encourage your child to memorise answers to interview questions! This is not another test – the interviewers want to get to know the ‘real’ child, it will be very clear that an adult has rehearsed answers with them.

Fifty 11 plus Interview Questions to Practise for independent Schools

Here are some interview questions to practise:

1. What is your favourite subject at school – and why?

2. What is your least favourite subject and why?

3. Why do you want to come to our school?

4. What sport do you play?

5. What is your favourite sport?

6. What extra-curricular activities do you do?

7. Do you play any musical instruments?

8. Have you performed in any plays?

9. If you had unlimited money, what would you do with it and why?

10. Who is your favourite author?

For the complete set of 50 independent school interview questions, plus in-depth video tutorials for your child, check out our Independent School Interview Course. You can be assured that your child will get the variety of interview questions that are likely to come up, along with even more guidance on what they can expect at the interview, what to avoid at the interview and more!

 

Interactive activities during interviews

The 11 plus interview may not be purely question-based, so there are some other things to bear in mind:

1. It’s not uncommon for your child to be shown a group of pictures and asked which one he likes and why. The pictures can range from pictures of celebrities and animals to more thought-provoking pictures e.g. war, destruction of the rainforest and a road sign.
2. Another common activity is to think about as many things as possible that could be done with an object like a pen (or any other object, e.g. paperclip, basket or candle) other than using it as a pen.

3. Your child could be given a poem or piece of writing to discuss it with the interviewer.

4. There may also be a mental arithmetic question for children doing an academic scholarship, so keep the maths practise going!