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Dear Parent

11+ Mock Exam – Session C (for GL Assessment Bucks 11+ candidates)

Thank you for bringing your child to the Susan Daughtrey Education 11+ Mock Exam, Session C (for GL Assessment Bucks 11+ candidates).

You can access your child’s Record Table, an anonymised List of Scores and your child’s Video Tuition report using the tabs above.

The students were generally very good at following the test instructions and our checks during the test indicated that students did not move forward or backward to other Sections in the test papers save as instructed.

At Susan Daughtrey Education we provide students with the following advice:

  • While the number of questions and the time allowed for the Section is being read out (which is usually stated immediately before the students are instructed to start the Section), to quickly look at the clock and make a mental note of the time so they are able to work out how much time is remaining at any stage during the Section;
  • To perform a quick mental calculation taking the allotted number of minutes and dividing this by the number of questions in the Section in order to work out the approximate ‘pace’ with which they will need to work through the questions if they are to finish the Section in the given time (for example where there are 12 questions to complete in 6 minutes, students will be able to calculate that they need to answer a question roughly every 30 seconds, or to complete 2 questions in each minute, if they are to finish the Section) – however students have been told that there will of course be some quick/easy questions and others that are more difficult and which take longer – therefore if a question is taking a little bit more than the time allowed for the ‘average’ question in that Section, this is probably ok as the ‘lost’ time can be made up on other questions;
  • If a question is taking too long, or the student is unable to work out the answer, students have been advised to:
    • Enter a guess for the question on their multiple-choice answer sheet;
    • Circle the question number in their question booklet (so they know this is the question for which a guess has been entered);
    • Continue to the next question; and
    • If there is time left once they have completed the other questions in the Section, to return to reconsider any question(s) which they have circled in their question booklets and, if appropriate, to change the answer already recorded on their answer sheet.

The reasoning behind this advice is as follows:

  • There may not be time left at the end of the Section to return to the difficult / time consuming question and therefore it is better to enter a guess, and have an answer on the multiple-choice answer sheet, than it is to provide no answer at all;
  • If no answer is entered on the answer sheet, there is a greater risk that the student will move on to the next question but then inadvertently give the answer to the next question in the multiple choice answer battery intended for the question they have just missed out – for example in Sections where all the answer options on the multiple choice answer sheet are A, B, C, D or E, if the student leaves out say, Question 9, it is very easy, especially under pressure, to then enter the answer to Question 10 in the multiple-choice answer battery for Question 9, to then enter the answer to Question 11 in the multiple-choice answer battery for Question 10 and so on (and in doing so to lose a substantial number of marks);
  • It is better to circle the question number in the question booklet as the answer sheet is marked electronically and only the student’s answers should be recorded on the multiple-choice answer sheet (in the real test it is likely that the students will be permitted to write on the question paper – for this reason students are encouraged to write on the question papers at SDE’s mock exam sessions and we then shred and recycle these after the Session); andIt is thought better to enter a guess than to leave the question blank for the following reasons:
  • Finally, as a very last resort, for example if time is running out, students should enter guesses for any remaining questions, as there is no negative marking in the 11+ (i.e a mark will not be taken away for getting an answer wrong). By guessing e.g five questions with A – E options, it is possible the student will pick up a mark or two and this could make all the difference. Leaving batteries on the multiple choice answer sheet blank guarantees lost marks.

Students will need to consider their own exam technique, perhaps with the advice of their parent/tutor, and if there are other techniques which work for your child and you are happy with them, these should be adopted/continued in place of the above.

Importantly students who have attended mock exams need to be reminded to listen very carefully to the instructions for the actual Bucks GL Assessment 11+ test as these are almost certainly going to differ from the instructions given at the mock exam sessions they have attended.

The test papers have been designed to reflect, as far as reasonably practicable, the expected difficulty of the actual GL Assessment 11+ tests. As a result many students will find their marks are lower than they would like. This is quite normal and if this applies to your child, you should consider explaining that the tests were not easy, that they still have time to revise the work they have already done and to improve their exam performance.

The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools specifically state that the content of the VR test will evolve from year to year. As we do not know exactly what to expect on the VR test, parents should prepare their child for all eventualities, by practicing lots of comprehensions and clozes, learning the rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar, extending their English vocabulary knowledge and looking at a wide range of verbal reasoning questions, including the ‘old 21 types’ (covered in Susan Daughtrey M.Ed’s Verbal Reasoning Technique and Practice books which are available to purchase via the Susan Daughtrey Education website).

While we are not permitted to distribute GL Assessment’s familiarisation material, we advise parents to Google “GL Assessment Familiarisation” – the first appearing search result will take you to the Familiarisation page on GL Assessment’s website where you can download and print a wide range of Familiarisation tests from GL Assessment. Even though these Familiarisation papers have not been prepared specifically for Bucks 11+ candidates, we still consider it beneficial for your child to practice using this material.

RECORD TABLE

As well as providing a detailed breakdown, we have also provided a total mark and a percentage for each paper.

Our students’ results have not been standardised (i.e. your child’s score has not been adjusted to take account of your child’s age on the date of the test).

As a rule of thumb, standardisation on standardised 11+ test papers tends to involve an adjustment of up to 4-5% of the total amount of marks available on the test (the September-born child will not usually have any marks added to his/her score, whereas an August-born child will, depending on the test paper, have up to 4-5% added to his/her score – students born in other months are likely to receive a pro rata adjustment to their score on a sliding scale). The justification for standardisation is that it helps to ensure that the younger children, who on average tend to score lower in tests than their older peers in the same year group, are not disadvantaged by reason of their age.

If your child is not born in September, you may wish to make your own adjustment to your child’s score to take account of his/her age, however you will also need to bear in mind that the other students’ scores on the List of Scores have not been standardised.

TARGET MARK

A ‘Target Mark’ for each Section has been specified below in order to help you identify areas of weakness. The Target Mark is not a specific percentage of the total marks available in each Section; the Target Mark has been determined taking into account (i) the difficulty of the questions in the Section; and (ii) the overall performance of students in the Section.

Where your child has missed the Target Mark (most students have fallen short of the Target Mark in at least one of the Sections), you may wish to make the relevant type of question (or the underlying skill, such as knowledge of English vocabulary), a particular focus of the work your child undertakes between now and the real 11+ tests in September. Where your child has missed the Target Mark in several Sections (applicable to many students), you may wish to prioritise or spend more time working on the areas where the shortfall was greatest. We hope this is helpful.

Prior to starting each Section in the tests, students were presented with:

(i) the Instructions for the questions in that Section;

(ii) an Example Question (with the answer given on the Question Paper and Answer Sheet); and

(iii) a small number of Practice Questions.

The Instructions and Example Question (together with the answer options and correct answer) were read out on the pre-recorded audio. Students were then given a short period to work through the Practice Questions (in silence). The audio then reads out the answers to the Practice Questions.  The students are then told how long they will be given to answer the ‘real’ questions and how many questions they will need to answer in that Section. They are then told they can turn over the page and start the Section. The tape is then silent, save for the prompts to remind students how long they have left (e.g ‘you have 15 minutes remaining’, ‘you have 10 minutes remaining’, ‘you have 5 minutes remaining’ and ‘you have 2 minutes remaining’).

Please note the practice questions are not marked and do not count towards the marks presented on your child’s Record Table.

TEST PAPER 1 – DESCRIPTION OF SECTIONS / COMMENTS ABOUT DIFFICULTY & TIMING

Section 1:  Comprehension

Target Mark: 14/20

The comprehension text was relatively short, followed by 20 comprehension questions. Even though this was a short comprehension text, it was an ‘old English’ text and many students found this challenging.

The comprehension questions can be broadly categorised as follows:

  • 6 questions involved factual recall;
  • 3 questions required the student to draw a correct inference from the text;
  • 6 questions required the student to understand the meaning of words in the text, such as phrases/expressions used by the author; and
  • 5 questions required the student to form an opinion based on information in the text.

This was yet another challenging comprehension text, as demonstrated by the weighting of question types (factual recall questions are generally the easiest type of comprehension question, as the student is only required to ‘recall’ information from the text, whereas inference, vocabulary and opinion questions are more challenging). In the real 11+ tests, students might expect to find a greater preference for the more straight forward factual recall questions. This comprehension was therefore a ‘tough’ part of the Session C tests.

If your child was able to reach the Target Mark in this Section, it would suggest his/her comprehension ability is ‘at a good standard in readiness for the 11+’ (most children fell short of the Target Mark and should continue to prioritise comprehension practice and to read widely in the remaining time).

Section 1:  Proof Reading

Target Mark: 8/10

Students were asked to identify spelling mistakes within a text and to mark the area (A, B, C or D) on the answer sheet where the error in each line occurs. If they did not think there was an error on a line, students were asked to mark ‘N’ on their answer sheet for that line/question.

An adult who can spell correctly would easily spot eight of the ten errors and might reasonably be expected find the remaining two errors on a second review. Students tended to do very well in this Section and this is reflected in the relatively high Target Mark.

Section 1:  Cloze (multiple choice format)

Target Mark: 10/12

A cloze is a passage of text with words missing from the text. The student is required to identify the correct word to ‘fill in the gap’. The choice must make sense contextually and also be grammatically correct (for example, if the word before the break is ‘an’, the ‘missing word’ to ‘fill in the gap’ would need to be contextually correct but it would also need to start with a vowel as it is preceded by the word ‘an’ and not ‘a’).

This was yet another relatively easy cloze with five multiple choice options (A, B, C, D and E) at each gap (GL Assessment tend to opt for the multiple choice format of cloze, as shown in the official Bucks Familiarisation Booklet, rather than ‘word bank’ clozes (favoured by CEM) – the multiple choice format is generally a lot easier than a ‘word bank’ cloze as the answer options are presented in the break and there are usually only five answer options to consider, whereas in a ‘word bank’ cloze, there can be as many as ten options to look at).

Section 2:  Verbal Reasoning (Type Seven)

Target Mark: 7/8

The Technique for VR Type Seven together with Type Seven Practice questions can be found in Susan Daughtrey M.Ed’s Verbal Reasoning Technique and Practice Book 1, available from the SDE Online Shop.  Save 10% on Susan Daughtrey books by entering the Voucher Code SDE10OFF at the Check-Out.

PURCHASE

Section 2:  Verbal Reasoning (Type Thirty)

Target Mark: 7/8

The Technique for VR Type Thirty together with Type Thirty Practice questions can be found in Susan Daughtrey M.Ed’s Verbal Reasoning Technique and Practice Book 4, available from the SDE Online Shop.  Save 10% on Susan Daughtrey books by entering the Voucher Code SDE10OFF at the Check-Out.

PURCHASE

Section 2:  Verbal Reasoning (Type Twenty-One)

Target Mark: 7/8

The Technique for VR Type Twenty-One together with Type Twenty-One Practice questions can be found in Susan Daughtrey M.Ed’s Verbal Reasoning Technique and Practice Book 2, available from the SDE Online Shop.  Save 10% on Susan Daughtrey books by entering the Voucher Code SDE10OFF at the Check-Out.

PURCHASE

TEST PAPER 2 – DESCRIPTION OF SECTIONS / COMMENTS ABOUT DIFFICULTY & TIMING

Children did well on the Reflection and Hidden Shape questions. The Codes and Nets questions were more challenging and this has been reflected in the lower Target Mark for these two Sections.

At Session C we opted for a 50/50 split between ‘Non-Verbal Reasoning’ (Reflections and Codes) and Types that are more likely to fall into the NVR sub-category of ‘Spatial Reasoning’ (Hidden Shapes and Nets), as it is expected that Spatial Reasoning will appear on the real Bucks 11+ tests by GL Assessment.

Section 1: Non-verbal Reasoning – Reflections

Target Mark: 8/8

Section 2: Spatial Reasoning – Hidden Shapes

Target Mark: 8/8

Section 3: Non-verbal Reasoning – Codes

Target Mark: 6/8

Section 4: Spatial Reasoning – Nets

Target Mark: 6/8

Section 5: Maths

Target Mark: 24/32

The Maths questions tested a wide range of Key Stage 2 Maths topics. The questions in this Section are relatively challenging (albeit slightly less challenging than the Maths which appeared on the Sessions A and B test papers) and it is likely (although not guaranteed) that the real 11+ Maths questions will, overall, be slightly easier.

If your child reached the Target Mark in this Section, we suggest that his/her Maths is at a level where we would expect him/her to cope extremely well with the Maths on the GL Assessment 11+ tests in September. While maintaining a moderate level of Maths practice during the remaining time, you may wish to prioritise other areas.

COMPARING YOUR CHILD’S PERFORMANCE WITH OTHERS

Using the tab above, please refer to the List of Scores.  This is an anonymised list showing the scores achieved by the other students attending the Session on the same day or weekend and is provided to give you a basis of comparison.

Please bear in mind the students attending SDE 11+ Mock Exams are generally above average ability are not representative of the students who will appear for the actual 11+ tests in September.  We expect approximately 65-70% of the students who attended the Session to go on and ‘pass’ the Bucks 11+.

It is very important to note, that a significant proportion of the students appearing in the bottom half of the list, will go on to pass the Bucks 11+ and do extremely well at grammar school.  We therefore advise you to treat your child’s ranking with caution.  At this stage of the year, we often find that a child’s exam performance is disappointing (especially where the child’s results were held back by their exam technique, such as working too slowly or too quickly) and does not reflect his/her academic ability.  Often in these cases the child’s results will improve markedly with lots of additional test paper practice and revision.  Similarly, those students in the top half of the group need to keep working very hard if they are to maintain or improve on their position in September.

We wish your child every success with his/her 11+ exam preparation and we hope to see you both again shortly.

Susan Daughtrey Education

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