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Dear Parent

11+ Mock Exam – Session E (for CEM 11+ candidates)

Thank you for bringing your child to the Susan Daughtrey Education 11+ Mock Exam, Session E (for CEM 11+ candidates).

We have separately attached to our cover email your child’s Record Table. A lot of effort has been made to provide parents with detailed feedback. We hope you find the contents of this letter, the Record Table and the List of Scores helpful.

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.

Please note that students have been given 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 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 24 questions to complete in 6 minutes, students will be able to calculate that they need to answer a question roughly every 15 seconds, or to complete 4 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 which they have circled in their question booklets and, if appropriate, to change their answer already recorded on their answer sheet.

The reasoning behind this advice is as follows:

It is thought better to enter a guess than to leave the question blank for the
following reasons:

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 bank intended for the question they have just missed out;

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 there (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); and

Finally, it is of course important for the students to keep up the pace – they will probably achieve a higher score if they finish the Sections than if they spend ‘too long’ on a difficult question and end up missing questions toward the end of the Section or finding that they have to enter lots of guesses due to a shortage of time.

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 CEM 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 difficulty of the actual CEM 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.

RECORD TABLE

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

Please note that 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 other (non-CEM) 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 age, however you will also need to bear in mind that the other students’ scores on the List of Scores have not been standardised.

We hope the comments above relating to standardisation are helpful but please note we do not have any information about how CEM standardise their test results – the methodology CEM use is likely to be similar to other 11+ test providers but in the absence of more details from CEM we are speculating. Parents will therefore need to draw their own conclusions.

Although CEM do not release information about their standardisation technique, if you wish to learn more about standardisation there is some further information available on the NFER website at the following URL:

http://www.nfer.ac.uk/research/centre-for-assessment/standardised-scores-and-percentile-ranks.cfm

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.

Please note the Target Mark is not an attempt by us to estimate the mark your child will need to achieve in order to pass the 11+. This will depend on the difficulty of the actual 11+ tests and the standard required to obtain grammar school entry (which varies from area to area and (to a lesser extent) from year to year) and as such it is not possible for us to indicate whether, if these tests were the real CEM 11+ tests, your child would gain entry to grammar school based on his/her performance. In particular those parents targeting so called ‘super selective’ grammar schools may wish to set a higher Target Mark if they consider their child needs to score more highly in order to gain entry to their first-choice school.

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 does 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.

TEST PAPER 1 – DESCRIPTION OF SECTIONS / COMMENTS ABOUT DIFFICULTY & TIMING
Section 1: Cloze (Missing Sets of Words)

Target mark: 11/14

This Cloze required the child to pick the set of words from the Option Bank (i.e each option did not comprise of single words, which the children will already be familiar with, but typically three to five words). According to reports from our students, this was the format of the cloze on the actual 2016 Berkshire/Gloucestershire/Redbridge/Chelmsford County High School for girls CEM test – please note we are not aware of any commercial practice cloze questions where there are several words missing at each break, however students reported that the 2016 cloze described above was straight forward, although some students were surprised as they were not familiar with the format).

Typically a cloze where there are several words missing will require the child to fully understand the context of the surrounding text and the text options, in order to identify the correct set of words to fit in the gap in the text.

Section 2: Comprehension

Target Mark: 10/12

The comprehension text on this paper was quite short (400 words) and there were only 12 comprehension questions.

  • 7 questions involved basic factual recall;
  • 3 questions required the student to understand the meaning of words in the text, such as phrases/expressions used by the author; and
  • 2 questions required the student to draw a correct inference from the text.

This was not a particularly difficult comprehension (and the text was not very long). Accordingly, the Target Mark has been set high at 10/12 for this Section.

Section 3: Antonyms

Target Mark: 16/24

Students need to continue working on their vocabulary. Below is a selection of the more complex words from this Section – we suggest you test your child to see if they know the meaning of these words and to see whether they can suggest any synonyms and/or (if relevant) antonyms.

adjust
arrogant
articulate
astute
barren
blend
buoyant
callous
capable
confide
congested
considered
contemplation
contentment
convict
convoluted
coy
cunning
delirious
demise
deplete
diligent
dishevelled
ecstatic
encouraging
enlighten
enquire
forthright
gregarious
harness
hinder
hindering
impartial
impel
impertinent
impetuous
inaudible
instigate
investigate
irrelevant

lenient
monstrous
obnoxious
ominous
pessimistic
replicate
scary
taciturn
transient
uncouth
uninspired
verbose
volatile

Section 4: Scrambled Sentences

Target Mark: 13/18

For these questions students are required to ‘unscramble’ the words listed for each question and to make a sensible sentence. The one remaining ‘left over word’, which is not used as part of the sensible sentence, is the answer (and the student is required to identify the letter which is attached to the left over word and mark the letter on his/her multiple-choice answer sheet).

This was a challenging Section, with some sentences fairly difficult to construct (or, at least, not easy to work out on first review). As a result, some children may have run out of time and will have found this the hardest part of the test.

Section 5: Numeracy 1

Target Mark: 16/20

(Short math questions including mental arithmetic).

This was an easier short Maths Section compared to previous papers and children who have attended other SDE mocks, will hopefully have found the Maths on these test papers less challenging and will have achieved better scores. The following skills were tested:

  • Equivalent fractions
  • Time
  • Rounding to nearest hundredth (which would give an answer x.xx not x.xxx)
  • Sharing quantities
  • Mean average
  • Symmetry
  • Angles
  • Bearings from North (most information was given)
  • North, South, East, West and Orientation (most information was given)
  • Internal and external angles of a triangle
  • Probability (most information was given)
  • Common multiples
  • Number sequences
  • Multiplication
  • Interpreting survey data
  • Shapes
  • Equations

The final 5 questions gave the students experience of filling in vertical ‘Tens’ and ‘Units’ multiple choice answer boxes where the student is required to give their answer twice: once in the two boxes at the top of the Tens and Units column and then again by shading the relevant number 0 – 9 in the columns below. Please refer to the answer sheet which is provided as part of the CEM familiarisation booklet which is available online (Google: CEM Familiarisation Booklet).

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

Section 1: Numeracy 2

Target Mark: 18/24

Please consider your child’s Record Table for a detailed breakdown of the content of the Numeracy 2 section.

Section 2: Odd One Out

Target Mark: 18/24

For each question in this Section the student was given 5 words, 4 of which were connected in the same way. The student is required to identify the letter which corresponds to the word which is not connected to the other 4 words. These

questions are similar to Type 12 in Susan Daughtrey’s Technique and Practice book 1 (of which there is a further page of practice questions in Susan Daughtrey’s Further Practice Exercises).

Section 3: NVR

Target Mark: 20/24

Please refer to your child’s Record Table for a description of the types of NVR question which appear in this Section.

Compared to the NVR questions on previous SDE papers, the questions were designed to be slightly less challenging (and more similar to the standard we expect on the real CEM 11+ tests).

Section 4: Vocabulary (Dual Meaning)

Target Mark: 14/18

In these questions the student was required to pick a word from the list of five answer options which has the same or similar meaning to the words in both sets of brackets.
E.g.:

(fine dry) (just impartial) objective bright fair honourable independent

Answer: fair

Identifying themes and focusing your child’s work accordingly

Each of the sections / types of question on the test papers are unique but it is possible to broadly group some of the types of questions and in doing so try to identify underlying skills and knowledge that need to be improved.

Where your child has missed the Target Mark for the following sections:

Comprehension
Cloze

This suggests your child may be failing to ‘read with understanding’. Try reading a few passages with your child from a suitable book (we suggest 500 – 600

words), then close the book and test your child on the information in the passage – this will help your child to get in the habit of ‘thinking while reading’. This should be a regular exercise (e.g 5 times a week during the summer holidays). The English vocabulary work you do with your child will also help with their Comprehension and Cloze work.

2.Where your child has missed the Target Mark for the following sections:

Synonyms
Antonyms
Odd One Out

This suggests your child needs to improve his/her knowledge of English vocabulary.

3. Where your child has missed the Target Mark for the following sections:

Numeracy 1
Numeracy 2

This suggests your child needs to work on his/her Maths (and for Numeracy 2 only, the application of Key Stage 2 Maths topics to long Maths / Maths problem questions).

COMPARING YOUR CHILD’S PERFORMANCE WITH OTHERS

We are very reluctant to rank our students. However, owing to overwhelming demand from parents we have provided a table (see the third attachment to our cover email) which shows the scores of the other students who have recently written the same tests. We suggest that parents consider keeping their child’s ranking confidential from their child; a high ranking may deter your child from working hard over the coming weeks and a low ranking may damage your child’s confidence.

We also advise you to treat your child’s ranking with caution. We often find that at this stage of the year a child’s exam performance is disappointing and does not reflect his/her 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.

With best wishes,
Susan Daughtrey Education

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