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Dear Parent

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

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

Please note 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;
  • 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 booklet and, if appropriate, to change the answer already recorded on their answer sheet by thoroughly rubbing out their old answer and entering the new answer.

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 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 battery for Question 9, to then enter the answer to Question 11 in the multiple choice 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 the question booklets after the Session); and
  • 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. This is especially likely this year, as the Bucks tests are new tests and we are not working with the benefit of feedback from previous year’s students.

The test papers have been designed to reflect, as far as reasonably practicable, the expected difficulty of the actual GL Assessment 11+ tests (although in practice, the SDE tests may end up being slightly harder than the real 11+ tests – we would rather this than the tests being too easy). 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, and that they still have time to revise the work they have already done and to improve their exam performance ahead of the real 11+ tests.

Finally, 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 Tests 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.

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 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 marks 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.

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 a 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.

Prior to starting each Section in the verbal reasoning test, students were presented with:

  • (i) The instructions for the Types of question to follow in that Section;
  • (ii) An example question for each of the Types of question to follow in that Section (with the answer written on the Question Paper and printed on the Answer Sheet); and
  • (iii) 2 Practice questions for each of the Types of question to follow in that Section – 5 minutes were given to complete the Practice questions, with space on the Answer Sheet to give their answers.

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

The format of the NVR/Maths paper is slightly different, as each of the four Types of NVR/Spatial Reasoning question are contained within individually timed Sections (usually 5 minutes per Section). Prior to each NVR/Spatial Reasoning Section, there is an Example and two Practice questions to complete (the Example is also discussed on the audio, there is then 60 seconds allowed to attempt the two Practice questions and then the audio announces the number of questions to complete and the time allowed, before instructing the children that they can turn over and start the ‘real’ questions in that Section). A “two-minutes remaining” prompt is given.

The Maths Section is then one continuous 25-minute Section which is preceded by an Example and two (very easy) Practice questions. There are 15, 10, 5 and 2 minutes remaining prompts to help students manage their time.

Please note that the answers to the Practice questions are read out at the end of the time allowed for attempting the Practice questions. The Practice questions are not marked by SDE 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

(i) Comprehension

Target Mark: 15/20

The comprehension text was 544 words long, followed by 20 comprehension questions.

The comprehension questions can be broadly categorised as follows:

  • 11 questions involved factual recall;
  • 6 questions required the student to draw an inference from the text;
  • 1 question 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 form an opinion based on the information in the text.

This was a challenging comprehension and the average score is low.

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+’ (many children fell short of the Target Mark and should continue to prioritise comprehension practice and to read widely in the remaining time).

(ii) Proof Reading

Target Mark: 7/10

Students were asked to identify punctuation 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.

This was a challenging punctuation exercise, as reflected in the low average mark. We expect the GL Assessment proof reading exercise on the real 11+ tests will be simpler, however a below average mark would suggest this is a weak area that should be prioritised in the remaining time, by looking again at the rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar (rather than just completing more proof reading exercises).
(iii) Cloze (multiple choice format)

Target Mark: 9/11

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 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

(a) Verbal Reasoning (Type 20)

Target Mark: 7/7

In each of the following sentences, three letters have been taken out of the word in capitals. Without changing the order of these three letters they spell a proper three-letter word and the sentence must make sense. Mark this three-letter word on the answer sheet.

She managed to get NLY all the sums right.

ANSWER

EAR (The word in capitals is NEARLY)

(b) Verbal Reasoning (Type 26)

Target Mark: 5/5

There is a different rule connecting each of the numbers in the following rows. Find the next number that continues each series and mark it on the answer sheet.

3 6 9 12 [ ? ]

ANSWER

15

(c) Verbal Reasoning (Type 16)

Target Mark: 4/5

The above alphabet is here to help you with the following questions. Find the next pair of letters in each series and mark the correct answer on the answer sheet.

AZ BY CX DW EV [ ? ]

ANSWER

FU

(d) Verbal Reasoning (Type 32)

Target Mark: 6/7

The above alphabet will help you find the answers to the following code questions. There is a different code for each question. Work out the correct answer and mark it on the answer sheet.

If the code for JUMP is KVNQ, what does TUPQ mean?

ANSWER

STOP

TEST PAPER 2 – DESCRIPTION OF SECTIONS / COMMENTS ABOUT DIFFICULTY & TIMING
For NVR/Spatial, we included Odd One Out, Analogies, Nets and 3D Objects.

Children did well in the Analogies Section which was the only ‘easy’ NVR/Spatial Section. The other Sections were challenging, and the high average score achieved by the SDE Mock Exam students is very encouraging and bodes extremely well for the real 11+ tests, where we expect the questions to be more straight forward. Looking at the questions and the student’s scores, we can see students have, on average, made excellent progress in the last few weeks. Well done everyone, keep up all the hard work, we are very nearly there now! 😊

We have copied and pasted the instructions and an Example question below, so you can identify the Type of question which was tested in each Section. Please note the Example is often an easy question for demonstration purposes and it is usually not reflective of the overall standard of the real test questions, which are more challenging.

To help you monitor progress, we repeated Analogies from the Session D test papers (different questions).

At Session E we again opted for a 50/50 split between ‘Non-Verbal Reasoning’ (Odd One Out and Analogies) and Types that are more likely to fall into the category of ‘Spatial Reasoning’ (Nets and 3D Objects).

Section 1: NVR – Odd One Out

Target Mark: 7/8
Below, there are five pictures. Four of them are similar to each other and one of them is not and can be considered the ‘odd one out’. Its letter has been marked for you, on your answer sheet.

The answer is E. (The grey arrows are pointing in the same direction, whereas the other arrows are pointing in opposite directions.)

Section 2: NVR – Analogies

Target Mark: 7/8

Consider how the first image has been changed to form the second image. Then work out which option on the right (A, B, C, D or E) would be like the third image if it were changed in the same way.

The answer is C.

Section 3: Spatial Reasoning – Nets

Which of the five nets on the right (A, B, C, D or E) can be used to form the cube on the left?

EXAMPLE
The answer is C.

Section 4: Spatial Reasoning – 3D Cubes / 3D Objects

Target Mark: 6/8

Which set of blocks on the right (A, B, C, D or E) can be put together to make the figure on the left?

A B C D E

The answer is C.

Section 5: Maths

Target Mark: 25/32

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, B and C test papers) and it is likely (although not guaranteed) that the real 11+ Maths questions will, overall, be easier (and potentially considerably 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

We are very reluctant to rank our students. However, owing to overwhelming demand from parents, we have provided a table which shows the scores of the other students at the Session. We suggest that parents consider keeping their child’s rank confidential from their child; a high rank may deter your child from working hard over the remaining weeks and a low rank may damage your child’s confidence.

We often get asked whether we expect a child, based on their mock exam performance(s), to pass the 11+. This is always a difficult question to answer firmly, as nothing is black and white, and much will depend on how your child feels on the day of the 11+ tests, especially if he/she is borderline. However, it is important to note, when considering the List of Scores, that as many as 70% of the students at each SDE Mock Exam will ultimately be successful in the 11+ exam and be offered a place at grammar school. Therefore, the students at the SDE Mock Exams are not a representative sample of the students who will appear for the actual 11+ tests in September, as most of these students are operating at a high level, having made the decision to prepare for the 11+, presumably because it is thought that the child is naturally able and may be suited to grammar school. We should also mention, for the benefit of those students in the bottom 30% of candidates on the List of Scores, that we have, over the years, seen many students in this group excel in the real 11+ exams and pleasantly surprise everyone. The best advice to every student is therefore to keep working as hard as possible, in order to have the best chance of achieving their full potential in the 11+ exams.

We wish your child every success with his/her 11+ exam preparation.

Susan Daughtrey Education

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