11-plus: You really need to start practising now

Pupils sit GCSE maths examSeptember may seem a long time away, but your child could have as few as 20 weeks to get ready for the 11-plus exam.

If you are using a personal tutor to support your child, you should be making sure there is plenty of time left to look at the wide variety of questions contained in the test.

I would recommend at least 20 sessions with a tutor to ensure your child has experienced every type of question which the test will throw at them. Of course, I would say that as I am a tutor myself!

But I really think that even high ability children, who are consistently hitting Level 5 in mathematics and English, need time to rehearse strategies for the 11-plus.

The test is a very specific way of assessing your child, and students are unlikely to have come across its type of question before.

I know – way back – when I took my 11-plus (or 12-plus as it was in those days), I did plenty of practice beforehand, using what were known as General Progress Papers! When it came to the 11-plus itself, I felt confident and nothing in the test surprised me. I felt I was in a position to do justice to myself.

That is all we can ask young people to do – to feel confident and perform to the best of their abilities. So if you think that weekly or twice-weekly lessons with a private tutor can help, then please contact me and I will be pleased to advise you.

Advertisements

11-plus: How I can help

11+ Essentials Comprehensive Book 1 frontWarwickshire is unusual in retaining the 11-plus examination to determine entry to its grammar schools. In the Rugby area, many parents and children will choose the 11-plus as a means to gaining entry to either Lawrence Sheriff Grammar School, Rugby High School or the grammar stream of Ashlawn School.

Most children who choose to sit the exam will do so in the September of each year. It is not an easy set of tests and I would strongly recommend even the most able pupils to practise carefully beforehand.

The reason for this is that, even though a child may be very able and working at Level 5 in maths and English (or beyond), the types of questions in the 11-plus will be very unfamiliar to them. The child needs to be exposed to these questions on a regular basis, and have an adult or elder brother or sister on hand to discuss strategies and compare answers.

I would suggest that preparation should begin about a year before the 11-plus is actually taken. It doesn’t have to be anything heavy, but a handful of questions tackled each night would be a good habit to get into. Children should be encouraged to become familiar with the style of the question, and, after a while, they will come to recognise them and be able to apply strategies used before.

As a Personal Tutor, I am available to provide support to children who wish to take the 11-plus. It is a question of maximising their skills, and ensuring they do justice to their own abilities. I cannot promise miracles, but I can promise that they will be well prepared for the tests, and will recognise the type of questions they are likely to face.

If your child is thinking of taking the 11-plus in September, then this would be a good time now to begin sessions to help them through what is a very challenging time in their lives. Please contact me if I can help you.

Read more about the 11-plus in Warwickshire.

Can you do these 11-plus English questions?

Here are some examples of questions you might come across in the 11-plus examination? See if you can answer them.

Underline two words, one from each group, that go together to form a new word. The word in the first group always comes first.

a) face, over, hand                                            cream, some, left

b) out, off, in                                                     mark, all, ice

c) tall, ship, slip                                                gang, stock, way

Find the letter which will end the first word and start the second word.

a) win (…) ind11+ Essentials Comprehensive Book 1 front

b) shove (…) eaver

c) rea (…) rime

Find a word that can be put in front of each of the following words to make new compound words.

a) LET   DROP   SIGHT   BATH

b) HOLE   HOOD   POWER   KIND

c) CUP   FLY   MILK   SCOTCH

As a personal tutor, I can help your child work through questions such as this, discuss any problems that arise, and suggest different approaches which may be helpful. Please contact me if you would like further information. My email address is northside777@btinternet.com

 

Guardian discussion of tutoring

Pupils sit GCSE maths examI have recently come across a number of articles about tutoring in The Guardian newspaper. There has been a debate about the rising number of parents choosing private tutors to support their children at school.

Here is an extract from the article, published last year.

“The world of education – or at least, the world of parenting – has gone tutor mad. A headteacher friend told me how she recently received a note from a parent explaining that her son couldn’t be in school on Wednesday afternoon “because it’s the only time his French tutor can see him next week”. Most worrying of all, despite the head’s spluttered remonstration, the parent didn’t seem to get the point that school comes first.”

Mmm, interesting. I certainly don’t agree with that! But I read on…

“Tutors, it seems, are where it’s at – a fact borne out by Tuesday’s story that there are now twice as many tutors as school teachers in England, and parents are falling over themselves to supplement the learning their kids are doing in school, by reinforcing it in the evenings or at weekends (or even, in the case of the child in my friend’s story, in the middle of the school day).”

Now that is more like it. Tutors reinforce what the children do in the day. The article continues…

“Tutors come into their own when children are approaching exams. There are areas of Britain, especially those with selective education, where a tutor is de rigueur if your child has any chance of passing. It’s not just the skills involved, it’s the technique, the knack: and that’s what they deliver. I know of tutors with lengthy waiting lists.”

There is also reference to a worldwide increase in the use of tutors…

“Apparently the clamour for tutoring is global: and again, given the preponderance of ambitious middle-class parents across the world, that doesn’t surprise me. Nothing is as contagious as parental anxiety: where one mother or father is worrying about his or her child, you can bet there will be others doing just the same. If a child in your offspring’s class gets a tutor, suddenly everyone is at it. Nothing eats away at any of us like the possibility that our child isn’t getting every possible opportunity – and that’s not cultural, it’s human instinct. If a tutor can advantage my child, and I can afford it, I am willing to pay for it.”

What do you think about this? I would be interested in your comments. Please use the contact form on the front page.

New Year’s resolutions

As 2015 begins, why not turn over a new leaf and learn a new skill?

Several people have said to me that they might be looking for music tuition in the New Year. This does not surprise me. What better time is there to start learning and developing a new skill?

Why not set aside half an hour a week to learn to play the piano, the guitar, or singing with the ukulele? Of course you will also have to set aside time at home each week to practise, and I would strongly recommend you do so twice a day. You will then find that you are learning and applying the skills you have acquired in our one-to-one sessions.

Can anybody learn a new instrument? I strongly believe they can, whatever their age or previous experience. It is simply a question of working hard at it. I may be able to show you how to play several chords on a guitar. But it is only you who can practise this skill at home every day until it becomes automatic.guitar

Similarly with the piano. I can show you how to play a simple tune with both hands. I can comment on your first attempt and give you helpful suggestions. But it is only you who can practise this at home and be proud of what you have achieved when you play the same tune for me again next week.

I look forward to hearing from you if you think you might be interested. Please fill in the contact form on the front page, or call my mobile number which is also listed on the front. Good luck in 2015!

Guitar: How I can help

guitar
Have you thought about taking up the guitar?

Playing the guitar is a relaxing and enjoyable past-time. Singing with your guitar is even more fun. I can help you with both.

I don’t promise to be the greatest guitarist in the world, but I do have plenty of experience in teaching beginners, both on a one-to-one basis, in small groups at schools, and even whole classes of 30 children!

I will introduce you to your guitar and help you to tune it. I will tell you about the different strings, how to play tunes and how to read music. This is the ‘classical’ part of the lesson.

I will also introduce you to playing chords (collections of notes played together). We will look at the simpler chords first, and then try to sing along with them. It is amazing how many songs you can sing by just knowing two or three of the most popular chords. This is the ‘folk’ part of the lesson.

Your part of the deal is to promise to play your guitar at least twice a day. This may sound demanding, but to learn a new skill, you have to work at it!

I think anyone from age 5 to 105 can learn to play the guitar. If you are interested, please contact me on the form on the front of the website.

Lessons last for 30 minutes and cost £15 each. They take place in Hillmorton, Rugby at my home.

Good luck!