Wirral LEA 11+ Preparation Tips
|Author: Mike Edwards||Published: 2nd November 2010 16:19|
This article is an extension to previous articles that I have written to help parents prepare their children for the Wirral LEA 11+ tests.
It is likely that many parents have employed the services of a private tutor. At this stage a private tutor should be providing test papers in the format of the actual tests. In a one hour session your child will sit an 80 question paper to be completed in fifty minutes and the paper will be marked, there is little time to provide for evaluation, feedback or additional practice work, this needs to take place during additional tuition time or at home.
This article will address some of the common issues that arise each year; timing, accuracy, boredom and anxiety that parents can deal with at home.
My child is not completing the paper on time. He is getting all of the question that he completes right, but he just does not finish the paper. I have used "he" because this is normally a boy problem.
There are two issues he is either daydreaming or taking too long to answer one or two specific question types. Observe your child in a non-intrusive way, if he appears to stop answering questions for more than twenty seconds just say "move on". This will break his daydream and he will continue through the paper. It is possible that he genuinely cannot answer the question and moving on is the key to getting him to the next question he can answer.
The second issue can be dealt with in a few ways, mostly they are temporary. Before setting a paper, cross out the last question for each question set on the question paper and answer sheet. Tell him to answer the type 15 questions last. This reduces the question paper down to around 68 questions, if he gets them all right he will have scored 85% which is a rough pass mark.
Why does this work?
Simply the question sets are structured in order of difficulty the most difficult questions at the end of the set and it is possible that a question set that he finds easy is at the end of the paper, but previously he did not get to them.
As his timing improves you should identify the questions that he spends most time on and just delete the last questions in those sets, but remember that type 19 questions take longer to work out at the beginning but once the code is broken the questions are answered quickly.
Remember, no child needs to score 100% to pass the test .Remember timing always improves with practice.
How did you do today? Not very well, I got some questions wrong. How many did you get wrong? About ten.
Children do not always have the knowledge to perceive what is a good mark and what is a poor mark. Divert their attention to the % score which is generally higher than the raw score 70 out of 80 is 87% and that looks much better than 10 wrong!
It is up to the tutor and parent to identify question types and variances within the types that are causing problems and focus on them. Some authors write question type material that covers all of the variances, many of them were included in my previous articles. Use the methods and techniques in the articles to go over difficult questions.
Remember: Accuracy always improves with practice.
I'm bored, I'm fed up of doing papers, its boring. Children need to be stimulated to avoid boredom setting in.I think most of us would become bored after completing papers after paper after paper. Boredom is a big issue for children that have reached a plateau, they are consistently scoring 80%, but can not break through that ceiling. They do not give focussed attention to the questions and start guessing some of the answers. Bored children can start slipping backwards, they forget methods and techniques, this is your responsibility. Are you bored reading this? I can write and talk about 11+ to the point where it becomes a cure for insomnia!
What to do?
Simply, be creative, invent games, make learning more fun, have a break from the mundane task of completing papers and do something else instead. There are computer based interactive resources that children find more stimulating. Just a short break from completing papers is sufficient, often we find this leads to an improvement in the child's performance and they break through the ceiling and score higher.
Sit down first before reading this. Nearly all anxieties are caused by parents, you can become the problem. Have you ever stood outside a school and discussed your child's performance while she is standing there listening to every word you say? Yes, this is a girl problem, because girls are innately nosey and sensitive to anything that is said about them.
You can cause so much harm without being aware of it, and if you were made aware then you would stop it.
All conversation relating to the 11+ should be positive, if she is scoring low marks, she is learning new methods, say that her marks are improving, let everyone know how well she is doing. Don't over do it, be realistic. Girls love to be praised, boys are often embarrassed by it.
Avoid negative parents who can only see the worse side of things. This is psychological, you can arrive at school full of positive energy, then you meet the negative person who tries to drain your energy, if another negative person arrives they increase the effect, suddenly you become a little less confident, then you start talking in negative terms, this creates a spiralling effect that must be stopped.
We have found on occassions that anxiety can be a boy problem. A boy is doing well, then his marks start to fall, he is obviously guessing and even making deliberate mistakes, what is the reason for this? It is likely that he is anxious about going to a different school than his best friend. Young boys believe that they can make friends for life,some often do and the thought of being without their friend is almost traumatic.
To deal with this, we by-pass the issue. We assure the boy that no decisions will be made until after the test and that any decisions will be made in his best interests. What normally happens is that both friends end up with the same tutor and then start competing against each other for the highest score, friendship doesn't matter too much then.
Please comment on the articles if you need any help preparing your child for the Wirral LEA 11+ I am happy to give free advice to anyone.
Mike Edwards, The Tutors
Publisher of the Wirral LEA 11+ Method & Technique Course