FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STANDARD AND MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS ?
Traditionally, 11 Plus selection tests were of the standard type, whereby the child would write down an answer to a particular question on the paper, purely by working out the answer by himself or herself. Increasingly, several grammar schools (such as the ones in Kent and Buckinghamshire) have brought in multiple choice format tests. With this format the child is given a choice of four or five possible answers for each question, usually in a box. S/he must then choose the one answer that they think is correct. They do this by drawing a horizontal line through a box next to the answer, rather like the National lottery slip. There are pros and cons with both formats, but multiple choice tests seem to be on the increase, not least because of the ease in marking them.
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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VERBAL REASONING AND NON-VERBAL REASONING ?
Verbal Reasoning tends to be concerned with working out the answers to problems that are based around words or letters, such as working out the odd one out in a group of words or what the next letter will be in a sequence of letters. However in many selection tests, Verbal Reasoning tests do include some number puzzles as well, such as number sequences or missing numbers in a sum. Non-verbal Reasoning on the other hand is concerned mainly with shapes, pictures and patterns and their relationship in a given puzzle. An example of this might be three circles in box next to three squares in a box. The child would then have to work out what the next box might contain from a choice of two other boxes, each containing three similar shapes.
WHAT IS A STANDARDISED SCORE ?
Basically a standardised score is a mark a child gets in any test which is modified according to their age when they sat the test. For example, two children take a test on 1st March. One is 11 years and 4 months old, whilst the other is 10 years and 9 months old. Clearly the older child is at an age advantage on the day of the test, having spent more time at school than the other child. To make things fairer some examiners use Standardised test scores which level things out, so that a Standardised score is given based on how a particular child did on the test, coupled with his/her age on the day of the test.
For a more detailed explanation of standardised scores press here.
WHERE WILL MY CHILD SIT THE 11+ EXAM?
Traditionally all children taking the 11+ exam did so at their primary or prep. school. This still happens in some areas, but increasingly more children are now taking the exam at their first choice of grammar school. Although this can be daunting for a child, if s/he has visited the school previously on their open day or open evening, they should be familiar with the building. All grammar schools do their best to make children taking the 11+ exam feel as settled and as comfortable as possible. To find out where your child will sit their 11+ exam contact your child's primary school, or local education office, or the grammar school involved.
WHAT IS THE PASS MARK FOR THE 11+?
The "pass mark" for the 11+ exam varies from area to area and in some cases from school to school within a particular area. For example in Area A the pass mark might be 120 for one school amd 115 for another school. These are Standardised scores based on the aggregate of two or more subjects taken at the 11+ . Children who score just below these marks might still pass if not enough places are taken up by those who reach this pass mark. However in Area B there might not be a pass mark as such and the cut off point will be the top 20 or 25% children in the catchment area of a certain grammar school who sat the exam. Again one or two just below this cut off point might still be accepted if not enough children take up their offered places. If the child is not from within the catchment area they might only be offered a place if they achieved a mark within the top 10% or even 5% of those who took the exam. Then in Area C there might be 100 places available at a certain grammar school with 1,000 children taking the exam. So the best 100 results from children who took the exam will be the ones who get offered places.
For more details contact your local education authority or speak to your child's primary school.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD DOES NOT PASS THE 11+ EXAM?
Parents should always take into consideration the possibility that their child might not be successful in passing the 11+ plus exam. Have they made sure that they have applied to one or more comprehensive schools in their area? Or perhaps they might be thinking of sending their child to a private secondary school? The important thing is to encourage your child to know and understand that you are not angry with them as they haven't been successful and that the school they eventaully go to will be the best one for them. many children who do not pass the 11+ flourish later on and go onto to become successful in their chosen career.
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