Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The mock test papers and parental support

Naturally, many parents are keen to give as much support to their children whilst they are doing mock tests as they can and some of it will be very useful, some of it will be too soon.

What do I mean by that?

Let’s take the tests the students are doing at the moment with me. We have just completed a Verbal Reasoning paper and this week they will be doing a Non Verbal Reasoning paper. Following that, they will get a maths paper and then back again to a Verbal Reasoning again, and so the round of papers continues…

So when is it best to support and when is it best to wait?

At the moment the students should be watching the Chukkra videos on You Tube and working their way through the whole set. This will give them a superb understanding of the Verbal Reasoning types.
It is a good idea to sit with them when they do this so you have a good idea of what is on them and how they are being shown, so if there is a problem in the future, you have a good idea of what/how they need it re-explained.
[As yet, I have not found a set of non-verbal as good as these verbal ones but I keep looking.]

So what about this ‘wait’ bit?

I’m coming to that. Let’s look at the homeworks over the next few sessions;
Homework 7
1st verbal (test A)
Leave all going over the questions until next test of that type
Homework 8
1st non-verbal (test A)
Homework 9
1st maths (test A)
Homework 10
2nd verbal test
Go over 1st verbal then let them do 2nd verbal test
Homework 11
2nd non verbal test
Go over 1st non-verbal then let them do 2nd non-verbal test
Homework 12
2nd maths test
Go over 1st maths then let them do 2ndmaths test

Once they have completed the test, the best thing to do is to leave the support to just before they start the next test, making sure they are clear on the sections they found hard last time. When it comes to the verbal skills, they will have had more time to watch the videos and should find what had been a problem before, will not be now. Make sure they are happy with all the areas and then leave them to try test two.
The same with non-verbal, although they will not have the videos to support them here; the Schofield and Simms book on non-verbal is very good. It is good to remember though, non-verbal is just one part of one of the papers they will be sitting, so if they find some sections tough, not to worry. All the same, give them the support by looking at different questions together and spot the answers; then let them do the second test.
Do the same with the maths paper; go over the first test just before they are due to start the second and so on. It gives them the reminders when they need it and the support when it will be most effective.
This will give us a good idea of how they are progressing in each of the subject areas as well as them learning more and more how to cope with exam situations and the timings they need to reach in the end.
At the moment, let them run over the allotted time, just indicate with a line to say where they got to. It is a good visual indicator for them, and as I say to them all, the timings tells you how much you can get done in the time at the moment, and the completed questions shows you how much you know. Both will get better the more practice you have. And it will.

But what about the English?

By the time we get to homework 13 we will be starting to do some of the parts to the English paper. We have completed many comprehensions already and have practised writing short stories which could be written in the 30 minutes they will be given, so we have already begun. The Word Booklet has included various aspects of English and we will be developing that over the next few sessions.
By the time we get to the end of the summer they will have completed many test papers in all areas and should be ready to do their best in the actual examinations in September. We are still in early days, so its eyes down for a busy remainder of the year.

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