Taking exams at any age is stressful on both parents and child - you want them to do well but at the same time you don't want to put too much pressure on them. Correct preparation in a supportive environment can help reduce this stress.
Below we offer some thoughts on preparation.
How to prepare for the Transfer Tests?
Practice makes perfect we have all heard this however more accurately it should read, "Practice, the results of which are known, makes perfect."
Understanding content of the AQE test and the GL Assessment tests.
The old 11+ exam that you might remember involved questions on verbal reasoning - a subject that was rarely taught in school. Thankfully now both versions of the transfer test (AQE & GL) are based on questions that are set in English and mathematics. These are obviously subjects that form the core of the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Key Stage 2 and so your child will have covered a lot, if not all, of the test content during their day to day schooling.
Do note that the GL assessment test requires your child to answer questions that are set in multiple choice format while the AQE transfer test is in traditional format.
Find out all that you can about the Transfer tests from these two reliable sites:-
www.aqe.org.uk (for the AQE test)
http://www.pptcni.com (for the GL Assessment test)
and then prepare accordingly.
This structured preparation for the Transfer Tests will improve your child's understanding of what is required but parental support and encouragement is crucial to your child's self-confidence and their attitude to their school work including preparing for these important tests.
Both organising companies provide familiarisation tests for the school pupils to complete either in school or at home. After these two or three practice papers schools have, in the past, been discouraged from providing any additional preparation or support for the Transfer Tests. This approach now seems to have changed and many schools provide preparation either during the school day or after school as an "after-school club."
Your child's shool may send additional work home for completition during the weekend or over the long summer break.
There are many ways in which the interested parent can help their child to prepare for the Transfer Test but it is unlikely that this additional work can be done in two or three weeks before the exam. It will require a lot of time and effort from both parent and child.
Transfer Test Tips for Parent and Child.
Find and practice using good quality practice material which provide scores and relevant professional feedback.
Get all the right tools. Ensure you have lots of rough paper, a few pencils and a watch. Get used to practicing with all these essentials so you’re used to using them when it comes to your real Transfer Test.
Practice as many different types of questions and tests as you can before sitting your real selection test. The more questions you practice the more confident you will be and the more types of questions you will have seen.
Make sure your child is in a comfortable environment when they practice any form of question. Don’t sit them down to a practice just before going out or when they’re going to be disturbed. It’s important to give your child your full attention both when practicing and when taking the real test.
Take the practice tests offered by the organising bodies and have a go at those to get a flavour for the type of questions you’ll be given. You need to practice various questions to be comfortable your skills are up to the required standard.
Read any guidance provided before sitting your selection test. Make sure you make a note of how much time you have and roughly how long you should be spending on each question.
Don’t get bogged down on a question. If you get stuck, don’t let the clock run down, move on, you might find the next question easier and you’ll pick up more marks by moving on.
Once you leave a question forget about it until you return to it later in the exam.
Work carefully and as quickly as you can. The more types of questions you practice the quicker you will get at each type.
In maths questions spend a few seconds familiarising yourself with any graph/table/pie-chart/diagram you’re presented with before launching into the question. Make a mental note of what the labels are telling you so you have an idea of what information you have been provided with.
Get used to doing rough working on paper. The quickest way to do your calculations is often on a piece of paper. Use a big A4 sheet as you’ll have enough room to do your workings. Leave yourself plenty of space so you’re not cramming your workings into the corner.
Private Tutor or Not?
Many parents send their child to private tutors either one to one or in a small group. In preparing your child for his Transfer Test you must be certain that the person that you entrust your child to is honest. trustworthy and does not present any threat to your child's safety and that you will get value for money. Sitting in a group of 15 or 20 pupils is not much different from being in a school classroom and personal attention to your child may be limited.
However attending a good tutor will usually be very beneficial for your child. Recommendations from friends and family can be a useful way to link to a good tutor.
Quality practice products.
With good quality products you may well be able to help prepare your child without the expense of a private tutor. There are many versions of Commercial Practice Papers on the market, available from good bookshops and from this site following this link or the links on the right. Look for a publisher that employs experienced teachers at Key Stage Two level, as these books will reflect the knowledge that the author has gained in the classroom. This site offer these products for purchase as PDF downloads for immediate use.
Practicing a variety of question types, in either traditional format or multiple choice (as relevant), will help your child to become more confident in their own ability and will introduce them to a wide range of questions of varying difficulty.
Constant and repetitive practice using pencil and paper can become boring and tedious for your child. Online practice such as provided by www.onlineelevenplusexams.co.uk offer practice in English and maths that is suitable for both the AQE transfer Test and the GL Assessment test. Often this type of preparation can be a relief from normal preparation and can be carried out anywhere that you can connect to the internet.
** This information is provided for guidance only and while the content is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate we cannot be held in any way responsible for any errors or omissions that it may contain. Please contact your examining board or chosen grammar school for all admission and registration details for the Transfer Test. **