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The new Galore Park 11+ mathematics range
By Emma at Galore Park
17 Feb
The recent trend, from all test setters, for variation in content and question style in non-verbal reasoning tests is making the exams harder to revise for. To tackle this, Galore Park has introduced a new non-verbal reasoning range that broadens the scope and difficulty of the questions. By using mathematical skills already familiar from class work, the series teaches techniques that enable children to analyse all questions using a clear step-by-step approach.
 
The range comprises the following titles.
 
Each of these titles has been designed to cater for the needs of all children taking:
  • pre-tests delivered on screen
  • 11+ entrance exams in different formats, from GL (Granada Learning) and CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring)
  • 11+ entrance exams created specifically for individual independent schools.
 
Following a two-year research period, these books cover the question types typically used by all major test setters, including bespoke tests created for independent schools. Variations in test styles are included and, in addition, all testing content is carefully structured and reviewed so that weight is given to the most frequently occurring questions. The speed and difficulty level increases  to meet the needs of the most challenging entrance exams.
 
This approach is particularly helpful for children applying for more than one school and, therefore, preparing for more than one style of test, since the consistent teaching approach within the series supports them through their entire 11+ experience.

Understanding the range

Assuming no prior knowledge of non-verbal reasoning, the range is designed for short periods of study consolidated by frequent testing. This can be in a classroom situation or in private study.
 
Working through the range using the six-point 11+ learning journey below – from revision guide to workbooks and, finally, practice papers will enable children to:
  1. build knowledge of how to tackle different question types, including spatial reasoning
  2. break down questions into the maths skills required to solve them
  3. increase familiarity with question types through testing
  4. develop skills in spotting variations in the same question types
  5. tackle the most challenging questions with confidence
  6. improve accuracy and speed through practice (essential for achieving higher scores in adaptive pre-tests).
 
All answer explanations tie in with the teaching, enabling children to review questions they may have found challenging, spot maths skills that may need further practice (such as rotation, which can be used in 2D questions to test spatial skills, as well in 3D spatial-reasoning questions) and discuss points to look out for in further tests.

Study and Revision Guide

Steps 1 to 6 of the learning journey are covered in the 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Study and Revision Guide. See the numbers in bold below.
  • Question types are introduced in two-page units for ease of planning and reference. 1
  • The maths skills needed for solving questions are explained in a dedicated section (and explained graphically using Learning Ladders* in chapter introductions), including ideas for how to visualise spatial-reasoning problems and games to help practise these techniques. 2
  • Complex question types (codes, sequences and matrices) that bring together all of the maths skills revised are introduced in the final section. 1, 2
  • A consistent structure on all learning spreads provides a familiar learning path.
    • Train: simple questions developing understanding of the skills needed.
    • Try: simple to medium difficulty exam-style questions to raise confidence.
    • Test: timed questions –increasing in difficulty – based on standard test timings, which should be achievable. 3
  • Timed tests at the end of each section consolidate skills and improve speed and accuracy. Some style variations are introduced to give children practice in spotting differences in a test situation. These tests are also based on standard test timings. 3, 4
  • A sample 11+ test at the end of the book, covering the major question types, represents a challenging 11+ test with a faster timing and gives children an indication of how they will need to develop their skills in other titles. 3, 4, 5, 6
non-verbal-reasoning-ladder.png
*The Galore Park Learning Ladders are a motivational tool developed to show children how skills in non-verbal reasoning link to the familiar areas of maths, therefore developing their ability to solve complex problems.

Workbooks

The three non-verbal reasoning workbooks (for ages 8–10, 9–11 and 10–12) concentrate on steps 2 to 5 of the learning journey, each with over 160 questions designed to increase exam confidence through repetition. See how the learning journey steps relate below.
  • Workout spreads develop related skills in maths. 2
  • Question types are revised in two-page sections, linking to the section format from the Study and Revision Guide to aid cross-referencing. Some question types appear more than once, often showing variations that can change from year to year and from test to test. 3
  • A consistent structure on all standard spreads provides a familiar revision path.
    • Have a go: simple versions of, or exercises working towards, the question type increase understanding.
    • Test yourself: exam-style questions with a range of difficulty in each test. The tests become increasingly difficult as children progress through the series. These questions are not timed as their purpose is to develop confidence through familiarity.
    • Try it out: a chance for children to create their own questions – useful for developing logic skills needed in the more challenging questions and often helpful to consolidate skills for kinaesthetic learners. 3, 4, 5

Practice Papers

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Practice Papers 1 and 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Practice Papers 2 together hold a total of 380 questions, perfect for final exam preparation. The practice papers concentrate on steps 4 to 6 of the learning journey. Children are advised to work through each of the tests, to ensure they experience the widest range of question styles and to improve their accuracy and answering speed.
  • Exam style (e.g. CEM, GL, advanced independent) is indicated before each test. The variety of question types, difficulty level, question style and speed are all representative of the type of test they will meet in the final exam.
  • The speed and difficulty of the tests increase as children work through the books, with the longer tests at the end, which is useful for building concentration levels.
  • Both standard non-verbal reasoning and spatial-reasoning papers are included to meet the criteria of modern tests, with 2D questions that also test spatial ability used in the standard tests.
  • Because the practice papers build in difficulty, the first three training tests do not include any 3D spatial-reasoning questions, although they do include some 2D questions specifically testing spatial ability (questions 6–10 in Papers 1 and 2).
  • The spatial-reasoning tests are: Papers 4, 6 and 8 in 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Practice Papers 1, and Paper 12 in 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Practice Papers 2.
  • Most tests introduce at least one less familiar question type – given the trend for variation from all major test providers – in order to prepare children to expect the unfamiliar.
 
Galore Park has worked with independent and grammar schools, teachers, test writers and specialist authors to produce this comprehensive new range. The complete series also covers English, mathematics, verbal reasoning and science. For further details about question content, teaching approach and all other questions relating to the new 11+ range, please email: marketing@galorepark.co.uk.

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