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Does the Galore Park Pre-Test and 11+ range actually work?
By Sarah Collins
02 Mar

Parents are rightly concerned that choosing the correct resources to help their children through the 11+ process is a big decision. Preparation time is often limited to short bursts after a long school day, so working with effective materials that target your child’s needs is essential.
 
We are aware that familiarisation with the variety of papers your child may encounter plays a large part in ensuring success in the exams and this is why we at Galore Park take our responsibility for supporting both you and your child through these tests very seriously indeed.
 
In this blog we answer some common concerns and explain how this series of books provides an indispensable toolkit to train for and tackle the most demanding 11+ tests with confidence.
 
"If these tests change every year, how can you predict what will come up?"
 
Understanding what is being tested

Whilst the specific tests may change in format, all 11+ tests are looking for the same abilities in children through a number of measures. These fall into some broad categories:

  • basic competence in maths and english

  • the ability to think creatively to solve new problems

  • the ability to think spatially (one indication of aptitude in scientific subjects)

  • a good memory in order to carry out complex tasks.

Galore Park ensures these skills are thoroughly covered across the series with their unique approach:

  • A bespoke 11+ ‘curriculum’ covering Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning and Science: created by our research team to encompass all the skills tested in Pre-Test and 11+. These skills are used as components in our teaching and carefully-targeted testing materials with full coverage of content that children may encounter.

  • Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning questions broken down into recognisable skills: the range of questions used across all major tests have been reviewed in relation to skills in English and Maths that children are already familiar with. This research enables us to provide step-by-step explanations about how to understand what each question is looking for. Each answer in the practice papers in clearly explained in these terms to aid understanding and improve performance.

 
Expect the unexpected!
The one constant in today’s 11+ tests is that there will always be change year on year and understanding this fact is the key to the Galore Park approach.
 
The series trains children in the basic skills needed in each subject and then provides practice in answering simple and more complex questions in a variety if ways. The important lesson to learn is how to spot what kind of question is being asked, not how it is being asked (or presented) and that is what the Galore Park series of books helps children to do.
 
For example…
Choose the number that complete each number sequence in the most sensible way:
 
11, 14, 17, 20, 23, _____           25        26        27        22        12
                                                  a          b          c          d          e
 
is the same question as…
Write the missing number in the space provided in the sequence.
 
11, 14, 17, 20, 23, ____
 
is the same question as…
Six children have been collecting World Cup team stickers in cereal packets. Each pack contains three cards and the sticker book comes with 11 teams already filled in. They arrange themselves in order of who has the most stickers. Jack is on the left and the only child who hasn’t started collected any stickers yet, although he does have the sticker book. Each child in the row has collected one more packet than the previous child. How many stickers has the child on the right collected (including those in the sticker book)?
____
 
Answer: 26       three is added to the sequence each time
 
"How can one series cover the tests my child will take when they are applying for more than one school?"
 
Understanding the tests
Independent schools bespoke tests, Consortium, ISEB, GL and CEM tests all follow different formats with the emphasis on different skills. Independent school tests are often standard format to allow longer and more creative answers while GL and CEM are generally multiple-choice requiring accurate answers following careful reading of the questions and texts.
 
It is important to find out about what kind of test your child is taking in the schools to which they are applying and many schools can provide previous or sample tests to give you an idea of what is involved.
 
So, if you have these sample papers, why use the Galore Park resources as well?
 
Understanding the trends
Galore Park have created 11+ Practice Papers in all of the above formats to help your test preparations. These books have been created by analysing past tests and reviewing trends in a variety formats. As well as providing valuable extra practice, the range of tutoring and workbook materials develop familiarity with the various aspects of the tests they will need to be familiar with in terms of:

  • content

  • difficulty

  • frequency of question occurrence

  • format (including standard, multiple choice and paper style).

Crucially, all this content is carefully explained in the test paper answers enabling you and your child to review and understand questions they may find challenging. All Workbooks and Revision Guides tie in with the answer explanations to allow you to find further explanations and examples for your child to work through.
 
Galore Park’s research into Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning questions has also enabled us to create increasingly challenging tests that meet the needs of the most exacting Independent schools tests.
 
Likewise, the Practice Papers in Maths and English replicate the most demanding tests with a range stimulating writing exercises in the English papers suitable for scholarship students. Marking grids guide you though how to assess these pieces of work and an extensive section in the Revision Guide explains how to improve your child’s skills in a variety of writing tasks.
 
Here are two examples from the advanced papers in Practice Book 2:

  • ‘All nature is beautiful.’ Write a balanced argument based on this statement.

  • Create a short writing composition on the theme of ‘Loneliness’. You may interpret the title in any way you choose and write in a genre of your choice.

 "The Galore Park books and tests are broken into English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning but my child’s papers have different titles – are the books still suitable for these tests?"
 
The 11+ tests are testing a particular range of skills, as explained earlier in this blog, with emphasis on thinking or reasoning (a word you will come across many times in 11+ revision and test materials). Although the skills being tested are the same each year, they are often grouped in different ways. The number sequence question above is a good example: this question could equally appear in a Maths, Numerical Reasoning or (as the case with this example) even a Verbal Reasoning paper.  
 
Therefore, since these groupings and titles can change year on year, a child coached using a rigid title structure can be easily put off by the subject of the paper. By experiencing a variety of papers and question formats they become more able to concentrate on the questions they are being asked, rather than the format in which they are presented.  
 
"Can print-based resources help train my child to take an online test?"
 
While it is important to practise with a sample online test to understand the formats, the Galore Park materials are designed to support these tests.
 
The key skills needed to perform well in these tests include:

  • speed in answering questions to respond to as many as possible

  • accuracy when responding.

These tests can be adaptive, which simply means that if a question is answered correctly a slightly more difficult question is then posed. If a question is answered incorrectly a less or similar-difficulty question is then posed. Hence, a child that answers both quickly and accurately will score much higher than a child who works more slowly, since they will get through more questions at a higher level of difficulty, carrying greater marks.
 
Although there are many complex questions in these tests, confidence in basic skills in core subjects is very important at the outset. Take this example from a Maths test:
 
Tariq buys 4 tubs of blueberries costing £2.35 per tub and three bags of oranges costing £1.79 per bag. How much change will he get back from a £20.00 note?
 
Answer: £5.23           4 x £2.35 = £9.40, 3 x £1.79 = £5.37, £9.40 + £5.37 = £14.77, £20.00 – £14.77 = £5.23
 
This is a series of straightforward calculations using the multiplication, addition and subtraction of decimals. As calculators are not allowed in these tests basic numeracy skills are extremely important and these are covered thoroughly in the Maths Revision and Workbooks. Similarly, basic skills in Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation are required in the English tests and are both covered and practised in detail throughout the English titles.
 
With all new experiences in life, although we may not know quite what we will encounter, being prepared for what we might face gives us the assurance to tackle these situations with the minimum of stress. In the same way, the Galore Park series of Pre-Test and 11+ titles will help you and your child to prepare for these tests so that they can to face this important challenge with confidence.

There are numerous products that Galore Park have produced to help with revision at home. We believe that they work best when used together, so we've packaged them up and given you a 20% discount when you buy the products together. 

English packmath pack

 

Tags: 11+, 11+ English, 11+ Revision, 11, 11 plus, 11plus

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