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Swot Up blog - hints, tips, news and events from the 11 plus swot world
  • baby-passes-11+-exam

    This morning, whilst sifting through my Google Reader, I stumbled across a story about a 6 year old girl from Chadwell Heath achieving a GCSE in Mathematics. Though she only received an E grade, I wondered whether this was the start of things to come? The  article went on to tell of a 9 year old boy passing, with an A grade in the same exam, better than the vast majority of  Year 10/11 pupils. [Read the article here]

    I was amazed that a minority of children are outperforming peers, almost 10 years their senior. A quick search of the internet threw up reports of a Macedonian boy passing his Microsoft Certified Examination for IT Professionals [Further reading here]& a 16 year old becoming the youngest ever to pass their accountancy exam [Further reading here]. This was madness, not only are children scoring higher than children old enough to be their brothers & sisters, but now they are closing in on their parents.

    The debates will rage about exams getting easier, with GCSE pass rates rising [Read more], likewise with A Level & University students. But are our children simply getting brighter? With the continued developments in technology, communication and accessibility to information, I prophesise that it won't be long until we read of the first newborn baby becoming the youngest ever to pass the 11+ exam.

    Are your children ready for the to take the eleven plus test? Try a sample paper here & share your results in the comments section below.

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  • library

    20 years ago, researching the finer details of the eleven plus exam would have been restricted to sifting through literature in your dads bookcase before waiting for the library to open on a Monday morning. Nowadays, thanks to the internet & Google in particular, a wealth of information is at our children's fingertips.

    We live in a world where everything is available at the click of a button, whether we are looking for that piece of information or not. Ok, so there are issues with internet safety. Parents are becoming increasingly concerned that their child is being corrupted, when they are probably happily researching away. If this is you, don't worry the internet is here to help.

    How can I change the security settings on my computer?

    Internet browsing can easily be made more secure by changing a few settings on your browser. Although browsers vary from Explorer, to Google Chrome & Safari, the settings in essence are the same for all providers. For the commonly used Internet Explorer, click settings > internet options > security & increase the sensitivity level to your taste. For other browsers, help about changing settings can be found, well, under the help option.

    What does a high sensitivity level mean?

    A high sensitivity level will block sites;

    • That "may contain" harmful content (that's pretty much everything you need worry about blocked)
    • Maximum safeguards (that's the obvious stuff blocked, plus a little more)
    • Less secure features (If your browser suspects anything at all, whether it's a pop up or a site with invalid credentials, these will not appear, just to be safe)

    On top of this, it is easy to block specific sites (for example, games sites if the computer is only to be used for homework). We also recommend blocking pop up's as these are the source of most offence.

    What happens if these settings still fail?

    Click CEOP, a site designed to report the abuse of children, are spot on when it comes to reporting suspect activity on the internet. Their safety button can be downloaded here. Now, if your child stumbles across a lucrative site during their 11+ revision, or if they are the subject of cyber bullying, this can easily be reported and stopped.

    What has this got to do with libraries?

    The internet is a big place, as is the world. Children can get lost along the way and need a little guidance, whether it's telling them not to walk down a certain alley way en route to the library or ensuring that they don't visit certain sites on the internet. Your child will likely make the decision which route to take by themselves, the main advantage of the internet being that you can guide them whichever way you like with a clever use of settings.

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  • Today I decided to take a leap from the backseat and attempt the 11+ exam. As a 26 year old, a lot was riding on the results. Sure, if I had failed miserably, I would have undoubtedly been blogging about something else right now.

    I opted to take the medium length practice test. 20 questions, 20 minutes to answer them. I could have chosen a 10 or 30 question test, but felt that former gave less margin for error. Getting two questions wrong would mean a score of 80%. On the contrary, 30 questions could have proved even more embarrassing, with the odds against me to get every question correct.

    To my surprise, I battled through a combination of Maths, English, Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning questions, scoring a respectable 19/20 (with over 9 minutes to spare). Ok, so at 26 I should really have performed well in this test in comparison to a child 15 years my junior, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little proud.

    My toughest challenge was the verbal reasoning questions. Here's an example of the kind of question your child will face;

    If the code for UNKNOWN is VPNRTCU What does OCWYWGS mean?

    In conclusion, I was a little fortunate to score so highly & I'm sure that my life experiences including a sound education had a large part to play.

    Can your child outperform my result? I'd love to hear your feedback, even if I am a little worried...

    Take a sample test here.

     

    11 Plus Test Result

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  •  learner

    "Chalk and Talk" is the concept whereby a teacher stands at the front of the class and recites information for the pupils to take a carbon copy. This style of teaching is fast going the way of the dodo, thanks to the introduction of modern technologies.

    The classroom has reversed the institution of teachers teaching, putting emphasis on learners learning. Here are 4 reasons as to why this new style is more effective;

    1. It gives the pupil ownership of the learning outcome - It's simple. If Mr Jones chalks the question through to the answer, essentially pupils are nothing but human photocopiers. Discovering the answer through research will ensure that the pupils feels valued and reassure them that they "can do it".
    2. Preparation for adulthood - The world is digital, using the internet to research a topic is part of everyday life for adults. If we go back to basics, school is essentially a feed for the employment market.
    3. It encourages imagination - With the exception of Maths, there are 101 ways to get that A grade, especially for creative subjects such as English, Art & Technology. An active mind is all part of a healthy lifestyle.
    4. It's more interesting - Anyone who has come home with hand cramps will fight this corner, interaction rocks!

    Ok, so there are some instances when teachers do need to recite information for the pupil to absorb, however, only through application of that knowledge, will a child actually learn & understand the subject.

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  •  too-many-graduates

    With record numbers of graduates failing to secure employment upon leaving university, the education system surely needs to be reviewed. Recent reports according to the BBC suggest that as many as 83 graduates are applying for each vacancy. Although the 11+ test is seen as elitist by the minority, it's selectiveness could save students thousands of pounds.

    Let's compare the two systems;

    To pass the 11+ exam & secure grammar school placement, there is no percentage pass mark per se. Pass marks are weighted in accordance with overall results, allowing only the allocated number of grammar school places to be filled. To obtain a 1st degree at university, you simply need an average of >70% for all of your modules.

    Ok, so it's not easy to average over 70%, but in theory everyone could get a first, thus devaluing the quality the grade. Likewise, with the 11+ exam it is possible to achieve a score of 99% and still not obtain grammar school entry.

    What would happen if universities employed this system?

    The percentage pass rate system would see some changes in the way degree accreditations were valued. With say only 5% of students receiving first class accreditation many would see a benefit;

    • The best candidates would be more visible to employers.
    • Competition for grades would be heightened & in turn increase learning.
    • Potential achievers of lower graded degrees may opt for a more vocational path to employment, saving thousands in tuition fees and time. This route could also see a fast track to success.

    Who would lose out?

    As with most winning formulas, there are always a couple of losers;

    • The government have the potential to lose millions in tuition fees.
    • Underperforming universities are likely to see a decline in registration & potential closure.

    The conclusion

    In the tough economic climate, the vast majority university-goers would be better suited to finding employment & getting qualified whilst working. Aside from saving thousands of pounds on tuition fees and loans, students would be earning money and gaining a head start on their peers. For the top students, a university degree would regain its value as less people would be classed as graduates.

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  •  milk-drink

    Few from the western world will be aware that goats milk is the milk of choice for most of the world. There are a number of health benefits in drinking goats milk, some of which could help your child pass the 11+ exam, below we list a handful;

    • Tolerance: Many children with an intolerance to cows milk, enjoy goats milk as a symptom free alternative. It's surprising how many products contain cows milk and could cause discomfort to your child.
    • Chronic Illness: Asthma and Eczema symptoms may be eased by replacing cows milk with goats. The science behind this highlights there being smaller fat molecules in goats milk which in turn aids digestion and decreases the likelihood of congestion & phlegm (eugh).
    • Calcium Content: A cup of goats milk contains 32% GDA in contrast to cows milk (29.7). Calcium is of course great for strengthening and the development of bones, helping your child to grow up strong & healthy.
    • Riboflavin: Goats Milk is a fantastic source of the B vitamin important for energy production. It goes without saying that children need this fuel in order to sustain an active and productive life.
    • Taste: A little sweeter than it's bovine alternative, occasionally with a slightly salty aftertaste. Kids love the sweet stuff!

    Much research has been conducted in relation to brain foods and healthy living to increase concentration levels of children. Various campaigns including Change4Life highlight the benefits of long acting carbohydrates and a healthy lifestyle. Goats milk contains a number of health benefits, increasing energy levels, bone strength & digestion, all of which could help your child with their 11 plus exam success, though a little revision and practice testing will help too.

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