This is the most comprehensive guide to 11+ writing that I have seen. It is over 500 pages and is an in-depth guide to all aspects of writing for children preparing for exams for entry to selective schools. It is beneficial for students preparing for the writing element of Key Stage 2 SATS. It comes in a PDF format which makes it easily accessible from many devices.
The book is divided into six sections: reading and handwriting; language and description; sentence and structure; creative writing; spelling; and writing exemplars. The book includes recommended reading books for different year groups along with ways to make your writing more vivid. There is a detailed explanation of different literary techniques that can be used. It encourages students to complete tasks at different levels – rookie, sergeant and commander. There are also writing prompts to consider including vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation. Finally, the writing exemplars include examples of writing including analysis of each writing type.
I have used some of the ideas from this book with my students at Cambridge Academic Tuition and with my own children who have had many successes in entrance exams at independent school entry at 11+ including scholarships. I would highly recommend this book to any child seeking to improve their writing for 11+ exams.
To order your copy, follow this link:
ISEB Science Year 3 to 6 by Sue Hunter and Jenny Macdonald, Published by Galore Park, Review by Juliet Rolls PGCE Cantab
Galore Park have published a series of books suitable for children aged 7 to 11 following Key Stage 2 of the English National Curriculum. They also follow the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB) syllabus for Science at Common Entrance for 11+ entrance exams to independent schools in the UK.
The books include engaging information as well as practice questions. The answers are available separately. There are also activities for independent research, interesting facts and extension material. There are eTextbooks available which are perfect for students to read on the go or for teachers sharing information on the screen during online lessons. It is helpful that keywords are in bold and there are colourful illustrations and photographs throughout.
Science for Year 3 includes topics on the human body, vertebrates and invertebrates, light and shadow, materials, rocks and magnets. Science for Year 4 includes topics on habitats, plants, solids, liquids and gases, electrical circuits and sound. Science for Year 5 includes topics on life cycles, habitats, materials, mixtures and space. Science for Year 6 includes topics on classification, healthy living, microbes, evolution, inheritance, indicators, light, sound and electrical circuits.
I have used the books with international students that I am teaching online. The books are easy to understand and the concepts are explained in a clear, concise method. One of my Year 3 students has enjoyed finding out about life processes and green plants. Even though the student does not have English as a first language, the books are accessible with explanations of some of the vocabulary. My student particularly enjoyed researching an animal unique to where he lives and preparing and presenting a PowerPoint presentation on his research.
Another of my students that lives overseas and who is in Year 5 was fascinated by the life-cycles topic and was motivated to find out more beyond the curriculum about this topic. She was really interested to learn about David Attenborough from the book and after researching and watching some clips from his documentaries she prepared a talk about how humans are affecting the environment and what we can do to protect it.
Not only will these books be helpful for exam preparation they will stimulate your child’s interest in science and provide enjoying and rewarding activities. The books can be used in school or at home and are an asset to any child’s science education.
‘The Cadwaladr Quests – Tangled Time’, ‘Tangled Time Workbook’ and ‘Tangled Time Revision Notebook’ by S. L. Ager
Who are these books for?
These books are aimed at students taking 11+, 13+ and independent school entrance exams, typically around 9 – 12 years of age.
Why should you get these books?
This trilogy of books is the perfect companion for children aiming to improve their vocabulary for school entrance exams. ‘The Cadwaladr Quests – Tangled Time’ is an exciting adventure about two school children, Claire and Ben. They are on a quest to find an ancient artefact before the evil villains do. Your children will discover many new words in an inspiring way. It is unique because children will want to read it and at the same time, they will learn over 3000 words with the definitions, synonyms and antonyms on each page.
The ‘Tangled Time Workbook’ follows on from the story with comprehension and writing tasks related to the text. This is useful practice for anyone taking 11+ exams in particular. Finally, the ‘Tangled Time Vocabulary Revision Notebook’ is a place where children can fill in new vocabulary learnt from the text. Students are encouraged to write the word type, definition, synonyms, antonyms and a sentence with each word. This is a helpful resource enabling the children to consolidate their learning.
Do the books help?
At Cambridge Academic Tuition, I specialise in helping children prepare for school entrance exams. I have recommended these books to many of my 11+ and 13+ students who have been keen to read them. The books are an enjoyable way to learn new vocabulary which is vital for 11+ exams and pre-tests.
Many of my international students from China and Hong Kong have found these books incredibly helpful as they do not have English as a first language and often struggle with vocabulary. As a mother of four children I have first-hand experience from a parent’s perspective. My nine-year old son read The Cadwaladr Quests just before his 11+ exams and was awarded the top academic scholarship at every school he applied to. He also passed the highly competitive grammar school entrance exams and all of this was done a year early. I thoroughly recommend these books by Sheena Ager.
‘Creative Writing Skills’ by Charlotte Badenoch and Danielle Okumura, 2019
Review by Juliet Rolls BScHons, PGCE, Cantab, Founder of Cambridge Academic Tuition
‘Creative Writing Skills’ is a fantastic book that details everything needed to succeed in the challenging area of creative writing. There is a step-by-step guide for all you need to create a piece of high-level writing including vocabulary, language techniques, planning, and starting and ending your writing.
It offers a range of examples that support the techniques such as coming up with ideas, developing language, skills and structure. There is also a section on tasks to practise what you have learnt. This book not only helps your child but allows you to understand what is expected of your child. It is aimed at Key Stage Two pupils or those taking 11+ examinations. As a teacher, tutor and parent whose children have successfully passed the 11+, I would highly recommend this book.
As a parent, teacher and Founder of Cambridge Academic Tuition, I am always interested to try out resources that may help children succeed in their exams and academic performance.
This box of vocabulary flashcards contains six smaller boxes, each at different levels. It is very helpful to have different levels as this gives you a sense of achievement and completion. Level 1 starts with words such as abode, rumpus and vex. The cards are colour coded and include the part of speech and synonyms. There are other words on the reverse of the 100 cards in each pack meaning there are 200 words for each level. You could test your child or they could test themselves. My children also enjoyed playing a game where if they get the definition right they can keep the card. It is also good practice to use the words in a sentence and you can do this to help your child if they are stuck on a word.
Level 2 includes words such as languid, finesse and tumult. Level 3 includes words such as temerity, insipid and servile. The fourth pack of cards is Opposites Level 1 which has a word on one side such as lavish with synonyms and antonyms on the other side. Opposites Level 2 includes words such as equanimity and trepidation. The final pack is compound words such as leg+end, con+trite and lament+able. They have the definition of the compound words and the meanings of the individual words. My children and students also like trying to guess the compound words from clues or pictures.
There is also a vocabulary quiz game which includes odd one out questions, multiple meaning questions and verbal classification questions. This is a fun way to improve vocabulary and reasoning skills and interact with your child. There has been a great deal of thought and attention put into making all of these resources and they are the most comprehensive and useful set of flashcards that I have seen. Not only will they help your child pass their 11+ or 13+ exams but they will also be useful for students after these exams to increase vocabulary skills which will improve comprehension and writing skills building a solid foundation for GCSE.
They are suitable for children in Key Stage 2 and 3 from ages 7 to 14. They are ideal for 11+ and 13+ exam preparation. I highly recommend these flashcards as the most comprehensive and easy to use resource for improving vocabulary for 11+ exams.
The flashcards are available from www.vocabularyflashcards.co.uk
HUE HD Pro Document Camera
Juliet Rolls, is a private tutor and founder of Cambridge Academic Tuition. She qualified as a teacher with a PGCE from the University of Cambridge and taught at Queen’s College Preparatory School, London. She has 15 years of teaching experience with children from age 4 to 18 and now focuses on online tutoring for students all over the world. As a UK qualified teacher, she primarily teaches English, Mathematics, Science, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Many students are at International Schools or British Schools and seeking to gain entry to prestigious UK schools at either 7+, 11+ or 13+. Entrance examinations are highly competitive and places limited so the best preparation is essential for gaining entry to first choice schools. As a parent herself to four young children she understands the pressures of trying to help your children succeed and fulfil their potential. Juliet also works with home-schooled children from all over the world to help them ensure that they are following a broad and balanced curriculum.
The amazing thing about online tuition is that children respond to it incredibly well. Parents may be sceptical at first and think that in person tuition is better but once they see the technology and interaction they are soon converted. They also appreciate not having to travel to the tutor or wait while the lesson is on. All that is needed by the student is a tablet or laptop. Many students use iPads as with these they can annotate the screen. Both student and teacher can share the same screen and annotate it at the same time.
Here Juliet describes how online tutoring works and the benefits of using the HUE HD Pro:
“I usually use Zoom, a free online programme, which has excellent stability and call quality. Both student and teacher can see and hear each other through this live video call. It is possible to share Power Point presentations, websites, videos, educational games and other resources. There are some resources, however, that cannot be viewed online. For these I use the HUE HD Pro Document Camera. This is an amazing piece of technology that allows any resource that I have to be shared with the student wherever they are in the world. For example, if I want to test students on vocabulary words, I can use flashcards and show them the answers. Also, if there is a text book which does not have an electronic version I can simply switch from the laptop camera to the HUE HD Pro camera and the student can then read the book clearly. The HUE HD Pro has a manual focus adjustment so you can ensure that the picture is always clear.
I also like that fact that the camera can be plugged in either directly into the laptop USB port or attached to the stand which plugs in. There are also LED lights on the camera which can be switched on or off simply by tapping the camera. There is a built-in microphone also so that sound is clear and crisp even on the other side of the world. The picture quality is stunning with a resolution of 1280x720 (720p).
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