I have run tutorial schools in Hong Kong for twelve years now and prepare students to study in the UK This blog will be include my experiences as an educator, practical tips about entrance exams, speech festivals and interviews. There is a school for every child and this blog will help you navigate the process.
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Nantucket Limericks- Happy Thanksgiving
I enjoy limericks enormously; the potential for lunacy within a tightly defined format is a challenge and a delight. I was looking at a poem suitable for Thanksgiving but found the following instead. To make a tenuous link, I am thankful because it reminds me of a fabulous trip to Martha's Vineyard when I was 17, my Grandfather who had a weakness for dreadful puns and, most importantly, that I am neither Nan or her father! Without further ado...
There Once was a Man from Nantucket - Anonymous
There once was a man from Nantucket,
Who kept all his cash in a bucket,
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
We had a wonderful morning speaking to parents at our Aberdeen Marina Club Seminar. The audience had a multitude of excellent questions which underlined the commitment they have to finding the right school for their children.
Key points to take away were:
1: You know your child best. Listen to advice from friends and family but be prepared to make your own decision.
2: Don't be afraid of asking questions. In my experience, the best schools are ready and willing to work with parents and actively encourage your questions in the knowledge that this is a path to a close, co-operative relationship.
3: Engage your child in the preparation process.
4: Don't just focus on academic skills, cultural and communication skills are equally important. Brandon classes offer all three!
5: Understand the needs of your child. Children develop at different rates and an appropriate school will encourage and support a student so he can develop his full potential.
Entry to schools used to be relative easy: register, interview, get an offer, sit Common Entrance and start in September. All has changed.
Simple: the sheer numbers of students applying to UK schools has increased dramatically and schools have elected to use pre-tests in order to identify applicants who will be able to thrive in their classrooms.
So what does the pre-test consist of?
The test is taken online and there are four sections:
Students may take breaks between sections but, once started, the test cannot be paused. A timer at the top of the screen shows the student how much time remains and there is an indicator at the bottom of the screen showing which question number the student is on and how many he/she has left to answer.
Results go straight to the school(s). One of the joys of this system is that you beleagured son/daughter will not have to sit numerous tests: one test can be …
One of the challenges a number of our children appear to be encountering when they are taking the ISEB and other pretests is runnning out of time.
The maths section in particular can present problems as students try to extract the problem from the test.
Give you child a sheet of word-based maths problems (e.g. three boys bought a six litre bottle of orange squash which they divided equally amongst them, how much did each boy receive?) and ask your child to write out the resultant sum.
As your child becomes faster, increase the complexity of the arithmatic.
Include: fractions, percentages, measurements.
Allocate time to completing the sheet.
Use a large kitchen timer which rings when "time is up" so your child gets used to working to time constraints. Talk to them about how they are going to be dividing his time.
You can use the timer technique are you practice verbal/non-verbal reasoning.