This time of the year is the quietest in our 11+ tutoring calendar. Preparations are complete for the 2018 Kent Test, and next year’s lot are yet to join us as new club members. Every year we use this time to analyse our long-, mid- and short-term planning and to overview the bigger picture of what we offer families who join us. Now part of that offering is our mock exam timetable and it’s a good time to explain why we have one and what mocks should be all about.

Why are mock exams so crucial?

The mock exam is a real-life run through of how your child might feel on the day of the Kent Test. The room is packed with students (we have up to 60 at a time in ours) all going through the same experience. At first there are nerves, hushed whispers and occasionally even tears at the door. But our teachers are warm and welcoming and encourage the students to chat amongst themselves as they settle in before the nine o’clock start.

There are some technical aspects of each exam that children become familiar with. Following the clock on the wall, the way the teacher calls time without any warning and how to ask for more paper, a loo break or a replacement pencil. Adults can often manage these little issues as they arise, but children in an exam room worry much more about protocol.

What should you check before booking a mock?

The problem is that the success of the day depends hugely on the papers the children are set. ‘11+’ is an umbrella term that describes any entrance exam taken in year 6. In some areas children have to write detailed, written answers and in others exams are multiple-choice in format. Some education authorities or individual schools require one specific type of reasoning, and others do not. Some papers are of the CEM format and others are GL (ours). If your child is being prepared for the Kent Test and completes a mock with a CEM-style paper, or a generic 11+ paper taken by children up and down the country you are taking a real risk. Confidence is so fragile that a paper in the wrong form can impact negatively on performance going forward. And it will be a waste of time too.

Why are our mocks the best?

We believe our mocks are the best because of the enormous amount of thought, expertise and energy we put into them. No one is allowed to use real Kent Test papers – this can result in a child’s disqualification from the real thing. Yet bought papers, including GL practice papers, all have their strengths but do not match the timings, content or format of our particular test in its most recent form. The Kent Test is absolutely unique.

Our exam papers are created from scratch to match the detail of the real thing. The maths paper is written by two different experienced mathematicians and teachers, in the same format and covering the same content as the real thing. It is then checked over by a third expert just to be sure. Our English papers are created in exactly the same way by a team of three different English teachers and we also write and check our own Reasoning Papers.

The time, energy and investment we have put into our papers is second to none. Our students need to be supplied with a truly authentic experience so we have even had the papers professionally designed. They look the part too.

Scripts are marked by a team of us and we check each other’s work. Then the raw scores are sent to a statistician who creates authentic adjusted scores, based on our averages, previous averages and the month each child was born.

So look out for our mock timetable – or drop us an email to show your interest now. Even with 60 places available, our sessions fill up immediately and we keep a waiting list from early in the year. Next year’s timetable will hit our website in January 2019.