The Kent Test changed format three years ago and since then we have been closely monitoring any subtle changes of content, timing or emphasis.
As an exam preparation agency we have to be able to bend and flex as changes are thrown at us because the papers are supposed to be ‘tutor-proof’.
But we have found that even a short session on strategy will raise a child’s score, regardless of the content of the test. Of course our club sessions go much further than that.
Over the past three years we have followed the detail of what has been put out by the GL exam-board. And we’ve coupled that with a good understanding of the brief the board were given by KCC. Using this knowledge we attempt to second-guess each year what the papers will and will not include. And it is so interesting to see what we got right, and what we got less right!
Spoiler alert: There was absolutely nothing on the paper we hadn’t covered in our sessions (except perhaps circle vocabulary that we will be all over next year). But a couple of sections we had covered as part of our belt-and-braces approach did surprise us and turn up.
So here is the lowdown:
English – we had guessed it would be a poem, and it was packed full of inference and deduction. Surprisingly they went with a punctuation section instead of a missing word section as one of the two grammar exercises. The length of the paper was as laid out in the 2014 Familiarisation Booklet and the timing was the same as previous years. And as with previous years we have set out a particular (shh!) strategy for tackling the questions, which is what got so many over the line last year. Fingers crossed for this one.
Maths – this was 25 questions in 25 minutes for the second year. The first year was 30 in 25 and proved too much for many children (with the pass mark falling as low as 13/30 in some cases). The paper was a slow one, with plenty of reading required and questions with multiple sections to them. Strategy was everything this year as the pace required was tremendous.
VR – this was of a similar layout to the previous two year’s papers. Interesting to hear from the children that the four practice questions did not relate directly to the exercises (as they did in the first year of the new format). We were surprised to see two types of codes on the paper. As the layout of all papers has recently moved closer to the look and feel of a year 6 SAT paper we had expected the board to stick with vocab-based exercises with a nod to a child’s reading confidence. Our feeling was that codes are highly tutor-able so wouldn’t feature. But we were wrong, so it’s a good thing we had done them anyway.
NVR/Spatial – were as expected content-wise and challenging for many because of a new set of timings. To give 12 questions in just 5 minutes is a new development. Beforehand 30 seconds per question have been on offer.
So again, with the club training, our children went in (and came out) feeling bold and empowered.