Like everything over the past two years, there has been lots of uncertainty, and the Transfer Test did not escape this: changed dates, cancellations and amended criteria, to name a few obstacles.
During the pandemic, some schools decided to amend their admissions criteria which removed the academic selection component, while others proceeded as normal. Regardless, most P6 pupils proceeded with preparation as usual over the past two years. I feel that P6 is such an important year as it covers a wide range of topics regularly and helps prepare children for their transition to the big school and with exam techniques.
Although the test criteria have been amended to account for missed classroom learning, there is still a huge amount of topic coverage to consider. I would recommend starting as early as possible. If you decide not to use a tutor, you can view what topics will be covered (specification) by visiting pptcni.com (GL test) or aqe.org.uk (AQE test). Currently, I have a few P6 groups running with limited spaces remaining. It is too early to begin practice tests, and this will not be done until the New Year; however, we are focusing on the key topics.
Maths & Timestables
Your child must be fluent in all of their times tables to help them with preparation.
Times table knowledge holds the key not only for the Transfer Test but also for most mathematic topics covered in primary school.
It helps improve speed and is directly linked to numerous topics, including fractions, decimals, algebra, division and multiplication, to name a few. Additionally, times tables knowledge helps improve confidence towards the subject, as it provides a platform to observe progress through the tables.
I am fully aware that it may be challenging to get your child to learn the tables each day; however, I cannot emphasise how important it is. Adults work well with incentives or bonuses in the workplace, and so do children. It could be a small reward for each of the tables they master and a big reward once they become fluent in all of the tables. I teach children struggling with tables some tricks to help them, but I would suggest sticking to three methods when learning at home.
The first is to write them out in the traditional method in which many of us learnt the tables e.g. 3 x 0 = 0, 3 x 1 = 3 , 3 x 2 = 6 etc. The second is to print off table worksheets or to buy a book. A fantastic, free website that I use is www.timestables.me.uk. This website allows you to pick certain tables and also generate worksheets. The third method is to use an application called ‘Hit the Button’ that your child is most likely aware of. It is free to use on a computer and costs £2.99 to download onto a tablet. Little and often is the key with the timetables. That could mean 10 minutes in the car, walk home from school or while cooking dinner.
Regarding the English component of the test, the best preparation that you can do at home is to encourage your child to read.
There tends to be three to four pieces of writing within the tests in which the children have to read and answer questions. I would suggest reading a wide range of texts such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, magazines, leaflets etc. to prepare for this.
These texts tend to include a variety of styles of writing. There is also spelling, grammar and punctuation aspects of the test, which can be found by exploring the specifications. Still, if you have any questions, I would be happy to help.
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Currently, I am experiencing increased demand. There is now a waiting list for new P3 and P4 children classes, which will be starting in the next few weeks. Additionally, P5 and Transfer Test spaces (P6) are approaching capacity, so please contact me at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.
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