## Summer Holidays and 11 Plus Revision

July 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Your 10 year old thinks: “Yay, 6 weeks off school!”

You think: “Oh no, 6 weeks without school – what if they forget everything?!”

It’s that time of year again when parents and children are working hard towards their 11+ exams . . . and many students have to sit the exam almost immediately after a long holiday from school.

The 11 plus is, of course, a very important exam. But, we mustn’t forget that they are only 10 year olds and they have been working hard at school all year. Relaxation time is vital, otherwise they will suffer “burn out” before they get to the test. So here is a handy 11 plus revision timetable for the summer to make it an efficient and enjoyable (or as enjoyable as schoolwork can be!) experience.

Even if you are away on holiday, take some books away with you. Your child will feel more relaxed on holiday, so may be more inclined to do some work.

The timetable is just a guideline, each child is different. 11+ revision should be varied with each child’s personality and work ethic. Try our 11+ revision worksheets to help in preparing your child. But most of all, enjoy your summer holidays!

## Don’t Be Negative – A Common GCSE Maths Mistake!

May 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Okay so this might be a bit of a boring blog post! But, with the GCSE exams round the corner, I thought I would highlight one of the most common mistakes seen when marking GCSE maths papers.

That problem is negative numbers. They just get students in a right old pickle! And that’s why they crop up every year in the exam papers! But they won’t be obvious . . . . they are often very sneaky and catch people off guard. For instance, you will see minus signs when expanding brackets or in substitution or indices questions.

So, here are the simple rules:

**MINUS X MINUS = PLUS**

**MINUS X PLUS = MINUS**

Take this past paper question as an example:

**V = 3b + 2b ^{2}**

**Find the value of V when b = –4**

First, substitute the number into the equation.

3b + 2b² = 3 x -4 + 2 x -4²

3 x -4 is PLUS x MINUS, so it becomes a MINUS: 3 x -4 = -12

2 x -4² is a bit more complicated because we need to do the squaring first:

-4² = -4 x -4 which is MINUS x MINUS, so it becomes a PLUS. -4 x -4 = 16

2 x 16 = 32

So, 3b + 2b² = 3 x -4 + 2 x -4² = -12 + 32 = 20

Just take it step by step and CHECK YOUR WORK! We wish everyone doing the GCSE exams all the best.