Developing Confidence for Common Entrance Maths

Developing Confidence for Common Entrance Maths

Some useful strategies

Developing Confidence for Common Entrance Maths

Most students at Cargilfield are working towards sitting a Common Entrance maths exam in Form 8 and, although their mathematical journey begins many years earlier, in this blog I’d like to briefly reflect on their final three years and consider the path they take between Form 6 and their final examination in Form 8 and suggest some steps which can help your children as they go through these stages to complement the work they are doing in the classroom. If you only have 2 minutes then feel free to skip to the summary points at the bottom!

In Form 6 we begin to target the ISEB 13+ syllabus, with branches of maths such as algebra coming to the fore and further operations with decimals and fractions, and of course negative numbers, ratio and many, many more topics.  We then continue to build on these areas into Form 7, finishing the syllabus in the first part of Form 8, which then allows time to develop experience and shore up any wobbly areas in the time that remains.

For many children, their level of confidence has the biggest impact on their success in the subject but, in turn, success typically leads more confidence too.  At the start of Form 6, knowledge of the times tables can have a tremendous impact on their level of confidence and revisiting these on a regular basis with ‘top-up’ revision stints can bring valuable returns in the classroom.  With this basic addition and subtraction (e.g. 9 + 7  or  15 −8) can also boost a students assurance when tackling more complex problems.  The is a great place to practise some of these skills for 15 minutes on the weekend or during the holidays.

In Form 7 further formulae are introduced and ensuring they know these fluently will once again boost their self-belief since they know the starting point for calculating areas, circumference, speed or volume. Flash cards work particularly well for learning formulae and keeping a set of these in their pencil case (and perhaps a second set at home) means they can easily flip through these each day.

In Form 8, ‘Quick Tens’ are made available to the students.  These comprise of short exercises tackling the basic problems which will certainly come up in a Common Entrance paper.  Doing a Quick Ten as often as possible will ensure that the children remain confident in the foundational strategies.  We encourage the Form 8’s to allocate revision time each week to their maths just as they would other subjects. The website is great for working through any topics they know they find more difficult.

At all levels, the children can always ask their teacher if they don’t understand anything and need an extra explanation.

In conclusion, here is a summary of some out-of-classroom activities to help develop confidence:

  •   Form 5/6 - practise times tables every week (daily if necessary) -
  •   Form 7 - learn formulae using flashcards, ensure times tables are quickly recalled.
  •   Form 8 - Quick 10s each week and some during holidays too.

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Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.

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