Monday 15 May 2017

2017 OC preparation

This blog entry covers useful information and take the load away from the Mathemafix internal message board leaving it for only the new information. 

13th Aug,
Students generally report hard English while GA and maths are easier than what they get to do on Mathemafix website. Overall, the feedback is positive. 25 students have given feedback and the summary is as follows.

24th July,

We are now at the END of OC preparation. Students should be resting. Parents either ask students to quickly complete the rest of the trials if they have not finished 8 sets. Or it is ok to ask them to rest completely, and then come back after OC test to finish off the trials just for the purpose of getting a ranking and prediction of OC profile.
Every year in the past, I felt a little worry about the performance of the kids but the results came back were better than the year before. With more content and better experience, this year is probably going to be better again. The key success factor right now is "resting completely" and thinks about the OC test as just a game. Kids should just keep calm and keep cool. Parents should book a restaurant for a nice lunch on the OC test day and let the kids know that it will be a time for celebration and not to worry about the result. That is something nice to look forward to rather than worrying about the test.

After the OC test, parents should ask the kids how they feel about the OC test, fill the survey form on Mathemafix and decide on updating the OC choices. The SSU allows updating choices until near the end of April. It's important to put 2nd choice at a OC class just to get an offer (even if you have no intention of accepting). Then use that offer to pressure the current school to put your kid into its enrichment class (in case there is no placement into the first-choice OC class).

If your kid is not well on the day, go to see a doctor immediately after the OC test to get a medical certificate then fill the illness and misadventure form.

Attached is the trial ranking for 2017. Kids who have not done all 8 trials would rank a little higher as the later tests are harder.

6th July
A lot of year 4 students are working hard. The scores are improving. The overall picture looks very good much like last year. We are heading a great set of OC results where it is expected that 80% of the students will get over 200 and about 60% will get over 220. While 200 is enough for placement in some low OC classes but it is expected that many parents won’t accept OC offers far from home. However, the 2017 selective result again confirms that students in OC classes have strong advantage over students in schools without OC classes.

Their school marks are valued much higher. Those students in schools without OC classes have their marks devalued because there are too many weak students also applied for selective school test. Their poor performance drags the entire school down. The disadvantage could be between 6 - 20 profile points for similar raw marks in the selective test! At the extreme end, it's the fault of the students as they also get poor school marks because they don't try hard at schools to be among the top 5.

So the message here is that parents should consider accepting OC placement even if the class is a little far from home. And picking a reasonable 2nd choice is the key to getting placement then decide later to accept or not. Also gaining OC placement anywhere will also place the student into a local enrichment class (if the school has one). With the OC placement, it is much easier for parents to see the principal to request enrichment which could take 2 forms (1) entering an enrichment class (if there is one) or entering a composite class to study with a higher year (skip year 5, go to year 6 then repeat year 6 again).
One other important thing is  the 10 days after school holiday and the OC test. Some parents will let the kids stay home right until OC test to get more work done (or just relax and be healthy). It is now winter and many kids turn up with cold and flu on the OC test day in the past.

19th Jun
We are reaching a critical time for 2017 OC preparation. The coming school holiday period is so important as students have 2 weeks without school to focus on OC preparation. At this late stage it is most useful for students to stay at home and do a lot of tests, review failed questions, use Super Revision to review past failed questions. It is normal for those who are behind to do as much as 40 tests per week to gain enough depth to score better in OC trials.

Parents should resist the temptation to send kids to intensive trials at tutoring colleges. This will be a waste of money and time. It will stress the kids out without any evidence of benefits among the past students on this website. It is more important to make sure they don't get cold/flu during this winter period before the OC test. So it's important to avoid activities that expose kids to extreme weather and gatherings that expose them to many kids.

There are a few things about performance and exam techniques that parents should pay attention to and coach the kids out of bad habits ...

- Kids tend to rush too much on English comprehension. They need to spend more time reading the texts and reading the questions.
- Kids tend to make silly mistakes in maths as they do not read the question properly (several times) to know exactly what the question asks for.
- Kids have learning gaps at the basics for year 3-4 maths but parents are not aware of because they are top maths students. This leads to silly mistakes or failure to deal with hard questions. The Maths Gaps module should be completed and the learning gaps must be filled.
- Many kids don't have good exam techniques. Parents should take the kids through the Exam Techniques guide to help them do better timing under exam conditions.
- Parents must remember that having a few days of rest before the OC test is very important. So the time remained for OC preparation is less than what it seems to be.

15th May
The series General Academic Knowledge Grade 3-4 is being expanded. This series provides really useful assessment of kids' general knowledge about the world, the Universe, general science and human bodies. Doing well in this series will ensure kids have the vocab for GA and English comprehension. The information comes from Brainpop Jr. This is a great website that parents should consider getting a subscription.  
Looking back at 2016 OC results 


There were a lot of strong students in 2016. Hopefully we will have a similar group of students this year. Looking at the results, a trial average around 70% on Mathemafix's 8 trials would be required to get OC placement. Around 80% will be an excellent level to expect placement into any OC class.

OC placement cutoff scores for 2017 can be found here: Minimum Entry Scores for 2017 OC Placement

Official web page for key information about OC test: Opportunity Class year 5

Most important documents on Mathemafix related to OC test preparation: OC Roadmap, Minimum OC Work Plan 2017, OC G&T Program guide, Maths Problem Solving Strategies Year 4-5, Maths Problem Solving Strategies Year 2-3 (for year 3 students)

The above documents are available for download after a user log on Mathemafix website (into OC group).