Help with homework, summer slide and new term or year preparation is relatively easy, but what about exams? Even with as much help and support as teachers and private tutors can provide, to both child and parent, nothing beats revision and practice, lots and lots of practice. Finding the best resources for this can be rather hit and miss, with many revision and exam question practice materials being outdated or not close enough to the real thing.
RSL Educational is a new range of award-winning English and Maths practice resources that go beyond the usual revision materials on the market and closely mimic the actual exams students will take. The perfect alternative to expensive private tuition, or an ideal supplement, the range includes materials to assist students preparing for 8+, 11+, 13+, and GCSE exams in maths and English. From this summer, A level preparation materials will also be added.
Developed by Oxford graduate Robert Lomax and a team of expert teachers and writers, the papers offer realistic questions, extensive model answers, and plenty of guidance to enable students to approach their exams with confidence. Every stage of strategy, knowledge and preparation is meticulously explored, and both parent and child can take learning points from the mark scheme, meaning performance will significantly improve over time.
Having worked previously as an external marker for SATs testing, I was surprised at the breadth of knowledge and guidance offered in the mark scheme, at every level. There is clear guidance to show students exactly what is expected from every type of question, and just how they can maximise the marks awarded for each one. I would be astounded if any teacher could go into this much detail in school, as one parent remarked, it is like having your own private tutor explaining every question!
Comprehension Materials for 8+, 11+ and 13+
Comprehension is a particularly challenging skill for many students, irrespective of ability or reading level, as it can often be difficult to ascertain exactly what answer a question requires, and all too easy to fall into easy mistakes and misunderstandings. Unfortunately, this is also an area many parents find difficult, not understanding how to teach the necessary skills rather than fact-based knowledge that other exams might require.
The RSL 11+ Comprehension contains eight papers, building in difficulty from standard to challenging, each containing a series of interesting but realistic comprehension texts and questions. With full solutions and detailed advice on how to answer, the skills being tested, and how to gain maximum marks, any parent can confidently become their child's tutor. Offering a range of exam styles and questions, these papers provide effective preparation for written comprehension tests at age 11 (end of KS2).
A natural extension of the 11+ Comprehension papers, there are more complex texts amongst the eight papers of the RSL 13+ Comprehension book. Offering a solid foundation for the GCSE English course, these papers also offer detailed solution pages, but with even more depth, reflecting the more sophisticated texts and the more extensive answers required at this level. Perfect for scholarship applications and other tests at this stage, these papers will enhance your child's skills and enable they are performing to the best of their ability at this challenging and competitive level.
Passionate about ensuring all students gain access to these potentially life-changing academic skills, Robert Lomax has also created a series of extremely popular videos for parents of 11+ and 13+ students. Demonstrating the most important techniques for strong exam performance and showing families how to prepare calmly and effectively while developing valuable academic skills, even if you lack confidence yourself, the videos are available free of charge here.
For younger children, the RSL 8+ Comprehension papers will help develop confidence, teach the ability to 'read between the lines', and begin to engender the skills needed for higher level tests. Perfect for children preparing for English exams at 8, 9 and 10, they also lay an excellent foundation for the 11+ papers and skills outlined above. Starting at the simplest stage, where no understanding or skill set is assumed, to a more advanced standard which allows a seamless transition to the 11+ materials, the eight papers and detailed answers and explanations guide younger children carefully through their developing reading comprehension.
Whether you start with the 8+ papers, the 11+ or the 13+, dependent on your child's age, stage, needs and planned exams, you can be sure that their current comprehension skill level will be tested and challenged. But moreover, the extensive notes; answers, often with alternatives; and comprehensive mark scheme will enable you to become your child's tutor, helping them to perform to the very best of their ability.
Maths Materials for 11+ and GCSE
Many parents lack the confidence, and even the essential maths skills, to help their child beyond the earliest years of mathematical study at school, and frequently find themselves bamboozled by modern techniques and long-forgotten subjects areas. So when it comes to helping their children with maths study they are stumped, and even fearful, such was their own poor experience of maths at school. As with the comprehension papers, the RSL 11+ Maths and GCSE Maths books enable all parents to become their child's tutor, with expansive answers, clear guidance and plenty of practice.
RSL 11+ Maths contains 180 pages of material, with six exam papers, graded from standard to advanced. Every question has sample answers, often shown using different methods, and provides the essential working out models that examiners require and students so often forget or bungle. Clear and easy to imitate, the solutions provide students with the essential skills they need to acquire for maximum exam success, engendering confidence and making maths practice much more enjoyable.
If your child finds it difficult to select the correct method for answering a question, or they struggle to present their answer well with that all-important working out, RSL 11+ Maths offers the practice - and the skills - they need. The questions are child-friendly, with humour and accessible, real-life situations. The solutions focus on that difficult process of translating words into a mathematical problem to be solved.
For older students facing GCSE Maths this year or next, the RSL: Higher Level (9-1), Non-Calculator offers realistic GCSE maths practice for those whose knowledge and confidence aren't quite exam-ready. The solution guide provides example answers for every question, often with several solutions, teaching students how to structure their working, pointing out common mistakes, and guiding them through each method. With such guidance on how to avoid potential pitfalls, how to structure answers, and how to maximise marks, this really is like having a Maths GCSE tutor in your own home.
Featuring real questions this pack is the best preparation for understanding what the exam paper might look like, the kind of skills being tested, and what exactly that pesky phrase 'show your working' really requires. The book contains more than 270 pages of material, including six entertaining, realistic papers with full answers, based on the new 9-1 GCSE Mathematics syllabus as set by British exam boards (Edexcel, OCR, AQA and WJEC). It is perfect for schooled students, but also for home educated kids entering for external exams. Our HE friends have just bought a set for their twins who will be taking maths GCSEs this year, and find them invaluable.
Schooled or home ed, whether your child is facing exams at age 8, 11, 13 or GCSE, or anything in-between, these award-winning exam preparation materials will teach them essential skills in analysing and answering exactly what examiners want. They provide extensive practice and experience of exam papers, demystifying the process and building exam confidence, before students even enter the exam room. If you would like to learn more, or to download free sample papers and solutions, visit the RSL Educational website.
You can also find useful advice and revision guidance on Robert's exam preparation blog.
How and Why to Buy
These materials really do teach both the skills required to answer the questions, but more importantly give students the necessary pointers on what exactly examiners are looking for. They are not designed to provide knowledge per se, but to develop exam skills and strategy, and to improve reasoning and comprehension ability. This unique approach helps to demystify the exam process by demonstrating how examiners think and how they mark. Thereby giving students significant experience of what to expect, and how to tackle it, before they enter the exam room, and setting them up to succeed.
10 Reasons to buy RSL Educational materials for your child:
- Realistic, challenging papers
- Suitable for a wide range of school entrance exams, and GCSE
- Comprehensive, fully worked solutions
- Thorough advice and guidance into what examiners want to see
- A structured sequence of tests which develop the student's skills
- High quality materials prepared by experienced teachers
- A generous number of papers in each pack
- They walk students through the skills they need to acquire
- Any parent can take on the role of tutor
- More than 250 5* Amazon reviews such as this one
RSL Educational materials are available directly from the website and from Amazon, priced from £14.99 to £17.99 per pack.
A first class honours English graduate of Worcester College, Oxford, Robert Lomax has been a tutor for many years, in London and Hong Kong. He taught history at a leading independent school, and prepares students for 8+, 11+ and 13+ exams in English and maths, and for GCSE, A level and university entrance.