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Tim (UK)

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11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 3
11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 3
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.19

5.0 out of 5 stars A good set of practice test. Stopwatches at the ready!, 30 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This set comprises two lots of practice exam papers in a card folder with velcro closure. Each exam has two papers, each of which lasts 45 minutes, plus additional time to read the example questions.

The child either write the answers directly onto the exam paper or onto separate answer sheets, which are included. The latter would be helpful if your child needs to practice flipping back and forth between two sets of booklets for the real exam.

An answer booklet is provided which includes a brief explanation of the right answer for each question, which may help a child (or adult!) to realise where the child has gone wrong.

Finally, the folder includes some stiffening cardboard and a sheet of pink paper, whose purposes is unclear to me (possibly for the child to use for rough working, or to slide down each question page in order to mask future questions).

Overall, this is a nicely presented and useful set of test papers.

If you are invigilating your child sitting these papers, you will need to have a stopwatch and be prepared to concentrate hard, because the test are broken into individually-timed sections, some of which are as short as 6 minutes. You will also need to allow for periods of time to read the example questions before each section.


11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Practice Test Papers: Multiple Choice - Pack 2
11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Practice Test Papers: Multiple Choice - Pack 2
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A good set of practice papers for a rather silly style of test, 30 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This set of four 36-minute test papers comes in a card folder with velcro closure.

It includes a separate, machine-readable-style answer booklet, which is helpful for your child to practice switching accurately back and forth between question paper and answer paper. The separate answer booklet is helpful for speedy marking; it also includes a brief explanation of the right answer for each question, which may help a child (or adult!) to realise where the child has gone wrong. Finally, the folder includes some stiffening cardboard and a sheet of pink paper, whose purposes is unclear to me (possibly for the child to use for rough working, or to slide down each question page in order to mask future questions).

So, this is a nicely presented and useful set of test papers.

The questions seem to me to be quite typical of the sort of questions that are asked in 11+ exams. These "non-verbal reasoning" tests involve working out patterns in sequences of shapes. Personally, I find them very frustrating, because the patterns are not particularly intuitive, even to an adult (and it's not that I'm particularly stupid, having passed 11+ scholarship exams myself years ago, and having a maths degree from Oxford). Some questions have more than one possible answer, only one of which is deemed "correct" (e.g., when identifying the figure that is "most unlike the others" from a set of five, one can come up with dozens of conditions that are satisfied by different groups of four of the five objects, only one of which is the condition that the examiner is looking for). It's a silly test, but that's all the more reason for your child to practice, practice, practice, so that they can learn to spot the types of pattern the examiners are looking for.

If I had one small criticism, it's that there are not four separate answer sheets, which would also allow siblings to sit different practice papers in parallel. There is, however, a statement that "photocopying more than 5% of this product is not permitted", from which I infer that permission is granted to photocopy a few pages from the answer book (although this could helpfully be made more explicit). This overcomes this problem, and also enables a child to sit the same test paper more than once. Great!


11+ Verbal Reasoning Practice Test Papers: Multiple Choice - Pack 2
11+ Verbal Reasoning Practice Test Papers: Multiple Choice - Pack 2
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A useful set of practice papers, 28 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This set of four 50-minute test papers comes in a card folder with velcro closure. It includes a separate, machine-readable-style answer booklet, which is helpful for your child to practice switching accurately back and forth between question paper and answer paper. The separate answer booklet is helpful for speedy marking; it also includes a brief explanation of the right answer for each question, which may help a child (or adult!) to realise where the child has gone wrong. Finally, the folder includes some stiffening cardboard and a sheet of pink paper, whose purposes is unclear to me (possibly for the child to use for rough working, or to slide down each question page in order to mask future questions).

This is a nicely presented and useful set of test papers. The questions seem to me to be quite typical of the sort of questions that are asked in 11+ exams. Personally, I think the title of "verbal reasoning" is a little misleading, since the sections on basic arithmetic, pattern-matching and code-breaking have nothing much to do with verbal comprehension, but the publisher is just following the precedent set by others here, so it's not their fault!

If I had one small criticism, it's that there are not four separate answer sheets, which would also allow siblings to sit different practice papers in parallel. There is, however, a statement that "photocopying more than 5% of this product is not permitted", from which I infer that permission is granted to photocopy a few pages from the answer book (although this could helpfully be made more explicit). This overcomes this problem, and also enables a child to sit the same test paper more than once. Great!


10-Minute Tests for 11+ Maths (Ages 10-11)
10-Minute Tests for 11+ Maths (Ages 10-11)
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent bite-size tests, 24 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Each of the 31 ten-minute tests in this book covers three pages and contains ten questions (so, on average, one question needs to be answered every minute, if my maths is right!).

The questions take me back to my sitting of school entrance exams many years ago. Apart from the odd reference to a Compact Disc, or some other new-fangled invention, nothing much has changed in the style of questioning.

These rapid tests will be excellent preparation for any child preparing for the 11+ exam. They will, of course, also need to learn how to concentrate for longer spells, but the bite-size nature of these tests will make them easy to fit in around a busy home routine.

Pedantic observation: although the authors may be good at maths, their physics is a little lacking: question 3 of test 28 shows a picture of a food on some spring weighing scales, with the question "what is the mass of the pumpkin?"; as any physicist will know, while a beam balance can tell you mass, a spring gauge can only indicate weight.


Ibico Basics A4 Light Laminating Pouch (Pack of 100)
Ibico Basics A4 Light Laminating Pouch (Pack of 100)
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thin yet strong., 20 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These pouches may be thin, but they are tough and resistant to tearing. They also add significant stiffness to a standard sheet of A4 office paper. Unless you need a particularly rigid output, these should suffice for most purposes. They also take up very little space in storage. Recommended.


Huggies Disney Special Edition Baby Wipes (Product design may vary) - 56 x 10 Packs (560 Wipes)
Huggies Disney Special Edition Baby Wipes (Product design may vary) - 56 x 10 Packs (560 Wipes)
Offered by mybritshop
Price: £15.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable wipes but strongly perfumed, 14 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are wipes clean reasonably well, but have a tendency to disintegrate under firm wiping. The resealable flap on the pack is sticky enough to keep them from drying out.

The wipes have a strong fragrance, which some children may not like, especially if you use it wipe their face (as the packaging encourages you to do).

The Mickey Mouse branding on the packet doesn't extend to the wipes themselves, which instead have an embossed teddy-bear design on them.

The packaging asserts that these wipes are "safe for hands and face". However some people might not like the fact that the second ingredient, after water, is phenoxyethanol. This preservative can depress the central nervous system, and the French government has called for it to be banned from nappy wipes. It's currently under investigation by the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. That said, the health risk from the bacteria that might grow on the wipe if a preservative weren't included would be far worse, so I'm not too worried personally.


Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Thomas Engine
Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Thomas Engine
Offered by Mrtoybox Ltd (We supply official Uk goods)
Price: £7.65

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Plastic, plastic, plastic, 4 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As plastic model Thomas engines go, this one's fine. My 20-month old enjoys playing with it.

However, the claim by Mattel that this is some high-quality, collectible die-cast-metal model is ridiculous and misleading. It feels like the blue superstructure might possibly have some metal at its core, but all the rest of it (the cylinder, the funnel, the Thomas face, the red running board, the black base, the blue wheels) is one-hundred percent injection-moulded plastic. Give it a shake, and the three sets of wheels let out a cheap, plasticky tinkle.

Overall, it's a very ordinary Thomas engine. It does feel like it could withstand some fairly rough play and I would happily have given it four stars, had Mattel not misrepresented it as something that it plainly isn't.


Cetaphil 473 ml Moisturising Lotion
Cetaphil 473 ml Moisturising Lotion
Offered by Medideals
Price: £11.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thick but not too greasy, 2 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using this on my hands before going to bed and am happy to recommend it.

It's slightly runnier and less oily than the Cetraben Cream I normally use, but is thicker than E45. Being on the less greasy side makes it well suited to daytime use, without risking putting oily finger marks on everything!

The dispenser looks less industrial than the Cetraben bottle, but a bit flimsier and harder to see when it's running out.


Schleich Safari Animal Rescue Truck
Schleich Safari Animal Rescue Truck
Price: £33.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely but best for older children, 30 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My children have not had any Schleich toys before, and there was great excitement when this arrived, especially from my 20-month old son, who loves anything with wheels. He likes moving the truck and animals around, but is too young to be able to open the sliding crate and the tailgate of the truck. His four-year-old sisters can play with it at a slightly more sophisticated level (when they get the chance!).

The look and build-quality of the animals is amazing. They feel like they could last for several generations.

The working suspension system is a neat feature on the truck, although overall the truck feels a little less robust than I'd been expecting. My children had managed to pull the side-flaps and tailgate completely off their hinges within moments, and to demolish the crate into a pile of six separate pieces. They couldn't manage to put any of these back together again without adult help. Reassembling the crate is a challenge even for an adult, as is getting the driver in and out of the cab without the steering wheel falling off.

Although my children wouldn't notice or mind, there's something about the scale of the truck that looks a bit wrong in comparison with the animals (possibly to do with the dimensions of the wooden planks, which look too big).

Overall, this would make an excellent toy for an older child (perhaps 6 upwards), but is a bit too fragile for younger children.


Castillo de Manzanares Tempranillo Reserva 2006 Wine 75 cl (Case of 3)
Castillo de Manzanares Tempranillo Reserva 2006 Wine 75 cl (Case of 3)
Price: £26.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, 28 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My wife and I are very much enjoying this tempranillo. It has a lovely blend of mature rioja flavours, with a lingering after-taste. Recommended.


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