Feb 2, 2024, 10:14 AM
Ellie and her three sons live in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Ellie’s oldest son used Atom Home to prepare for the Kent Test (11 plus), and is now in his first-choice grammar school. Ellie’s younger son is now using Atom Home to prepare for the Kent Test in September 2024.
We spoke to Ellie to find out how her family uses Atom, and what she and her sons find particularly useful about the platform.
“I first heard about Atom from a friend who’s an English teacher. She uses it to support her boys who are doing the same exam, so we had full confidence it was going to deliver what we needed for our son.
With my oldest son, we started off by working through the questions in the Learning Journeys. Atom has such a wide depth of knowledge and provides a broad range of questions. There are so many questions that could be asked in the 11 plus, and so many topics in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, which aren’t taught at school. But with Atom, there are explanations in every answer, and these are really clear and concise. If my son made a mistake, he could take the time to read the explanation, work out why he didn’t get the answer right, and learn for next time. Because Atom is adaptive, that question appears later on to reinforce his learning.
When he was more confident with the Learning Journeys, after about a term, we started using the mock tests once every two weeks. Atom was brilliant for helping his 11 plus technique. The mocks helped him practise his skills under exam conditions, gave him confidence in answering concisely, and helped him get used to multiple-choice questions. He learned how to not spend ages on one question and he started to pick up a little bit of speed. The mocks made him feel prepared for what he was going to do in the actual exam, and I could see from the parent account how he was progressing.
On results day, we felt elated! I knew my son had worked really hard. He’d done the mock tests and I had seen his progression on Atom. It was the best feeling that he got into the school where he wanted to go.
We’re now using Atom to help my younger son prepare for his 11 plus this year. It’s tried and tested for us now. I have full confidence knowing that the full range of questions are going to come up and that my son is getting a solid grounding in what he needs to know. And he loves using it! I don’t have to nag him to use Atom. It’s never a chore – he just wants to get on and get involved in it.
The interface is so engaging and user-friendly. It’s fun, and the wonderful cartoons and worlds disguise that he’s progressing through different levels. He’s often unaware of how much work he’s doing, but because he enjoys going through these different worlds and stages, it gives him a real sense of purpose. Mini achievements along the way really help. He has this big goal of doing the exam, but he needs the smaller goals Atom provides to give him a confidence boost along the way.
We use Atom every day in the afternoon after school. I set bitesize tasks for my son so that he’s always got something ticking over. He does more in-depth work at the weekend when he can take his time. We have such busy lives, but because it’s so flexible, we can take it wherever we need it, and we can fit it in around all the other things he’s doing.
As a mum, I feel really confident with Atom. I know that I can leave him to use it on his own if I need to, or I can be as involved as I want or need to be. I know that there’s such a broad range of questions and knowledge available to him and that the adaptive programme is going to push him to get what he needs to achieve. For us, this is the real highlight of Atom. It picks up on weaker areas and reinforces them, giving him the time to develop and improve. And I can see his progression on the parent dashboard, which helps me understand where I can help him.
Atom is brilliant. It really helped us as a family – it made the whole process a smooth journey, particularly when the 11 plus system is a complete minefield for parents!”