The BOFA User Guide
A handy guide to help you understand how BOFA works using some of our most-asked FAQs.
- What does each BOFA product include?
- What is in a BOFA progress report?
- What is a BOFA Demo test?
- How does Adaptive testing work?
- Who created BOFA and what does B O F A stand for?
- Why do I need to view tests in full screen?
- How do I change text size, text colour and background colour?
- How do I leave, pause or stop a test?
- Can BOFA be translated into another language?
- What technical requirements are needed to run BOFA?
- Why do I need pop-ups enabled?
- Can a pupil do a test more than once?
Each BOFA product (apart from BOFAclassroom) uses the unique BOFA formative learning approach: test, teach, retest to help identify weak areas and improve pupil performance. We use three-stage adaptive testing to pin point these weak areas and our performance reports break down key data. How each product is structured, and the subject matter it covers, differs from product to product. Below is a quick summary of each BOFA product and who it is suitable for.
Suitable for pupils aged 7-11 years old, preparing for their 11+ exam as well as other entrance exams that include Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Includes English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.
Suitable for pupils aged 7 - 11 years old, usually in Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 at school. Includes English, Maths, Spelling and Arithmetic.
Suitable for pupils aged 9 - 11 years old, preparing to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test entrance exam, usually in the Summer Term of Year 5 or Year 6 at school. BOFA8+ - 12+ can be used to support pupils sitting the Common Pre-Test, while the mock Pre-Tests themselves are ideal for practice nearer the exam date. Each BOFA Pre-Test acts as a mock exam, covering the four Pre-Test subjects: Maths, English, VR and NVR.
Suitable for girls aged 9 - 11 years old, preparing to sit the London 11+ Consortium entrance exam, usually in Year 5 or Year 6 at school. Includes Maths, English, VR and NVR. Please note, there are thirteen girls' schools in London who use this as their entrance exam. If you are looking for 11+ preparation for another 11+ exam, please use our BOFA 8+ - 12+ product.
Our virtual online classroom, suitable for all schools and tutors who wish to enhance their remote teaching facilities. It's been created with educators in mind, ensuring safeguarding measures are considered
Suitable for all pupils preparing to sit their Maths GCSE or Maths iGCSE, normally pupils aged 14 - 16 years old, in Year 10 and Year 11 at school. Includes all key syllabus topics: Number, Algebra, Ratio, Geometry, Probability and Statistics.
After the retest stage of the BOFA learning process (and the initial test stage in the case of 8+ - 12+ and KS2 products), pupils are sent a report to breakdown their performance. Each BOFA report is unique to that pupil.
Each test report includes solutions and explanations to any questions answered incorrectly, sorted by topic. It will also identify progress made by the pupil, when compared to the intial test stage. Reports can be printed out as a whole or by topic. It is possible to print a report with, or without, the answers and explanations.
BOFA Demo Tests are example tests that can be done for free by pupils. There are different demo tests available for different BOFA products, available on that product website.
Demo Tests are valuable as a way to familiarise pupils with the BOFA format, before they begin a test for real where their test data will be recorded. We do not want pupil scores to be influenced by the platform being unfamiliar to them. Demo Tests are also a great way to see how BOFA works before comitting to paid subscription or buying a test pack. To complete a Demo Test, you will need to create a free BOFA account. Each demo, other than the BOFAPre-Test Demo, can be repeated as often as you like.
We advise you follow the advice below to ensure you get the most out of each BOFA Demo Test:
- Try to get at least 5 questions wrong in the initial test in order to experience the full BOFA learning process.
- Try to answer at least 3 questions wrong at the retest stage to produce a test report that emulates a realistic scenario.
- You will receive a test report via email detailing your overall performance alongside solutions to questions asked in the retest.
- Ensure you have access to pen/pencil and paper to assist your working out.
Andrew Baines created BOFA after 15 years teaching Mathematics in a variety of schools including: state, private, international, grammar & secondary. He is also the author of several eleven plus products, which have been either written or co-written by Andrew Baines under the brand Bond Assessment.
What does BOFA stand for?
BOFA Adaptive tests use a fully automated learning algorithm to create a bespoke learning schedule for BOFA users. The tests use the same three stage process: test, practise, retest, as traditional BOFA tests. Adaptive testing ensures users take time between practises and retests to embed knowledge into their long term memory. This means tests are scheduled and will become available at different times.
We allocate a pupil's start level based on their age and their exam date. From then onwards pupils move up or down difficulty levels depending on their performance. This is done automatically. As pupils become more confident and answer most questions correctly, they will move on to a more difficult level of test. If pupils are struggling with a test level and not answering many questions correctly, they will move down to an easier level.
Do not be alarmed if your child moves down a level. It is important that they are not working at a test level that is too challenging, or too easy, to ensure they make the best progress.
All BOFA8+ - 12+, BOFAKS2 and BOFAmaths subscriptions include adaptive testing as standard. Adaptive testing is not available for BOFAPre-Test or BOFALondon11+Consortium tests.
We recommend that pupils use BOFA Adaptive tests as they have been designed to ensure pupils make the best possible progress. We do however still have our original non-adaptive tests available for use.
BOFA tests are designed to be viewed in full screen on all devices. This is to prevent pupils from being distracted during their work by other web pages or windows. We could have programmed this to happen automatically, but this could lead to confusion and users worrying something has gone wrong with their screen.
With most browsers, this operation is very simple. Press the button found on your keyboard (often on the top row) then wait a couple of seconds. You should now be in full screen, to reverse this try one of two buttons, either or at the top of your screen.
We've included customisation features to ensure BOFA is as accessible as possible. These buttons are found at the bottom left of each test screen. Pupils can alter the font size and colour, as well as the colour of the test background to ensure test screens are as clear as possible.
You can use the 'Pause the test' button at any time to stop the clock. This allows you to pause the test and return to it at a later stage. Please ensure you use this button to pause or stop your test rather than closing your web browser.
Pausing a test is not available for Pre-Test or London Consortium tests. This is because these tests act as mock exams, and so seek to emulate a real exam experience.
We understand the desire to know if a pupil is doing well. BOFA's automated marking and test reports give pupils, parents and teachers instant feedback on their performance. For our products that support adaptive testing, if pupils are reaching the higher level of tests and getting high marks, it is reasonable to assume that they are progressing well.
That said, we do not want to give any false advice on how pupil test scores may transfer to a performance on a real exam, in order to avoid disappointment. We would advise you speak with a pupil's school or teacher if you are concerned about their progress.
It is possible to translate BOFA pages so they are readable in many different languages. We use third party software to enable this. You do not need to download anything and it is completely free. We have added this to help our users understand what they are buying if their first language is not English. More details on this can be found here: Translate this page.
BOFA does not suggest that pupils use this function when completing tests as any examination they are preparing for will be written in English.
BOFA is a cloud based online learning platform designed to run on all web browsers. To access BOFA you simply need a device with a stable internet connection (tablet, laptop etc.) and a web browser (Chrome, Safari etc.). We recommend always keeping your web browser up to date.
All BOFA products are accessed online using a username and password. This means that there is no postage or delivery charge and no software to download. Before you can begin taking a test, you must verify your email address by clicking on the link in the email sent to your inobx.
Some websites launch pop-up windows that open automatically when you switch between pages. You may not want to see these pop-up windows and they can take a long time to close. Because these can be annoying, many people now enable pop-up-blocking measures. Some browsers have built-in pop-up blockers.
The main feature of the BOFA website is its tests, which open in a new window. For this reason we ask that you enable pop-ups, at least for the BOFA website you are using. This will ensure optimum performance. Most browsers allow you to select a website to allow pop-ups for. This way you do not need to enable pop-ups for all websites, just those you trust.
We have a page dedicated to helping you set this up: Allow Pop-ups
We do not encourage pupils to sit a test more than once. There is no point in pupils attempting the same question repeated times as they will simply learn the answer rather than the method. This will mean they will not be able to apply what they know when faced with a similar question.
We do offer a facility to reset a test on some BOFA products. We include this feature as there are some circumstances when a test restart may be necessary. For example if a test is paused and not continued for a long time, or if something disrupted the test and it was not paused. To learn how to reset a test, watch this video.