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Top 11 plus tips
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Top 11 Plus tips
Over the years, 11-plus exams have become an increasingly competitive milestone for young students. These exams test a child in a number of areas – verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, literacy and numeracy. The way your child scores on these exams determines whether or not they gain entry to their school of choice and thus the quality of their secondary education.
It is increasingly common among parents to seek tutoring for the preparation of 11-plus. It’s true that expert 11-plus tuition can be worth its weight in gold, guiding your child through revision and preparing with them with the most effective techniques and resources. It’s important to note, however, that there is a multitude of other considerations beyond tuition that you need to factor in to ensure your child performs at their optimal level in the exam.
Below, I’ve outlined some of the key points that you’ll need to take into account when preparing your child for the exam and offered some advice on how to tackle each effectively.
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When is the ‘right time’ to start 11 plus preparation?
This is a pretty loaded question and again, it really depends on the individual child. For some it’s best to get started in the summer between year 4 and 5, giving you a solid year and a half to prepare. Others may choose to start much later in the academic year, whilst some children will have sat 7+ tests to join middle schools, so will be better attuned to this type of testing and may need far less preparation still. Ultimately, it’s a judgement call between starting early enough to get your child the preparation they need, without starting so early as to risk losing momentum further down the line.
This is where the baseline tests fit in: once you know where your child stands in terms of being prepared for the 11-plus, you will have a solid idea of when the right time to start is. If your child has learning gaps in multiple areas, he or she may need a year or more of preparation to get up to speed.
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On the other hand, if your child already has the basics of 11-plus on fingertips, he or she may be ready for the exam with just a few months of preparation.
Of course, each of these timescales is purely estimates, with use of the right 11-plus resources alongside an experienced 11-plus tutor able to reduce this period, or simply increase the value of the time spent on preparation.
The 11-plus takes place nationwide in January each year. Whenever you choose to start preparation, it’s important to keep this timeline in mind, especially if you plan to utilise a tutor as their availability will drop off rapidly as you the exam date approaches. Timing your prep correctly will keep the pressure off of your child and make the exam experience far more enjoyable.
Practice with 11 plus mock exams
Many children tend to panic under pressure when they hit the exam and are faced with the need to answer so many questions in a relatively short amount of time. This is quite understandable and yet you can easily train your child for the scenario by practising it beforehand. Find full-length 11-plus tests or ask your child’s tutor to prepare them for practice. Have your child attempt these mock tests multiple times.
Keep the settings of such mock tests formal. Better still, invite other children to the house or take your child to a setting where he or she may attempt mock tests alongside other kids. Use questions of varying difficulties to thoroughly test your child. Once the test is over, seek professional guidance or a tutor’s help to grade it accurately.
After the test is completed, it’s really important to take apart how your child felt about the whole experience. Give them a chance to break down their psychological experience as much as their academic performance.
Help them work through why this was and identify incremental steps together for how they can avoid or better control these feelings next time. This type of performance analysis is vital in enabling your child to perform consistently under pressure.
Find the right 11 plus tutor
Every student has unique abilities and unique learning needs. It’s no secret that the help of a teacher or tutor who knows their stuff can be invaluable. It can give your child the boost they need. However, if you are going to invest time and money in finding an 11-plus tutor it’s vital that you find the right fit.
The right tutor makes the preparation process an exciting experience. It can also encourage a focus on the process as much as the result. This will enable your child to develop a strong and flexible approach to the exam and to their learning. Again, the exact approach will vary from child to child. It’s important to find a tutor that works for you.
Do look for tutors who’ve gained positive reviews from parents and successfully prepped students for the 11-plus. Don’t take recommendations as gospel. Many tutoring services will be happy to offer trial sessions at a lower rate. So you can get a feel for the tutor before committing to full-priced lessons. And always feel free to switch tutors if that may ultimately help in your child’s exam prep in the long-run.
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It’s vital to understand all of the factors involved in 11-plus preparation. Also, that parents always play a significant role in their child’s experience. Success is the goal. A happier student is always likely to perform better than a student who feels under pressure or lacks interest. You are a key component in instilling this happiness.
What are your experiences with the 11-plus? Have you put your child through it before, or is this your first time? Let me know in the comments below!
11+ exams are challenging. They cover lots of different topics and, unlike GCSEs and A-levels, don’t have a specific syllabus from which students can study. To make matters harder, each school has different admissions processes, meaning students have to prepare for a wide variety of exams as opposed to one particular board.
Preparing for your 11 plus exam
Luckily, there are multiple techniques that students can use to get ahead when preparing for these important exams. And with the right help, students can set themselves up for success come exam time!
If you’ve been preparing your child for the 11 plus, you’ve almost certainly heard about a number of different techniques. However, which of these methods are most efficient? Is there a better way you and your child can allocate your time and resources?
Create an 11 plus revision Timetable
Effective revision always begins with a detailed plan of action. In their revision plan, a student should lay out exactly what subjects and topics they’ll be studying when. This is essential, as a plan allows students to know how long they’ll have to cover a certain topic. Subsequently, they don’t run out of time when they get closer to their exam.
This also gives students an efficient structure to their revision. This means they can build in breaks or other fun activities. All while resting assured that they’re on track to cover all the necessary material. A plan also means students don’t waste time finding the right books or materials or going through the syllabus constantly, wondering what to study next. Following a well-thought-out plan will allow students to tackle exam season with confidence!
Make 11 plus Flashcards
Scientific studies have shown that a great way to drill important notes into your head is to write them out and paraphrase them. Here, flashcards are essential to your revision. They act as small, portable revision notes that you can constantly read through. You learn key details from and use to memorise important terminology to impress examiners. They are also a great way for students to test themselves.
Ask your child to write a question on one side of the card and the answer on the other. This will allow your child to associate questions with answers and is an excellent way for them to practice topics. Flashcards are a particularly effective way to remember pieces of vocabulary or mathematical formulae that students find particularly challenging or hard to recall. Because flashcards are much smaller and more portable than textbooks, they’re ideal for studying on car journeys or when travelling.
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