11-Plus Preparation – Is it for my child?

11-Plus Preparation – Is it for my child? 

The 11 plus journey can seem like a daunting voyage. There is an overwhelming amount of information available in the public domain and deciphering it can seem like a mind- boggling task. As a parent it is important that you take a systematic approach to your child’s preparation so that he or she remains happy and focused throughout the process. 

You must first think about whether the journey is one that your child and you as the primary caregiver are willing to embark on. Your child will have to complete extra work outside school homework, on evenings and potentially weekends. Much of this work will not have been taught at school. This work will need to be marked and corrected on a regular basis. 

You must also carefully consider the secondary schools you would like your child to attend, are they in close proximity? Is it a mixed school? Grammar or partially selective? Independent school? Finding the right school for your child is just as important as preparing for their entrance exam.

Schools have different entry requirements, familiarise yourself with these so that your child’s preparation is targeted. Most schools publish entry requirements and past papers on their websites – take time to look through this. Information on sites will also include the type of testing your child will be exposed to. Schools also use different test providers (e.g. CEM or GL), the styles of questions and hence your child’s preparation will vary depending on the test provider for your chosen schools. Regularly check schools websites for any change to entrance test dates and procedures as these can change from year to year.

How can i help my child to prepare?

Starting the preparation process too early can be detrimental to your child. They may grow tired of the additional workload and this can impact their overall motivation and subsequently performance when it is needed. We recommend gently starting the process in year 4. Children need time to develop their natural skills and enjoy school and all the other social aspsects that go along with it.

Maths Preparation

During year 4 work with your child so that they are comfortable with addition, subtraction , multiplication and division. These four operations will form the building blocks for all types of mathematical questions. Children may begin to work through age appropriate maths books so that they become familiar with worded problems that involve application of the fundamentals. Practical maths such as weighing, reading timetables and reading an analogue clock face should form a natural part of a child’s routine – and not feel like work! The more your child is exposed to maths in everyday life, the more comfortable they will be when faced with mathematical problems containing those concepts.

English Preparation

Your child needs to have a solid foundation in English before they begin the 11-plus process. This process can easily be started at home. Ensure your house is full of materials that will help your child succeed… books, children’s dictionaries and thesauruses,  flash-cards , word games and children’s newspapers. Don’t leave your child to their own devices. Read with your child and discuss what you are reading. This will help develop their comprehension skills, vocabulary and general knowledge, which in turn will help in all aspects of the 11-plus preparation. For more advice on vocabulary building, please click here.

Should I get a tutor? When?

Good tutors are an invaluable resource. They will be able to guide your child’s preparation and ensure that your child is making an efficient use of his or her time with a structured workload.

Whilst tutoring can be extremely beneficial it should not be over utilised. Tutors are there to enhance your child’s abilities and help with exam technique. Children who are ‘over tutored’ often struggle to cope with the schools they get into as they had too much help getting in!