The 11 plus Exam Handbook
The 11+ examinations are designed to test both students’ skills and their abilities. This can all be just as unnerving for parents as it is for children. The four disciplines tested are Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and Mathematics.
To minimise pressure, careful and thorough practice is needed. These examinations will only ever happen once after all so preparation is, without a doubt, worthwhile. This will enable your child to obtain the best possible results – failing to prepare is preparing to fail after all!
Early Preparation is Key
We appreciate that year 4 seems very early on to be thinking about 11+ entrance examinations. It will, however, be very helpful to your child if you have these tests in the back of your mind when helping them with their schoolwork.
A wide vocabulary and accurate spelling are essential for the Verbal Reasoning papers.
Adding, subtraction, multiplying and dividing are all tested in the Mathematical questions.
10 Ways to Tackle the 11 plus exam
- Check that your child is not struggling in any of these particular areas at school in year 4. The schoolwork covered in year 4 is the foundation for the more complex work that will then be taught.
- Do remember to praise your child for their achievements and their efforts too so that they are then motivated to carry on trying their best at school.
- During your summer holidays, have ‘a word a day’ where your child has to use a new word as many times as possible or ask them to write down all the words in their storybook that they do not understand and go through them together.
- Ask the school for Summer Reading recommendations and read together as a family. It is very important your child enjoys the books they are reading, as this hobby will undoubtedly result in gaining a much wider vocabulary.
- Find out if the school(s) your child is hoping to go to will be looking for anything in particular.
- In Year 5, Sit down with them and help them with their spelling or mental arithmetic. Good spelling is a big part of the Verbal Reasoning test as well as being critical for these exams in general.
- Look at past papers with your child so that they will not receive a shock when they enter the exam. This is will familiarise them with the style of questions and exam format. Better the devil you know!
- In year 6, Practice Practice Practice! Past papers are key for preparation. Your child will then begin to see a pattern with regards to the exam format.
- It is very important for your child to stay on top of their school work as well as trying to improve their spelling, grammar, etc.
- Ensure they know that their effort is the most important thing and exam results, secondary. Praising their efforts and not their results will help them to realise that your love is not measured by exam scores.
What Will Be, Will Be
While these exams are a key point in a pupil’s educational future, they should not become unnecessarily stressful or damage your child’s confidence in their ability in any way. What will be, will be and, as long as your child has tried his or her best, then this is the most important thing.