On this page you can read about some useful hints when preparing your child for the 11 Plus exam.
How soon should I prepare my child for the 11+ exam ?
Normally a child should start his/her preparation about 6 -12 months before the date of their actual 11+ test. Obviously a lot will depend on whether your child's school is doing any preparation. If it is, there is not as great a need to practise at home, as there would be if the school didn't bother with 11+ preparation.
What should I be doing to help my child prepare for the 11+ exam ?
First encourage your child in his or her schoolwork. Encourage them to read at home - not just their reading book from school, but also a variety of different texts, such as newspapers, encyclopedia (for research), magazines, comics, etc. Also check that they are completing their homework on time and to a good standard. Secondly, keep in close contact with their class teacher to see if there are any areas of the 11+ subjects that they find difficult, especially in Maths and English. In Maths do they know all their times tables? What about the four rules? (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing) Are there any weaknesses in these areas? Are they competent with decimals, fractions, percentages, time, money and shape? In English, how is their punctuation and grammar? Do they know their parts of speech? Do they understand things like homophones, prefixes and suffixes, contractions and synonyms/antonyms. Finally, they can prepare for the 11+ exam by attempting 11+ practice papers. They not only help the child get used to the type of questions they will have to face in the 11+ exam, but also teach them to work quickly and efficiently under timed conditions.
Should my child use 11+ practice papers ?
There is no harm in using practice papers at home as long as they are used sparingly for several months before the 11+ exam and not as a way of "cramming" your child in the last few weeks before the exam. They do help the child get used to the types of questions they have to answer in the 11+ exam, as well as helping them get used to working under timed conditions.
Is it worth paying for a private tutor for my child ?
A lot will depend on your child's overall ability. Some children benefit from the one to one approach that a tutor brings, especially if you as a parent find it difficult teaching your own child at home. Other children do not need extra tuition if they are doing academically well at their primary/prep school.
How can I find out more about the 11+?
We would like to recommend a book called "The 11+ - a practical guide for parents" by 11+ expert, Mark Chatterton. It goes into great detail about how the 11+ exam works, how you can apply for it, and how you can best prepare your child for the exam. It is packed full of helpful tips for both parents and child and has many useful links as well. You can buy from your local bookshop, or from Amazon, Waterstones or WH Smiths. If it is not in stock, order it using the ISBN number 978-190811139.
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