The 11 plus is an exam given to students in the UK during their last year of Primary school. The results of this examination can gain your child admission into independent or grammar schools that require this test as part of their admissions process.

The 11 plus tests your child’s ability to solve problems using non-verbal and verbal reasoning alongside papers that test their skills in maths and English. The process of the 11 plus can be intimidating for parents and students, but there are plenty of ways you can improve the results your child can achieve, and our guide will help you understand everything you need to do for the best outcome when your child sits the exam.

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Preparing your child for the 11 plus can be challenging, especially as the preparations need to be completed in addition to their regular academic workload. The questions for the specific verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers are varied and can be in stark contrast to the skills and vocabulary they’ll be taught at school.

Making time and finding the relevant resources for the long period of extra-curricular studying is often overwhelming for many parents and their children. Parents frequently search their local areas with phrases such as ’11 plus sutton’ for resources and become bogged down with an overload of information.

This is why tutoring is an essential tool to help you traverse the complex world of the 11 plus. Reputable tutors like Test Teach can offer your child a variety of teaching methods to find what works well for them, and if you cannot find a centre near you, they can provide 11 plus online learning. 

Choose The Right School

When thinking about the 11 plus, many parents make the mistake of trying to meet the requirements of every school that needs the exams for its admissions process. Often these schools differ in certain areas where their terms would need your child to put in even more work on top of their already substantial workload.

It’s essential to visit as many schools as possible and decide on the ones that best suit your child; from there, it should be easy to understand what each school will need for the admissions selections. Visiting the schools and developing a short list s also a great way to get your child excited about their new school; this will bolster your child and increase their motivation to do well, which will, in turn, reduce the stress of having more work to do.

Create Preparation Plan

As well as finding a suitable tutor for your child, it is crucial that you create a preparation plan at home to help support them on their 11 plus journey. Speak to your child’s tutor for the best advice on how to create the most effective plan as no one method is better than the other, and it is key that the plan you create suits how your child works and learns.

Maths and English

Preparation for the 11 plus typically begins one year before they are due to sit the exam. However, there are things you can do to help ready your child for the 11 plus before they reach Year 5.

Start with the more challenging core subjects to ensure they have the best baseline for their 11 plus adventure; this can be done by spending time each week to cover any areas they struggle with or by encouraging them to find joy in reading.

Develop Vocabulary

It is vital that you develop your child’s vocabulary from an early age, and the most preferred methods for this are by encouraging them to read, talk to adults or by listening to talk radio shows. It’s never too early or too late to help your child expand their vocabulary, and finding the best method for them is key to achieving the best results.

Practice The Times-Tables

In order to do well, your child will need solid knowledge of their times-tables. The skills they develop by learning their times-tables will ensure they are able to work quickly and accurately during the maths section of the exam, which will lead to a better result.

You will often find that your child’s school class has moved on from the times-tables before all of the students have properly learned them due to the pressures to keep up with the extensive curriculum. Keep practising with your child at home or with their tutor to keep that knowledge fresh for when they take the 11 plus.

Take Maths Slowly

Many parents fall into the trap of pressing forwards with difficult subjects such as maths by tackling more advanced work before their child is ready. Some children are more inclined to these subjects and will flourish under pressure. However, most will become disillusioned and often withdraw from the learning process.

The 11 plus rarely strays outside of the syllabus set for Primary schools, which is why it is pointless to push your child too hard too soon. It is much better to give them a solid understanding of the basics that will better serve them during the exam if they get stuck on any questions.

Learn Before Testing

It can be easy to test your child over and over to see how well they are doing, but often these tests are done before the child fully comprehends the subject. Testing before a child is ready can be demotivating, and it makes it difficult to get a true understanding of where they are at with their knowledge.

Mistakes will be made as they won’t have the tools they need to understand the topic, but over testing can also cause errors in areas that are usually their strengths due to the stress over testing causes.

Instead, help them to learn the subject first, and give them time to properly study before trying to test them; this will remove the stress and help your child get used to testing without the anxiety many children typically feel during the exam.

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