11 Plus (11+) is a crucial test not only for the students but for the parents as well. Parents get really anxious over a variety of issues related to the 11 Plus (11+) as the exam stands right around the corner.
This article provides you a ‘one stop solution’ for all your queries about success in the 11 Plus Exam in 11 easy steps.
What is 11 Plus?
11 Plus is the collective exam held for entry in selective grammar schools in the year 6 across the UK.
The 11+ exam is based around the following 4 disciplines:
The inclusion of subjects in the syllabus may vary from school to school. Some schools may choose to have an additional written paper apart from the 11+ test. This exam is usually held in September of year 6, so if your child is in the year 4 or 5 or may be in year 3 - this is the time to buckle up.
Your involvement with your child in their preparation can have an effective impact on their progress. And to help you with the same, we have brought to you this article which tries to enumerate all the important components of preparation for the 11 plus exam.
- What is 11 Plus?
- Make a Preference list of schools
- Start early and focus on core skills
- Build Up your Child's Confidence
- Fix a Time-Table
- Right nutrition and Stamina is Important
- Prioritize Revision with Sticking Points
- Use Practice Papers
- Incentivise your child with Rewards
- Develop a good Technique
- Inspire Positivity in your child
- Focus on Basics before the Exam
Make a Preference list of schools
First of all considering the following important factors, you should prepare a list of preferred 11+ schools to target for your child to get a place in:
- Commutable distance.
- The School is not Oversubscribed.
- If your Child likes the School.
Also do listen to your child if they have to say anything or have certain reservations about the Schools you put in the list because after all they have to be there once the admission is done
As soon as you have the list, start the research work and find out about the entry test, The 11+ exam board, the syllabus and every single detail. PiAcademy is a one stop solution for it as our website has all the necessary information about schools and the 11+ exam, which are regularly updated.
One more thing, if your target school is close to where you live, you can choose to seek advice from other parents and the teaching staff as they would be able to give you some better advice.
Start early and focus on core skills
Start preparing your child at the earliest. The early you begin the more time your child gets to adapt to the 11 plus exam style and content and can learn and practice more.
Core skills to focus on:
- Reading and Comprehension skills.
- 11+ Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
- 11 Plus Vocabulary.
- Key 11+ Maths Skills
- Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning
Right learning approach:
Starting early gives you the liberty of choosing more than one of the above. For an interesting and varied learning experience of your child, we recommend choosing any two of these.
Build up 11+ Skills in your Child:
Your engagement with your child as a parent in their learning with small games and a little playful way to test what they are learning may result in considerable growth over time.
Build Up your Child's Confidence
Learning new skills and preparing for the 11 plus exam could be exhausting for your child and maybe they are yet to reach the goal. In such conditions try to be positive when discussing your child's growth vis-a-vis the 11+ test.
Always talk to your child with positivity and don't let your efforts become a burden on your child. Stick by them, provide opportunities to learn by arranging 11+ tutorials and study sessions for them. Your positivity and confidence should reflect in your approach towards your child.
Celebrate every win or a good test result as these can help to build upon and take your child to the next level of learning. Motivate them to count poor results or test scores as necessary experience through which they can turn every disappointment to their advantage and ensure they are not let down by these.
Fix a Time-Table
A lot of parents think that putting a fixed time table on the child would put them under huge pressure but the reality is the opposite of it. Children are used to structure as it happens to be a core part of their daily routine since day 1 in their school. A fixed time-table is a basic part of the school structure as it allows to demarcate ample time for all necessary activities of learning. Same goes with the multidisciplinary exam preparation like the 11Plus. Parents should continue with a fixed time table for organised learning and proper time allocation to various 11+ subjects.
Routine is important for children to organise their time for learning and build a momentum by which they can harness outstanding results.
Right nutrition and Stamina is Important
“ A healthy mind resides in a healthy body ” Not only this is a phrase but a bottom line to abide by and ensure proper nutrition in children because the lack of nutrition would affect their stamina and eventually their performance.
Nobody knows a child better than the parents. Their choice of food, likes and dislikes. So as parents you must be aware of providing nutritious food to your child. 60% of the human body and 73% of the brain consists of water so ensure that your child is hydrated throughout the day and eats protein rich food with healthy fats and slow digesting carbohydrates.
Small sessions with frequent breaks are more effective in learning than longer sessions. Try not to let your child’s brain reach its saturation point being unreceptive. Scientific studies have established that people are more productive in smaller bursts of 25 minutes followed by a short five minutes break.
Prioritize Revision with Sticking Points
The Children typically have some topics or areas among the four 11+ subjects which they find difficult to learn which are called the ‘sticking points’. Sticking points are like Geometry, fractions, algebra in Maths, Parts of speech, inference and deduction skills in English, Methodical approach and comparative skills in Verbal reasoning, Deduction skills in Non-verbal reasoning etcetera.
Here comes revision in the play as effective techniques in revision not only help your child progress in learning but boosts their confidence as well. Revision is a healthy addiction by which your child can easily identify their own progress which develops self-motivation in them.
Two principles for effective revision:
- Active recall ( Regular testing )
- Spaced repetition (Repeated testing)
Prof. John Dunlosky’s study on ‘how we learn best’ finds encouraging students to recall information without assistance is the most effective revision method.
Two techniques for effective revision:
- Mind map - Mind map is the visual representation of information created by the student by linking ideas and words together.
- Flashcards - By writing questions on one side and the answers on the other side of the Flashcard is an effective way of testing the knowledge.
Use Practice Papers
As the 11 plus exam stands closer, we recommend the parents to focus more on solving practice papers and less on revision and conceptual learning. Instead of letting your child internalise any new concept or vocabulary list, they should be made familiar with the exam pattern as much as possible with the practice papers.
Integrating Practice papers into your child's revision programme would enable them to have a clear idea of what they are learning within an exam situation.
Incentivise your child with Rewards
Rewards are the best motivator for increased participation and desire to achieve something big everytime. A psychologist named B.F. Skinner administered an experiment and came out with a similar conclusion which stated that rewards not only add the zeal to work but also increase the outcome.
Skinner’s principle of rewards is applicable in the case of your child preparing for their 11+ exam as rewarding them might be a tangible idea to make them strife at their best. This might help them to ace the 11 plus exam.
Develop a good Technique
Revision and practising test papers are the two components of exam preparation but these two alone won’t suffice. An exam technique is a must to materialise the effort put in the revision and test paper practice.
Exam technique is that decisive tool which can enable your child to take a lead over the others in the exam situation. This is like an exclusive skill which every child can develop on their own and can have an edge in the exam.
There is no formula of getting the technique but the parents can encourage the children to develop their own ways to handle things in the exam.
The exam technique can include:
- The order of the questions they start the paper with.
- Their shortcuts to remember things.
- The style to write the answer with minimum errors.
- How to remain focused during the test.
- Methods to articulate the answer.
Inspire Positivity in your child
Along with everything else, one thing which should be taken care of throughout constantly is that the parents should encourage the children and support them. Make them believe in themselves and position the test as an opportunity to perform and deliver the best.
Children look up to their parents for appreciation and support, so never fail to trust them . Moreover, tell your child that you believe in them and are proud of them. The sense of positivity and confidence is a must for your child to efficiently face the exam and deliver their best.
Focus on Basics before the Exam
Once the exam day arrives, there's no place for the last minute theatrics like quizzes or revision of the syllabus. Let your child relax and remember the basics of the exam. Most importantly their exam techniques.
Parents should ensure that their child is hydrated and has a lighter yet nutritious breakfast on the day of the exam. You should have reviewed the basics before the exam.
If your child can remember the basics and can efficiently employ their techniques keeping in mind all the revision along with the following instructions, everything else will fall in place.
- Reading instructions and questions carefully.
- Time management.
- Upto the mark answers.
Keeping things clear and simple before the exam will help your child stay relaxed, focused and composed during the exam. This is the ideal state for a successful exam result.