Preparing for the 11-Plus exam? 

stressed out parent trying to help child with study

When preparing for the 11-Plus exam, many children will be unnerved by the prospect of this type of test and when they discover the complexity they can be faced with in the 11-Plus they often go into meltdown. Most parents share any anguish their child displays. Therefore, it is not unusual for a young persons’ guiding lights to also be overawed by an irregular examination of ability, which the 11-Plus is. 

A coping strategy for the build-up to the test is best established the moment you know you will face a version of the test. Obtaining as much detail as possible about the test from your test centre is your first move. Once you are armed with as much knowledge as they are willing to pass on, you can begin to plot your way to a successful test result. 

Preparation is key

Parents should consider engaging experienced assistance as soon as they can, in the form of a tutor. The tutor should be able to pass on an insight into test content and have access to a huge range of materials and tips to help your child. Many parents like to work with their young candidate at home and choose avenues for them to work their way down but a tutor can help you avoid the cul-de-sacs. 

The 11-Plus tests are going to test your child’s inherent abilities and the substance of the education they have cannot be emphasised enough. Developing their mathematical skills, reading a wide range of texts (both fiction and non-fiction) and building up a vocabulary to draw upon are all key features of how best to aid your child’s preparation for your child for the 11-Plus. 

children doing an asessment

Key 11-Plus exam preparation ideas: 

1. For the CEM-examined tests (and to a lesser extent the GL assessment), time management skills will prove crucial:

  • ensure your young candidate has plenty of timed practice and is conditioned to managing their time effectively 
  • use practice test papers to set simulated tests under exam conditions to help them become accustomed to formal exam conditions – getting used to thinking in these conditions will aid your young candidate in feeling less daunted by the real exam. 

2. Aim to establish a clear picture of which exams your young candidate will be taking– this can change from education centre to education centre, not just regional area to regional area. Parents should also be mindful that education centres may alter the examiner they use, ensure you check. Search for guidance not just at the examination board, but topic, format, length of time for the test and any additional tasks set by that educational centre (for example; creative writing). 

3. For the GL Assessment-examined test, use lots of practice and past papers to secure an intimate knowledge of the types of questions your young candidate will face within each topic. The test preparation utilising practice papers is also vital for CEM, however the tasks set in this form of test are less predictable. 

4. For the CEM-examined test, young candidates should endeavour to build a wide-ranging vocabulary: 

  • consider using a notebook to write new vocabulary down; be sure to record the meaning of the words as well as the word itself; write the word in a sentence so it can be seen in context 
  • ensure you read a large array of texts both fiction and non-fiction (include some classics); seek challenging words and once the meaning is understood use them in conversation 
  • where vocabulary has a synonym or an antonym point that out and take time to examine more developed language with the use of a thesaurus 
  • take any opportunity you can to play word games together like Scrabble or Hangman as well as completing crosswords together 

If you’re still feeling less than confident about the preparation required for the 11-Plus exam, TuitionWorks can provide an intensive course of personalised, one-to-one maths lessons from a qualified teacher like me. Just get in touch for a free consultation. 

Federico Antonelli

Andrew Hartshorn

Maths tutor at TuitionWorks

I have over twenty years’ experience of teaching both children and adults. I trained as a primary school teacher after a spending a number of years abroad teaching English as second language. 

After qualifying with a PGCE in 2004, I attained my Masters Degree in Education. I believe in keeping my skills sharp and recently completed an online writing course with Harvard University.

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