How to Pass the 11 Plus Exam?
This is the challenging question facing every parent who has a 9 or 10-year-old child and is being prepared for the Eleven Plus Entrance Exam. The 11 Plus Exam is an aptitude-based test and in theory you should not be able to coach your child to success. This may be true in a few cases, but for the majority, 11 Plus Training does make a difference. With guidance and some coaching, you can significantly improve your child’s ability to pass the 11 Plus Exam, but it clearly requires discipline, effort and time.
We have over 25 years’ experience in this field and have helped thousands of children pass their Grammar School tests. We have not achieved this because we are cleverer than you, but simply because we have an established process to pass the Grammar School Test which has worked for decades, and with disciple, effort and time you can do the same for your child.
We are going to share all our experiences with you to help you give your child the best chance to secure a place in a grammar school. Some of these points may sound trivial, but it is important to start from the basics and make sure we cover every point.
Start with a Positive Environment for 11+ Preparation
No matter how many tutors you have and whatever you pay them, success starts at home. You need to acknowledge that a tutor or a tutorial centre like Educational Tutoring Services, will only spend a few hours per week with your child and majority of the training, doing homework, practising questions, will happen at home. Therefore, it is important that you create an environment where your child has the space to study and the time to enjoy their young years.
Create a positive environment where you know that there are no distractions, so you don’t have mum or dad asking what they would like for tea tomorrow or asking them to clean the lounge or talking about Megan’s favourite soap opera or little brother screaming for ice cream! This is not the right environment.
Create an environment at home where your child feels that they can study, this can be your lounge with a desk area, it could be their bedroom, it could be anywhere in your home, where the child can sit down to work, in their own time and not have distractions, but it should also be easy for them to ask for help when required, so don’t lock them up in a seclude room.
It’s like going to the gym – there are training machines, everyone is sweating – you are there for a purpose – to get fit, so your environment must be there for a purpose, to learn, transfer of knowledge, to convey information and an open ambient to ask questions to learn.
Get this right and you have just tackled the basic stage to start to get your child ready for the grammar school test. You would be the best judge to find a place where this need is fulfilled, but this is an important basic need for success.
All Work and No Play?
We have all heard of Tiger Moms. We as parents all have the desire that our children will be the most successful. But we must draw a line between the needs of a young child and those desires of the parents. We must allow young children to enjoy their childhood and strike a good balance between giving them time to enjoy themselves and doing work to educate themselves.
If it is all work, work, work and no play, then we could end up with a demotivated child, to put it bluntly a child who has lost interest in learning. We have been teaching for decades and have seen some very bright and able children who have lost interest in learning. It is simply not possible to reap success if your child loses interest in learning, so learning must be a natural process rather than a forced one – sorry no Tiger Moms!
You must give your child the time to do what they enjoy, perhaps play the xbox, watch TV, engage with friends and family. Don’t stop any of their enjoyed activities, but very cleverly, interlace it with work time. Strike the right balance here and you will keep the child motivate without compromising their childhood years and most importantly you will have a child who enjoys the stimulation from a learning and will produce results.
Organised Time Management
Ok so we have cracked the Environment and Tiger Moms. Now we need to move to Time Management. You probably lead a very busy life style, but remember the opening paragraph ‘requires discipline, effort and time’. So let’s first talk about 11 Plus Preparation Time Management for the Parents. Yes that’s right for the Parents! You need to invest time with your child for them to be successful, often parents think the 11 Plus Tuition Centre will be enough or the 11+ Tutor will spend the time, but you must support their efforts and reinforce the learning helping with what you can. So the parents must devote a small part of their daily busy lives to support their childs 11 Plus Preparation. If time is managed well, perhaps 30 minutes a day to spend with your child and let them interact with you on what work they are finding hard, what work they enjoy doing etc. you can make a big difference in their motivation and success. Help your child where you can, and if there are topics that you struggle with get help from the 11+ Tuition Centre or your tutor.
So before you start on supporting your child to success, work out what time works for you and how you will allocate only 30 minutes a day for your child on preparing them for Eleven Plus Exam.
Now we must talk about managing your childs time tactfully. If you child’s best program comes on telly at 3:45pm and you want them to do work then, it will not work. So understand your childs patterns and then very smartly build a 30 minute daily window where they will do their work, and put your 30 minutes window at the end of their time. This way the child will do the work set for them, and then have an interactive session with you, which should be fun and engaging. If you take this approach, you will have created a work session of between 30 – 60 minutes per day for your child.
So in summary synchronize your 30 minutes daily time with your child’s 30 minutes work time and overlap them slightly, so its really almost an hour a day, but it wont feel like it! If you miss a day, because something came up, then don’t worry, just carry on the next day (don’t try to make up the missed time – it will become too much).
This simple Time Management cheat will help you get your child to do some work daily without it being a burden and provide a good window for you to interact with your child making the session enjoyable. And most importantly, once your child has had this 30 – 60 min session, they know that the rest of the evening or day is for them to enjoy doing whatever they want to.
11 Plus Questions and Guidance Material
Now this is the toughest part of the coaching sessions. There are many free 11 Plus question papers on the internet, but rarely is it of a good standard or the right level of difficulty. It is important that you give your child access to the right level of 11 Plus questions to ensure that they have covered everything they need to know. It is important to have access to high quality 11 Plus material to take your child through, we recommend that you do not compromise on getting good quality 11 Plus questions. Otherwise, you may end up wasting a lot of time and effort, going through the wrong type of 11 Plus questions. You can buy 11 Plus books, do 11 Plus online courses, find a local 11 Plus Tuition Centre or hire a personal 11+ tutor. Whatever you decide to do here, it is important that you do your research and ensure you find someone you can work with. We will look at each approach you can take and what you should look out for. Some options are listed below but remember the purpose here is so that you have the ‘right’ 11 Plus questions at the correct difficultly grade to get your child ready for the 11 Plus exam.
Work in partnership with a good Tutorial Centre
A tuition centre like Educational Tutoring Services can help your child excel in 11 Plus Preparations. They must know the subject matter inside out. If a tuition centre is specialising in too many subjects, then the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ springs to mind. Make sure the centre you select is specialising in 11 Plus Preparation. There are many tuition centres and a word of mouth from another parent is the greatest assurance that you will receive good service. The centre should provide 11 Plus exam type papers every week for your child to do as homework and you can use this material to help your child.
Educational Tutoring Services has been specialising in 11 Plus courses since 1992, it has a defined process, every year the 11 Plus questions are refined to reflect the changes that happened from time to time. Over the years we have had thousands of children who have passed their 11 Plus exams. We are based on the border of Birmingham and Walsall, of course you need to look for a centre which is local to you.
Take your time and find a centre that is not only teaching the core 11+ subjects, but also provides coaching on soft skills like speed, accuracy and exam skills. These skills are also very important to get a successful outcome from the training.
Once you have found a good centre to work in partnership with retain a close engagement with them. Ask them question? How is my child doing? What have you taught today? Also, share with them the areas that you child needs help with, so they can assist.
Find a good 11 Plus Online Course
This is another route you can take to acquire quality 11 Plus questions at the right grade. If you are going to spend time with your child, then you need to have the right level of questions to take them through. As there is no real tutor involved here, the courses are relatively cheap. If you enrol on one with good quality material, this could be a very good approach for those parents who wish to teach at home.
The 11 Plus Online Learning Courses have come a long way since their conception many years ago. These days online courses are fully interactive, like the one offered by Educational Tutoring Services (click here for details on our 11 Plus online course), they provides hints for every question and guides your child through, it marks their work, it shows you the correct answers and how the question should be done and it also provides timed tests, rewarding them with certificates for good performance and recording their percentage marks.
This can make life much easier from the teaching point of view, if you were coaching your child at home, you would only need to go through the questions they got wrong. This would save you a lot a time. The quality of the hints and guidance is important on each online course. Choose a good reputable company for your online courses like Educational Tutoring Services – 11 Plus Experts.
To read about how COVID-19 made us change our business model to 11 Plus Online Click Here
Find a good Personal Tutor
Finding a good tutor is not easy, getting someone to go through questions in books help, but it is limited. You need to find a tutor who has many years’ experience and has quality 11 Plus material to take your child through, this will give you the assurance that they will know the right way to approach and do 11 Plus questions and teach in the most efficient way. There are many tutors that you can find on the internet, but it is important that you ask the right questions before your employ them:
- How many years have you been teaching? (sorry there are too many graduates who take this up during their studies for extra income and do not have the necessary teaching skills)
- What material will you use to teach? (This is important to know as you will understand their knowledge of 11 Plus)
- How may of your past students have passed the 11 Plus exam? (Have tutors reaped success in the past – we have seen too many times tutors teaching the National Curriculum Key Stage Requirements and mistaking them for 11+)
- Do you have a defined structure that you will teach, is there an established process and how long will it take? (This helps you understand the depth of the teaching the tutor is capable of)
A good tutor will be able to answer these questions and provide you with the reassurance that your child will benefit from the teaching, after all this is what you are paying for. Don’t be shy to ask questions as you will be paying anything between £20 to £50 per hour!
Purchase Books for Home Coaching
There are some very good books that you can purchase from a bookstore or online to prepare your child at home the most popular ones are JM Bond 11 Plus Books. These books are particularly good for the wide audience for 11 Plus Preparation and cover majority of the 11 Plus components. They are more suited to supplement specialist books in 11 Plus Preparation, for example you may be doing the CEM style exam or the GL Assessment. However, the Bond books are a very good place to start for at home coaching. There are also other popular brands that also cover the 11 Plus syllabus like CGP 11 Plus Books.
So, in summary to get the right 11 Plus teaching material you should, find an Eleven Plus Tutorial Centre, do an 11 Plus Online Course, find a good personal tutor or purchase books. Or maybe use a combination of these.
As we have said before, getting the right Eleven Plus questions to teach your child with is one of the most important part of training.
Produce a Schedule you will stick to
Now that you have the material you need to start to coach and support your child, you need to produce a daily schedule. This is important, if you create a regular 11 Plus teaching pattern you are more likely to stick to it. Therefore, you need to select a time that works for you and your child. You could set something up daily at 6:30 pm for the child to do their work and then for you to help them at 7:00pm. It is also important to set the finish time, otherwise a large block of teaching in one day could have a detrimental effect. When you get to your finish time leave things where they are and then carry on the next day.
Also, depending on your lifestyle, it does not need to be daily, you could do it every other day, do more time over the weekend or leave the weekend out completely. Its what works for your lifestyle pattern. The important thing is that you define a weekly schedule and then stick to it.
How to Teach 11 Plus
It is twice as hard teaching your own child than it is teaching someone else’s. The reason for this is that the child will play into your weaknesses and may even misbehave, because they know they can get away with it. You need to strike the right balance here, if you are too strict the engagement becomes too tasking and you and the child will loose interest, if you are too lenient you will not get any work done. There are no magic formulas here but use your commons sense and keep the lesson enjoyable for both the child and you. If you come to a sticky question that you cannot do or don’t know how to explain, miss it out and tell your tutorial centre about it and see if they can help with those types of questions. Keep the atmosphere one of mutual respect and a happy one, you will get a lot more done in this type of an environment.
11 Plus Mock Exams
It is important you can monitor the progress and keep a benchmark of how you child is developing. The best and most accurate way of doing this is to enrol to a ‘good quality’ 11 Plus Mock Exams. Unfortunately, there are many centres that provide substandard Mock Exams. You must research well on this point to ensure that the centre you decide to take mock exams with knows what they are doing. A quick phone call to ask for details would be a good way.
They should follow the same approach as the ‘real’ examination. If it is a CEM Style paper, there should be two papers, each under an hour. They should employ OMR (Optical Marker Recognition) marking scheme, there should be an audio soundtrack to provide instructions and you should get a good report on their performance on their test. Some companies charge extra for reports, so again check with the company the total cost. You should expect to pay around £65 for the 11 Plus Mock exam from a good company. Educational Tutoring Services run Mock Exams, so if you are local to our centre you may use us, please click hear for more details on our 11 Plus Mock Exam
A Mock exam will help you to understand how your child is progressing and what areas you need to concentrate your efforts on to ensure that your child has a good chance of passing.
Success in 11 Plus – Summary
These are the seven steps to creating the right environment to teach, getting the correct level of support and then spending time with your child to reap success on the 11 Plus Exam. It really is possible with some effort.
- Create a pleasant working environment
- Interlace your child’s educating time with things they enjoy doing
- Organise yourself so teaching time is used effectively
- Partner with a tutorial centre or get good quality 11 Plus Questions
- Build a Daily Schedule into your busy life
- Engage and spend time with your child
- Do 11 Plus Mock Exams to see how your progressing
Thank you for reading this article, we hope that this will help you in preparing your child for the 11 Plus examination. Good Luck!