The 11+

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The 11+

Our 11+ department supports families with school admissions at 11+, from academic assessments and school choices to mock exams and interview preparation. Headed up by joint MD Lorrae Jaderberg, the JK 11+ team includes specially trained tutors and regularly updated resources, with our expert focus on the ever-changing requirements of schools’ entrance exam procedures.

Our JK 11+ monitoring team ensures that all 11+ students are achieving to their potential at all times as they prepare for these challenging exams. Students’ progress is tracked throughout their journey with JK.

The competition for senior school places continues to intensify, both for academic independent schools and state selective schools. The discussions about expanding grammar school provision can only increase this pressure.


Is the 11+ right for your child?

You should have your child academically assessed before they embark on the 11+ journey. This will allow you to find out if they have the potential to pass these challenging exams, against the fierce and constantly increasing competition for places, and indeed whether they are likely to manage in a highly academic selective senior school.  If their academic potential doesn’t match up to the school’s future expectations, then you might be setting them up to fail, even if they can be prepared well enough to secure a place there.

Children should not be intensively tutored to get into a school for which they lack the innate aptitude to succeed. Therefore, we always recommend assessing children before discussing possible school choices and then routes forward – assessment determines whether they will need tutoring, and if so, the type and length of tutoring that they require.


How we prepare children for the 11+

Any entrance assessments require preparation, so that the child understands what they will face and how to do their best.  It’s unfair to send a child into this completely unprepared, as they will be at a real disadvantage and might find it a traumatic and demoralising experience.

To succeed, your child needs to be taught both the 11+ curriculum and the exam techniques and strategies needed to optimise results. Standard primary school lessons will not provide adequate preparation. One-to-one tutoring, tutor groups and 11+ holiday workshops can all dramatically boost a child’s knowledge and their confidence to face the exams.

Sitting an exam under timed conditions may still be relatively new and alarming to this age group, so it’s a good idea for them to write practice papers this way, to get used to the added pressure and the need to plan out their allocated time. Our tutors always provide this practice, but we also provide an authentic examination experience with our JK 11+ Mock Exams, to take away some of the fear before the real exams.

Most schools will conduct interviews: either calling back those children who have done well in the exams, or interviewing every candidate on exam day. Interviews may comprise a one-to-one conversation with the head teacher to reveal the child’s social skills, confidence and focus, by chatting about their hobbies, homes, philosophy and reasoning. We advocate giving children focused interview preparation, to reduce nerves and help children present themselves at their best; it is definitely an advantage to be prepared by knowing the type of questions they may be asked and the activities they may be asked to perform. Interview preparation provides the space to think and consider the answers to some basic questions about themselves, their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It also allows an opportunity to practise eye contact and positive body language, which can be difficult for some children.


How is the 11+ assessed?

Written exam content will be English and Maths based, whilst spelling, dictation and mental arithmetic may be assessed verbally. Group exercises are also sometimes used to look at a child’s ability to follow direction and work well with others.

English written papers usually focus on comprehension, creative writing and /or other genres of writing, such as a letter or a persuasive argument. g. The expectation is for above average vocabulary and reading level; neat cursive handwriting should be practised as it is a real asset. Prepared answers are not advised; candidates need to demonstrate the ability to structure answers and express themselves in writing to meet the specific questions or topics set for them on the day.

The written maths exam may include questions from Year 5 onwards up to pre-GCSE.  Mental arithmetic is very important, but be aware that quite complex word problems are usually included. This is why we prepare children to expect any type of maths question, at the appropriate level, and to know how to tackle them.

Many schools also include verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning test; some schools test on line and others use paper copies. These tests can be daunting, so we always ensure that these are practised appropriately.


What are schools looking for?

Schools will be looking for well-rounded children who can apply their knowledge. Schools will place value on social skills, and creative, verbal and listening skills, but they are academically selective and it’s a fact that academic performance in the exams and during interview remain the main measures.

JK Educate can help your child feel confident and prepared, so they succeed to the best of their potential.

For more information on our 11+ preparations, please call 020 3488 0754 or contact us.


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