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How to achieve 11+ success


At JK Educate, we have been helping children to succeed in the 11 plus for many years, and this depth of experience has helped us identify a clear set of eleven plus success factors. The eleven plus is a big commitment for families; it requires careful planning, the right resources and support, and a lot of dedication.

Academic Assessment

An academic assessment is the essential first step on the 11+ journey, to establish your child’s academic potential, their current attainment level and their style of learning. The assessment results inform discussions about the right sort of secondary school for them and whether they might need extra help to gain a place at one of those target schools. We firmly believe everyone should have their child assessed before deciding whether to pursue the 11+ at all, and if so, which selective schools to aim for.

If your child is shown by the academic assessment to be reaching their potential, but not at the high level required by very academic selective senior schools, it might be time to rethink whether the 11+ is right for them at all. Children who succeed in the 11+ for the most academically selective schools tend to be in the country’s top 5%. Nobody wants to set their young child up for failure and disappointment, so it is very important to ensure your senior school ambitions are achievable and that your chosen schools will be right for them.

School Choice

It’s important to get the choice of school right. The right school for a particular child may not be the right school for their friend, neighbour, or even their sibling. It will need to fit them both socially and academically (with academic standards that are not too tough or too easy for their abilities), with a suitable location and offering the sports and extra-curricular activities that interest them. We can help parents identify which schools are the best fit, based on assessment results and discussions with each child.

Application Timings

Application deadlines for state selective schools typically fall between May and July, but each school differs and it’s essential to check the individual school websites for information. Independent schools’ deadlines are usually from September to November, but again it’s necessary to check each school’s specific deadlines to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines.

If you’re planning to apply to selective schools this year, now is the ideal time to contact us, arrange an academic assessment and seek our advice on school choices.


The Right Support

Not every child needs 11+ tutoring to do well in the 11+, but it’s important to know that they will have covered all the required curriculum and understand how to approach the exams. Some students may be attending a school – often an independent prep school – that will equip them with all they need to meet the standards of the 11+ exams and they will not need extra support. Other students benefit enormously from tutoring support, to cover any 11+ curriculum that isn’t being taught at their school and to provide much-needed support, study materials and motivation. We don’t believe in using intensive tutoring to get a child into a school that is fundamentally too academically demanding for them, and we always try to dissuade parents from going down that road.

The right tutoring support comes from tutors who are 11+ specialists, trained and equipped with the right information and materials. JK’s 11+ tutors are genuine specialists and offer all these things, with the additional support of a monitoring team of senior teachers. The monitoring team keep track of every student’s progress and intervene if necessary, to provide crucial extra support to both tutor and student. This means all our tutors are thoroughly trained and consistently monitored for teaching quality and student progress, as well as being helped with the pace and timing of the preparations. With JK, you aren’t just engaging an individual 11+ tutor, but a whole team of 11+ specialists to ensure your child’s eleven plus experience is a positive and successful one.

Learning Resources

The JK Educate 11+ Journey uses a mixture of curated commercial resources and JK Educate’s own writing resources specially developed for students preparing for the 11+ exams. JK’ expert tutors have access to all the up-to-date information available, including the JK 11+ Exam Practice Papers and Resource Pack.

We have been producing this resource pack since 2012, updating it every year ready for each new cohort of 11+ students. JK specialist 11+ tutors are involved in consolidating the contents, and the packs are made available to parents for a small charge to cover costs. The packs are very comprehensive; for example, the 2022 JK 11+ English and maths Exam and Resource Pack consists of 100 papers, available in a printed or digital format and covering a wide selection of boys’, girls’ and co-educational schools. The papers contain a diverse list of question types, mark schemes and cover a wide range of topics. We know from experience that completing such a wide array of questions is the best preparation for whatever challenges your child will meet in these exams

Practice Papers and Mock Exams

It’s vital that your child writes lots of practice papers, especially as the exams get closer. In addition, JK’s mock exams recreate the real exam conditions and take away the fear of the unknown. Children that sit our mocks find them very helpful. Consider enrolling for both our main mock exams, which are sat in large exam hall conditions, and our smaller extra practice mocks that can further boost their confidence and time management.

Interview Preparation

Many independent schools include interviews as part of their assessment process at 11+. This may include individual and group sessions and it makes sense to prepare your child for this element of the process as well as the exams. JK’s interview preparation sessions give our students the confidence and skills they need to create a good impression. We explain the interview process, give examples of the questions that are asked and help the child consider how they would answer in ‘live’ conditions. We do not provide model answers, we simply try to allay their fears and help them be prepared to present themselves at their best on the day.

Perfect Timing

Preparations need to be carefully timed and adapted to suit the child as an individual; getting the timing right is important so that the child is ready to take the exams, but doesn’t peak too soon and get bored. What’s required is an over-arching plan with benchmarks for your child’s results along the way, so there are no surprises close to the exams. Some children will need more preparation time than others and judging this is part of the bespoke service we offer. We break the process down into clear steps, so it isn’t overwhelming, and prepare a clear plan and timeline between now and the exams.

We are here to provide whatever level of support and advice your family needs. We can help you all the way through, from deciding whether to pursue the 11+ route at all, through to providing ongoing advice and a one-stop-shop for all the support your child might need along the way. The 2021-22 cohort of JK students achieved a 97.4% success rate in the 11 plus. We are very proud of their achievements and we look forward to further student successes in the years to come.


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