How to prepare your child for the 11+ Exams
One of the most frequent questions that parents ask us at Jaderberg Krais is how best can they prepare their children for the 11+ exams? Practice is one of the most effective ways to prepare for exams, so taking past papers will help get used to the format of the questions, and practising timing will ensure that the right amount of time is spent on each section as appropriate.
For this very reason we developed our successful 11+ mock exam. The mock exam is designed to help prepare all Year 5 students who will be sitting their 11+ secondary school entrance exams in Year 6. It consists of four individual tests: verbal reasoning, non verbal reasoning, maths and English. The four tests in one day help children to master their time management and develop their ability to stay calm even if faced with some question types they have not seen before.
The standard and content of these tests are authentic and appropriate for 11+ testing. They have been specifically written by 11+ experts and teachers who have created exam papers for a variety of official purposes and we have commissioned them to reproduce the challenges and standards that will be tested in the 11+ selective secondary school exams.
After the mock exam each child’s work is marked and the results drawn up in a report, which provides detailed recommendations for revision and further teaching to achieve potential. Parents have found this to be particularly helpful as it feeds into the last part of their journey for exam preparation.
Remember every child is different, so developing an appropriate and specific study routine that works is essential. If your child studies best in the morning, start early and take a break at lunchtime. However if your child is more productive at night time, then a larger break earlier on will be best and then the evening can be spent working. Recreation should also be built in to the schedule.
Leave behind the exams as soon as they have been taken. There is nothing more to be done to influence them. However, there is a lot that can be done to improve performance in the next exam to be taken – this is where the efforts should be focused.
Vary revision subjects every evening, always starting with those that are hated, then finishing with those liked best.
Having everything ready well in advance of the exam is imperative – not leaving everything until the day before – for example: where to go, or what you’re supposed to bring. Check rules and requirements; plan routes and journey time. If possible, do a test run of the trip; if not, write down clear directions. How long will it take to get there? Then add on some extra time.
What your child eats can really have an impact on energy levels and focus. Keeping the body and brain well-fuelled, by choosing nutritious concentration food such as: fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries, is a good plan. On exam day, a good meal should be eaten before the test, based on foods that will provide a slow release of energy throughout. Sugar may seem appealing, but it won’t help when the energy levels drop an hour or so later.
Being well hydrated is essential for the brain to work at it’s best, so make sure plenty of water is available throughout revision, and on the exam day.
Encourage your child to take some deep breaths to relax and ignore everyone around in the moments before the exam starts.
Should your child feel unwell during an exam, remind them that they must make sure the teacher in charge knows. They may receive special consideration, especially if there is a valid case and under-performance.
Finally, some anxiety is to be expected and is useful as it will help to keep students sharp!