We keep hearing reports in the press of how much stress school children are under these days and how worried they get about exams and tests. The best thing we can do for our children when they are facing exams is to help them keep everything in perspective, keep them calm and focussed when studying and support them as much as possible. A stressful environment with worried, anxious parents enforcing a strict study regime will not benefit anyone and could even be detrimental to your child’s progress. Here are 5 things you can do to help your child prepare for the 11+ exam:
Do Your Research
Get organised and do some research to find out exactly what will be expected of your child in the 11+ exam. Get as much up to date information as you can. Find out how long the paper is and the time allocated for it. Make sure you know what format the test will take for your preferred schools, as it can differ from school to school. If necessary call the Admissions Secretary of the school itself. The better informed you are about the 11 Plus the better you’ll be able to help your child. Leave enough time before the exam to become informed about it to avoid any last-minute panic.
Download practice materials you find online or purchase them so that you know what sort of questions your child will need to answer. By getting your child to work through the papers they will gain familiarity with the format of the questions and the time they have for each test. By going through the answers afterwards it should reveal any particular areas of weakness which you can now focus on in the lead up to the test.
Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning
Once you have found out exactly what the exam is likely to contain the first areas for most children to focus on should be Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Buy some books on these or borrow some from the library which you can follow when helping your child study these topics. Teach your child to work through the questions methodically and the more confidence they gain the quicker they will become at such questions. Building up your child’s vocabulary and improving their Mental Maths are both essential for successfully solving Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning questions so keep working on these in the months before the exam.
To ensure your child gets all the help they require with parts of the test that they may not have come across before, such as Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning, it is wise to hire a private tutor. Again, get organised and line up private tutoring to start in the Autumn term of Year 5. With weekly tutoring sessions your child will be taught techniques for Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning and will be helped with any areas of weakness in their knowledge of English or Maths. For help choosing a tutor who is experienced in successfully tutoring 11 Plus candidates contact Fleet Tutors. They have a number of tutors available throughout the UK and will help you select one in your area who will bring out the best in your child.
There is no point in making your child study all the time, even if they want to. Encourage down-time and find a good way for them to relax. Exercise is a great way to burn off some energy, get rid of stress and get away from the house, for example. A couple of hours a week is the maximum amount of time a child should be spending on 11 Plus preparation. If you feel they need more than that maybe you should reconsider their suitability for a grammar school education. There is no point coaching a child excessively just to pass the 11+ and then find they struggle with the rigours of their first term at a grammar school.
In the months and weeks leading up to the exam ensure your child has a calm, quiet place to study. Get into a routine so everyone in the house knows when it’s study time and therefore when to keep noise and disruptions to a minimum.
With good preparation, constructive support and a conscious effort to keep stress to a minimum a successful outcome is more likely when your child sits the 11+ exam.
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