I want to write this post about how to prepare for the 11 plus because we have just been through the 11 plus process and it was quite stressful and confusing at times. There are many things I wish I would have known to make the process run a little more smoothly.
If your child is planning on taking the 11 plus here are a few ways that you can prepare for it.
Get a 11 plus tutor
Getting a tutor may seem really obvious but I know many still don’t. Even if your child is really academic, a tutor can still be really valuable. At the age of 10 and 11 most children haven’t taken an exam before so the 11 plus can be really daunting. A tutor will help your child understand the exam process so they feel less overwhelmed on the day.
Practice Mock Tests
Practice, practice, practice is key. Meme is really academic however she struggled when taking the mock exams. We then discovered although she knew the answers she just struggled with the time constraints. She spends too much time double checking answers. This highlighted that we needed to work on her timings. The more we practiced 11 plus mocks tests the better she got.
I should add this wasn’t easy, it was the Summer and she just wanted to chill. However, she did it and her confidence grew as she could see the results.
Focus on what your child is struggling on
A friend told me this tip and I had the same battle with Meme. When telling Meme to do some 11 plus work she would moan but then say ‘ok I will do some verbal reasoning’. Now it was easy to say ok at this but verbal reasoning is Meme’s strongest subject. It was one area of the exam that I knew she would excel in. However as a parent it is easy to think ‘ as long as she is doing something then that is fine’ Wrong! You need to be doing the subjects that you struggle in.
I am a gentle parent. As a family we aren’t strict (we’ve never really needed to be), we talk out any problems, we have a really chilled vibe in our house. If Meme wanted to pass the 11 plus then she needed to practice. Truthfully she couldn’t be bothered. Of course she is ten, she wants to play and we were also in the midst of a pandemic. life was tough. However I knew if she didn’t pass she would be devastated. I was the grown up in the situation. I had to be a bit of a tougher parent. Despite the tears and the tantrums she had to practice her work.
Whatever the result of the exam was, I wanted to know that we tried our best. It was definitely a tough summer but it was worth it.
Build your Child’s confidence
Confidence is a huge part of taking any exam. You have to have the confidence to believe that you can pass. That you can do it. I am a firm believer that having a positive mindset that make such a huge difference. I found doing lots of practice exams helped her believe that she could do it.
Roll with the punches.
I thought we were fully prepared for the exam. Lots of practice and lots of confidence building. However it didn’t go as well as we had hoped. There was sections in the 11 plus exam that she has never learned before which knocked her a little. The school bell also rang during the examination which shocked her a little. It was very dramatic and unfortunate. I stressed afterwards that sometimes in life you just need to roll with the punches and to just focus on what you need to do.
I hope you find this post helpful. It has been a really stressful time for everyone and I wish I had known what to expect a little more.