Seven Secrets to 11 Plus Success

Exam success

11 Plus exams are daunting, stretching the most able of children. From completing several papers against the clock to facing more difficult questions than they are used to, it’s no surprise that parents often turn to us for targeted support.

Far from coaching students to complete specific exams, 11+ teaching is all about teaching skills, bringing out a child’s natural talents and boosting their confidence.

In the 2021-2022 season, 100% of our students were offered places to their school of choice. So if anyone knows the secret to 11 Plus success, our lovely team of tutors do!

11+ Secrets Revealed

  1. The Devil is in the Detail. At the earliest stage, speak to each school you are considering to find out exactly which exam papers are set and whether there are any sample exam papers to familiarise yourself with. Some schools set Verbal Reasoning papers, some don’t. Some set multiple choice comprehensions, some set handwritten ones. Once you know exam types, you can then start planning ahead.
  2. Walk Before You Can Run. This secret is essential. Avoid buying loads of test papers and asking your child to sit them one after the other. This can knock confidence, especially if a child doesn’t understand the all-important ‘how.’ Ideally, it is better to break down the exams into question types and practise those first.
  3. Start with the Essentials. Not only do English and Maths skills underpin every school entry exam, they are life skills too. In our experience, here are Lemon Tree Tutors, the majority of students need to up their game in these core subjects. Test your times tables, read every day, play synonym games, practise mental maths.
  4. Read Read Read. A wide vocabulary is essential for both the English papers and Verbal Reasoning. Ideally, your child needs to read a wider variety of stories and texts with vocabulary that they need to look up. Read a classic together such as Oliver Twist, and aim to read more Year 6 books and above to get used to more difficult subject matter… Check out the Carnegie shortlists, or other online reading lists.
  5. Have Fun. This is essential! Inspiring children to enjoy learning is always half the battle. While sitting exams in competition with others is a serious business, we find that children will be more responsive to learning skills when they are enjoying doing so. Turn key skill learning into fun games. You can set up writing competitions and vocabulary games, or playing Sudoko, Tangram puzzles and Tetris (especially good if your child will be sitting Non-Verbal papers).
  6. Ask Questions. 11+ comprehension questions are often much harder compared to what your child does in class. It can help while reading a chapter together to ask strategic questions along the way: how does the character come across? How is the character feeling? How do you know? Is this passage tense. scary, funny? Why? Being able to ‘read’ people is a real life skill anyway. This approach also helps a child get used to reading just a snapshot of a story too.
  7. Praise Praise Praise. A child’s self-esteem can be fragile. When they think they can’t do something, it’s hard for them to talk themselves INTO doing it.  To achieve 11+ exam success, it’s better to play the long game. Build your child’s self-esteem over time so that if they do get something wrong, that they know it’s OK to make errors. Following up a negative with a positive is always sound advice in our book!

11 Plus Tuition is at hand

Many parents come to us first when looking for 11+, 13+ or GCSE tuition year in year out as we have achieved incredible success. In the 2021-2022 exam season, 100% of our lovely students were offered places for their first choice schools.

Interestingly, ALL of our students had online 11 Plus sessions. Our experienced tutors, including head tutor Nikki de Villiers, have proved that online lessons can actually enhance learning.

So different to awful lockdown lessons that children endured, our tutors only teach one-to-one and personalise every session to your child’s exact needs.

Looking for the same professional exam support? Get in touch with our head tutor today!

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