It’s this time of year when a lot of parents with children going into year 5 start to panic a bit about the 11-plus. Many will have only heard about the 11-plus in passing during the summer holidays, and others have waited for the summer to end before starting their search for an 11-plus tutor.
Tuition aside, what do you need to do to help your child prepare adequately for the 11-plus exams in Kent and Bexley? Here are some tips:
1. Don’t panic
Yes, it’s true that the grammar tests are very competitive. But if truth be told, a child who doesn’t have any hope of passing would not have miraculously evolved into one who could by starting tuition in year 4.
If you know that your child has a good chance of passing and would like to get them prepared, starting in year 5 should not be too late. Speak to friends and family for personal recommendations of an 11-plus tutor and get online to do some research yourself.
The fact that you are on the Geek School website suggests that your research may have brought you here for a reason – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
2. Check what your child will be expected to know for the tests
Find out the entrance procedures for the schools you have in mind, the timetable for applications and tests, any fees required and the subjects your child will be tested on
If you are lanning on entering your child for the Kent and/or Bexley selective tests, or are thinking about superselectives ike St Olaves or Newstead Wood, you must do your research early. If you are thinking about applying to private schools, the same applies. All three routes have different application ties and procedures, so it’s a good idea to use this September to find out and diarise all key dates so that you don’t leave anything out.
If you’re thinking about using the services of a tutor, you will need to have any idea of the schools your child will be sitting exams for, as this may have an impact on the subjects taught during the lessons. Newstead Wood only tests the children on verbal and non-verbal reasoning, for example, but if your daughter are to sit the Bexley exams , they will also need to work on English and maths, as that exam covers all four subjects.
3. Have a look at some past papers
While you are doing your research on schools, it’s always worth downloading their past or sample papers to get an idea of what the exam will entail. Not all schools provide sample papers, so this is where a good 11-plus tutor can be especially helpful.
4. Buy the right books
The 11-plus exams cover more or less the same curriculum for English and maths, and are usually writtern by GL Assessments or CEM (Durham University); but some schools set their own exams.
There are a plethora of books and practice papers available at WH Smith and on Amazon that cover both types of exams.
5. Start working with your child early enough
A good starting point is 18 months before the exam, but if you don’t have that luxury, you should start today. Check the basics like timestables and their understanding of units of measurement, etc.
Once your child starts to work on papers, you’ll get an idea of how strong they are in their work. Take a look at your child’s numeracy skills and weed out any wobbly bits before the summer of year 5.
If you feel overwhelmed by it all, or are facing some resistance from your child, you should consider getting an 11-plus tutor.
6. Don’t give up
Children are not always receptive to their evenings or weekend after school being taken over by homework and 11-plus practice. Some children are happy to get on with the work, once they realise what they could gain from passing, but others just want their free time back!
If your child has the ability, you will need to be prepared for complaints, cryng and straight refusal to do the work. Whatever happens don’t give up – unless you find that your child can’t cope at all.