7 Top Tips to smash the 11 + Examination

The 11+ examination or Transfer Test is one of the first and important tests that your child will sit. What a scary thought! Feeling like your child’s future depends on a single test can be intimidating for you and them. The good news is that with planning and the right approach it is doable. As Desmond Tutu once wisely said “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” What he meant by this is that everything in life that seems daunting, overwhelming, and even impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time. With this all-in mind, we have put together a list of our top tips to help get you and your child through this!

Here are our 7 Top Tips to help you SMASH those 11 plus exams:

1. Practice Makes Perfect

Study schedules and mock exam practice go hand in hand to create a great starting place to understand where your child needs more help. I want to remind you about the power of practice and how it can help you focus on the areas that need the most work. Firstly, taking mock exams helps you establish a baseline of where your child’s current ability lies. Each time they complete a mock exam you can assess how they are performing; you can observe trends around which questions that they are getting wrong and create a focused revision schedule to help them boost their skills in those weaker areas.

Having your child practice past papers will help them build an understanding of what to expect on the day. This will help them understand how the exam will feel under the time restriction, how the exam will be laid out and it will give them some reassurance overall. It’s suggested that they complete a mock exam once a week as it’s the closest, most accurate reflection of the real-life entrance exam. Doing this alone can be effective however, working with an experienced tutor can make this process even more effective as they can share real-life examples and tips along the way.

Whether your child is preparing for their 11+ exams or striving to be a world class violinist or Olympic athlete, practice is key. The more you do something the better you become at it and it also helps to boost your confidence.

2. Be Organised from Day One.

Being organised from day one has many benefits; one of them being it reduces stress! It’s extremely overwhelming when you have a lot to do, and you are in a state of disorganised chaos. Therefore, being organised and having things in place such as a study timetable will give you that peace of mind.

When we say ‘be organised from day one’ this literally means as soon as you get your child’s test timetable you need to sit down with them and come up with a personalised plan that will suit you and them.

3. Don’t Overload Your Child.

Yes, they need to be doing as much revision as possible, but they need to take breaks. Frequent breaks are needed to give their brain a rest as the brain is muscle and it gets tired.

These will increase their focus, reduce their stress and it can help them retain the information they are learning. You want to avoid having your kids ‘cram’ as it won’t help them retain the relevant information.

4. Re-read The Question.

Teach them to re-read the question! Something as simple as this could help them avoid silly mistakes. When your child is in the examination, they are under a time constraint, and nerves can cause them to rush through the examination. This can lead to them misinterpreting the question or even skipping a question by mistake. Teaching them to re-read the paper or question will help avoid this and it can also help them to understand the question better. Often a question can be quite overwhelming and can cause your child’s mind to go blank, re-reading the question can give them that additional information they may have missed when reading the question for the first time.

5. Take a Guess.

When in an exam there is bound to be that question that you have no clue what the answer could be. When this happens DO. NOT. STRESS. TAKE. A. GUESS. Yes, the answer you guess may be wrong, but you have a better chance of getting some sort of mark out of it rather than you just leaving it blank. The best way to ‘take a guess’ is to read the question and try get some sort of answer out of it, relate your answer to the information given in the question.

There may just be a cheeky Half-A-Mark in there somewhere!

6. Relax the Night Before.

When your child has been revising for days, even weeks, they need to relax and calm the nerves that they are bound to feel the night before the exam. They are prepared, now they need to go to bed relaxed and they should be able to wake up with their body feeling physically and mentally prepared for the day. To help your child relax you can let them do something they enjoy but also keep reassuring them.

7. Eat Breakfast.

Even if your child doesn’t feel hungry the morning of their exam due to nerves, make sure they eat something. Their bodies need the energy and a healthy, balanced breakfast will give their body the fuel it needs. The best healthy, balanced breakfast should include slow-releasing carbohydrates such as oats, whole grain bread or low-sugar muesli. Avoid junk food as this won’t be beneficial, it will give them a short burst of energy but could leave them with ‘brain fog’ which is a dip in their energy making them feel tired.

These are just a few tips that we recommended to help your child SMASH their 11 + exams!

PowerTutors 11+ group tutoring lessons focus on the fundamental topic knowledge for the 11+ examination as well as practising past papers under time restrictions.

The small group tutoring lessons take place online and allow the teacher to fully interact with the students. Find out more at powertutors.co.uk or call 01737 773 454.

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