Planning, discipline, strategy and tactics are all required to make the most of Year 5 and the summer holiday leading up to the 11+ exams which usually take place each September in the first or second week back to school.
My top advice is to combine past papers you can download, papers you can buy, and short one-page or ten-minute tests.
Doing exam paper practice is useful to help a child learn how long they have and how to pace themselves during the exam.
Doing papers you can buy is useful, but I would advise to photocopy them for your own use so your child can practice papers more than once.
Short one-page or ten-minute tests are useful to target specific areas that need help – e.g. ratio & proportion.
Finally, there’s online tuition which can help fix any gaps and give the child more confidence going into the exam.
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If your child needs help in general or with specific topics please get in contact:
In the UK the beginning of Secondary School is Year 7 when children are typically 11 years old. Here are a few ideas on how to prepare over the summer holiday before starting.
Read a lot
A visit online or to your favourite book store is useful to start reading books which are a notch more difficult than what your child may have been used to. Of extra value are non-fiction books such as encyclopaedias covering subjects such as Geography and History.
Following on from the point above, listening to audio books (fiction and non-fiction) aimed at early teens is a useful way to help increase vocabulary and the complexity of sentence structure.
Yes I hate to say, but buying a few Year 7 / KS3 workbooks is a good idea – not to finish but at least to have a go and to understand some of the key concepts especially in Maths. Always useful is to start working on more complex algebra and geometry.
It almost doesn’t matter what a child wants to write about, but it is worth a child spending a good amount of time every week over the summer holiday writing about anything. It’s useful to mix this 50/50 writing by hand and writing on a computer. This is also a useful time to build vocabulary and practice more complex sentence structures.
Compared to Primary School there’ll be a lot more work at school and home work, so you’ll need to figure our what works best for your child in terms of keeping track of everything. I’m a fan of using post-it notes on the wall above a child’s desk to keep track of Mon-Fri and also Sat & Sun for the homework schedule. A whiteboard is also a great idea which enables the child to draw out their own organisation.
At times it’s not easy to get your son or daughter to do all their homework on time and to a good level of quality. Here are some ideas:
Don’t shout if they don’t understand something. There can be many reasons to shout but this isn’t one of them. No matter how loud you should it won’t help a child understand something, in fact it will just close up their brain.
Get help from a teacher
If your son is unable to do their homework, make sure they go to the teacher and ask for help. Try calling up the teacher a couple of days later to see if it has happened and if it hasn’t, it’s over to you to arrange it.
Work it out at home
Don’t worry if you don’t understand the questions. If your daughter is trying to work out a percentage, try working out the answer on a calculator and see if they can get to that answer, or try googling how to work out this problem. If you do it together it’s an intellectual and emotional win for both of you.
Think long term
A great way to give rewards to your child is not on every piece of homework or on every test, but at the end of each half-term results. Reward good results at the end of a half-term and issue reasonable consequences if grades have slipped. Consequences should always be discussed in advance so they’re not a sudden shock for the child. A popular consequence is loss of the Xbox or screen time for a month.
This allows for the occasional mistake or poor results in a test and puts focus on the overall progression.
Email the Tutor Dragon for advice
I’m happy to answer emails when I get time so please feel free to email me with any questions regarding homework, performance and rewards & consequences.
Although noise in the classroom is a negative factor for learning, some level of noise and/or chaos in the home environment can be healthy.
We are not suggesting that constant noise and chaos at home are desirable, but anecdotal evidence suggests that when a child gets used to dealing with noise and unexpected events at home – e.g. someone at the front door or a crying younger sibling, it can help with a child’s ability to stay focussed during study.
This in turn can help a child during SAT’s, exams and even in a noisy classroom.
If a child can ONLY study and complete test papers in the silence and solitude of their room, this may not translate to good results in a real exam situation if the child has not built up some immunity from surrounding noise and unexpected events.