The best approach to practicing 11+ papers

Here are a few tips and ideas if your child is practicing 11+ papers

Make a Plan

Plan each exam session and agree with your child in advance where and when the exam will be. It is not so successful saying to your child “Right, we’re doing an exam now”. Much better to agree 24hrs in advance.

Simulate the test environment as best you can

The child should use the exact same pencil case with pencils, ruler, rubber, sharpener etc as they will use in the real exam. The child should be left alone for the duration of the exam simulation and of course they are not allowed to ask for any help whatsoever.

Go to the toilet first

An often overlooked step in the exam process. Get into the habit of going to the toilet before every exam.

Mark the paper with the child after a short break

Don’t mark the paper immediately after the test as the child will need a break, but don’t leave it until a week later or they would have forgotten the questions and what they specifically struggled with. Ideally you should have the exam after breakfast then mark the paper in the afternoon with the child.

Focus on the positive

As you mark each question, emphasise the positive. One of the most common mistakes is not showing enough working out. If a question was too hard for the child, continue marking then come back to it.

Identify areas requiring improvement

After marking the paper with the child, list out the questions which cause problems and where the child dropped points. It is not sufficient to work through the answer, the root gap in understanding has to be identified and addressed. For example was the underlying issue decoding text into numbers, or not understanding a percentage, or misunderstanding the units required in the answer (another common mistake).

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