Paul Froome has been teaching and tutoring primary English/Maths and preparing children for the 11+ in the Tunbridge Wells area for nearly 20 years. In this blog post he gives some reassuring advice for preparing for the 11+ in this current situation…
With schools closed and tutoring opportunities restricted, it’s a challenging time for children who are sitting the 11+ in September and for their parents. The first thing to remember though is that the situation is the same for everybody: as most children have been getting less support in their 11+ preparation than they would in more normal times, it is most likely that test scores in September will be lower across the board and pass marks are therefore likely to be lower too. So the current situation should not put your child at a disadvantage relative to her / his peers.
Although it’s natural for parents to have some concerns at the moment, your child may pick up your anxieties, so try and stay as relaxed and reassuring as you can around the 11+ test. If you can do this and follow a few simple steps, the path to the exam should be as painless as possible:
1. Buy the right resources. Resources and practice tests should be for the GL Test or where possible, for the GL Kent Test. Other resources offer valuable practice but are not specifically targeted at the Kent test. CGP offer a great range of resources.
2. First, work on understanding. Always go through mistakes that your child has made and make sure they understand how they should have answered the question. Give them some similar follow up questions to consolidate their understanding: it’s much easier than you might think to generate your own questions, simply by following the format of published questions and substituting a few words or numbers. Return to these questions in a couple of weeks to ensure that the learning is secure. There is no point in doing tests for tests’ sake. Correcting and understanding are crucial.
3. Next, work on speed – 10 minute tests (CGP and other publishers produce lots of these) are a really good way of starting this off as the time scale and number of questions is less daunting. However, it is important to build up to full length practice tests in the last couple of months.
4. Finally, work on exam technique. There are a few things to note here but by far the most important is to encourage children to read texts and questions extremely carefully. It really can make the difference between getting the result you want and not quite getting there. Once a test has been marked, it can be surprisingly motivating for a child to have another go at the questions they got wrong. Children often see that they could have got another 4 or 5 questions right if they had been more careful. In a test of 25 questions this relates to a massive percentage increase in score of 16 -20 per cent. Finally, there are a couple of other important test techniques: children need to understand how to complete the answer sheets correctly; and make sure that your child never leaves a question unanswered – if they find a question hard and it is taking too long, eliminate obvious incorrect answers if possible and then guess – at least there is some chance of getting a mark!
If you have a specific query about how to approach an 11+ question type or other primary topics, please feel free to email Paul and he’ll be happy to provide some complimentary advice.
Paul also offers 1-to-1 tutoring via Zoom and has a limited number of places available. Get in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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This is a collaborative post.