Essential Pointers for the 11 Plus

Preamble
While the core principle for 11 plus preparation is “Practice, Practice, and Practice,” there’s a need for more comprehensive guidance.

Advice
Here are a few revision pointers for parents and students, garnered from those who have successfully navigated this ‘process’:
Don’t overwhelm your child! Ensure they take numerous short breaks. These intervals facilitate better understanding.
Remember that a child’s focus span generally lasts between 30 to 50 minutes. Part of the preparation process should be to gradually lengthen this span.
Draft a list of subjects to be covered and keep it in a visible place like your fridge.
Studying in different locations, such as various rooms in your home or at a library, can ease the stress of taking an exam in an unfamiliar environment.
Active revision is an effective learning method, which involves completing a lot of past papers or simulated 11+ exam questions in exam-like conditions. Numerous mock exams can assist with this.
If the exam is scheduled for the morning, practice papers around the same time leading up to the exam. This helps your child to mentally acclimate and deliver peak performance.
Visual aids like mind maps can be used to show all facets of a topic that needs to be studied. This can aid in summarizing a subject, linking varied pieces of information, and keeping track of progress, instilling a sense of accomplishment.
Try employing mnemonics. They use abbreviations, words, or phrases to aid memory. Making them fun and personal can make them more effective.
Rewards can serve as motivation. Consider a small treat for your child upon completion of each 11+ topic or when they achieve a higher score than anticipated. Alternatively, set a goal and offer a reward upon achieving it.
In practice 11+ papers, it’s crucial that your child understands the format that will be used in the actual test—either the standard (without options) or multiple choice. It’s prudent to confirm the format that the chosen school uses.
Some parents believe that getting used to a standard format makes the multiple choice exam appear easier. However, in the lead-up to the exam, it’s crucial to replicate the actual exam conditions as closely as possible.
Practicing 11+ papers under timed conditions can indicate if there’s a need to improve speed, as every mark is crucial.
Encourage your child to use the answer book to review a test paper to identify any errors that might have been made under time constraints.
Applying learned knowledge, especially in subjects like maths, can reinforce the lesson.
Give more time to subjects where your child needs improvement, like Non-verbal reasoning. It can seem more intimidating to cram these subjects at the end.
Focus on the process of studying rather than the end goal and final outcome.
Remember that the brain needs rest after hard work, just like any other muscle. Ensure your child gets enough rest to recover from mental strain. It’s also important to avoid talking about exams all the time during their rest periods as it can be counterproductive.
Regular exercise and healthy food are important for maintaining brain function. Avoid using sugary treats as rewards.
A good night’s sleep is vital for your child to be refreshed and ready for another intense day of 11+ preparation. Relaxing activities or routines can help with this.
Make sure you and your child have a good sleep the night before the 11+ exam to stay relaxed.
On the exam day, have a wholesome breakfast and arrive early to stay calm and composed. Avoid conversations that could induce tension.
A constructive discussion about the challenge ahead can boost confidence and readiness for the exam.
In the event of panic, help your child to avoid negative thoughts. Reiterate that irrespective of the outcome, the effort they have put in is what truly matters. They just need to calmly work through the paper and do their best.