The exams vary across different areas and different weight may be given to the subjects depending on where you live. Some areas will test verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, English and Mathematics, whilst others may only include some of these subjects – once again it is worthwhile checking this with your child’s school. The exams are taken in the final year of primary school (aged 10-11) and schools usually offer for the exams to be taken either in November or January, although January is the most common choice.
Preparation for the exams usually starts months in advance so that children can practise their skills and revise their knowledge. You will most likely find that you’re already providing the best support for your child leading up to the 11+ exams, simply by encouraging their schoolwork and learning at home. Encouraging a love for reading and staying in touch with your child’s teacher to establish areas that need extra help and guidance are excellent ways to keep your child progressing, although some parents decide to dedicate extra time at home to learning or even employ a tutor. Inexperience of exams is a key element that can trip children up and so revision and practise papers in the lead up to the day of the test can be a huge help – particularly when it comes to time management. Make sure your child practises the hard questions and not just the easy ones, and focus on improving their knowledge and abilities by reviewing wrong answers with them rather than fretting about their score. Children’s attention spans can last anywhere between half an hour to an hour so make sure they’re taking appropriate breaks throughout revision.
On the day of the exam it is advisable to keep your child calm and happy by reassuring them that you’re proud of them regardless of the outcome and by leaving early to avoid a stressful commute to school. Nutrition, exercise and sleep are all important factors that could influence your child’s performance on the day and so a good routine in the weeks leading up to the exam may help them be at their best during the test. Ensuring your child has the right equipment for the exam will also prevent any unnecessary stress. A HB pencil is required to allow for an optical reader to assess the exams, and an eraser and pencil sharpener are also useful to have to hand. If you’re considering a pencil case to keep everything in then please note that most invigilators insist that pencil cases are clear so that nothing can be smuggled into the exam room.
We stock an excellent range of practise papers and revision guides, as well as a fun and practical range of stationery – including this great HB pencil, eraser and sharpener set – to help your little one with their exams.