Whilst the Eleven Plus exam may seem a long way away, now is the time to start planning your child’s preparation. Assessing strengths and weaknesses, pacing learning, revision and practice over the remaining months and scheduling crucial preparation landmarks, like holiday courses and mock exams, allows you and your child to approach the test in a calm, organised and methodical fashion. Our article this month guides you through forming an effective preparation plan.

Recognising strengths and targeting weaknesses

The Eleven Plus exam tests a range of skills, from spelling ability through to spatial awareness. Most children find that they feel more confident with some areas of the paper than others. Establishing as early as possible where your child struggles or excels allows you to tailor preparation, focussing learning on weaker aspects whilst introducing timed practice to areas where your child feels able.

You most likely already have a sense of your child’s English and maths ability. If you would like more detailed knowledge about their specific strengths and weaknesses, your child’s school teacher will be able to advise you. Make sure also to talk to your child about how they feel about these subjects, as how secure they feel with a topic is an important consideration when planning preparation.

Verbal and non-verbal reasoning are not taught in schools. To establish how your child is managing with these topics you can use benchmark tests, which are available from various publishers of 11+ materials. Rather than leave your child to work independently, work through a few tests together in order to see where they will need support over the coming months.

Many tuition companies, Flying Start Tuition included, are more than happy to offer a free assessment covering all areas of the Eleven Plus exam with detailed feedback.

Creating a Plan

Once you have an idea of what preparation your child will need to do, you can begin planning how to cover everything comfortably in the time available. Begin by thinking about what your child needs to have covered by the time they sit their first mock exam, allocating more time to weaker areas. Divide the work into amounts that you feel your child can cover within a month, remembering to account for periods when working time will be limited, for example the Christmas season. Now split the topics you would like to cover in the month into weekly amounts. Pace the work manageably, leaving plenty of time available for relaxation and play.

Getting ahead on booking holiday revision courses and mock exams will give your child a target to work towards, helping them to maintain momentum. Practically speaking, having your child’s courses in the calendar already will also help with deciding when to book family holidays… Perhaps as an exciting treat to look forward to after all the hard work!

Need a little help? Flying Start Tuition is an award-winning tuition centre offering classes for children from year one through to GCSEs, including their popular Eleven Plus programmes.  Classes run throughout the year at their main centre in Chesham and at their five satellite centres in Amersham, Aylesbury, Berkhamsted, Jordans Village and Little Chalfont.

Flying Start are Ofsted registered and accept Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare.  Bursaries are also available – please ask for details.


For further information, contact:
t: 01494 772 898

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