Is your child taking grammar school exams in September? Gemma explains how to maximise the next five months to boost 11 plus performance and confidence.
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This eight-week course covers the trickiest topics across English, maths, non-verbal and verbal reasoning.
Grammar school exams take place in September while your child is in Year 6. Application deadlines vary, with applications tending to open in April to June and close during the summer term. It's worthwhile to familiarise yourself with your target school's admission process on their website.
Although the timing and structure of the exam papers vary between schools and regions, the content of the test is very similar across the country. Your child will be assessed on:
Competition for grammar school entry across the UK is fierce, so we strongly recommend ensuring your child has ample time to practice so they feel confident on exam day.
Exams are a natural part of a child’s education journey but they can also be stressful. If low-key practice focused on long-term learning is part of your child's regular routine, then exam revision hopefully won't feel like a big deal.
However, children can still become overwhelmed in the lead up to the 11 plus. It might be the first formal exam they have taken where the stakes feel high. It's important to set realistic expectations. Keep the exam in perspective and make sure your child knows that this is just part of the process of finding the right school for them. No matter what the outcome of the exam, you will find a school where they will be happy and thrive.
Checking in regularly can help your child to open up if things get too much. Remember that not all fears will be obvious and might be missed. Learn how to help your child manage test anxiety here.
Every child is different, and will have strengths in different areas of the curriculum. Learning styles also vary, with some children preferring visual and kinaesthetic learning while others are comfortable with theoretical approaches. The most effective way to prepare is to tailor your practice to suit your child's learning style.
The 11 plus assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives across the Key Stage 2 national curriculum and beyond. Getting started early will help to keep stress to a minimum and build confidence to ensure they have a robust understanding by the time the exam comes around. Regular, structured practice will lead to success.
With five months to go until the 11 plus, your child should be spending 1.5–2 hours practicing each week. For the best focus and retention of knowledge, study time should be broken down into no more than 20–30 minutes a day.
Although it can be tempting to home in on either the topics your child enjoys the most or the ones they struggle with the most, it's important to maintain a balance. This will help keep motivation high and ensure they don't lose skills or confidence in the areas they excel in.
A good approach is to practise a different subject each day of the week. As you're working through the 11 plus curriculum, you can work out the best time of the day for exam prep. Revision doesn't have to take place right after school – breakfast time is a good option to set your child up for success throughout the school day.
Your child needs a firm grasp of the basics before mastering the most challenging content, so resist the temptation to go straight to the most challenging areas. We recommend starting by focusing on the level of difficulty that's suitable for your child at this point in Year 5.
Try some practice questions
Wondering how to make sure your child covers the depth and breadth of the entire 11 plus curriculum, stays on track with their progress, and gets help when they're stuck? Online learning is a particularly efficient, cost-effective (and fun) way to do this!
Atom Nucleus is the award-winning online 11 plus practice platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for grammar school exams.
Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in verbal reasoning, English and maths. Teacher-created helpsheets and videos help them discover new concepts and consolidate their learning.
Atom's algorithm keeps children on their ideal learning path, tailored to their unique learning style and pace to keep them challenged and motivated.
Our online tests are continually updated and designed to mirror the format and style of the real exam in your region, so your child will know exactly what to expect.
And what's more, everything is automatically marked for you.
Begin your child's journey to their dream grammar school today. Use the full features of Atom Nucleus free for 5 days – cancel anytime.
With five months to go, we understand how important this time is for them, and for you. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have about your child's 11 plus preparation.
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