Tips on Studying for the 11 Plus Exam

Parents and children gather around. If you’re hoping to get into a high-flying Grammar School, you will probably know all about the 11 plus exam already - but fear not!  These Grammar School Entrance Exams are made to put kids to the test but they are far from undefeatable.

Every year, hundreds of children pass the 11 plus test and gain acceptance into their preferred Grammar School. They do this through their academic talents but also because they prepare for the 11 plus exam in the best way.

That’s what we’ll be covering here. Below you can find the best ways to study specifically for your Grammar School Entrance Exam. Add as many as you can to your 11 plus preparations for a better chance of receiving an acceptance letter!

But First, Why Is 11 Plus Preparation Important?

Before we get into our top tips, it’s important to know why preparations are crucial. The 11 plus exam is highly competitive and natural ability alone is unlikely to be enough to earn a Grammar School place. Even the most gifted children need to prepare to avoid disappointment.

Preparation is also crucial because it can reduce stress, worry and anxiety in children and their parents. The more the student prepares for the exam, the more comfortable and confident they will feel. Sometimes this can be the difference between making the grade and almost making the grade.

The next argument is why wouldn’t you want to maximise the child’s chances of passing the exam? The more you can do the better - and it sets a great example for future exams they will take. Not to forget that it will instil the importance of preparation and organisation in other areas of life.

The Best Tips for 11 Plus Exam Studying

That’s why you should prepare but how can you do it well? Here are our top recommendations for students, which may need the support or help of parents.

1. Get Professional Help

It goes without saying that preparing for such a competitive exam requires extra study time. Yet, not all study sessions are created equal. Students who receive extra tuition have a better chance of success than students who try to go it alone. Parents may be able to help or tutors may be an effective option. However, the time-consuming logistics and costs of using a private tutor can be a deal-breaker for families.

Online 11 plus preparation courses are a better alternative to personal tutors. These courses also offer bespoke tutoring tailored to the child’s needs but they are specific to Grammar School Entrance Exams and they are much more flexible.

2. Say No to Highlighters

Children may love using their new colourful highlighters but research suggests that highlighting passages from a text could be useless or even a hindrance to learning.

Cognitive research found that highlighting sections isolated them from the overall topic. Even though it may help a student memorise a segment of knowledge, students found it harder to relate that knowledge with other aspects of the subject.

The 11 plus exam is designed to avoid memory-recall-type questions and asks students to display critical and logical thinking. This means that highlighting and isolating knowledge will be damaging to the 11 plus preparations for most children.

3. Start Early BUT Don’t Overload!

When an athlete wins a gold medal or an actor performs a fantastic scene, they didn’t achieve their accomplishment by preparing the night before. The same applies when preparing for the 11 plus exam.

It is best for children to start preparing for their exam at the start of Year 4 or at least by the start of year 5. If you have already missed that date, it is still possible to enhance your child’s chances and pass the exam. No matter when you start and with those extra study sessions, never overload the study schedule as it could be counterproductive.

4. The Protégé Effect

It has been reported that Einstein would try and explain his research to friends or family to make sure that he had understood it himself. This process is now understood to be The Protégé Effect. What this means is that when we teach somebody else, we continue to learn and organise our own thoughts and understanding of the topic.

For parent-child teams preparing for the 11 plus exam, there is an easy way to put this into practice. Once your child has learned something new, they must then teach you about it. Not only does this enhance the learning more (even if they don’t realise it!) but you can pick up on gaps in their knowledge and ask probing questions.

If you’re not available, science has also suggested that this is an effective strategy if the child teaches what they have learnt to another child.  If your child hasn’t got a sibling to do this with, they could have weekly or monthly study sessions with their class friends.

5. A Healthy Lifestyle

Children should always have a healthy lifestyle and during exam preparations, they will require this more than ever. Parents should set bedtimes to make sure that they get enough sleep, reduce screen time and enforce a bigger and healthier breakfast. Children should still maintain extracurricular activities and exercise to take their mind away from studying and to prevent cognitive overload.

Good Luck with Your 11 Plus Exam!

Make the most of these tips to enhance your child’s chances of attending a Grammar School next year. Most of the above can be done easily - but finding a private tutor or an online 11 plus course can take a little more time.

If you prefer the affordable and convenient latter option, 11 Plus Success can help. We offer an online course that has helped many children and parents jump for joy. Check out our glowing reviews and get in touch for more information!
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