Historically boys would sit for the 8+ and girls for the 7+. This was based around the fact that it was traditionally accepted that boys mature a little later than girls at this age. Assessing them later meant that they had more time to develop and show their true potential. However, nowadays many schools offer both 7+ and 8+ entry and as such parents have the option to consider which might be most suitable.
The first thing to say is that if you go in for the 7+ and do not get accepted you are able to apply again to the school for the 8+. Some parents worry if that if they apply more than once to the same school it can affect their chances, but this is simply not the case. Clearly a lot can change in a year, especially at this age, and as such your child will be reviewed fairly and quite separately from their efforts a year earlier. However, this is not say that students should be entered for the 7+ in the knowledge that they can always sit the 8+ if they fail. Parents should consider the following:
Academic Ability: clearly, you need to determine whether or not your child is able to access the 7+ curriculum and perform well in examinations on it. We would always recommend that they sit an assessment to determine their strengths and areas for development. This could be done professionally via a Keystone Assessment or simply by downloading a sample 7+ paper and asking your child to complete it. The combination of the results and timeframe until the 7+ should help you to determine how ready your child might be.
Exam Readiness: alongside their understanding of the content, is a child’s ability to perform well in a testing environment. For many children the 7+ is the first formal examination they will ever have taken and as such their exam skills are likely to still be in their infancy. It is important that they are able to:
- Read and understand questions quickly
- Write in full sentences
- Write an extended piece
- Be comfortable showing their working
- Perform under time conditions
Again, a review of these skills will help to determine a child’s level of readiness.
Emotional Readiness: sitting at exams at such a young age can have a profound impact on a child, and as such it is important to consider whether they are emotionally ready to be examined. Will they cope with the experience? Will they be able to be interviewed? Clearly, if you think they will find the experience too much it is likely they would not perform well or give an accurate account of themselves were they to be entered.
How do I Know if My Child is Ready to Sit the 7+ (i.e. What Should they Know Beforehand)?
If your child has a solid foundation in the KS1 curriculum then they should be at the appropriate level to sit a 7+ paper. There are variations in the difficulty of the papers and so if you are aiming for more competitive schools then you would need to make sure that this curriculum coverage had been enriched and extended appropriately.
Keystone Tutor Steph gives her top tips for 7+ and 8+ exam preparation
"To prepare for the 7+ and 8+ I would recommend that parents work on fundamental learning skills like times tables, number bonds, spellings etc. incorporating this into everyday life wherever possible. It is also important to have a good routine for story reading or listening to audio books to make sure that children are immersed in good quality literature."
Keystone Tutors have a number of highly experienced 7+ tutors who can help with exam and interview preparation, wherever you are in the world.
For more details on how Keystone can help prepare your child for the 7+, please call the office for a chat with one of our client managers, or contact us via our request a tutor form.