Whilst Keystone does not encourage piling too much pressure on to yourself or your child, it is important to recognise the importance of the 11+ exams. For most children, it is their first ‘proper’ exam and can have a significant impact on at least the next seven years of their lives. It is therefore important to ensure the process is as stress free and as positive an experience as possible. As a rule of thumb, Keystone recommends one year of proper preparation for the test although in some circumstances it may be prudent to start a little earlier.
Whether your child will be sitting an 11+ paper unique to a specific school, the ISEB 11+ or the Consortium examination, the content of the test will be rooted in Key Stage Two of the national curriculum. As such, your child ought to be au fait with almost all components of the English and Maths syllabus.
English and Maths
11+ English papers tend to be split into comprehension and extended writing (typically creative and/or discursive) and within these disciplines students will need to demonstrate an firm grasp of spelling, grammar and vocabulary. To prepare for 11+ English plenty of comprehension and writing practice is advisable. Whilst undertaking practice be sure to take time to work on core skills. For instance, you should keep a record of misspellings, grammatical errors or words you don't know the meaning of and test yourself on these to ensure you improve your English skills.
Reading is also a fantastic and less intense way to facilitate improvement in these areas and do take a look at our previous blog post, which contains a list of suggestions for this age group. During the holidays, when unencumbered by homework, ensure your child is reading a book every week. In our experience, parents have found it helpful to model good reading behaviour by reading with their children either the same book or their own text. We also recommend discussing the details and themes of books together. The aforementioned helps to engage children with reading, particular those who might be reluctant.
On the Maths front, the big topics are Number, Handling Data and Shape, Space, and Measures. Practice as much as possible with the 11+ Maths text books and past papers. Familiarity with the exam paper format will mean less opportunity for a shock on the day. Look for ISEB papers or school specific entrance exams online. The consortium have a familiarisation booklet available here.
If you are using a tutor, we recommend an hour for each subject every week to ensure that real progress is made in each lesson.
- Galore Park
- Schofield and Sims
- School past papers available online on individual school websites
Verbal/Non Verbal Reasoning
We have developed a website called www.keystonetests.com which provides excellent practice for verbal and non-verbal reasoning (as well as 11+ Maths and English). This can be done independently and at your child’s own pace. Our recommendation is little and often. In the lead up to computerised exams, your child could look to spend half an hour every day undertaking online practice. We would recommend that students undertake as much practice as possible from the wide variety of web-based tests that are available including the following:
Schools are looking for confident, happy and opinionated students. Topics at interview will include work at school, hobbies, books and a basic knowledge of current events. If these topics are discussed around the table at home on a regular basis then your child should be well set! If you are looking for a more hands on approach, we can offer a mock interview at our office. You can see some top tips on interview preparation here.
11+ tutoring for students in Singapore and Hong Kong
Keystone has worked with many families with children educated at international or local schools in Singapore and Hong Kong before sitting 11+ exams. This type of assessment can be unfamiliar to students educated in Singapore or Hong Kong and because exam technique is so important, working with an experienced tutor is often a prerequisite when applying to the top UK schools from a school abroad. Our tutors deliver rigorous and thoughtful 11+ tutoring and help translate what students have already learnt into the format required by UK schools. They are also adept covering any aspects of the KS2 syllabus with which your child is not already familiar.
Please don't hesitate to give us a call if you have any queries about the 11+ or would like to arrange a tutor to provide some extra support.