In these strange times, many parents have been concerned about how to juggle their work with continuing to education their children, or at least, trying to make sure they don’t fall behind.
But for those taking the 11+ this September, the worry is even larger – if children aren’t keeping up with their schoolwork, will they be absorbing enough knowledge to be able to pass the 11+ in September?
Here are things that I recommend focusing on while schools are closed to help overcome these fears.
What to focus on
Two of the key components of the 11+ are English and Maths.
Encouraging your children to read is a huge step in the right direction. An hour a day spent quietly reading, preferably a whole range of books including non-fiction, will help enormously. The reason we practice so many antonyms and synonyms is because there will be questions regarding what words match in the papers.
But the reason reading is so important is because even if children don’t remember the exact meaning of a word, they will remember its context, and be able to have an informed guess at the answer.
As reading is the backbone to all English (and indeed, learning anything), so the times tables are the foundation of any maths work. Being able to recall the times tables instantly will allow your child to complete the maths section of the papers quickly – a key component of passing the test.
Some of the questions that children find hardest are the fractions, and these are indeed easier with the times tables under your belt.
Practice makes perfect
There are parts of the test where, once the question has become familiar, the same approach can be used over and over again. In these types of questions, practicing the types of questions over and over again is the key.
This holds true for many aspects of verbal reasoning, such as letter sequences, letter codes, word codes and match the codes. In my experience of teaching children, getting the answers right always improves with practice.
The same goes for non-verbal reasoning. Most of the types of questions within this section actually become much easier to solve, once they have been practiced several times. That’s because the patterns become more obvious, counting the sides on shapes becomes second nature, as does finding differences between reflections and rotations.
There is technique also to comprehension. It’s not only about finding the right answers in the text, it’s about finding these quickly. Learning to skim and scan for words regularly helps with understanding of tricky phrases. With practice, children can begin to know how to look for context evidence for an unknown word.
It’s true that much of the 11+ is about learning new things, it’s also very much about practicing existing knowledge.
For more information on how to start preparing for the 11+, or how to keep up your child’s education during this difficult time, do head over to our page here, or better still give us a call on 01494 773300.