Summer preparation for Grammar School entrance tests
How can you help your child prepare for the 11+?
In our last post we looked briefly at the requirements of entrance exam tests and the eleven plus (11+) for entry in local state grammar schools. In this post we give some tips on how, as a parent, you can help your child prepare for their entrance exam
As a parent, it is possible to help your child prepare for each type of test. In our experience, getting your kids to do some preparation in the school summer holidays doesn’t need to be that difficult – especially because if they are planning to sit the tests they are probably the bright, engaged types who will enjoy a mental challenge. Bright kids especially enjoy verbal reasoning tests. The Bond assessment papers are an excellent resource and offer good short tests – we usually advise aiming to cover a paper a day in each of the required topics.
Some ideas to start you off...?
• Vocabulary can make a huge difference. Good word power is useful not only in English tests but will also help your child make sense of verbal reasoning questions quickly, ensuring an accurate understanding of the problem and saving valuable time in the test. Encourage reading over the summer, along with use of the dictionary to find out unfamiliar words. You could also try encouraging your child to use a new word a few times everyday; this could be made fun and can be quite a challenge.
• Even if there isn’t a specific English test, spelling and punctuation matter. If your child is a borderline case, the school may look at the quality of his or her writing in written answers to verbal reasoning questions. Look at your child’s previous work, make lists of ‘problem’ words and encourage him or her to learn them. Revise punctuation, especially apostrophes to indicate possession and plurality.
• Strong (and accurate!) mental arithmetic skills are important. Again, quick, reliable arithmetic can make all the difference in reasoning tests. Make a game of arithmetic - when out shopping for example you could ask your child to be working out the total cost, or change required - unless of course its the weekly shop!
• Past and sample papers are often available – we’ve already mentioned Bond products. Get hold of as many different ones as you can and work on them over the summer. Don’t pressurise your child too hard (you don’t want to teach them to hate logic tests…) but it can be a good idea to get your child to sit down and work through a paper a day, or at least a few a week. They generally take 45-50 minutes each. Closer to the test it is a good idea to practice doing past/sample papers to time to get your child used to the time constraints and also to the question/answer style.
o Many schools are now switching to using objective/ multi-choice style entrance exam tests. While it sounds like an easy option the answer sheet is usually a long sheet of circles/boxes. Being familiar and understanding how to mark answers on the answer sheet is crucial. Objective tests are often chosen by the schools as they are easy to mark – mostly by computers using optical recognition techniques – with no human eyes/intelligence marking the answer sheets it is critical the answers are marked correctly. Therefore it as important the child understands what to expect and how to mark the answer - and what to do if they change their mind and want to choose a different answer. We would advise that for those sitting an objective style entrance exam test, at least a couple of past/sample papers used for practice be the objective test style.
• Going on holiday? As well as past papers and your child’s choice of reading, pack some books of puzzles, word games and logic problems. There are loads available in the shops, suitable for all ages. Even simple crosswords and Sudokos can make a big difference and help your child develop fast, accurate logical thinking skills.
Need some help?
If you’re in the Greater Manchester, Stockport or Cheshire area and you’d like some extra help, get in touch with 121 Home Tutors. We have home tutors for the Eleven plus (11+) and entrance exam preparation in Ashton, Baguley, Burnage, Bramhall, Cheadle, Didsbury, Marple, Romiley, Sale, Stretford, Stockport, Trafford, Timperley and to help your child prepare for entrance into schools such as Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Loretto Grammar School, Sale Grammar School, Stretford Grammar School & Urmston Grammar School, amongst others, Withington, Wilmslow, Urmston & surrounding areas. Our tutors are very experienced at supporting children in the run up to the Eleven Plus (11+) and entrance tests, and will help you give your child the best possible help and support at this stressful and exciting time!