There are some exams which a child’s school will be less likely or less able to help them prepare for. These are entrance exams for admission to schools such as grammar schools or private schools. While teachers will be well-versed in how to help their pupils achieve good grades in their nationwide exams such as GCSEs and A-Levels, they may not be familiar with what is required to succeed in exams such as the 11+.
How are These Exams Different?
Entrance exams, including the 11+, test children on different areas of ability that standard exams don’t test. In addition to this the 11+ exam may differ in different areas of the country so it is important that parents check with their local LEA which type of 11+ their child will be sitting. The 11+ exam will consist of papers in the following disciplines: English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.
How Can a Private Tutor Help?
Many private tutors will specialize in preparing children for the 11+ exam or entrance exams for particular schools in the local area and may have been doing this for years. You could ask them what success their past students have had or which schools’ exams in particular they are familiar with. The tutors will know how the tests are put together and what sort of questions can be expected.
Fleet Tutors, one of Britain’s leading tutoring organisations, are able to supply a private tutor that can devote time to doing practice papers with a child which a parent or the child’s school may not have time to do, quickly understanding a child’s learning needs and focus on areas to improve on. Most schools will not devote any time to preparing students for the 11+ exam and certainly not to preparing for entrance exams for private schools. Even if they do this will be taught within a big group and won’t provide the individual attention pupils need for the exam preparation.
Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning
The areas of the 11+ exam that will require some preparation on the part of the student are the verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning sections of the exam. This is because they are not taught directly in a day to day school timetable. Children can develop verbal reasoning skills by doing word games, puzzles, jigsaws, crosswords etc. Reading widely will help a child build a wide vocabulary which will help with solving verbal reasoning problems. Non-verbal reasoning questions can test a child’s potential regardless of their knowledge of English as they focus more on logical thinking and even maths concepts.
With the closing date for 2015 entry in December, now is the time to start thinking and planning ahead for the 11+ and those fiercely competitive grammar school places. "