Preparing for 11+

Preparing for 11+


By: Nela Duke

School entry, college entry or university entry are often directly or indirectly conditional upon the results of these exams and, with the recent trend away from modular exams and retakes, it can all come down to one exam.

In preparing for the school entrance exams, both you and your child must first create mutually agreed and realistic targets. The word ‘realistic’ is important here, however, counterintuitive it may feel. We, of course, believe in encouraging your child to apply to the best schools and aim for the highest results but achievable targets also have to be set to avoid disappointment.

The next step is creating an equally realistic plan to achieve these aims. We feel that children should be structured when studying but a sense of flexibility also plays a big role in their personal motivation to work harder.

Before you rush off to look for a tutor we believe parents need to do research in order to fully understand the exams. We recommend that you also do some personal tutoring with your child, in the beginning, to understand exactly what their child needs. Doing this initial tutoring not only eases your child into having a tutor but also builds disciple. A lot of 10-year-olds may not be used to staying focused for long periods of time.


We recommend you buy sample tests and 11+ workbooks along with practice CDs. Next on the list is a dictionary and thesaurus to aid their vocabulary growth. The last thing on the shopping list is a clock that should be placed where your child will be doing most of their work and remind them to check to see how much time they have left.

The examination tests a student’s ability to solve problems verbal reasoning and mathematics. The test consists of:

Verbal Reasoning

Non-Verbal Reasoning


English (comprehension)

English (story-writing)

It is attainable to achieve these results by yourself but depending on the child, sometimes they may need a tutor to provide an extra push. Prior to looking for a tutor research is imperative, as a parent you need to understand the content of the 11+ exams and this will aid in finding the best tutor for your child.

Tutor tips

Set a specific time of the week for your preparation sessions and stick to it as firmly as possible

Agree with your child how much homework they will do beyond the tutoring session each week.

In addition to the tutor, incentives and positive reinforcement from parents is key to ensuring your child has enough motivation.

Tortoise Tuition is a well-rounded tuition company that provides Oxbridge and redbrick tutors with over 5 years of experience in tuition. Tortoise Tuition provides face-to-face tuition as well as online studying to provide you and your child with flexibility and support. The tuition company is pioneering the new age of tech in education with an education database that allows students to access exactly what they need as well as get feedback in real-time, thus removing some pressure from parents.

“They called him tortoise because he taught us”

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