When to start preparing a child for the 11 Plus test is a subject of much discussion but general consensus is that there’s no need for tutoring to start before the autumn term of Year 5. This will allow a year to prepare for the test which now happens early in the autumn term of Year 6. It is common for tutoring agencies to start getting enquiries about hiring an 11+ tutor in the spring before a child starts Year 5.
There are a number of reasons for not starting exam preparation too early, one of which is that children could become bored and unmotivated by the time the test comes around. There is more chance that a child will be enthusiastic about the process if they are still relatively fresh to it. The 11 Plus test in some areas only involves two parts - verbal and non-verbal reasoning – and therefore tuition could even be started a little later, in the January of Year 5 for example.
Some children will get the required preparation for the exam at home especially if a parent has done their research and is well informed. It is usually possible to find out about the format of the test and get an idea of what it will contain although some areas are particularly secretive. Some children will even be coached for the 11+ at school although the amount of time teachers can devote to this will vary. At the very least children will gain familiarity with the type of questions they will come up against. Practice exam papers are an important part of the test preparation.
Sessions with a private tutor are often the best way to guarantee a child is preparing correctly for the 11 Plus. This is not just in the material they are learning but also in the format of the exam itself. The verbal reasoning for example is not something that children will necessarily be doing at school. One or two hours of private tuition a week should be sufficient for most pupils so booking in with a tutor is the best way to ensure this dedicated time. Even if a parent has good intentions to devote this time to tutoring their child life often gets in the way and other commitments may take priority.
In a year of weekly private tutoring sessions a great deal can be achieved. Skills and knowledge will be developed and acquired steadily rather than resorting to cramming in the final weeks. A tutor will be able to set a small amount of homework each week to consolidate the week’s learning, and tutoring sessions can continue over the holidays depending on the requirements. It is particularly advisable that a student continues having sessions with a private tutor during the long summer holiday before the test itself.
Fleet Tutors have a wide network of tutors across the UK who have experience of the different 11 Plus exams in their area. They create individual programmes of learning for each child they tutor to prepare them not only for the exam but also for life ahead in year 7 at a grammar school.
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