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When is the best time to start 11+ Preparation?


If you know your child will be sitting an 11+ exam in 2022, you may be wondering when is the best time to get started to ensure your child is ready to ace any entrance examination. We’ve asked our team of Education Experts for their advice on how to ensure your child is fully prepared by the time they sit their first test.

Get started early

Grammar school and independent school admissions can be extremely competitive, however, your child will have the best chance of succeeding if they have built their subject and reasoning mastery over a longer period, rather than revising in short bursts closer to the examination. Therefore the earlier you introduce your child to 11+ preparation content, the better.

Most grammar school and independent school entrance examinations assess verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning skills, and the majority of the question types assessed in these tests won’t be covered in UK primary schools. Therefore, a valuable area of focus in Years 3 and 4 should be introducing your child to the skills, strategies and time-saving techniques that will allow your child to excel in verbal and non-verbal reasoning exams.

To ensure your child fully masters verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills at the level required for 11+ entrance, we’d recommend introducing your child to reasoning puzzles and questions as early as Year 3. Practising these essential skills early in Key stage 2 will ensure your child can work fluently and confidently through the most complex reasoning questions in Year 6.

At Atom Learning, our content team have written content that is specifically designed to introduce younger students to the skills required to master and build confidence in reasoning. Once they’ve mastered the basics, our adaptive algorithm will move them on to the most challenging questions and activities to ensure they’re prepared and confident by the time they sit their examination

Get into a good routine

11+ preparation can be challenging for the whole family; with homework, clubs and work, finding time to support your child can be difficult. For this reason, we’d recommend getting into a good routine with 11+ preparation as soon as possible. 20-30 minutes of 11+ preparation three nights a week and once over the weekend will be more than enough to ensure your child stays ahead in their preparation in Years 3 and 4. When your child is in Year 5, we’d recommend increasing your child’s practice to 4 nights a week and once over the weekend.

Atom is designed to ensure your child can learn fully independently. Getting into a good routine earlier will ensure they cover the breadth and depth of the curriculum in good time ahead of the examination.

Get your child excited about reading!

A wide vocabulary plays an essential part in verbal reasoning success. Your child can be the best problem solver in the class, but if they don’t have a strong and varied vocabulary, they will really struggle with most verbal reasoning exercises. The best way to build your child’s vocabulary is to ensure they are reading for pleasure, regularly, throughout the academic year. Encourage your child to pick books they are interested in and excited to read. Make sure books play a big part in your daily routine - if a child’s parents, guardians and siblings are reading - they’re more likely to as well!

Ensure your child is working above expectations throughout Key Stage 3

Since the majority of 11+ exams will cover advanced Year 6 and early Year 7-level learning objectives, it’s important that your child is working ahead of expectations throughout Key Stage 2, not just in Year 5 and Year 6. To master the most challenging areas of the Key Stage 2 curriculum, your child must have a strong understanding of the content covered in Years 3 and 4.

In Years 3 and 4, encourage your child to explain their reasoning and logic when completing maths and English activities. Asking your child questions and asking them to teach you the steps they have taken will help them reason at a more advanced level in Years 5 and 6.

On Atom Learning, your child will begin their learning journey at an age-appropriate level, and their learning journey will adapt to stretching and challenging content once they have demonstrated sufficient mastery. Our platform ensures that students are always challenged, but never demotivated - which is essential when preparing for 11+ examinations over a series of years.

Ultimately, the earlier you begin your preparation, the better. However, if you’re beginning your 11+ preparation the year before your examination, our advice would be to ensure your child is balancing their time between practising and building confidence in new topics, revising areas for improvement and completing mock tests once a month. A balance of these three disciplines will best support your child’s subject mastery and performance on exam day.

We can help

To help your child with the best preparation for the 11 +, start your 5-day free trial of Nucleus today for success in the classroom, entrance exams and beyond.



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