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Firstly, congratulations! Preparing for the 11+ entrance exam is no easy feat and more than likely, even the most composed of parents will have lost the battle against the 11+ stress monster along the way.
The final months before the exam can feel like a whirlwind of activity and emotion and this can take its toll on both parent and child. However, you have now done all you can to facilitate your child’s preparations and, with all this spare (revision-free!) time, you can now make constructive decisions to move forward from the 11+ exam, whatever the outcome.
1) Stop worrying
This is easier said than done and may sound like a cliché, but spending the next few weeks consumed with anxious thoughts surrounding what will happen if your child does not pass will solve nothing.
Focus on doing things that you enjoy that you know will help distract you. If you visit or bump into friends of parents whose children also sat the exam, try not to ask how they think their child performed, as there is no way to know for sure and this may only add to your angst.
Whilst it isn’t easy to simply stop worrying, try and remember that if your child does not pass, this is not the end of the world. If your child gave one hundred percent effort to revising for the exam and does not manage to gain a space, they may well have struggled with the fast pace and high demands of grammar school. As long as your child is an enthusiastic learner, they will be successful whichever secondary school they attend.
2) Learn to live with the possibility that your child has not passed
This is perhaps the most important tip and is extremely helpful to supporting your child’s emotional well-being.
It is essential that you continue to give your child plenty of praise after the exam and remind them that you will be proud whatever the outcome. If your child does not pass, the last thing that you would want them to take from this experience is a sudden disinterest in education or a sense of inferiority to their peers.
KSOL would also advise that you acknowledge and praise your child’s local state school, as if they do not gain a space at a grammar or independent school, you still want them to start next September with a high level of excitement and commitment to learning.
Learning to live with the possibility that your child has not passed the entrance exam will help you to accept alternative options, plan your contingencies and relieve future disappointment.
3) Use your spare time wisely
All of a sudden you have all this free time! Whatever did you do with it before?
Now the 11+ preparations are out of the way and there is nothing more you or your child can do, ensure that they fill this additional time with fun and productive activities.
As preparing for the 11+ exam requires children to work beyond the state curriculum, Year 6 is often a breeze for bright children and can cause a lack of mental stimulation. This can lead to later issues when it comes to increasing their motivation for SATs and the demands of secondary education.
Encourage your child to start a new hobby, learn a new language or attend interactive workshops that continue to inspire and engage their learning. In the spirit of this, KSOL have created a 12-Week Creative Writing Course that is designed to continue strengthening key writing skills beyond the 11+ exam and help smooth the transition into secondary education.
Anything that you can do to utilise your child’s spare time wisely will ensure that they keep the same level of enthusiasm and energy for learning throughout life!
4) Results and School Preferences
Results for the 11+ entrance exams are released in October. Whatever the outcome, you will need to make important decisions about which schools to place on your school preference form. Check-back for our 'What's next after the 11+ results' October blog for helpful advice on how the school allocation process works and essential things to consider when filling out the form.
For more information or advice on managing expectations and moving forwards from the 11+ entrance exam, please contact our education advisers on 0121 733 6558.
Download our free 11+ practice papers to improve time management skills.
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