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Summer has passed and September marks a time to set new goals for the most important year in your child’s 11 plus preparations.
With just 12 months to go until the 11 plus entrance exam, it is important that you use this time wisely to give your child the best possible chance of success.
Whether you are just starting out on your 11 plus journey or your child has had previous exposure to the 11 plus fundamentals, Year 5 marks the ideal time to develop previous skills and personalise this experience around your child’s specific weak areas.
To ensure that your 11 plus journey runs as smoothly and stress-free as possible, KSOL’s team of tutors have highlighted some of the key areas of focus within the next 6 months of your child’s preparations:
In order to succeed in the 11plus entrance exam, your child first needs to grasp the fundamental skills in Maths and English.
KSOL offer a personalised online programme for Year 5 children, which includes daily online tests and interactive video lessons on the four core 11 plus subjects. Throughout September we have an exclusive back to school offer which entitles new members to free registration!
A confident understanding of multiplication (at least up to the 13 times table) and division is essential, as these underpin a significant amount of problem- solving questions. Not only will this help familiarise your child with key mathematical topics; it will also improve their time management skills and provide a fantastic foundation to answering questions such as fractions and ratios. Start with common fractions for example, one quarter is equal to 25%, which equals 0.5. Once your child understands the common fractions, this will bring them up to speed to tackle more complex questions in the exam.
Your child should be reading regularly and broadly, including a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. KSOL have an extensive recommended reading list that includes a range of ambitious texts and vocabulary that your child should begin exploring. Reading will not only improve vocabulary and analytical thinking, it will also sharpen skills in spelling and punctuation. Allocate your child a ‘word of the week’ or a word diary where they can record any new words. Encourage your child to find the definition of this word, synonyms and antonyms, and also write a range of sentences which utilise the word in various contexts.
It is important to bear in mind that although KSOL recommend that your child build these key skills now, this should be a continuous process throughout the year. Children progress at different stages and therefore will have different goals and targets. For example, if your child has grasped the 13 times tables in September, make it their target to reach the 14 times tables by October.
By now, your child should be confident with the core Maths and English skills above and begin tackling further topics within the spectrum. You can also begin looking at Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning questions which incorporate these key skills.
Start filtering maths into your child’s daily routine so they begin to identify key information within larger contexts. Encourage your child to triple measurements whilst baking or divide the bill when out at a family meal. Problem solving often presents difficulties in the exam, so exposing them to key words/numbers within broader scenarios will help them identify hooks in questions quickly and efficiently.
In terms of English skills, your child should now be making regular use of their word diary and their verbal dexterity should be expanding. You could also incorporate a games night into your weekly routine! Word games not only bring the family together, they are an excellent way to make revision fun and insightful.
During the Christmas holidays, KSOL run 1-2-1 tuition sessions that are exclusive to our Year 5 online members. Your child will have the opportunity to sit with an experienced KSOL tutor on a one to one basis. These sessions are designed to be engaging and interactive, and are a perfect opportunity for your child to tackle weak areas head on!
If your child is not advancing at a steady pace, it is extremely important to identify why. The most important thing at this stage in the year is to manage expectations. If too much pressure is applied, your child may take a sudden disinterest in education or feel a sense of inferiority to their peers who are working towards a similar goal. Therefore, it is essential that you give your child lots of encouragement and also notice when they are showing an obvious lack of interest. Remind them of the goal they are working toward but also speak positively of their local state school.
Sheer hard work and a high volume of revision is not an indication of successful exam preparation. Ensure that your child has plenty of “down time”, including extra-curricular activities and time with friends. Notice when revision is becoming more of a stressful experience than a skill-building one. The 11 plus route is not for everyone and remember that, whilst your child should be working hard, this should be done in a fun and engaging way.
Encourage your child to sit a KSOL mock exam so that you can benchmark progress for the next few months. KSOL mock exams are set at the level your child should be working at throughout certain points of the year and therefore allows you to reach targets and rationalise your expectations. From here you can look at online tuition courses or centre-based tuition to suit your child and also set a structured revision timetable based on your child’s weaker areas.
11+ Mock exams are also a great opportunity to expose your child to the format and content of the exam and also eliminate any nerves they may have. Many children will not have sat a formal exam before and therefore the more practice they have before September, the better!
During the February half-term, KSOL run specialised workshops in a variety of 11 plus topic areas that children tend to struggle with at this point in their preparations. Workshops are a fantastic opportunity for children to receive direct support from a qualified tutor and engage in group discussions that help motivate learning.
We hope that you have found the above information helpful. If you have any further questions regarding your child’s 11 plus preparations, please contact our educational advisers on 0121 733 6558.
Download our free 11+ practice papers to improve time management skills.
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