advantage-11-plus-owl1"Practice, Practice and Practice" - yes but how? Here's some good advice and tips for 11+ parents and students alike when it comes to revision.

  • Do not overload your child! Allow them plenty of breaks, even if they’re only 5 or 10 minutes long. This helps them to take it all in.

  • Bear in mind that typically a child’s attention span ranges between 30 minutes to 50 minutes.

  • Revising in a few different places around the house, or in a library means that taking an exam in a new place becomes easier.

  • Active revision is a great way to learn, this means plenty of past papers or simulated 11+ exam questions in exam conditions.

  • Visual aids such as spider diagrams showing all the different parts of a topic that needs to be learnt. This could be useful for summarising a subject; link the information in different ways and mark progress which will help give your child a sense of achievement.

  • Try using Mnemonics. This is a way of remembering information by using abbreviations, words or phrases. For example, we can remember colours to the rainbow by “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain” (Taking the first letter of each word to give you the first letter of the colour). The more personalised they are the more memorable they become and making them up could be loads of fun and is an indirect form of revision!

  • Rewards! As each 11+ topic is finished or if a better mark than expected is achieved, why not have a mini-treat for your child and yourselves? Another way of doing it is to set a target and the reward if it’s met.

  • When doing practice 11+ papers, check which style is going to be in the next test, it could be either the standard format or the multiple choice format. Most schools now use multiple choice style exam papers, but it’s still worth a check.

  • Some parents think that the insisting that their child does a standard format will make the multiple choice exam seem easier, however those using this approach should in the run up to the exam make the preparation as realistic as possible to the real thing.

  • Doing 11+ papers under exam conditions shows if the student needs to work on the speed by which he/she answers as every mark counts.

  • Use the answer book to go through a test paper to catch even the silliest mistake as everybody can make errors under timed conditions.

  • Understand what is learnt and apply that knowledge to problems, for example in maths, to reinforce the lesson.

  • Allocate more time to the subjects your child is weaker in, e.g. Verbal reasoning rather than letting him/her avoid it because then it seems more daunting.

  • Focus your energy on the process of studying rather than your eventual goal and ultimate result.

  • Make sure both parent and child have a good night’s sleep before the 11+ exam as you have to keep each other calm!

  • In the morning have a good breakfast for energy and leave early so that you arrive with plenty of time for the exam – again to keep both your inevitable nerves at bay…and avoid topics of conversation that make you tense.

  • We recommend that you talk constructively about the task ahead, “psyching” yourselves up to face the challenge rather than avoidance because that could just increase fear of the exam or of failure.

  • If your child starts to panic, stop them thinking self–defeating thoughts and tell them that whatever happens they will survive these 11+ tests!All they need to do is the best they can, and you will help them along the way. 

  • Remember - Brain is muscle, therefore just as you would after any other exercise, make sure your child rests in order to recover from activity and brain overload! It would also help them if when they were resting the talk is not still all about exams because that would be counter-productive too.

  • Plenty of exercise and nutritious food is a must to keep their brains in good working order – in terms of treats stay away from sugary rewards!
  • Another helpful tip is to make sure your child is sleeping properly so that they are fresh and happy for another gruelling day at the 11+ treadmill. If they are having trouble, a mug of hot chocolate could help or a long hot bath or perhaps even an extra 15 minutes of television to get their mind to relax.
  • The best way to prepare for the exam is to attend several mock exams povided by Advantage 11+. Give your child the real advantage of experiencing exam conditions ahead of the actual exam.

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