> www.thinksmilelearn.co.uk - from Think Smile LearnClosing - The Parent Teacher Centre, Sevenoaks Preparing your child for the 11+ when they are a

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www.thinksmilelearn.co.uk - from Think Smile Learn

Closing - The Parent Teacher Centre, Sevenoaks

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Preparing your child for the 11+ when they are as young as 6 is not uncommon. Some parents may think it is too early, but unpressurised, regular preparation builds confidence and greatly eases the pressure of exam revision in Year 5.

Early preparation for the 11+ does not mean going to the expense of employing a private tutor, or your child missing out on important free time at home. It simply means making some time – perhaps one hour, once or twice a week - to supplement your child's schoolwork by routinely focusing on the key areas of Maths and English (and Verbal/Non-verbal Reasoning) that really matter. The aim is to build solid foundations in the core subjects to steadily optimise your child’s performance throughout their primary education. When your son or daughter becomes old enough to sit formal exams, they will have been fully prepared and confident enough to take exams in their stride. Regardless of whether they take the 11+, the foundations for success have been laid.

Advantages of early preparation for the 11+

• Less stress and pressure to prepare in Year 5.

• Better performance in school with solid foundations.

• A self-confident, motivated child, able to grasp new concepts and accept challenges.

• Helps your child develop a very positive work ethic – worth its weight in gold!


Where do you start?

The area where you live will determine the content of the 11+ exam but we suggest preparation in all 4 subjects, since they are interlinked. Here are some key areas of the 4 subjects to focus on, when preparing your child for the 11+ in Years 3 and 4:


Solid mental maths skills in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

Thorough recall of number bonds to 10 is essential, e.g. 6+4, 8-5, 2+7
Times tables up to 12 are absolutely key – not just being able to recite them.
Not just being able to quickly answer e.g. 8x4,12x6, 7x7 – but actually understanding what they mean.


Good grammar, punctuation and narrative writing.

Full stops in the right places (don’t use “and then” instead of a full stop!)
Commas for lists.
Speech marks.
Alternative words for “said”, “nice” and other commonly used words.
READ to and with your child – reading stories and non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects is very important. Ask questions to test their understanding of what they have heard/read.

Verbal Reasoning

This is understanding and reasoning using words.

Build up a wide vocabulary of descriptive words.
Practise spelling, e.g. homophones (words that sound the same but are spelt differently).
Comprehension exercises to check memory and understanding of key points.
Solid mental maths skills.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

This is recognising patterns and similarities with shapes and diagrams, rather than words.

2D and 3D shapes.
Logical sequencing.
Solid mental maths skills.


Supporting your child

Keep the process as fun and relaxed as possible. Young children don't need to know that the activities and exercises they are doing have any connection with future exams. Building up a productive, positive and easy working relationship with your child is essential for their self-confidence. When children know you believe in them, that you praise them for their efforts (not just their achievement) and that you are happy to patiently help them, they will try their best to please you and work hard. They will even look forward to that special one-to one-time with you that is put aside for preparation.

The right resources and advice

If you think it might be beneficial to try some early preparation with your child but all of this seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry – we’re here to help. Think Smile Learn has everything your child needs to prepare for the 11+, from Year 3 to Year 6. We have a huge range of the most up to date, child-friendly preparation and fun activity books in each of the 4 possible subjects. We have educational games to make regular learning and preparation more varied. And we are more than happy to offer free advice and recommendations from qualified primary teachers, should you need it. If your child is in Year 5 and you’re worried they are not prepared, we can provide the right resources to fast-track their revision. Visit our website, give us a call, or pop into our shop in Broadstairs for more information.

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Think Smile Learn | 2 The Broadway | Broadstairs | CT10 2AD

Tel: 01843 600842