Your child can do it!
Most private primary schools make selective secondary or grammar school exam preparation
(11 Plus) part of their curriculum, while state schools do not go out of their way
to help children to this end as a matter of policy. It is true, therefore, that early
state school education attendees are somewhat disadvantaged in the competition for
very sparse State Selective School places. Nevertheless, many children are able to
break through the barrier, either because they are lucky enough to be highly talented
or thanks to their parents concerted efforts.
Your child can also do it.
Prerequisites for Eleven Plus success are determined not only by initiating and maintaining
your child’s desire to be part of that exiting and in all event, rewarding experience,
but also by being prepared to afford your child the time and guidance that this undertaking
Unfortunately, only in exceptional cases would a child achieve high enough scores
in the 11 Plus Exams after trying his/her hand in just a few practice papers. So,
the path to winning the battle does not come easy even for the private school children,
as the competition is very tough.
On the other hand, all the good intentions, effort, hard work and sleepless nights
may not open that allusive door, unless the revision process is structured and progressive.
Unless, you as parents, recognise the philosophy behind the 11 Plus selection phenomenon,
which shapes the question techniques and logic of the actual exam papers. You can
only do that by doing a bit of homework of your own to get an insight into the many
question categories in all subject areas by obtaining past 11 Plus Exam Papers from
your Selective School Consortiums or LEAs that set the exams. Alternatively, you
may seek to employ the skills and experience of good 11 Plus tutor to aid your child’s
targeted learning process. In any case though, your participation and parental direction
in the whole affair is paramount.
So, it is no good throwing your child unceremoniously into the task of answering
endless number of practice and past exam papers. No one is better equipped then you
to make use of your child’s learning psychology to determine which subject matter
and what question categories would help enhance her/his self-confidence and which
ones need special attention. For further reading see our blog.
Always play to your child’s strengths to overcome the weaknesses. Structure the 11
Plus revision cycles in a way that would add brick upon brick while keeping the enthusiasm
alive and kicking.
There is a grey area here, which stimulates conflicting opinions. What are the incentives
that should be used to keep the desire fresh? Over emphasising the wonders of attending
one of these selective schools may come back to haunt you, should your child be unlucky
enough not to succeed. However, as you will find out for yourself, many sittings
of revision, repetitive practice paper sessions will have their toll and the interest
and concentration will waiver, at times to a breaking point. Hence, parents must
closely monitor children’s progress, while paying special attention to their involvement
You may notice a tendency of marked drops in the levels of achievement in the individual
practice paper or mock test scores or you might observe erratic oscillations in the
scores for no obvious reason. These are the tell tale signs of the child burning-out,
loosing interest or getting inpatient that could prove to be detrimental to his/her
chances of success and under no circumstances should be taken lightly. Here however,
one must distinguish between noticeable trends of diminishing results and occasional
inconsistencies in the concentration and achievement levels that can creep into the
equation for quite obvious reasons. If you notice anything untoward in the academic
behaviour of the child that gives you concern, stop the revision work immediately
or bring it down to absolute minimum for a week or two. Let her/him have a break
playing, going to movies or something. Do not hide your concerns from the child.
Share it with him/her, but emphasise the temporary nature of the dip.
Go back to the usual format of revision, only when you are satisfied that your son
or daughter has come out of the temporary decline. Every child is different, of course,
and it is quite likely that for your child such a scenario will never occur. Therefore,
there is no need to become obsessed with this and loose your sleep over it, not only
because it may inadvertently disrupt the whole revision work, but also it may trigger
such a scenario by becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. Nevertheless, be prepared
for the eventuality, so that you are ready to act when called upon. Our forum may
be an ideal port of call to discuss such matters. I am sure other parents, who went
through it all, would not mind sharing their experiences on the topic if asked discreetly.
I must apologise here for sounding somewhat patronising or getting carried away,
but I have seen enough examples of this in my tutoring endeavours to know what it
can do to a child and parents alike. As we all know, becoming over zealous about
our children’s education can sometimes be counter productive by putting too much
burden on the shoulders of an 10 year old.