We made the Tutorful Ultimate 11+ Resource list!

We are delighted to have made the Tutorful's shortlist of Ultimate 11+ Resources. Their blog was published today and can be accessed via the following link - https://tutorful.co.uk/blog/the-ultimate-list-of-11-plus-resources-past-papers-guides-and-expert-advice

We work very hard to make sure our materials are the best they can be and help prepare children for their upcoming exams in a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

We have just finished our Easter workshops which were incredibly successful and provided an excellent opportunity for consolidation and revision.

So much Maths.....

Most of the entrance exams your child will take will be based on content covered by the KS2 National Curriculum Maths programme, but some of the questions will be concepts that they may be less familiar with. It can be quite overwhelming when you look at the range of concepts that have come up in past papers! In recent years, the emphasis has moved much more towards reasoning and application of knowledge rather than straightforward arithmetical processing. Below is a list of the types of topics that are often covered in the test:

  • Calculations involving fractions, decimals and percentages
  • Area and perimeter (including compound shapes and triangles)
  • Properties of 2D & 3D shape – (including nets, capacity, surface area, line/reflective & rotational symmetry, internal & external angles)
  • Algebra
  • Time, speed & distance problems (including timetables, average speed, journey time)
  • Measures – kg/g/mg, l/ml/cl, mm/cm/m/km – including conversions
  • Codes and sequences – numerical, verbal & non-verbal
  • Data handling – bar charts, block graphs, frequency tables, pie charts, Venn & Carroll diagrams
  • Missing number sums
  • Properties of number – prime, square, cube, factors, multiples, etc.
  • Co-ordinates
  • Word Problems
  • Calculations involving the four arithmetical operations & rules of BIDMAS.

This list is by no means exhaustive and the questions can be presented in a variety of ways. One of the most important things your child can do, in order to make understanding and answering these questions easier, is to have instant recall of their times tables and strong arithmetical processing skills (+/-/x/÷). Learning to read the question carefully is SO important - often children fail to give the answer to the question asked. Organising their working out and,  in some instances, drawing or plotting the problem on their paper increases their chances of arriving at the correct answer. Try to find ways to engage and challenge: this will lead to consolidating your child’s knowledge, progressing their learning and concreting their core skills and understanding. This could be done via the wide range of published materials available; my personal favourites are the Bond 11+ series (www.bond11plus.co.uk) , CGP (www.cgpbooks.co.uk) and Schofield & Sims (www.schofieldandsims.co.uk) ranges) to use at home. You may choose to use a tutor to help guide your child through the process - make sure you find one that suits you and your child. Nearer the actual exam, use past or practice papers to help hone exam technique and timings.

Let's talk about reading.....

Getting your child into the habit of reading on a regular basis is a great way to help your child develop their English skills in preparation for their 11+ or other entrance exams. Diverse reading helps to broaden your child’s vocabulary and is a key way for improving performance in selective and independent school comprehension papers and creative writing. It is important to encourage children to read from a young age; this improves their fluency, their knowledge of the English language and the wider world, whilst also helping to cement an interest in reading which will stand them in good stead for years to come. In many respects, as long as the reading materials are of high quality, it does not matter on what subjects the literature covers. Indeed, the most important aspect to encourage children to read at this age is to find a genre that interests them and which stimulates their enthusiasm for reading. 

Additional benefits of regular reading are an increased ability to identify and understand the use and purpose of literary techniques such as metaphors, similes, personification, alliteration, adjectives, fronted adverbials, etc. within texts. It also has a significant impact on the development of their writing – another important skill which is often tested by entrance exams for selective and independent schools.

Whilst getting your child into a routine of reading regularly, it is also important to ensure you expose your child to different types of literature, such as short stories, poems, plays, non-fiction, letters, magazines and newspaper articles; the more the better! In doing so, your child will start to build an understanding of the differences in how these pieces of literature are constructed, the importance of past, present and future tense, direct and indirect speech and much more.

At 11 Plus Pod we have compiled a list of books (see separate PDF) which we recommend for children between the ages of 8-11. This predominantly lists works of fiction, but we do recommend children are exposed to as many different genres of literature as possible (see above). Children can access books in a variety of ways: traditional printed books, eReaders such as Kindle and iPad, online, audiobooks, local and/or school library, etc. If your child is struggling to find books that they enjoy, local and school librarians can be a great free source of advice and inspiration.

As parents, we often stop reading aloud to our children once they have achieved fluency or have completed their school reading scheme. Being read to is also incredibly beneficial as it often helps bring the book alive and stimulates discussion directly about the passage and underlying themes. These conversations help your child develop their skills of inference and deduction which are higher level comprehension skills vital to developing increased understanding of the texts.

Promoting reading and its benefits is hard in today's fast-moving, instant access and digital age. Books can often seem boring or time-consuming, requiring lots of effort and thought, when a whole world of entertainment is at our fingertips via television, the internet and game consoles but perseverance is key. Sometimes it can be one book, or one author, that fires the imagination and triggers enthusiasm and interest - so don't give up!