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Essential Summer Preparation for 11+ Success

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

The summer holidays are fast approaching and this is an ideal opportunity to assess where your child is in their 11+ journey. This will enable you to take the right steps to ensure your child has the best possible chance of success. Here are my 5 top tips:

1. Create a summer revision timetable. Whether you have been following a formal 11+ revision timetable for a little while or you are planning to use the summer holidays to focus on 11+ skills, the start of the summer holidays is the perfect time to identify what your child's strengths and weaknesses are. Put a summer revision timetable up somewhere visible and remember to include days off! Also, schedule in some time for reading by working through my 11+ reading list.

2. Develop exam technique. With only a few months to go, now is the time to develop your child’s exam technique. The key things to focus on are:

  • CEM vs GL exam – These are the two major 11+ exam boards. Familiarise yourself with the skills and techniques needed and the formats used.

  • Timed exam practice – Timed past papers should be taken regularly to help aid your child’s 11+ preparation. Children must get used to working in silence and to a strict time limit. Introduce a 'game element' to this by using timers/ buzzers.

  • Exam mindset – Try to talk about the 11+ positively with a focus on the exams being a chance for your child to show off their skills and knowledge. Discuss things like breathing techniques as a means of calming themselves down if they start to feel nervous.

  • Get organised – Encourage your child to have the correct stationery, have a drink of water and pop to the toilet before they do a mock exam at home as they usually would do at the start of a real exam.

3. Vary their revision. There are plenty of different formats that children can use to vary their revision, from online mock tests and quizzes that encourage short bursts of practice with instant feedback to more traditional past papers and revision books. There is a nice range of methods used to make revision a little more interesting and varied for your child so do take advantage of these.

4. Consider a tutor. Although time is running short in terms of 11+ preparation, tutoring is still an option. Just be aware that many tutors might be wary of taking on new students with such little time to prepare them effectively. Keep an open mind if leaving it so late to find a tutor as some students may have been preparing for the 11+ for years in advance which would obviously be advantageous. There are however many summer revision groups available to boost your child's learning in the areas that need further consolidation. These options would definitely be worth exploring.

5. Take a break. It is extremely important to allow your child to take a little time off from revision during the long summer break. The 11+ journey can be overwhelming, therefore taking a week or so off would be more beneficial in the long run to allow your child the necessary time to recharge.

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