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How To Help Your Child Ace The 11+: Preparation, Exam Guidance & Revision Tips

26/01/2023 / 11+ Tuition

If your child is in a primary school in England or Northern Ireland then you may find that they are required to sit the 11+ exam in Year 6. The 11+ is a standardised test that works as an entrance test for some secondary schools and provides up to date information on the academic abilities of each pupil that sits it.

The 11+ is an important part of the curriculum and getting your child ready for it is sure to be high on your list of priorities. However, not all children will be as motivated as you’d like them to be, so we’ve shared some simple ideas that you can use to get them to understand the importance of the exam and ensure that they are working to their potential.

Discuss the Exam Long Before it is Due to Take Place

One of the best ways to get your child motivated is to make the 11+ something that they expect. Many parents don’t put any focus on the exam until it is just a few weeks away and then expect their child to get onboard with studying at the last minute. In reality, this can cause a lot of unexpected stress and unhappiness, especially when your child doesn’t see the point in the work you are asking them to do.

The best way to avoid these issues is to discuss the exam long before they are due to take it and create a revision and learning plan that fits in around their life. Doing this will ensure that they are fully prepared without expecting them to cram for the last couple of weeks and enable them to get the help they need in good time so that you can address any issues long before they are tested on their skills.

Make Learning Part of Every Day Life

Another great way to ensure that your child is motivated for ht upcoming 11+ exams is to make their learning journey something that is expected in their life. Whether that means daily reading, problem solving tasks or fun learning sessions, taking the time to help your child make educational progress is a great way to help them see the importance of learning.

Remember that learning doesn’t need to be boring either – you can have educational days out, get them to complete a specific project or just enjoy quick fire learning games together. Every moment you can spend helping them learn will stand them in good stead for the 11+ exam and all their other future exams too!

Create Healthy Learning Schedules

Plenty of children will struggle to sit for extended periods of time when it comes to revision sessions, which can result in poor retention and behaviour. Rather than expecting them to complete hours of work at a time, create a learning schedule that fits in with rest of their life instead of making them miss out on the things they love.

Each revision slot should last no more than 45 minutes and be broken up into lots of different activities so that they can remain focused and maximise their learning potential. It’s also important to remember that learning can take many different forms, so keep up with sports and other after school activities to help your child feel motivated about their learning journey.

Encourage Honest Communication About the Future

One of the most common retorts amount children is ‘when will I need to use that in the future’, especially when it comes to a specific point of learning or a subject that they do not enjoy. Rather than getting frustrated and responding negatively, take the time to talk about the future.

Letting your children know what they need to do in advance not only helps them feel prepared, but it also encourages healthy dialogue about the purpose of the 11+ and what it could mean for the future. Work with them to think about what they want to achieve in life but don’t worry too much about specifics – so instead of getting them to talk about a career they want, discuss the lifestyle they’d like instead and then relate that back to the importance of doing well at school.

Employ An Online 11+ Tutor

If, no matter what you try, your child is not motivated or is finding 11+ preparation hard, hiring an online 11+ tutor could be the best way forward. The best online 11+ tutor services offer qualified teachers who have in-depth experience of the national curriculum and know how to work with your child to help them succeed and feel inspired.

Take your time to find a tuition service that provides the support you are looking for and don’t be afraid to ask about the credentials of their tutors as high-quality services like the one we offer at Principal Tutors will be happy to share everything you need to know. Plus, picking an online 11+ tutor means that you can fit sessions in wherever you are, as long as you have a good internet connection and a tablet, smart device or computer with you.

Model Good Habits

Our final trick to help motivate your child is to model the behaviour you are hoping to see. For example, a parent that takes the time to pick up and enjoy reading a good book is more likely to raise a child that is interested in reading. The same applies to learning and will help your child to feel more excited about taking on a new challenge if they feel that you are willing to take part too.

Modelling is also important when it comes to skills such as being resilient and dealing with stress. If you are able to show your children healthy ways to get ready for exams, they are more likely to feel prepared and motivated when the 11+ day arrives. We all know the stresses and strains that modern families face, but spending quality time showing your children what to do will always be more inspiring than telling them what you expect.

Our Top Revision Tips for the 11+ To Help Your Child Succeed

Preparing your child for the 11+ can be a daunting task, especially when you have to juggle work, home life and supporting other loved ones. To help you get a head start, we’ve put together some top tips to help you and your child prepare for the upcoming exam – take a look and get started today!

Keep Things Calm

Preparing for an exam is stressful, but keeping your child as calm as possible is the first step to success. It’s important to remember that the 11+ will often be the first formal exam a child will take and ensuring that they feel calm and positive about what’s ahead will help them achieve the best results and leave them feeling confident about future exams.

Start by working out how many weeks you have to prepare and remind them that you will be doing work together to help them get ready. Avoid reminding them every day or making study time stressful by pressuring them about the exam; instead, focus on the mantra little and often to help them get ready successfully.

Create a Revision Plan

Rather than trying to cover everything in one session, take the time to come up with a revision plan for your child to follow and stick to it. Many well qualified people credit their academic success to organisation and taking the time to break things down into manageable chunks. Picking out the key exam areas is a great way to map out your child’s revision plan.

Remember that your child will need regular breaks to ensure adequate focus when studying and creating revision slots of no more than 30 – 45 minutes will help to keep everyone on task. You should also remember that they will need time to relax, play, exercise and have fun, so creating a schedule that recognises this will help to get them onboard with the revision tasks you want them to achieve.

Find Out Where They Need Help

Trying to get your child to study everything could be a waste of time, especially when their knowledge in strong in specific areas. Take the time to find out where they need the most input and then arrange your revision plan so that there is more time to cover those areas and less time for the bits that they are more confident with.

To get a clear picture of their understanding, read their school reports, ask them what they find hard at school and talk to their teacher. It can feel overwhelming if your child is struggling with a specific part of their studies, but spending time with them and working together can be a powerful way of developing their knowledge and confidence.

Think About Core Skills

Creating a positive learning environment is hugely important when you want your child to feel successful and one of the easiest ways to do that is by making learning something that you do all the time. From having fun with sums to creating exciting stories, there are plenty of learning opportunities that you can incorporate into your every day lives.

The 11+ focuses on verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills across Maths and English, so taking the time to do plenty of activities that are rooted in these areas will help your child to achieve excellent results. Mental maths, problem solving, creating writing, grammar and vocabulary tasks are all great starting points.

Try Sample Exam Papers

When you get started with 11+ preparation, it is a good idea to complete a couple of sample exam papers to find out which question types your child needs support with. Each question will have time constraints and specific requirements, so it is wise to work through a paper with your child first to see if they are able to navigate the instructions properly.

Once you are confident that your child knows how to handle each question type, you can provide them with sample papers at specific study milestones too gauge how well the revision activities are paying off and to which areas need some more help.

Consider Hiring an Online 11+ Tutor

If you are working full time or have other people to support, you may struggle to have enough time to help your child prepare as much as you’d like for their 11+ exam. Rather than missing study sessions or falling behind in other aspects of your life, why not consider hiring an online 11+ tutor who can work with your child instead?

Online tutoring not only provides your child with access to a professional with expert knowledge, but it also fits in with your schedule from whatever location you are in. All you need is access to a computer or tablet device and a steady internet signal. Plus, when you choose a professional tutoring service like the Principal Tutors service, you can be certain that your child will be supported by an appropriately qualified teacher who has extensive knowledge of the National Curriculum.

Know When to Stop

Preparation is an important part of exam success, but it is also essential that you teach your children to know when to stop. Getting the best results may be a key aim for your kids but achieving an appropriate balance will help to teach them contentment and acceptance.

Once your study session has finished for the day, make sure that you have something fun and/or relaxing planned together too. This will not only give you both something to look forward to but also help to strengthen your bond and keep your relationship healthy.

Remember Resilience

Finally, once the 11+ has been completed, you will need to work with your child to prepare for the results. Many children feel an inordinate amount of pressure to impress their parents and getting a test result that isn’t what they had hoped can crush them and leave them feeling despondent. Taking time to build their resilience and reassure them will make it easier for them to take a balanced view when the results come in.

Some of the best ways to build resilience include creating a non-judgemental environment, creating achievable goals, supporting them to master key techniques, recognising that failing also provides opportunities and sharing coping strategies that they can deploy in times of stress.


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