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Mother, London


With the 11+ Examinations just around the corner, a parent may wonder how they can best prepare their son/ daughter for this demanding process. A child who is overly-tired due to completing practice papers every day during the festive season may not perform successfully when they come to sitting the actual assessments in January. There are, however, certain things one can do to prepare and limit the tension and stress the process can cause.

English Comprehension and Verbal Reasoning:

Rather than making them sit endless practice papers in silence, it is important for them to read…read…read! Reading not only helps your child’s comprehension skills but the art of reading also further develops their imagination and thought process. Whilst your child is immersed in their book, talk to them about what they are reading! Ask them questions about what has happened in the last chapter (or last paragraph) or ask them to describe a character they like within the book. Encourage your child to use descriptive language – children should engage actively in developing their language skills and the only way they can do this is speaking aloud.

English Writing:

A ‘fun’ and easy way to develop your child’s writing ability and speed is to place them beside a window or another suitable place and ask them to write a description of what they can see in front of them. A window during December is perfect; each day can bring a different view as the weather and scene changes. Time them for ten minutes and see how much they write. Two or three days later, sit them in the same place (perhaps at a different time during the day) and give them ten minutes again… the writing will be different due to the fact that what they can see will be different. Do this a few times over the holidays and you will realise that your child will complete more writing in the same ten minutes in January than they completed when they started the activity in December.


Allow your child to access Maths in every day scenarios… at this time of year ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is perfect for exploring different aspects of mathematical ability. For example, if the Maids-a-milking were in the same room as the Lords-a-leaping, how many people would be in the room? Or ask them how many pairs of shoes are needed for the eleven pipers. Testing or asking your child about their times tables and the four operations of Maths can be done easily and at random times in order to keep their brain focussed.


At this crucial stage, just before the exams, it is vital that the stress is kept to a minimum and that an unpressurised approach can be extremely beneficial when the assessments actually take place. It is important that you balance your child’s workload with their holiday time so that they (and you) feel ready and relaxed to perform to the best of their ability in January.


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