7 top tips for 11 Plus Exam Preparation (2024)

Every year, approximately 100,000 children take the 11 plus exam hoping to secure entry to either an independent or grammar schools for the following year. For many children, taking a test under exam conditions is an entirely new experience, so it is perfectly natural to feel nervous! If your child is sitting the exam this year, or you are both starting your 11 plus journey, our experts' seven top tips for preparing excelling in the 11 plus exams will help both you and your child build confidence and feel prepared for the milestone ahead. 


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2024 exam preppers

1. Find Your School’s Exam Board

The first step in your 11+ exam preparation journey is identifying the exam board of your target schools. Each board has its nuances, and knowing which one you're dealing with can significantly tailor your study approach. Start by visiting the school's website or contacting the admissions office. Armed with this knowledge, you can focus your preparation on the specific subjects and formats favoured by the board, ensuring no effort is wasted on irrelevant material.

2. Overview of 11 plus Exam Content

Knowing what you're up against is a huge part of preparing for success. The 11+ exams typically encompass English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. However, the weight and specifics of these subjects can vary by exam board and school. Get a high-level view of each subject:

  • English: Expect comprehension tasks and writing assignments, testing grammar, vocabulary, and creativity.
  • Maths: Focuses on problem-solving abilities, applying arithmetic operations, and understanding mathematical concepts.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Assesses logical thinking, vocabulary, and the ability to understand and analyse written information.
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning: Tests the ability to understand and analyse visual information, using patterns and shapes.

This quick overview sets the stage, but delve deeper into each subject with specific resources designed for the 11+ content.

3. Assessing Your Child’s Current Levels

Before you dive deep into revision, it's essential to understand your child's starting point.

EdPlace offers comprehensive assessment tools designed to pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement. These insights form the backbone of an efficient study plan, ensuring that time is allocated effectively to areas needing the most attention.

4. Crafting a Revision Plan

With a clear understanding of your child's strengths and weaknesses, it's time to craft a revision plan that's both realistic and robust. Here are some pointers:

  • Allocate more time to areas that need improvement but don't neglect strengths – they need polishing too.
  • Use EdPlace’s 11+ revision content to structure your plan, incorporating a mix of subjects each week to maintain variety and engagement.
  • Break down the study sessions into manageable chunks, ensuring there's enough time for breaks and leisure to keep the mind fresh and receptive.

5. Seeking Additional Exam Prep Support

With a strong foundation in place, it’s time to enhance your preparation with extra support. The 11+ journey can be intense, and external resources like courses and intensive workshops can make a significant difference. EdPlace offers a variety of 11+ courses and intensives tailored to bolster your child's understanding and confidence across all subjects. These programs are designed to challenge and inspire, providing deeper insights into exam techniques and subject mastery so your child can get the edge they need in order to excel.

6. Practicing Exam Techniques

Mastering the content is crucial, but understanding how to tackle exam questions efficiently is just as important. Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to exam techniques such as time management, understanding question formats, and strategic guessing for multiple-choice questions.

Regularly practicing under timed conditions can help your child develop a sense for the pace needed to complete each section of the exam. Use EdPlace’s resources to find practice questions and timed quizzes that mimic the real exam experience, helping your child become as prepared as possible.

7. Simulate and Practice in Exam Conditions

Creating an exam-like environment at home can drastically improve your child’s ability to perform under pressure. Simulating exam conditions – including timing, no distractions, and using the correct format of paper – can acclimatise your child to the demands of the day. EdPlace offers a collection of 11+ practice papers designed to mirror the exam experience as closely as possible, which when regularly completed can help identify any remaining areas for improvement, as well as building confidence and reducing exam day anxiety.


2025 exam preppers

1. Choose your grammar school

Long-term success begins with setting the right targets. If you're starting your 11+ preparation journey well in advance, take the time to research and select the grammar schools that best fit your child's abilities and aspirations.

Consider the school's ethos, academic performance, extracurricular offerings, and, importantly, the specifics of their 11+ exam. This early decision-making process will not only provide a clear goal to work towards but also allow for a tailored preparation plan that aligns with the chosen school's requirements.

2. Detailed Overview of 11+ Exam Content

With more time on your hands, delve deeper into the specifics of the 11+ exam content for your chosen schools. Understanding the fine details of what each subject entails – from the types of comprehension passages to the complexity of maths problems – can guide your study plan towards precise areas of focus. Here’s a quick overview of the subjects:

  • English: Expect comprehension tasks and writing assignments, testing grammar, vocabulary, and creativity.
  • Maths: Focuses on problem-solving abilities, applying arithmetic operations, and understanding mathematical concepts.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Assesses logical thinking, vocabulary, and the ability to understand and analyse written information.
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning: Tests the ability to understand and analyse visual information, using patterns and shapes.

Additionally, consider the overlap between exam boards if you're targeting multiple schools. Make sure to take the time to research the different exam boards for your target schools so you understand their nuances and are well prepared in advance.

3. Identifying if Your Child is a Good Candidate

Not every child will find the 11+ journey right for them, and there's immense value in early assessment to gauge suitability.

EdPlace provides an 11+ generic practice assessment tool designed to help parents understand whether the 11+ path aligns with their child's current abilities and learning style. This early assessment can help set realistic expectations and, if needed, pivot towards alternative educational paths that might better suit your child's strengths.

4. Building a Study Plan to Build Confidence

Creating a long-term study plan is pivotal for planners with a year or more until the exam. This plan should be comprehensive yet flexible, allowing for adjustments as your child progresses.

  • Incorporating EdPlace’s 11+ revision content into your study plan can provide a structured yet adaptable approach, ensuring all subjects are covered thoroughly.
  • Include regular review sessions to revisit previous topics, reinforcing knowledge and highlighting areas that require further attention.
  • A balanced plan also includes time for relaxation and hobbies, keeping your child motivated and preventing burnout.

Remember, confidence builds with mastery, so celebrate every small victory along the way.

5. Secure an 11+ Tutor

For some families, securing a tutor can provide additional support and personalised guidance through the 11+ preparation journey. A tutor can offer bespoke lessons tailored to your child's specific needs, filling gaps in knowledge and enhancing strengths.

When choosing a tutor, look for someone with experience in 11+ exams and a teaching style that matches your child’s learning preferences. Collaboration between you, your child, and the tutor is key to creating a supportive learning environment that encourages growth and confidence.

6. Test Progression to Understand Progress

Regular testing not only tracks progress but also familiarises your child with the exam format and question types they will encounter. Utilise EdPlace’s 11+ exam-style questions and assessments to benchmark progress, identifying areas of improvement and adjusting the study plan accordingly. These assessments mimic the challenge and pressure of the actual exam, offering invaluable practice in time management and question navigation. Regular feedback from these tests can guide your revision strategy, ensuring your child remains on track for exam success.

7. Sign-up for Group Learning

There’s immense value in learning alongside peers. Group learning can provide a supportive community for your child, offering opportunities to share knowledge, strategies, and encouragement. These sessions also introduce a competitive edge, motivating students to excel while benefiting from the collective wisdom of the group.

8. Practice Exam Techniques

For both crammers and planners, honing exam techniques is crucial. This final tip circles back to the importance of understanding how to approach the exam strategically. From managing time effectively across different sections to mastering the art of educated guessing when uncertain, these skills can significantly impact performance.

Regular practice with these techniques will ensure your child enters the exam room ready to tackle whatever comes their way.

We hope you feel more confident and ready to get started - with EdPlace’s tailored resources, experienced tutors, and supportive community, your child has everything they need to excel. Start by assessing their current level, craft a personalised study plan, and take advantage of our expert resources designed for both crammers and planners. Visit EdPlace today to explore how we can help transform your 11 plus preparation.