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11 Plus (11+) exam technique tips to give your child the edge

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

5 Exam Technique Tips for the 11 Plus (11+)

Below we have compiled our top five easy-to-remember 11 plus (11+) exam technique tips for giving your child the edge in their entrance exams.


1. Research the exam before

It is important that you research the exam to make sure you and your child thoroughly understand what the entrance exam will require and any key details surrounding it. You should consider researching these together:

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  • Exam format: how long is the exam, what is the exam board, is it multiple-choice and/or standard-format?
  • Subject areas the exam will cover: these could include a combination of English (comprehension and/or creative writing task), maths, verbal & non-verbal reasoning (spatial reasoning)
  • Location of the exam: at their current school, on site, or online?
  • Exam rules: this may include for example no food, phones, or calculators). 

2. Read the instructions & questions carefully

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When helping your child prepare for the exam, encourage them not to rush through the instructions and questions just to reach the end of the paper. They could easily make mistakes by missing important information found on the front of their question booklet or by misreading the questions.

Before the exam begins, they should listen closely to any instructions the invigilator may provide as well as take a moment to read any further instructions on the paper/screen itself. They should read and address each question both thoughtfully and efficiently.


3. Keep track of time

Following on from the above point, efficiency is also important. Your child should keep track of time so they are able to answer each question before they run out of it. By starting the exam with an idea of how much time they will allocate to each question, they should be able to get through all the content they need to.

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If they get stuck they should move on prioritising questions that carry the most marks and leaving some time at the end to review the questions they had to set aside to look at with fresh eyes. If worse comes to worse and they have no clue, make sure they know it’s alright to guess – especially with multiple-choice papers, if they are choosing from A,B ,C, D, or E, they have a 20% chance of getting it right!


4. Stay focused

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An exam hall can be a stressful, distracting environment for your child to take an exam in so set them up with some good stress management techniques to stay focused on their exam such as:

  • Mindful breathing: taking some calming breaths if they are feeling overwhelmed
  • Staying hydrated: Drinking some water if they are allowed
  • Having visual touchstones: Looking only at their paper/clock during the exam instead of drifting their attention to what the other students are doing


If there is a disruption during the exam from another student, remind them that the invigilator will handle it, and they need to just stay focused on their own exam. 

5. Practise with papers & mocks

The best way your child can improve their exam technique is through practice leading up to their actual exams. The two best ways to practise are through practice papers and mocks, both of which Examberry offers.

Practice papers help your child to familiarise themselves with the exam format and content whilst mocks help your child to grow in confidence under exam conditions. 

For the most effective 11+ preparation, have a look at these packs:

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