Tracking your child’s progress for the 11 plus (11+)
It is essential to track your child’s progress as they study for their entrance exams so that when it comes time for them to sit their actual exam(s), they can go in confidently. This article will cover suggestions for what to test your child on and what questions you should consider when reviewing their progress.
First, you need a starting point, something from which you can track your child’s progress week-by-week. We suggest setting weekly challenges covering the subject areas they will be tested on to improve their skills in these areas gradually. The following are some examples of challenges you could set.
Spelling & Vocabulary Challenge
Create a weekly list of ten new vocab; you can tack on words your child struggled with in previous weeks to check they have recalled their spelling and meaning. For some inspiration, you can pull vocabulary from our extensive 11+ vocabulary list and find related tips for this challenge in this blog article on How to improve your child’s vocabulary. We also recommend you look at our Spelling & Vocabulary resources, beginning with our Foundation series and progressing onto our Advanced series.
Try to cover all the books in our 11+ reading list, which comes with a Free PDF Download weekly reading tracker. If your child struggles with reading, build up the difficulty of their reading material from more accessible younger audience books to more challenging books for KS2 and KS3 readers. If your child needs help improving their reading and comprehension skills, we recommend our Examberry Children’s Classics reading workbooks, which include comprehension exercises.
Creative Writing Challenge
Set your child a weekly or fortnightly creative writing prompt so they can exercise their imagination and writing abilities. For example, ‘Write a story about a girl who discovers she has superpowers’ or ‘Create a story continuing on from this sentence: Today, I woke up and decided to travel to the moon…’. We recommend practising using our 11+ English standard format papers, which contain creative writing sections, our previously mentioned Spelling & Vocabulary resources, and our Punctuation packs for improving overall writing skills.
Mental Maths Challenge
Come up with weekly quizzes for your child that test, for example, their ability to recall times tables and prime numbers and solve multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction problems. You can aid their mental maths practice with our 11+ Maths 10-Minute Tests which target this particular skill.
Practice Papers Challenge
The best way to track your child’s progress is for them to regularly complete practice papers in timed conditions and for you to mark them. We have a range of 11+ practice tests that are school-specific and subject-specific, including maths, English, verbal and non-verbal reasoning in multiple-choice and standard formats, available in PDF Download and physical formats. Our expert writing team has designed these practice tests to replicate actual 11+ exam papers and include answer sheets with explanations.
Progress Review Questions
On a weekly and monthly basis, in the lead-up to your child’s entrance exams, you should regularly review their progress to ensure they are on track to passing their exams. The following are important questions you should be asking yourself when reviewing your child’s progress.
What is your child scoring in their practice papers?
Setting a target score
There may be some fluctuation in their results, more so in the earlier stages of their 11+ practice as there may be a learning curve for them to overcome, especially in subjects like non-verbal and verbal reasoning, which they are not taught in school, but generally, ask yourself, are their scores going up or down week-by-week? You want to see their results going up!
Research if their targeted school has a pass mark and help your child work to exceed this mark through consistent practice, as this is typically only the baseline eligibility mark for your child to be considered by their admissions team, which does not guarantee a place at the school. It can also be helpful to set a target score because not only does your child have something to work towards, but you know that if they are not meeting that score, you may have to reconsider your study plan to account for the areas they are struggling in.
How quickly is your child completing their practice papers?
Sitting papers in exam conditions
On-time? Early? Late? It’s great if your child can answer all the questions correctly, but if they cannot complete the paper within the time restraints, they could still miss out on marks, making all the difference in these highly competitive exams. At the same time, your child rushing to tell you they completed their practice papers in no time at all could also be a red flag; are they rushing through the paper and risking losing marks by not taking the time to read questions and think about their answers carefully?
Therefore, it is vitally important that your child sits their practice tests in exam conditions. Make sure to research the exact timings for the various entrance exams they may be sitting, as timings can differentiate across schools and consortiums. Each paper may be broken down into several timed sections (e.g. sections of 25 minutes), and they may include shorter-timed practice sections (e.g. only 5 minutes), so keep in mind it may not just be a one-time limit (e.g. of 60 minutes) that your child has to keep track of on their examination day.
In the earlier stages of their 11+ study journey, you may have to focus on your child understanding the questions and learning how to figure out the correct answers; this part of their journey may not involve a timer. However, the quicker you can implement exam conditions, the more experience your child will have in completing papers on time, so we highly recommend you make this transition as soon as possible.
Are there any subjects your child is particularly struggling in?
Is your child progressing steadily in all subjects except one? Maybe they aren’t naturally disposed toward numerical thinking or struggle with reading and creative writing. It is a good idea to track how your child is performing across all subject areas they will be tested on in their exam, which could include maths, English, non-verbal and verbal reasoning.
Even if your child performs excellently in, for example, their maths exam, if they perform poorly in their English exam, they could lose out on their place at their chosen school as scores are typically weighted across subject areas and put into a total score. This is why we offer a range of papers to cover all subject areas; see our recommended 11+ resources below to help your child along their 11+ study journey.
If you would like recommendations tailored to your child’s targeted schools as well as subjects and skill areas they need help with, please fill out a request form for Free Papers Recommendations.
One of the most effective way to prepare for an 11+ entrance exam is to use practice tests written by experts.
We offer a range of 11+ revision resources including area & school-specific papers, subject-specific papers, spelling & vocabulary resources, and reading books.
Each of our practice tests:
Key Recommendations for the 11+
11+ GL Assessment (Style A) Practice Tests 1-4 Bundle (Download)£54.99 Add to basket
11+ Maths (Multiple Choice) – Pack 1 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ Maths (Multiple Choice) – Pack 2 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ English (Multiple Choice) – Pack 1 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ English (Multiple Choice) – Pack 2 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ English (Standard Format) – Pack 1 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ English (Standard Format) – Pack 2 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ Maths (Standard Format) – Pack 1 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ Maths (Standard Format) – Pack 2 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ Verbal Reasoning – Pack 1 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ Verbal Reasoning – Pack 2 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning – Pack 1 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning – Pack 2 (Download)£14.99 Add to basket
On our sister site, Examberry Tuition, you can also sign up for in-person or online 11+ tuition courses to give your child the best chance of getting into the top school of their choice.
We offer a variety of course formats and teaching styles to make the 11+ tuition process flexible for your child’s learning needs.
With a passion for education, Examberry consistently succeeds in helping pupils achieve places at their chosen schools.
You can also book places for mocks through our sister site, Examberry Mocks. For the most realistic replication of actual exam conditions, we recommend you sign your child up to sit as many mock exams as possible before their entrance exam. Examberry Mocks are great because they operate on a level system, wherein at each of the three levels, the difficulty of the papers gradually increases to work alongside your child’s progress.
Suppose you are unsure of which mocks to sign-up for. In that case, you can fill out a request form for a Free Exam Preparation Plan, which will include recommended mocks for your child’s targeted schools and provide recommended practice tests and other resources for these schools.