Advice on the New 11+ Exam

Advice on the New 11+ Exam
August 18, 2015
Marilyn Brydges

Next year, as you all know, the 11+ exam is changing and many educators are predicting that there will be a significant number of children who will do poorly on these exams. What can be done? We wanted to help give some advice to parents of children who will be doing the 11+ exam this coming year. We have spoken to various teachers and tutors who work in teaching this exam and have come up with the following advice to give to your children:

Verbal Reasoning Section:

Verbal Reasoning can be tricky as a wide range of skills are tested, from logic problems to number equations. Here are some ways to focus your preparation:
1. Read the question carefully. This is crucial: answer what the question is actually asking, not what you expect.
2. Learn vocabulary. Though this is also important for the English questions, it can be central to Verbal Reasoning. A difficult word may trip you up, but it is a simple aspect to improve: always look in a dictionary any unfamiliar words that you may come across. Getting into this habit is a sure way to gain marks!
3. Think outside the box. After reading the question closely, the answer may still be not what you first expect, so look carefully over all the possible answers.
4. Focus on the relevant information. Questions may try to distract you with unrelated details. Try to recognise this and concentrate on the main parts.
5. Read the question very carefully. If you have been reading carefully, you might have seen this tip already!
Non-Verbal Reasoning Section

In contrast to Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning focuses on conceptual thinking. Everything is visual and there are fewer words. Here are some tips to guide your practice:
1. Don’t rush! Take your time to work out what is being asked. Trying to visualise the question can be helpful.
2. Think carefully. Conceptual questions can vary a lot in complexity. Take care if the question requires multiples steps to obtain the answer.
3. Look closely. The difference between correct and incorrect can be very small.
4. Deduce exactly what is being asked. When confronting a new question type ensure that you understand it. Likewise, be wary of similar question types: a rotated shape is different from a reflected one!
5. Focus on relevant differences. Work out what varies the answer choices and how they relate to the question.

Tips for English Comprehension
Skills learnt in your English lessons can be invaluable to this section. Here are a few tips to make the most of your time:
1.Read the text. Twice. When checking your answers, it may even be worth reading it all the way through a third time!
2.Read the question. After reading the text so closely, treat the questions similarly.
3.Learn vocabulary. An unfamiliar word can obscure the meaning of the whole text. Widen your knowledge by looking up new words you find in a dictionary, or asking someone else.
4.Practice whenever and wherever you can. Reading a story? Or a bit of history? Ask yourself questions that are similar to those that will come up. Challenge yourself!
5.Revise. What is the difference between a simile and a metaphor? How is a story narrated in the first person? Make sure that you know these!

Good luck to anyone tackling the 11+ exam this year!