Life is all about preparation and as adults, we know how vital it is to be prepared for certain challenges that we face. However, children don’t have that life experience and so, preparing for their 11+ exams relies on parents to guide them in the right direction, ensuring that they are adequately prepared.
Exams can prove extremely stressful, even for younger children. So, imagine how they would feel going into an exam without any prior preparation. They’ll feel frightened, alone, scared and even experience the feelings that come with potential failure. Negative feelings at this point in their life will have a negative impact in the future but that can be avoided.
As an adult, we have all heard of the saying “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” but we can step in and help our children in a positive way. We can give them the encouragement, skills and ability to take the 11+ exams with confidence and self-belief.
So When Should You Begin Preparing
There is no hard or fast rule here but taking your time is always a smart move. Every child is different and some learn quickly and are better at absorbing information in readiness for using that information quickly while others take time to store that information. However, in most cases, slow and steady gives your children the ability to learn at a pace that is free from pressure and worry. Gradually, it’s possible to enhance their learning and prepare them in a way that leaves them feeling confident.
Preparing for 11+exams can prove daunting but the sooner you begin the process, the more beneficial it will be. There is no such thing as starting too soon, so don’t be afraid to begin the process when your child is in year three. It’s about creating a steady and consistent flow of learning that does not pin your child down to a few months leading up to the exams. They’ll embrace the process better and get more from it.
Children might have a superb ability to retain information but that doesn’t mean that they can learn everything in a matter of weeks or months. They have to be given time to familiarise themselves with the questions they are going to be asked and the subjects that will be covered. They are going to need to improve their vocabulary and widen it considerably but this is not about memorising but about instilling it in them so they can recall it when required during the exam. This is a process that cannot take place overnight but instead requires time. The more time they have, the better they will learn.
The learning process also involves a lot of learning materials. Just seeing the sheer volume in one go can prove daunting and frightening. So, by taking more time and spreading the learning process over a longer period, it is possible to create a timetable and a structure that works. The material can be introduced, studied and the information retained in a way that is stress-free. It also provides more time to cover areas that take longer to learn. The more time you take, allows you to find natural gaps for breaks without feeling as though it all has to be crammed in.
With time and the right structure, preparing for 11+ exams does not have to be a challenge for both you and your child.