Top Tips in Preparing to Sit Your 11+
TIP 1: Do NOT stress yourself out
One of the most important things is to not stress yourself out the point where you feel sick or can’t sleep. It’s okay to be nervous – sometimes that can even be good because it lets you know that this is important – but stressing yourself out to the point where the 11+ takes priority over everything in your life is not a good idea AT ALL. You need to have breaks in your studying, you need to spend time with your family, you need to relax. This is still your life – you’re not going to get it back and you’ll be sad if later you realize you spent years of your childhood in lockdown revision mode.
But don’t just skip revision or have breaks every 5 minutes. You still need to prepare for this exam – it’s important – but you don’t need to prepare for it to the exclusion of all else.
TIP 2: Get a good revision source
The Bond practice revision books are very good for this. They have assessments in that prepare you for the 11+ and they have a range of ages. They are completely worth the time.
You don’t necessarily have to, but tutoring definitely helps for some people.
Some tutors even give you practice papers, which is really beneficial. Sitting mocks also really helps because it preps you for the conditions of the exam.
TIP 3: Look after yourself the day before
Relax the day before the exam and get a good, early rest. The sleep will help you feel more refreshed and confident on the day, and your mind will be clear for the test. Staying up late – as much as you may want to – is the worst possible idea. ness leads to anxiety, anxiety leads to nerves and nerves lead to failure. Go in on the day with a big smile on your face and be confident in yourself.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend cramming a bunch of revision in the night before. Cramming just makes you nervous and you’re also more tempted to stay up late to get as much done as possible. However, this varies for some people. Some prefer to do nothing with revision and relax the night before.
TIP 4: Look at the other (non 11+) schools
This was actually really helpful. If you look at just the grammar schools, you’ll become obsessed with getting in, and if you don’t, you’ll be devastated. Look into the grammar schools but I also look at the other comprehensive schools in the area. This could make realise that not passing was not the end of the world – while being in a grammar school is a great achievement, life is what you make it. You could go to any school and excel, if you put work in and tried really hard.
TIP 5: Attend the open evenings
A lot of people skip the open evenings because they ‘already know’. Some people know which one they are leaning towards, but the open evenings helps you make a final decision. It helps you look at what being in the school is REALLY like, not just what it LOOKS like. Some people were set on going to a grammar school, and when they came out of the open evenings, they didn’t want to anymore. You need to be inside the school to know where you feel more at place. Going to the open evenings could give you a spur of determination to give the 11+ your all. Seeing inside the school can remind you why you’re doing this.
TIP 6: Be happy on the day
On the big day, don’t be stressed out. Be calm, be ready and be happy. Remember why you’re doing this. Remember that you will do well wherever you go, and you can exceed anywhere as long as you work hard.
By Evelyn Kitson, aged 13, who passed her 11+ and is now an aspiring writer.