As the style of the 11+ paper is unlike anything that your child is taught in schools, it is essential for them to have the additional support and teaching that a tuition programme provides. With a success rate of 87% of students achieving entry into their first choice of school, our lessons offer techniques, revision and practice in small classes or on a one-to-one basis.
Overview of the 11+ Syllabus:
Factual or fictional passages for the examination are taken from material appropriate in language, style and content to the age/interest range. These are selected at the setters’ discretion without any standard pattern, to encourage a variety of approaches to the development of comprehension skills. An introductory line of explanation precedes the extract. Certain words may be glossed.
The questions are worded as simply and unambiguously as possible. Candidates are expected to be able to:
- give information which can be obtained from a careful reading of the passage
- say how or why a writer is using language in a particular way
- demonstrate an understanding of this by continuing a piece of writing in the same or a different mode
- summarise part of the given information
- supply answers involving reasoning, personal opinion/experience or prediction
- use the text as evidence for answers
- explain vocabulary in context
- display a working knowledge of syntax, punctuation and the main parts of speech
Candidates are invited to show that they can organise their ideas effectively and convey their feelings or opinions in accurate, continuous writing. The choice of essays covers the following range:
- imaginative/story writing
- factual/personal description
- writing involving discussion/opinion/memory
- a book review
- a picture stimulus
At least one of the essay titles offers a range of content suggestions. The titles are worded as simply as possible, with the rubric using such terms as: essay, piece of descriptive writing, composition, diary entry, letter, story, write in any way you choose about …, use this picture as a starting point/basis for …, with the intention that candidates should feel able to start writing freely without anxiety about the form.
Book review: personal reading/response
Candidates may write about any book they have read in or out of school and they should start their work by writing the title and author of the chosen book. ‘Book’ includes poetry and plays. The book question is a general one without a theme, to encourage schools to teach the literature they wish by the methods they wish; literary essays are most useful to receiver schools when they are as personal and as individual as possible. Candidates may be asked to summarise a book or an episode or give a personal response to a book, author, character or episode which they find particularly striking. Within this broad question there is scope for opinions, comparisons and preferences.
Candidates should be able to:
- demonstrate a basic competence with syntax, such as make a phrase or a clause into a sentence
- work with questions, commands, statements or exclamations
- write in the first person (a diary extract or letter) or the third person (a summary or
account of events in sequence)
Candidates should be able to:
- explain the function in context of various punctuation marks
- use speech marks/new paragraphs for a few lines of conversation
- set out a discussion in play dialogue
Candidates should be able to:
- demonstrate the difference between easily-confused words (such as their/there/they’re; it’s/its)
- select or comment on the use, in context, of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions or conjunctions
- give the correct part of a verb to accompany a noun
Technical language is avoided as far as clarity permits. The emphasis throughout is on grammar in use, of the sort which represents good practice in language work for pupils aged 9–11.
Candidates should be familiar with the skills and knowledge of the National Curriculum key stage 2 programmes of study. The principal focus of mathematics teaching at 11+ is:
- to ensure that pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers
- to develop the connections which pupils make between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio
- to develop pupils’ ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation
- to introduce pupils to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems
- to consolidate and extend knowledge developed in number in geometry and measure; to ensure that pupils classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties and that they learn the vocabulary they need to describe them
- to ensure that pupils are fluent in written methods for all four operations, including long multiplication and division, and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages
- to ensure that pupils read, spell and pronounce mathematical vocabulary correctly
Verbal Reasoning is almost universally used as one of the test papers in the 11+. It is believed to be an effective way of testing a child’s potential, not just learned ability.
Of course, learned ability does enter into the equation. While some of the question types simply test a child’s logical deduction skills or their ability to decipher codes, much of an 11+ verbal reasoning test will require a good vocabulary and also strong basic maths skills. Strangely, most verbal reasoning tests also encompass maths questions. You can find more help in both those areas on our English and maths sections.
Some children simply have “the knack” when it comes to Verbal Reasoning, even if they have never encountered it before. These children also tend to be keen on puzzles of all types – crosswords, word searches, word games, jigsaws, Sudoku, etc. If you can encourage your child to enjoy these activities, they make for good informal preparation for Verbal Reasoning tests.
If your child is not one of the lucky few it is still possible to become very adept at Verbal Reasoning simply by learning the techniques required to solve the problems. Preparation will not enable a child who is not innately intelligent to qualify in the 11+, but it will assist children who find VR more difficult than curriculum-based learning. An analogy sometimes used is that of doing the Times Crossword: If you do the crossword every day you become familiar with how the compilers think and you can see the solutions more quickly. However, if you do not possess a good vocabulary in the first instance, you will not know the answers to the clues.
11 plus Non-verbal reasoning questions (NVR) are designed to test a child’s ability to work out problems regardless of their knowledge of English. The questions use abstract figures which require the child to work out similarities in sequences of shapes or codes.
To be successful in a non-verbal reasoning test a child will need to:
- Be able to see how objects relate to each other
- Apply logical deduction skills
- Understand maths concepts such as symmetry and rotation
Each question will usually have a sequence of 3 – 5 shapes and the child is required to find the shape that best completes the sequence.
There are numerous elements in each non-verbal reasoning question such as the outline shape, the fill, the direction of the shape. The shape may rotate, be inverted, have different layers, increase or decrease in size. Some also require basic counting skills.
Non-verbal reasoning requires good spatial awareness and it is a skill that some children will have naturally. For those who do not it is still possible to learn good technique by being highly disciplined and systematic, isolating each element of the sequence or pattern in turn in order to rule out the options one-by-one.