Family Matters Magazine for Parent in West Kent

Preparing For The 11+

If your child is in year 6 at school then they could be getting ready to sit the 11+ on the 7th September and will receive the results on the 12th October.

The tests are multiple-choice with a separate answer sheet. They are marked by an automated marking machine.

The first test will be an English and Maths paper and will take 1 hour. Each section will involve a 5 minute practice exercise followed by a 25 minute test. The English section will involve a comprehension exercise as well as some additional questions drawn from a set designed to test literacy skills.

The second test will be a reasoning paper. It will take about 1 hour, including the practice sections and questions. It will contain a verbal reasoning section and a non-verbal reasoning section of roughly the same length. The non-verbal reasoning will be split into short sections, administered and timed individually.

There will also be a writing exercise which will not be marked but may be used by a local headteacher panel as part of the headteacher assessment stage of the process. 40 minutes will be allowed for the writing task, including 10 minutes planning time.

Your child's score

Your child will get three standardised scores, 1 for English, 1 for maths and 1 for reasoning.

Standardisation is a statistical process which compares your child's performance with the average performance of other children in each test. A slight adjustment is made to take into account each child's age so that the youngest are not at a disadvantage.

Grammar school threshold 2016

To be given a grammar school assessment, children need to get a total score of 320 or more, with no single score lower than 106. The lowest possible score is 69 and the highest is 141 on each test. The highest possible total score is 423.

If your child did not reach this threshold score and their primary school referred their case to the local Head Teacher Assessment panel, their written piece will have been looked at. The panel will also have looked at their achievement in school and examples of their work before a final decision was made.

Applications for secondary school will close on 31 October 2017.

If your child took the test and was assessed as suitable for grammar school, any Kent grammar school you apply for will consider your application. However, this does not guarantee your child will be offered a place. If more children qualify for places than it has spaces for, the school will use its admissions criteria to decide which children to offer places to. If you are not offered a place at a grammar school because it is full you can put your child's name on the school's waiting list. You can also appeal to explain why you think the school should admit your child even though it is full.

If your child was not tested or was not assessed as suitable for a Kent grammar school, you can still apply for a Kent grammar school but it will turn down your application. You will then have the right to appeal to explain why you think grammar school is a suitable option for your child.

Revision Tips

  • Remenber that typically a child's attention span ranges between 30 minutes to 50 minutes. Part of the build-up process is to increase the attention span gradually.
  • Use visual aids such a mind map (spider diagrams) showing all the different parts of a topic that needs to be learnt. This could be useful to summarise a subject, link information in different ways and mark progress giving your child a sense of achievement.
  • Rewards! As each 11+ topic (e.g. question type)is finished or if a better mark than expected is achieved, why not have a mini-treat for your child and yourselves? Another way of doing it is to set a target and the reward if it's met.
  • When doing practice 11+ papers, mirror the style that will be in the next test, it could be either the standard (no choice of answers) format or the multiple choice format. Most grammar schools now use multiple choice style exam papers, and usually most independent schools use standard, but it's still worth a check.
  • Timing. Even the brightest children can be caught out by how quickly the time passes. Teach your child to calculate how many questions should be completed by half way through the time allowed.
  • Remember – Brain is muscle, therefore just as you would after any other exercise, make sure your child rests in order to recover from activity and brain overload! It would also help them if when they were resting the talk is not still all about tests because that would be counterproductive too.
  • Another helpful tip is to make sure your child is sleeping properly so that they are fresh and happy on the day of the test. If they are having trouble, a mug of hot chocolate could help or a long hot bath. A healthy nutritious breakfast will also help to feed the brain and boost energy levels.

There are many websites out there that your child can go to to practice the test and various questions as well as find some fantastic revising and relaxing tips.

You may also want to take a look at some of the practice books that you can buy from a range of outlets.