11+ exams: creating a learning timetable that is balanced and achievable


Once you know the subject/s that your child will be assessed on for their 11+ exam and the time that is available before the exam, it is easier to devise a timetable that will provide your child with the best chance of success. What is the optimum learning plan for your child? Here are some ideas that I hope will help:

Nature and Learning Style

Some children prefer an intensive learning experience over a short period of time, as they struggle with a long-term learning approach. Other children prefer a totally stress-free environment with a little and often approach regardless of how long it takes. Many children fit somewhere between the two. I have seen fantastic results with both approaches so don’t feel under pressure to push your child in one particular way.

Time

Ideally you will have plenty of time before the 11+ exam so your timetable can be based on your child’s nature, but if not, don’t panic. Even if your child only has the opportunity to work through a couple of test papers, this will offer far more benefit than going into an exam with no knowledge at all.

Activities

The broader the range of activities you can offer your child, the better. If you are trying to build vocabulary skills, think of as many ways as possible to help your child: parrot-fashion learning, wordsearches, spelling the word while bouncing a ball, using flashcards, defining the word while skipping, testing your child with a quiz or using the word in conversation.

Some activities suit learning better than others, but a mixture keeps it all fresh and engaging. A broad education includes everyday family activities, such as board games, sports, holidays, cultural experiences, sporting and artistic events – anything where your child is engaged in experiences that provide learning and knowledge.

Balance

Pushing your child to do too much is ineffective, so creating a timetable with plenty of time for rest, exercise and hobbies is critical. Although it can be tempting to push your child for “just one more” the reality is that one practice test completed when a child has energy, enthusiasm and a clear head is better than two done under duress. If your child understands there are both study sessions where they have to work and time when they can relax, it makes it easier for them to see that their 11+ timetable is balanced and achievable.

Logical Progression

Some parents will start their 11+ preparation by buying the final book in a range and then complain that it is too difficult or their child is not intelligent enough. It is all about small steps, starting with the easiest material and building up in difficulty gradually as your child’s confidence and ability grows. Likewise, the process of consolidation is also important so make sure you build in plenty of time for revisiting knowledge and skills already learned.

The Timetable

Working with your child on this is a good idea as it helps them feel like you are working together in the 11+ process. Allow them to pick their free time and their work time, building as much variety as you can. Place the timetable where a child can easily see what they are doing and when, so that they can prepare themselves in advance.

I hope the advice here helps you to devise a balanced timetable for your child. I have created learning plans for children that don’t work perfectly first time round and do have to be finely tuned until they work, so never worry if your timetable needs changing. It is much easier making a timetable fit around a child, than to make a child fit around a timetable!

Michellejoy Hughes


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