11+ Revision – advice and support 


Michellejoy Hughes is a highly qualified and experienced teacher and tutor, with over 25 years’ experience in the education sector. Gaining her BA and PGCE in English at Liverpool and then her MA in English at Lancaster, Michellejoy spent many years working as a teacher in Liverpool, before becoming a private 11+ tutor. Now regularly tutoring over 20 pupils a week, Michellejoy Hughes has helped hundreds of children prepare successfully for the 11+.

How do you begin with revision and how do you motivate your child? Based on my experience, these points might help:

When to start:

Easter is a great time to begin revision. Once your child has learnt the exam techniques needed, they can move on to timed practice, but at the start I’d just begin revising with technique guides to hand and don’t overly stress about timing. Confidence is crucial at this stage. If there are any weak areas, this is a good time to strengthen them.

A personalised technique book:

I use a technique book with an example of each question type to make sure that each of my pupils understands every question type. Any top tips or examples that help your child remember techniques can be added to the book. For example, in maths a worked long multiplication sum might be helpful and the formula for solving the area of a triangle could be a top tip. In verbal reasoning, the code questions might be useful and listing the squared and cubed numbers could be another top tip. Getting your child to write these key ideas out is a great way of revising and encouraging them to be part of their own learning process.

Personalising the technique book also makes everything just that bit more memorable. Choosing an appealing notebook and some stars, stickers and highlighter pens can make the process rewarding. Some children copy out a technique and highlight the title while others go to town with colour co-ordinated glitter pens.

How to plan:

What you need before creating your revision plan:

  1. The exam dates for the 11+ exam or exams
  2. Which subjects will be in the exam
  3. Any assessment papers, test papers or relevant school books that your child has been working on
  4. The personalised technique book

Now you know where you are aiming for and where your child is up to at present, it can be easier to work out what needs to be covered. Breaking this down into tiny chunks makes it accessible. This is a good time to recap weak areas, consolidate strengths and prepare for the higher level books and test papers.


I think it’s really important that children think about their own reasons for wanting to go to a specific school. I’ve found that listening and writing down children’s reasons for wanting a specific school can really help to keep them motivated. If milkshakes at lunchtime or a certain school uniform is a reason for them, this all goes on the list.

Here are other methods that work for me:

  1. Motivational aids such as ‘well done’ messages, stickers or stars when a child has completed work shows that every paper deserves recognition.
  2. Encouraging work to be completed early so that a child can ‘earn’ a week off can help children who struggle with monotony, but others find it easier to maintain a habit. Here, knowledge of your child is everything.
  3. At the risk of sounding obvious, frequently telling a child how proud you are of them and giving specific reasons why can be really powerful. Whilst scoring highly in practice tests is great, praising their inner determination rewards the child, not just their work.

Feel free to adapt anything here to make it work for your child and have a great Easter.

Michellejoy Hughes