11+ exam success – 7 things to do this summer 



Whether you’re feeling pretty confident about the 11+ exams in September, or panicking that your child isn’t ready for them yet, the summer holidays are a great opportunity to assess where your child is in their 11+ journey. 

Taking stock of their progress then allows you to take the right practical steps to ensure your child has the best possible chance of success in September.

Here’s our round up of things you can do this summer to prepare your child for the 11+:

  1. Find out exactly what you need to revise. Whether you’ve been following a formal 11+ revision schedule for some time, or are planning to use the summer holidays to focus on 11+ skills specifically, the start of the summer holidays is the perfect time to take stock of where your child is right now and what their strengths and weakness are. Remember, there’s little value in continuing to work on all four 11+ subjects equally if, for example, your child is strong in English, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning, but still weak in maths.

    Use our free placement test (log in or register to access) to assess where your child’s strengths and weaknesses lie, and use this information to tailor your revision this summer.

  2. Create a summer revision schedule. Either work with your child to make your own, or download our free 11+ revision planner (log in or register to access). Put it up somewhere visible and praise your child for every day of revision completed – don’t forget to include days off!
  3. Read our Parents’ Guide. Packed with detailed advice and support, the Bond Parents’ Guide to the 11+ will help you develop a learning plan for your child, prepare them for exam day and help you deal with the post-exam process.
  4. Develop exam technique. With only a few months to go, now is the time to develop your child’s exam technique. Key things to focus on:
    • CEM vs GL exam technique – the two major 11+ exam boards demand different things of your child, read about the differences in our ‘11+ exam boards: CEM vs GL – what’s the difference?’ blog.
    • Timed exam practiceregular mock exams should now be a key feature of your child’s 11+ preparation. Children must get used to working in silence to a strict time limit. If they’re still having trouble working at speed, do some timed general practice. A kitchen timer can help children speed up by motivating them to ‘beat the buzzer’.
    • Exam mindset – for many children, the 11+ will be their first ever formal exam, so it’s really important to help them understand how to deal with any nerves that may arise. A big part of this is how you talk about the 11+ at home. Make sure you talk about it positively and try not to talk about it in terms of ‘passing’ or ‘failing’. Instead, focus on the 11+ being a chance for your child to show off their skills and knowledge. Practically, if your child starts to feel nervous get them to breathe slowly in and out and repeat this 5 times. If they do this regularly, they’ll know how to calm themselves down if they start to feel nervous on their own in the exam.
    • Exam routine –  encourage your child to develop a routine so that they develop good habits ahead of the real exam. Get them used to gathering together a sharp pencil and eraser, having a drink of water and popping to the toilet before they do a mock exam at home.
  5. Vary their revision. Use Bond Online to vary your child’s revision and keep them engaged. The online format helps children do short bursts of practice, and the instant feedback helps them understand how they’re doing.
  6. Consider a tutor. If you’re really concerned about your child’s progress or there’s a certain a topic that you just can’t seem to make any progress on, don’t forget that tutoring is still an option, although it may be more difficult to find a tutor this close to the exams. Our 'Finding a tutor' blog is full of great advice on what to look for when choosing a tutor.
  7. Take a break. Whatever stage your child is at in their 11+ preparation, make sure you still get a break this summer. If your child’s results start to dip or their concentration starts to wane, it’s far better to take a week or two off to let your child regroup than to carry on regardless – you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.

We hope you find these tips useful this summer. If you think other people would find them useful, don't forget to share them on Facebook.

The Bond team