When to start preparing for 11 Plus exams?

July 24, 2019

Not sure when to start 11 Plus preparation for your child?

Grammar schools are looking for children with high levels of maths and English skills, as well as the ability to perform under pressure – so the exams aren’t easy. It’s never too early to start preparing for the 11 Plus or entrance exams!

11 Plus students raising their hands to answer a question in a classroom

The good news is that Explore Learning can support your family to prepare your child for the 11 Plus and entrance exams straight away, working in partnership with you to get the best results.

Whether your child is sitting a CEM exam, GL Assessment or a school’s own entrance paper, we adapt our tools to suit many of the local consortia.

When should you start preparing for 11 Plus?

From experience, we know that the best preparation for the tests cannot be achieved in a short period of time. That’s why our approach is designed to support children in the lead up to, during and beyond the exams.

We commence our specific exam preparation for children in Year 4, following the course through Year 5 and right up to the exams. For younger children, attending Explore Learning tailored sessions offer a great foundation in the key maths skills and English skills vital to future exam success.

Here’s how you can help your child prepare at each key stage…

11 Plus preparation year 3+

At this age, children should be building up core skills in essential maths and English. Encouraging fearless learning and curiosity is important at this stage in their journey.

11 Plus preparation year 4

In year 4, children can start to be introduced to exam content and develop their problem-solving skills in more depth. At this stage, they should also be getting to grips with exam etiquette with a focus on building confidence.

11 Plus preparation year 5

In year 5, children can continue preparation by practising exam techniques, improving their speed and accuracy and working with more advanced maths and English content.

When is too late to start 11 Plus exam preparation?

This depends on your child, their current ability and the way they work. For some children, starting too early could make them lose interest, while others will need a slow and steady approach to build confidence.

Although a long-term approach is recommended, it is possible to start the 11+ tuition preparation process at any stage of their journey.

However, leaving less than 12 weeks to prepare could be challenging for some children so we always recommend starting as early as possible when they start primary school.

When to apply for the 11 Plus exams?

The majority of grammar schools open their registration for the 11+ exam in April or May for the following academic year, and parents need to register their child by June, July or August.

However, pandemic disruption has affected some timings so be sure to check with your child’s chosen school.

How to prepare for the 11 Plus – preparation guide

Find some tips on how to help your child get started with the 11 Plus.

11 Plus preparation timetable

Start by scheduling a timetable for 11 + practice either at home or with their tutor. Deciding on set times and days of the week for preparation will help to focus their efforts and break down the work into manageable chunks.

Including an award system for completing their practice sessions can be a great motivation!

11 Plus preparation books and resources

We offer a wide range of 11 Plus resources to help your child succeed. From practice papers and mock tests to glossaries and exam techniques – these resources make it easy to help your child at home.

11 Plus preparation at home

It’s a good idea to supplement your tuition sessions with practice at home. This is easy with Explore, as you can find unlimited access to learning materials and home practice recommendations as part of the course.

To help your child succeed in their exam…

  • Set goals and expectations together
  • Create a routine
  • Make time for relaxation and fun
  • Work closely with their tutor

11 Plus preparation online

Some children work better from the comfort of home. If your child prefers quiet, individual work, online 11 Plus tutoring is a great option.

With Explore online tuition, your child will have full access to online tests and materials in addition to virtual sessions with our expert tutors.

Our 11 Plus preparation courses

Your child will benefit from two sessions a week at Explore. One session is an hour-long class specifically covering the content of the 11 Plus course, including verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. We use practice papers and exam techniques to help familiarise your child with the questions and conditions of taking the test.

The other hour-long session focuses on boosting core English and maths knowledge and skills, which are not only vital for the 11 Plus exams but also to build a solid foundation for your child’s future successes.

Nearly half (47%) of parents say they don’t know much about their child’s exam preparation.* You’ll receive feedback after every visit to Explore Learning so that you can be safe in the knowledge that your child is on the right track to pass the test.

What our 11 Plus course covers

When your child works with one of our 11 Plus tutors, they will cover a range of maths, English, verbal and non verbal reasoning skills to boost their confidence for the exam.

All of our learning content is tailored to the National Curriculum and to the exam requirements of your chosen school.

Tuition sessions include…

With over 15 years of experience, we’ve seen thousands of children hold their heads up high and fearlessly tackle the exams. And when your child is ready to take their next steps in grammar or independent school and beyond, Explore Learning is by your side every step of the way.

Learn more about our 11 Plus tuition to get the best possible support for your child’s journey into grammar school.



*Based on a survey of 1,002 parents in the UK.

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