5 Steps to 11+ Perfection!

Here at Tutor In A Box, we believe that the 11+, with the right preparation, isn’t something to be scared of, child or adult. That’s why we’ve come up with 5 top tips to help you and your child be as ready as possible – something we’re calling the 5 Ps to 11+ Perfection!


  1. Probe

It’s time to do some investigating!

Firstly, it’s important to note that the 11+ papers can differ based on your location. For example, there is both the CEM and GL Assessment. Here in Warwickshire and in Birmingham, students take the CEM. However, if a student lives in Dorset or Kent, they’d take the GL Assessment.

Each council decides which version of the 11+ pupils will sit each year. So the first thing to do is find out the paper assigned to your local area and which topics they will cover.

Then there’s the paperwork. It’s likely that you will have to register your child for the 11+, so it’s good to check what time of year you can do this. For example, in Warwickshire, where we’re based, applications open in the May/June of the year that your child is aged 10, but it may differ elsewhere! It’s also important to note that applications to a grammar school are unlikely to include an application for the 11+, but it’s best to check with your local council. By getting all the facts in early, you can set reminders, take notes in your diary, and move on to the next step – Prepare!


  1. Prepare

As we talked about in the previous paragraph, the 11+ paper your child will sit depends on where you are in the country. It’s likely that it will feature some combination of Maths, English, and verbal and non-verbal reasoning, but nevertheless be sure to check.

Once you have this information, it’s a good idea to prepare topics to study. Quick mental maths is always a good skill to practice, but also spend time on longer, more complicated equations that require working to be shown. For English, reading as much as possible is a great way to develop an understanding of texts and comprehension skills.

The verbal and non-verbal reasoning is a bit trickier and may appear completely alien even to adults! For non-verbal reasoning practice at home, you can practice drawing shapes from mirrored reflections, as well as identifying pattern sequences. Consider using lego bricks or wooden blocks to create a sequence, and then help your child to identify what the next shape would be. This makes learning interactive and more fun, which should make it more memorable too!

Verbal reasoning is less interactive and is more about understanding passages of text. Again, reading and comprehension can help with this, but you could also create statements and/or scenarios with multiple responses that summarise them (with only one being correct) and help your child to work out which is the correct response. There are some great online resources that you can download and/or purchase as well, so it would be good to spend some time looking into these.

Here at Tutor In A Box, we also offer 11+ tuition on a one-to-one basis which can help your child become more confident with their Maths and English, as well as verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Becoming familiar with these kinds of questions will really help come exam day, as being presented with a lot of random shapes may otherwise be quite overwhelming.

Something else that can relieve some pressure is our next step…


  1. sPeak

Okay, so we cheated a little bit here. But 4 Ps and an S didn’t sound as good.

You never know what help you could receive if you talk. Consider having a chat with your child’s teacher – schools have all sorts of resources and may be able to provide extra learning materials that will help with 11+ preparation.

You could also talk with other parents and guardians; they might have a child who has already taken the 11+ and could give you some inside information on how your local area runs their exams. If they’re feeling generous, they might even have some resources that they don’t mind sharing with you. Starting the conversation is a good way to find out things you might not already know.

If your child is receiving 11+ lessons with us, you’ll hear from us after every lesson with an update on progress and what your child has covered.

It’s also good to keep the communication channels with you child or children open. Check in with them regularly to make sure that they’re not under too much stress, or if there’s anything in particular that they’re not confident on that they’d like your help with.  And, if there is, our next step should help with that.


  1. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice makes perfect so they say, and it’s certainly true here! Practicing and repeating Maths and English is the best way for new ideas, topics, and methods to be learned and developed, and helps children become familiar with these types of questions. So, not only will key learning objectives be memorised, but also familiarised, making an altogether less stressful exam day. Keep researching, talking, and learning, and you’ll be ready for the last step.


  1. Participate

This is it, the final step, taking the exam! Double check before you leave the house that you have everything you need and remember that your child has done amazingly well to get to this point. Whatever happens, you can be incredibly proud.

And with that you have everything you need – we wish you the very best of luck!