If your child is sitting an 11 plus test this year, here are two best friends and one uncomfortable truth.

(The first of a 4-blog mini-series…)

You may be wondering if you are doing enough to help them. How do you know? The overall aim is to run out of things they don’t know before the day arrives. Say hello to two of your child’s best friends to get this done:



Routine. Habit. A daily routine, a weekly routine, a monthly routine. How you make your routine depends on your week, your work habits, travel distance from school, clubs, childcare arrangements. There is no one-size fits all, but there must be a size that fits you and that you stick to.

There is an uncomfortable truth you have to deal with to get this right, and which is better brought into the open now, no matter how painful it is for you initially; after ten years of teaching and tuition, I feel it can be one of the dividing factors between getting a place and not getting a place. The uncomfortable truth is that you may not be able to fit everything in that you and your child/children currently do and fit in 11 plus preparation as well.

Think about it for a moment. We’re not talking any routine; we’re building and practising an 11 plus learning routine intended to help your child successfully prepare for, and thus massively increase the likelihood of succeeding in, their one-shot superhero moment that is the 11 plus. An exam they cannot choose to sit when they like, but which must be sat on one day in one year, which is coming soon. In total, it’s best to find and use between 9-15 hours a week of (very targeted) learning, especially in the year approaching the test, when your child is in Y5. This is also where we start to see the importance of time.

With that in mind, before we look at a brilliant routine that should really make a difference, take some time to work out on paper what your family currently does and for how long. Include both your planned actions – work shifts, after school clubs, swimming, etc, AND your unplanned actions – how long your child spends on PC games, browsing, television, friends, etc.

Do you have those 9-15 hrs available?

If yes, fantastic. If not, then the truth is it’s probably time to prioritise for the next few months. If your child is very busy doing lots of things, there’s an even more important reason why cutting back could be crucial to securing that all important 11 plus win. Indeed, if they are too busy, even with positive, well-intentioned activities, you may be lessening their chances. We’ll look at this in our third email in the series.

So, routine and time. The next time we meet, we’ll put an effective routine together. This will help you realise just how much is possible. We’ll return to the uncomfortable truth mentioned above, and reveal why being too busy might not help your child at this point in their life.

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Start learning, stay learning, and stay 11plushappy!