How To Prepare For The 11+ or ISEB During The Summer Holidays


Good morning parents,

As we approach the summer holidays it’s very easy to reduce the focus on learning but this is one of the best times to help your child with 11+ exam preparation.

Make each day count.

Here are some fun ways to do this:

- Make the most of the sunshine. Instead of going outside, study in the park, at the beach or in the garden - it’s beautiful, relaxing

- Make the most of your local library. It’s a great time to go to the library as a family or even take day trips exploring different libraries across the UK. My local incorporates AI technology (Artificial Intelligence) and children love it.

You could search for some of the UK’s best libraries and spend a day visiting each one or pick three or four libraries to visit over the summer.

- Complete the 10-minute test books. I am a huge fan of 10-minute test books because they’re so convenient for busy children and marking them is quite straightforward. There’s also no excuse when it takes just 10 minutes to complete a paper. Make it a habit to complete a few papers each day.

That leads me to my next tip.

- If you’re travelling abroad, pack a 10-minute book for each subject (English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning), plus reading books or a Kindle and electronic dictionary. Go through vocabulary cards, apps or flash cards on the plane, train or in the car 🚗.

The key takeaway is to make everyday meaningful and productive. That doesn’t mean your child need to study excessively, far from it, create a routine that’s easy and enjoyable to stick to so that it’s easy for your child to follow through and complete their revision.

One final tip which was inspired by 11+ Mum, Shola Alabi, is to eat healthy and limit your child’s intake of sugary foods. It’s easy to indulge during the holiday season as there’s an abundance of popcorn, candy floss and sugary drinks but a healthy body fosters a healthy brain so try to swap high sugar foods for healthier alternatives such as fruits, vegetables, water and crackers (instead of chocolates).

Shola also adds that parents should go through corrections. This is vital - your child can complete a million papers but if they don’t understand why they’re making mistakes and learn the correct techniques, they’ll never make significant progress.

I hope the above tips were helpful - if you have any other insights to share please leave a comment with them below 🙂

If you’re looking for great free learning resources, head over here to sign up for worksheets and printables.

Quick Tips For Boosting Your Child’s Comprehension Skills In Preparation For The 11+


Following my Facebook Live session on inference in the 11+, SATs, GCSE and ISEB group, I thought it would be a great idea to share some quick tips on how to help your child improve their comprehension skills.

Comprehension is one of my favourite areas of English and I’ve written a number of comprehension books over the years. You can check them out on Amazon.  

Moving on, here are some of my favourite tricks for improving children’s comprehension skills.  

They’re simple but powerful tips and I hope they’ll be of use to your child. 

Tip One: 

Encourage your child to read every day.

It’s an obvious point but it’s easy to dismiss reading and ignore it. Make it part of your child’s routine to read daily.

Tip Two:  

Reading isn’t just about reading.

It’s about asking questions, soaking up ideas, linking character experiences with your own. Encourage your child to be inquisitive, question what characters say or do, and think deeply about the text.

Tip Three:

Don’t rush through books.

A controversial one but I’ve observed students who read through tons of books every week and never actually understand them properly. It’s better to read one book properly than to read ten badly.

Tip Four 

Write summaries of each chapter.

This is a great way to remember the story and engage in it on a deeper level. You can be creative and mind-map the main points, highlights or themes in the story.

A Bonus Tip:

Make learning fun. Use coloured paper, felt tips, gel pens, stickers, anything that will help you to visualise your learning.


11 Brilliant Books For 11+ Boys Who Hate Reading


Happy bank holiday weekend!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday and are enjoying the warm weather.

As we prepare for our 11+ summer course, I am inundated with messages and calls from parents asking for tips on how to help their sons with reading. 

Generally, it seems that reading is the domain of girls and I’m always amazed by how much my female students tend to love reading whilst the majority of my male students hate it. There are so many potential reasons for this but if I start on them, I’ll be writing forever.  


As a proud bookworm, I’m constantly looking for the best books and stories for children aged 8-12 and always become incredibly excited when I stumble across a great undiscovered book. It’s like finding a hidden gem.


If you have a son who absolutely hates reading, then hopefully this quick list of 11 of my favourite reading books will be helpful. It’s not a definitive list but it should act as a starting point and hopefully inspire you and your son to keep hunting for more great stories.

Without further ado, here we go:

  1. Storm Breaker by Anthony Horowitz 

  2. HIVE by Mark Walden 

  3. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (this trilogy is especially great for helping children to come up with clever ideas for cliffhangers, inspire their creative thinking skills and improve their story writing structure. I’m a huge fan!)

  4. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

  5. Shadow jumper by JM Forster

  6. The Maze Runner by James Dashner 

  7. Thieves Like Us by Stephen Cole

  8. Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

  9. Traitor Series, Andy McNab

  10. The Door or No Return by Sarah Mussi

  11. Sure Fire by Jack Higgins

There are a few other great finds such as The Cherub Series by Robert Muchamore.

Has your child read any of the above books? Which was their favourite? Are there any other great books that you love?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.


How To Help Your Child Improve Their Comprehension Skills (Audio)

Happy Sunday!

I’ve been thinking about recoding audios instead of written blog posts for a long time and finally had the chance to record one today.

In this audio, I discuss:

  • The tactics that parents can use to help their child engage with literature and improve their comprehension skills.

  • Strategies that students can use to improve their comprehension skills and score higher marks.

If your child struggles with comprehension (especially inference, elaboration and deduction) then this is for you.

Here’s a summary of some of the tips I share:

  • Be involved in your child’s learning, especially with regards to their reading. Let them read to you as often as possible.

  • Read in short bursts rather than forcing your child to read for long periods. It’s better to read little and often than not at all.

  • Read a wide variety of texts including poetry, biographies, newspapers and age-appropriate magazines/comics.

  • Incorporate your child’s passions, interests and hobbies into their reading - make it fun.

  • Be strategic about approaching exam questions so that your child can maximise their scores (I talk about this in a bit of depth so it’s worth listening to hear the tips shared).

I hope the audio is useful and if you have any questions or comments, please click on the comment box below and share them.

Here’s to your child’s success!

Victoria, The Tutoress.

How To Be Tactical About The 11+, 13+ & Other School Entrance Exams


It’s that time of year when our students find out whether they’ve passed the 11+ and it’s naturally a very nerve-wrecking time for them.

I recently spoke to a parent and was asking how her child did and the conversation reminded me of the fact the importance of strategic thinking when it comes to the 11+

admissions process. For instance, one mum insisted that she would only apply for just one school. The school just so happened to be one of the most competitive schools in the UK and is exceptionally selective. I suggested that she consider other options but the mum was adamant that she only needed to apply for that particular school.  Although I respect her decision, I do believe that it’s important to consider multiple schools.

When it comes to the 11+ (or any school entrance exam) it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. 

I always advise clients to apply for a variety of schools as it gives their child not just a higher chance of acceptance but more choice. 

Choice is a beautiful thing because it enables you and your child to pick the school that is most likely to be the best fit for them.

In contrast, if you only apply for one school, your child has a lower chance of being accepted and if accepted, they might soon discover that they don’t like the school. This results in limited options and potential unhappiness.

Applying for several schools is a smart tactic and I recommend sharp thinking when it comes to the 11+ and 13+ application process.

I’ll be sharing some more tactic tips over the next few blog posts but I hope this has encouraged you to think in a more strategic way.

Here’s to your child success!

The Tutoress Team.