How to prepare your child for the CEM 11+ Verbal Reasoning Exam

An increasing number of prestigious schools are opting to assess Year 5 and 6 students using the Durham University CEM exam.

As a result, it's vital that most 11+ students have a good grasp of the question CEM question types and understand the difference between them and other question types.

In the Verbal Reasoning exam, the majority of CEM-style questions are vocabulary based and it's therefore essential that students hone their understanding of various word definitions and know how to apply those words into a variety of sentences.

One of the easiest ways to get started with this is to simply learn the synonyms and antonyms of a variety of words, ranging from the simplest to the most complex.

Here are some quick tips that can your child to improve their vocabulary even if they only have a small amount of time:

- Get a magpie book. 

What's that?

A magpie book is simply an exercise book that's filled with words that your child doesn't know.

Your child can simply write down such words and then each evening, write the definition and synonym and then learn the meaning of the word. It's a simple yet highly effective way to improve your child's vocabulary.

- Use big words when speaking to your child.

One of the fastest ways to help your child with exam preparation even when you're on the move is to use high-level vocabulary words when talking to them.

It might sound like a strange thing to do but children often pick up new words when they're used in a natural context.

So, the next time you're telling your child off, try doing so using a big word and see how they react. They might just pick up a new word in the process.

- Practice a range of CEM question types.

Rather than just sticking to the same Verbal Reasoning questions, make sure that your child has mastered answering virtually every type of question that could come up in the exam. 

This includes cloze questions, synonyms and antonyms, hidden words etc.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

PS. Don't forget to get your FREE copy of 11+ Success Secrets by entering your name and email below.

The WOW Factor: How To Ensure Your Child Aces Their Private School Interview

"Victoria, you predicted every single question that came up in the interview! How did you do it?"

That was one of the comments that came up repeatedly after my students sat their interviews.

Parents from across the country were gobsmacked that my team and I were able to predict the exact questions that came up in even the most competitive of schools.

The reality is that because of the incessant competition levels and scarcity of spaces at top schools, tutors and students need to be one step ahead when it comes to knowing how to prepare for the 11+ interview.

To help your child, we're sharing some of our best tips right here.

So, buckle up and take notes!

#1:

Never "over coach" your child or teach them robotic answers to questions.

Teachers and admissions tutors at the leading private (independent) schools want to see that your child is a genuine person with interesting ideas and unique qualities. 

They want to award places to the brightest pupils, not the most robotic ones.

It's therefore essential that you encourage your child to answer questions in a natural way so that they don't come across as being overly rehearsed.

#2. 

Smile.

Yes, it's a simple one but teachers at some of the best schools want to attract friendly and approachable students so it's vital that your child does the basics and smiling is one of them.

Encourage your child to smile when greeting any member of staff. It creates an instantly positive first impression and eases the atmosphere in even the most tense of interviews.

#3.

Answer honestly.

This leads back to the idea of being robotic. Students who give dishonest answers are quickly caught out because teachers/admissions tutors/Head Teachers will often delve deep when answering questions and they'll easily detect the real from the fake.

For instance, if a student is asked about their favourite hobby and they give a dishonest answer. There's a likelihood that the teacher will probe for more details on that area of interest. 

It's therefore essential that your child answers questions in a confident and candid way so that they don't come across as being disingenuous.

 

Ten 11+ Interview Questions That Every Child Should Know

11+ interview questions - thetutoress.com

Since the Independent school exams are just days away, we thought it would be wise to share some of the most popular 11+ interview questions.

These questions have been asked by interviewers at Eton, Westminster, Haberdasher's, Merchant Taylor's and the GDST schools.

Here they are (in no particular order):

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. What's your favourite animal and why?

3. Who is your favourite author?

4. Tell me about the area you live in?

5. Why are you applying for this school?

6. If you could be any animal/colour, what would you be?

7. What's your favourite subject?

8. Tell me about a news topic that you've come across recently.

9. What's your favourite sport?

10. What are your interests?

The key to doing well in the interview is to be confident but not arrogant and to answer questions in detail. For instance, the student should be answering the "why" component of each question before they're even asked to elaborate. 

Elaboration is key.

If you found these 11+ interview questions useful, sign up for our free newsletter so you can receive helpful tips straight to your inbox. 

Wishing you and your child a wonderful 2017.

TheTutoress.

11+ Exam Tips for January Independent School Entrance

11+ exam practice

January is literally just days away and for many parents, it's an incredibly hectic time.

Here at TheTutoress, we're wrapping up our 11+ Christmas course and have spoken to dozens of parents who are struggling with helping their child to prepare for the exams.

So, how do you prepare for the exams when they're just days or weeks away?
What are the best tips or pearls of wisdom for time-pressed parents?

Here are a few of our biggest quick tips.

Tip 1: Keep calm and carry on.

The more stressed you are, the more stressed and nervous your child will be. Rather than panicking and running around like a headless chicken, try to be as calm as possible because evidently your child will react and respond to your behaviour in the run-up to the exams. Always keep calm and have a 'carry on' approach. In other words, be calm but persistent.

Tip 2. Get moving. 

Yes, you're travelling or spending time with family but that's no excuse to avoid preparing for the exams. These days it's easier than ever to carry or download 11+ preparation materials with you. Simply download them to your laptop or purchase an online 11+ practice service such as 11 Plus Hero so that your child can study in short bursts wherever they are.

Tip 3. Get Social.

Make sure your child receives a great blend of academic and social preparation before their exam. Why? Well, these days most independent/private schools select students based not just on their academic ability but on their social skills and interview performance. It's therefore important to ensure that your child isn't just an academic genius but also has outstanding social/extra-curricular skills. Ultimately, students who have both are far more likely to pass the exam and also excel in all areas of their studies.

So there you have it, three quick tips for handling last minute 11+ revision.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and as always, please feel free to share it on Twitter using the hashtag #thetutoress @thetutoress.

Wishing you the best of luck with the January 11+ exams.

Victoria (The Tutoress).

Why Being an Early Bird is Key to 11+ Success

Are you the parent that hasn't read a single book, article or blog post about the 11+ and have no idea about what the process involves?

Are you the parent that's left everything to the last minute and now you're nervous about how to help your child pass?

Or are you the parent that's researched every area of the 11+ since your child's first birthday? 

Are you the parent that's immersed themselves in reading as much 11+ guidance material as possible?

You see, there are two very different types of 11+ parents.

The first type is the one that leaves everything to the last minute and then freaks out when they realise that their child doesn't even know the basics.

The second type is the parent that's so well prepared that they've studied every piece of literature known to man.

As 11+ experts, we've noticed that the second type of parent is far more likely to have a child that passes the exam simply because they are prepared! They are an early bird and as they say, the early bird always catches the worm.

Time and time again, we come across parents that are the first type and they leave everything to the last minute. As a result, their child is overwhelmed and struggles to score higher than 50% in practice tests. Such parents have no idea how to help their child improve and quite frankly, they often expect miracles from tutors like ourselves. They expect us to magically take a child that doesn't have a grasp of the basics and turn them into geniuses.

Sometimes, there are rare instances where we can help such students but often enough it's the children that have been studying for at least 1.5 years and have worked consistently hard that end up passing the 11+.

So what can you take away from this?

Start preparing for the 11+ as early as possible! 1.5 years is the ideal amount of time.

The exam is meant to test natural ability and potential so ultimately a child that has built an exceptional vocabulary and has a wonderful grasp of English and Maths from an early age is much more likely to pass than one who is trying to cram at the last minute.

Leaving things to the last minute is one of the worst things that you can do when it comes to the 11+ so try to prepare as early as possible.

PS. It's okay to teach your child yourself but it's also good to have your child assessed by a tutor at least once before they sit the exam. It's even better to enrol your child in an 11+ mock exam so that you can find out how they're doing in comparison to other students and identify any weak spots that need addressing.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment below or share it with a friend that might also benefit from reading this advice.

Wishing you the best of luck with exam preparation.

TheTutoress.com.