There are a small number of parents who confidently exclaim that every single one of their children has passed the 11+ exam.
Such parents are the ones who leave other parents filled with envy; they just seem to be able to do everything and they do it with such grace and ease.
It's difficult not to be jealous of them.
I was recently talking to a parent who declared that every single one of her four children had received multiple offers from prestigious grammar schools.
She asserted that only one of them was particularly bright and that she had hardly tutored them because she couldn't afford to.
She was a normal working mother who simply wanted the best for her children and did what she could to help them pass their school entrance exams.
Intrigued, I began thinking about the many other parents that I've come across over the years who have had similar success with the 11+.
Many came from 'normal' backgrounds and didn't always tutor their child excessively.
They did however, share three things in common.
1. They believed that no matter how well their child did in the exam, they would always show their child that they were proud of them. They didn't hold back on giving love or affection based on how well their child did. They understood that exams can be hit or miss and that failure in one exam isn't a reflection of their child's full abilities.
2. They were willing to invest what little money they had into at least a few months worth of intensive tuition. For instance, several of the parents I spoke to invested in 5 or more hours of tuition per week for their child in the final two months before the exam. In the instances where they couldn't afford tuition they simply taught their child themselves or asked an older sibling to help out and then they hired a tutor for a few hours on top. This ensured that key topics were covered and that their child was ahead of their revision schedule.
3. They didn't put all their eggs in one basket! This has to be the most important thing that I observed from these parents and it falls in line with some of the advice that I usually give my clients.
Make sure you have more than one option when it comes to the schools you're applying for. Parents whose children succeeded in the 11+ exams often applied for multiple schools and the vast majority of these parents applied for both grammar and independent schools as a back up measure. They understood that even if they couldn't afford independent school fees, they could look into options such as scholarships and bursaries.
There's so much to learn by speaking to successful 11+ parents. For me, it's always an eye-opener and I am often amazed by the wonderful advice that they share.
Whether your child has already sat the exams or is about to embark on their 11+ journey, pay attention to the tips above and always remember that your attitude and positivity has a huge role to play in how successful your child is in the exams and beyond.
Here's to your child's success!