The 11+ exam can be incredibly stressful for children and parents alike.
There's the constant need to learn new question types, adapt to the many changes that are happening with the new 11+ exam and for parents, the pressure to track their child's progress and react to every dip and rise in their child's academic performance.
Furthermore, the period from beginning exam preparation to sitting the exam and then receiving the results can last in excess of 18 months which further adds to the stress of the exam.
The harsh truth is that the 11+ exam is difficult.
What makes it even more challenging is the excessive levels of pressure that often come from parents, tutors and teachers who are desperate for their child to receive the best results.
Is this level of pressure justified?
Could it backfire and have the effect of lowering a student's marks?
So what's the solution? How can parents (teachers and tutors) help students to pass the exam without over pressuring them?
Here are a few things that you can do.
1. Follow the 50-10 rule. Simply put, for every 50 minutes of studying that a child does, they should have a 10 minute break. It's an easy to follow strategy for ensuring that a child revises well without going overboard.
2. Be mindful of how you speak to your child. Positive words and encouragement go along way. To help your child stay motivated during difficult periods, speak to them in a reassuring and positive way and remind them that they have the potential to do well if they put the work in.
3. Prepare early. Leaving preparation till the last minute can cause chaos. The reality is that most students need at least 12 months to prepare for the exam and thus, giving them less than 12 months could significantly decrease their chances of passing. It's therefore best to begin 11+ exam preparation as early as possible.
The key is to ensure that your child revises and prepares for the exam in the most positive and beneficial way possible.