Preparing for the 11+ exam

As Manchester residents, we’re privileged to have many grammar and private schools to choose from. However, finding the right one for your child and preparing for the exam can be a stressful and competitive process. Here are five recommendations which we hope will ease the stress and help to ensure that your child achieves their potential.


  • Start early!

If you’re reading this with a child in year 5, then you’re already a step ahead. Now is an ideal time to begin preparations for the 11+ exam. Although it may seem early, the four papers cover a lot of content which aren’t covered within the primary curriculum. The Maths and English papers look ahead to the Year 7 curriculum, which means time is needed to build on students existing skills and knowledge. For most students, the Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning papers will be entirely new so it’s important to allow time for students to become comfortable with these styles of question.


  • Find the right tutor

Having an experienced 11+ tutor is an essential part of preparing for these exams. They’ll be able to guide you through past papers and ensure your child is fully prepped for the exam. Many families opt for an hour a week but we can offer more or less depending on individual circumstances. We will guide you through the process of finding the right tutor to ensure your child can get the most out of the sessions.


  • Make use of other resources

As well as working alongside a tutor, many other resources can be utilised to help build confidence. Working through past papers, revising using Bond Books and reading widely are all beneficial. We also have a 11+ recommended reading list which aims, among other things, to embed your child’s understanding of story telling and vocabulary which form an important part of the English and Verbal Reasoning papers. In addition, there’s a selection of games which can help with preparation.


  • Read widely

Wider reading is an essential part of preparing for the 11+. The papers require a high level of vocabulary and a wide array of story telling techniques. Even the Maths paper includes worded problems where an ability to problem-solve using language is often the key to unlocking the meaning. Although tutors will be able to build these skills and support students in applying them, reading widely is a crucial cog of the preparations.


  • Mock examinations

Mock exams provide an indication of strengths and areas of focus for the final few weeks of preparation. They’re also beneficial in giving the student exam experience under timed conditions which helps to settle nerves on the actual day. Our mock exams run every summer, after which the marked papers are returned to parents with feedback giving a full picture of where they’re working at. To find out more, please pop your contact details in the form below and we’ll get in touch with more information.