11 Plus: How to get your child into a great school

The 11 plus can be an emotive subject for many parents, teachers and students; often, there is a sense of dread felt by parents at the thought of their child not passing the 11 plus exam. This dread can drive parents to pile on the work when the time draws closes, causing many children to become overwhelmed, which can lead to poor results. So, how can you get your child into a great school? There are many ways you can help prepare your child for the upcoming test, such as tutors or practising the 11 plus online test. Our guide will help you navigate the world of the 11 plus to ensure that you can give your child the best advantage when they sit the exam.

11 Plus Explained

Many parents that are experiencing the 11 plus for the first time or never took part in the exam themselves are often confused by the process. The 11+ is an admissions test carried out in order to determine if your child can attend a grammar or private secondary school at the end of their primary education. It is called the 11 plus due to the age of the children that sit the exam; typically, a child is aged between 11 and 12 when they take part in the 11+. The written test for the 11 plus is generally the same format each year, but as the schools that require a child to take the exam in order to secure a place at the school are private other aspects of the 11+ may change as they are tailored to highlight the qualities these schools are seeking in potential pupils. The exam itself takes place during Year 6 and often occurs in the spring term between January and February.



Secondary school is a formative time in your child’s development, and ensuring they get into the right school for them will prove invaluable during their academic and overall development into adulthood. Although the 11 plus examinations can be stressful for young students, with the right preparation and support, it is possible to guide your child through these important exams in a more relaxed and enjoyable way. It has been proven in many studies that the more your child enjoys their schoolwork and 11+ preparations, the more knowledge they will retain when the time comes to sit the exam. Enjoyment is also vital for schools that require an in-person or remote interview with your child, as they are more likely to be themselves if they are relaxed. 


These prestigious schools typically want children with four key skills or personality traits; self-awareness, self-knowledge, confidence, and the ability to think on their feet. These qualities shine through when your child is well-prepared and relaxed, which is why it’s essential for parents to support their child throughout the process by using the format of the exam during preparations in order to put any fears to rest in advance.



Hiring a tutor is a fantastic way to help your child prepare for the 11 plus. Experienced tutors can quickly identify the key areas that your child may need support with, and they can tailor their lesson plans to your child strengths in order to work on the weaker areas without stressing them out. A tutor provides their students with an extra boost to be the best they can be in themselves and schoolwork. Using excellent techniques such as revision timetables, which break the work into smaller, more manageable sections, and confidence-building training, tutors ensure your child doesn’t panic during the actual exam. You may wish to search for ’11+ tutors near me’ on online search engines to find a local tutor, but it can be challenging to find the right one with so many available across the UK. When looking for the best tutors to give your child the proper support throughout the 11 plus process, check out Test Teach


Practice Past Exams

One of the best ways you can help your child alongside tutoring is to practice past exams. Work with the tutor’s lesson plan to ensure you don’t counteract anything they are working on during their sessions and set out time each week to encourage, support and work with your child on areas they need help. Motivating your child at home can be difficult, but there are plenty of resources available to help you, and you can always speak to your child’s tutor for advice on how you can do more.


Interview Practice

Many schools that require the 11 plus also require interviews with your child; these can take place either in-person or online, as many interviews shifted to remote video calls during the height of the pandemic. Practising interviews is not only a great way to prepare your child for their 11 plus but will also benefit them later in life as they begin looking for work when finishing their education. You can do this in a relaxed environment, and beginning from an early age is an excellent way to get them used to answering questions when they get home from school. Ask them about their work and school life while gently testing with questions about why certain subjects are their favourites. If they struggle with a subject, ask them how they’d like to improve and remember to ask about why they think school is important. All of these questions are important and will help your child develop the necessary skills for how to do well in an 11 plus interview.

Facebook Comments