Your child’s 11+ examination preparation for the Center for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) is by now almost definitely in high gear. The tips provided here will hopefully be the cherry on top of the cake when it comes to helping your child get into grammar school.

What Are You Revising?

The best way to prepare for anything in life is to know exactly what you are up against and there’s perhaps nowhere else where this statement is true as examinations. Knowing what the 11+ examination will look like means that there won’t be any nasty surprises once your child enters the exam room.

Practice always makes perfect and while the questions are never exactly the same, simply going through past papers could be just what you need to unlock the door to grammar school.

It can also be a good idea to revise everywhere. If there’s something that your child has problems with, try putting a cheat sheet up with the information next to the bathroom mirror or even opposite the toilet. Even looking at it each day for just 2 minutes could make the difference.

What Are You Eating?

Food is always a contentious issue when it comes to some children, but plenty of vegetables and fruit contain vitamins and minerals in plenty that help the brain function and stave off infections and colds that may affect the child’s performance come exam day.

Fish oils help brain function, so if you are able to get those items into the child’s diet, it could also help with their performance when it comes to the 11+ examination. This might be more challenging than the others, but keep in mind that even marginal gains are enough to bring results on the day of the exam.

What Are Your Weakest Areas?

Knowing the subjects or topics that you are tackling and when you will do them is an excellent way to add structure to your child’s revision. A mini timetable gives your child a visual representation of when they will be doing their work.

A carefully drafted timetable will give the child the idea that the work is just a small part of their day in comparison to all the other hours and you can use is still for filling in other fun activities so that the child has something to aim for if the work well during the planned revision sessions.

The key thing with this is knowing the areas your child has been struggling with and focusing on them. Whether the child struggles with English, Math, or non-verbal reasoning, focus solely on those specific parts. You can find additional information on these sections online or by asking a tutor.

You must still make sure that you keep coming back to the child’s strong boy though. This serves the dual purpose of being a confidence booster for the child with how good they are in the area and keeping the topic fresh in the child’s brain.

If your child has been studying with a tutor, don’t be afraid to ask him/her about any weak or strong areas. They can also suggest techniques to for improving on areas the child might be struggling with or offer suggestions for making the child’s strong points even stronger.

When Do You Take a Break?

Taking breaks during revisions gives the brain a higher chance of remembering all that has been crammed in. Try a regular interval such as 30 minutes of revision followed by a 10-minute break. If the break involves some physical activity, this will help get more oxygen to the brain that will help it function more efficiently. You are probably aware from your own life that taking a break from something that you are working on is often the best way to obtain optimal results.

What Have We Learned (So Far)?

It is important to remind the child of just how much they know. Being positive about the work they have done as well as the effort they are putting in will motivate them to work harder. A pat on the back can be the all the motivation the child needs to put in a bit more effort to get their final score a little bit higher come exam day.

The other quirk of psychology is the work done by the brain while you are sleeping. According to available research, sleeping on an issue is an effective strategy. Talking to your child, even briefly, can help, but ensure that it isn’t in a manner that makes them feel anxious about the areas in which they might be struggling.

The child’s brain might then attempt to work out the answer while they sleep. The most important thing, however, is to ensure that your child gets enough sleep. It will help the brain grow and recover, which in the end is critical to their future learning.


Just as is the case with sleep, it is equally important for the child to feel relaxed when going into the exam room. It does not mean that there’s no extra work needed, but rather that they have been given the chance to spend time doing things they want to do. It means that once they sit down to lean, they will have already had the chance to rest their brain.

The key thing is to ensure that the child never feels stressed about the exam and while practice makes perfect, too much of it can flip to the point where the child isn’t willing to engage. It is a slippery slope, but we know from experience that a parent always knows their child better than anybody else. Listen to them and focus on helping them reach their full potential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *