11+ Online- Preparation, Practice, Exams and Tests

Firstly a word of caution about using 11+ online tests and tools

Every year lots of parents (who are often time poor) hit on the idea of buying into an online preparation tool in the hope that:

  1. Their child will love it because it involves computers and screens
  2. That it will make their life easier as the computer does all the work
  3. That it’s a cheap, efficient way of doing things

Sounds brilliant doesn’t it? Unfortunately like most things in life if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is and that is certainly the case where online tools are used for preparation heavily.

The problems with using online tools tend to be as follows:

  1. The exam when it comes will be on paper not online (in most cases)
  2. Most 11 Plus tests are heavily weighted towards literacy skills (e.g. Comprehension exercises and vocabulary and spelling knowledge). These are the very areas where online tests are at their weakest.
  3. Research has shown that children learn best with paper and pen. Online tools have not been developed sufficiently to even get them to parity with using paper and a pen
  4. Parents tend to use these tools by asking their child to go and do half an hour or an hour with the online 11 plus preparation tool. The computer is a lonely place to learn and many children miss out on the feeling of a shared endeavour they get with a parent involved.
  5. Children get into bad habits with online tests and especially on multiple choice tend to just start clicking especially when time is tight.
  6. Many parents reach a crisis point when they realise after several months that no progress has been made and children haven’t really learnt anything. At this point it is often too late to change tack.

Our advice is that some 11 plus exam & test tools, preparation tools and practice tools are brilliant when used as part of a wider preparation using pen, paper and books. There is no standalone 11 Plus online system we would recommend using currently unless it is part of a wider preparation process.

Below are our suggestions on how to fit online into a preparation process to improve it.

11 Plus Online Preparation – Using online tools to aid the preparation and practice process.

Preparation in the final year should of course be mostly about learning and practice with timed exam work only coming in at the end.

During this period children will learn all about new verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning question types and how to recognise and answer them. Their maths will be moving ahead with exposure to new techniques (such as multiplying fractions) and of course they will be consolidating and revising as they go.

We believe during this phase a very helpful use for online 11 plus applications is to access an online question bank. These question banks allow you to focus on one particular type of question and really do some in-depth practice until you are absolutely sure of it.

Parents find this really useful when a new question has been introduced or where a knowledge gap or weakness has emerged. The beauty of using online for this is that you can tailor the solution entirely to your needs.

The best online questions banks allow you to access say 20 questions on dividing fractions or a particular non-verbal reasoning questions type (like nets of cubes for example) or a particular verbal reasoning question type.

If you like to see which online preparation provider we recommend for this process then please see our review of 11 plus online providers page.

11 Plus online tests and exams- Using online tools to aid the testing and preparation process.

Online can be very useful during the testing/ exam technique development phase.

Clearly during this phase knowledge gaps will continue to emerge so the online question banks will continue to be useful (as described in the preparation section).

Equally though the use of online tools can be useful in building up exam technique. Often shorter tests can be given which means children can develop their timing skills each day without having to do a full paper. Full papers of course can still be delivered online but we’d suggest that paper is still the most beneficial way to deliver tests but online tests and exams can be sued when the paper supply has been exhausted and for a point of difference.

It is also the case that learning flexibly is always very important for online tests and using different publishers is a useful way of achieving this. Using an online tests and exam provider will help expose children to more variety.

Of course sometimes, towards the end of the 11 Plus preparation process, adding some variety to work is really useful because reserves of stamina can be running low. Using online tests and exams sensibly can also help in this way.

If you would like to see which online provider we recommend for this process then please see our review of 11 plus online providers page.