Core Skills Focus Throughout the 11 Plus Revision Process
Revision of Core Skills – Structured Courses or Books?
Parents have a choice here which is to either use books to build up core skills and do some papers alongside or take a more structured approach and use one of the structured revision courses which cover off both core skills and practice papers.
Using structured courses
We recommend Learning Street courses for this and have found that parents particularly value the fact that much of the hassle organising which books to buy at what time and how to do has been dealt with for them.
The two relevant structured courses are Learning Street revision course GL (for those doing GL exams) and Learning Street revision CEM (for those doing CEM exams). If you are doing school written exams or CSSE exams then we’d suggest the GL version as it will be closest to covering the ground fully.
The only thing we would mention is that these courses are billed as being good if you have four weeks to go, actually when we reviewed them we found that there was a huge amount of work there and many families may need 6 weeks to complete if they are working a little more gently – be advised they will be very intensive if completed over 4 weeks.
Of course if parents wish to use books to build up individual skill areas then they remain a valid option and our suggestions of which one to use are included below. This includes both numeracy and literacy work.
Numeracy Core Skills Work as Part of an 11 Plus Revision Plan
On the numeracy side as part of an eleven plus revision plan we’d suggest, in terms of core skills work (regardless of which exam you are doing – GL, CEM school written), that you focus on the following:
- Every day doing some Mental Maths work to keep the core of your knowledge ticking over. We suggest Schofield and Sims Mental Maths 4 (answer book here) is a good level for most. You should be focussing on getting 100% on these questions. Use the work not only to help keep skills fresh but also to aid accuracy development. During the summer holidays, we’d suggest 1 page per day, during school time it may be better, due to time constraints, to do one exercise per day.
- We’d also suggest doing some worded problems to keep these fresh. We’d suggest using Heinemann Worded Problems Book 6 (answer book here). Children could do 1 page per day during holiday time, perhaps less if school has started.
It’s essential that core skills remain exercised and that the focus on accuracy is maintained. We wouldn’t suggest that moving onto Schofield and Sims book 5 or 6 is beneficial at this point, all we want to achieve is to exercise a child’s skills, they will get all the stretch they need through the papers themselves.
Literacy Core Skills Work as Part of an 11 Plus Revision Plan
On the literacy side as a core part of an eleven plus revision plan we’d suggest the following:
- Children need to maintain a focus on spelling during this period. We’d suggest using CGP KS2 English Spelling Question Book Year 5 (answer book can be bought separately) and CGP KS2 English Spelling Question Book Year 6 (answer book can be bought separately).
- If they have already done these then use 11+ Vocabulary in Context Book 2 or Book 3. Do one page per day during holiday time, perhaps a little less during the school week if you are revising then.
- Children need to be reading every day. They should be reading for at least half an hour per day or more. Do not let this slip, it remains really important.
- Many 11 Plus Exams will contain complicated texts. We suggest children should get familiar with classic books texts during their preparation process. During revision this is also important. Do some paired reading each week using classic book texts from our classic book list.
All of the above applies to children regardless of whether they are doing GL, CEM or school written exams.