When should we start VR preparation?

Regardless of what form of VR you are going to do (21 types or CEM) there really isn’t a huge amount to learn in terms of technique even though this topic is not generally covered in schools.

If you have a child in year three or year four we’d recommend lots and lots of reading, particularly paired reading. This is the best way of improving vocabulary skills. The most common differentiator between children in the VR test (of whichever type) is the breadth of their vocabulary. Children without a wide vocabulary will reach a ceiling in their performance in VR tests.

We’d also recommend playing word games… Boggle… Scrabble…. Word puzzle books…. Crosswords. All these things develop vocabulary in an effective way.

Finally just getting into good routines as a family has been proven to have a positive effect on vocabulary development… having meals together as an example.

Doing work on the type of VR questions a child is likely to face (21 types or CEM) is not necessary until the beginning of year 5 (although as comprehension is included in CEM VR, work can be done on this area throughout years three and four- schools do cover this , although additional support will help).

Doing timed tests is not relevant for VR until a child has developed a sufficiently wide vocabulary and has understood what type of questions they will face. In normal development a child will benefit from doing some timed tests and example questions from the middle of year five onwards.

    If you have questions which we have not addressed in our forum pages, please feel free to submit them via the form provided below.

    Your Name (*)

    Your Email (*)

    Your Message

    Which 11 Plus Exam Preparation Options Are Right For You ?

    11 Plus Private Tutors

    • Personalised Work
    • 1-1
    • High feedback levels


    • VERY Expensive
    • Lots of work at home
    • Lots of travel

    11 Plus Tuition Centres

    • Structured work
    • Third party involvement
    • Some feedback


    • Some children don't progress
    • Lots of work at home
    • Lots of travel

    11 Plus Guided Courses

    • Structured work provided
    • No wasted time
    • Help and advice on hand


    • High parental commitment
    • Cost higher than DIY

    11 Plus DIY- Books

    • Parents in full control
    • Work can be totally tailored
    • Lowest cost


    • Difficult to plan well
    • Difficult to deliver well
    • Maximum parental effort