11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Exam Preparation in years three and four

Parents often misunderstand this. The common misconception is that children should start doing tests and learning technique from an early age, in fact years three and four (or at least most of year four) are far too early to do this.

Focus on Core Skills

The technique for these tests is easy to grasp and children will have plenty of time to work on their exam technique later on. Years three and four should be used to develop the core skills which will help children do well….. these are developing a very wide vocabulary and being able to spell accurately.

Vocabulary and spelling ability take a long time to develop properly:

– Children should be reading each and every day for at least half an hour.

– Parents should be doing paired reading activities with their children at least twice a week (more if they are not yet reading independently)

– Children should be doing more spelling activity than the school asks of them and should also be working through some written activities to aid memorising the new words they see

Don’t Test Too Early

We know our plea not to start testing and test papers and technique work early will fall on deaf ears with some parents because they cannot resist the desire to see how their child is doing etc. We hope though that we can encourage every family to make sure enough time is being spent on vocabulary development. Sadly far too many families get to the last three months before the test and wonder why scores are not moving forwards. Some families are doing two or three papers a week and still scores won’t budge. The reason ALWAYS for this is that children do not have a wide enough vocabulary and sadly by the time many families realise this it is too late to fix the problem.

Reading intensively and working on spelling during years three and four helps enormously. This is the time that those children who do best in Verbal Reasoning tests (CEM or GL) acquire the necessary vocabulary breadth and spelling accuracy.