English 11 Plus preparation during year five

For the first part of year five preparation should continue to focus on the development of core skills:

  • Reading every day
  • Paired Reading at least twice a week
  • Vocabulary enhancement
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Comprehension exercises
  • Plus writing encouragement if required.

We would thoroughly recommend that children read a mix of books but don’t shy away from reading some classic passages or whole classic books. When the exam comes many papers will use a classic text or a text which is difficult to get to grips with. Children who are used to concentrating hard enough to make sense of the text will not be phased by this, others will struggle.

Reading should be continued throughout, but the other activities can gradually be replaced by test papers as children move into the second half of the year.

We’d suggest you do not overdo the papers (no more than one per week with the first 6 or so weeks being easier papers and the remainder gradually building up to 11 Plus standard). Aim for an absolute maximum of 20 papers, anything more is counter-productive and would indicate not enough time has been spent on core skills. Ideally we’d suggest do more core skills work and fewer papers but we know temptation gets the better of many parents. Please do think carefully if you have the time it will need to feedback properly. If you have little time then do fewer papers.

As with any paper the feedback and marking period may need to take twice or three times as long as the completion period. Doing a paper and getting the results is only a small part of the process, understanding where mistakes were made, how they were made and taking some learning from it will take up the bulk of the time. It is only by doing this that doing papers helps development.