How to prepare for 11 Plus Maths during year five.

The initial focus in year five should be on ensuring the Maths syllabus is covered and that children are working accurately. As part of this process they will naturally be doing plenty of question work.

Only when the bulk of the learning has been done is it appropriate to move onto timed questions. The secret is to start with slightly easier papers to get the pace right and only then move onto harder papers.

Maths preparation works best when the balance between testing and learning is right. As an example if you take a bright child starting preparation in the September of year five then we’d suggest the first 5 months should be taken up entirely with learning the core topics and with doing regular calculation work. While core topic should continue throughout the year this is the time to ensure the foundations have been properly laid. Then we’d suggest moving to some easier timed tests to get used to working quickly and accurately (developing speed and accuracy is essential). When children are scoring highly and have eradicated most of the little mistakes and have greatly improved their attention to detail then, and only then, is the right moment to move onto the more difficult 11 Plus tests. By this stage children should have covered 90% of the syllabus so no questions should come as a surprise to them.

Getting the balance right between core skills development and testing is essential. Going to tests too early inevitably damages a child’s chances.