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  • The 11 plus English exam is primarily structured to focus on reading and writing skills. This includes examining basic components of the English language such as grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation. These skills are measured on the 11 plus English exam through reading comprehension tests and essay writing.

    Typically students find the essay writing component the most challenging part of the exam. This task may take as little as 20 minutes but may take as long as 50 minutes. The topics for the essays are pre set and include factual or fictional titles, students are then able to choose which topic to write about.

    Due to the limited time for the exam, students must be able to manage their time efficiently in order to complete the exam in the allotted time. The students are advised to create a plan before beginning the essay component of the exam. Good planning is essential in essay writing as it helps the children organise their thoughts to create a structured essay.

    Priorities vary for each examiner with some placing high regard on accurate grammar, spelling, and punctuation rather than on the content; however all examiners find it is important to have well structured essay with a clearly defined “beginning, middle, and end”.  One way to develop this structure with children is by dividing their writing page into three sections with a ruler, with a short beginning section, a longer middle section and a third short section. The child must then complete their essay with the beginning, middle and ending fitted into each respective section.

    Another helpful technique for essay writing is for students to prepare an emergency ending, for use if they find they are running out of time. The ending is the last thing the examiner will read and therefore it is important that it makes an impact; if time management is an issue, this technique can be extremely useful.

    The more your child is exposed to English writing and questions the easier they will find the English section of the 11 plus exam. Head over to the English section of the 11plus swot site to get access to hundreds of sample questions to guide your child in the right direction.  

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