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  • The 11 plus examination consists of a mathematics test based on topics taught at key stage 2. Key Stage 2 is the term used in England and Wales’ education system for the four years of schooling before children enter secondary school. These years are known as Year 3, Year 4, Year 5, and Year 6 where students are between 7 to 11 years old. The 11 plus examination is then taken at the end of year 6 to determine a place in grammar school.

    The mathematics test involves all basic concepts in maths for key stage 2, and also touches upon some further advanced topics such as algebra. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your child is familiar with a wide range of concepts. Surprisingly a common weakness for children under the age of 11 is competency with the four basic math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Although these concepts are introduced to children early, there is little focus on learning times tables ‘by rote’ within the national curriculum which leads to difficulty during questions involving multiplication and division. Practice is crucial for success in the 11 plus exam and regularly reciting times tables will help children to master these skills before undertaking the 11 plus exam.

    Although the maths exam is based around addition, subtraction, multiplication and division it is focused on applying these skills in practical applications. These can include monetary problems, rounding decimals, calculating the properties of shapes (perimeter and area etc), transforming words into numbers, time calculations.... the list goes on. A great way in which to gain experience in all these areas is to get exposure to many different problems. This is done by going through practice papers time and time again. A great starting point is to master the 4 basic skills at key stage 2 level and then apply them to the practical applications. All the practical example questions can be found on the 11plus swot website.

    Here at the 11PlusSwot HQ we have found that the BBC key stage 2 site offers a great starting point to master the 4 topics. From here children can then start to tackle the 11plusswot maths papers to apply their knowledge and develop their skills. 

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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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  • With the technology growing so fast, a prediction has been made by a private school leader that the pen and paper exams will be replaced by an online tests within a decade.

    David Hanson of the Independent Association of Prep Schools believes that by 2023, technology will have been completely embraced by the education system making the pen and paper exams a thing of the past and a part of the education history.

    Maths, English, and Science will remain to be the core subjects in schools but Mr. Hanson believes that technology will soon permeate the education. Traditional exams like the 11 Plus exams for example, which are currently  taken by students as written exams, will be soon replaced by online exams where students take the tests on computers that analyze their ability and adjust the difficulty of the questions based on their skills.

    Aside from the fact that online tests will make the process faster, one of the benefits of online assessment that Mr. Hanson sees was that online assessment is more secure than written exams as mistakes made by individual markers will then be eliminated. He also believes that the implementation of online assessments can solve some of the logistical problems written exams are encountering such as the delivery and collections of papers.

    Although online tests are still on the process as so many things need to be considered first before pursuing this, it has already received good and positive feedback from some students and teachers. However, a lot of comments and reactions must also be expected when the online assessment has finally been implemented.

    Original Article featured in the BBC

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  • The comparison between state schools and independent schools has long been debated; more recently this issue has been highlighted in the media, with independent schools achieving academy status. Former labour education minister, Andrew Adonis, referred to the education system as having a persistent imbalance between state and private systems leading to  a class-based barrier.

    The independent, or fee-paying, school is often criticized as being elitist and outside of the spirit of the state system. Parents of children who go to independent schools are often regarded as part of a wealthy elite who buy the privilege for their children going to top schools.

    Consequently, Andrew Adonis wanted to put an end to the fees and exclusivity of the old class system seeing the conversion of independent schools to state-run academies as the solution just like what happened years ago when grammar schools have been converted to comprehensive schools.

    This however, was not seen by many as the best solution to solve the imbalance between the state and the independent system. When the 11 Plus program was abolished 50 years ago to allow fair education between students, many people think that it was the best decision. However, as years passed and with several schools still adopting the 11 Plus program, it has been proven that the selective education is still working.

    What really needs to be done at this point in time is to end the continuous misrepresentation of the independent schools because while the UK leaders look for solutions abroad to end the educational woes, others look enviously to UK’s own independent schools because they know it is capable of providing the children the best education they deserved.

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  • If you are looking to apply for a place at an Essex Grammar School then you MUST register by the close of business (4.30PM) on FRIDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER 2012. There is no flexibility in this date, so if you are planning on your child taking the 11 plus exam for an Essex grammar school then head over to the link below and register. The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex

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  • New Bundle Offers!

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    Great New Offers

    Here at 11 Plus HQ we have devised 3 great new bundles for our learners. Head over to our shop page and check them out!

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  • Children and parents alike were left shocked and confused when a recent change to the exam period was announced. Many parents start to prepare their child months in advance before sitting an eleven plus exam. To be told that they will potentially lose 3 months preparation time was not welcomed across the board.

    But is it all doom and gloom I hear you ask? Well no actually, there is method to their madness.

    Currently the 11 plus exam is held towards the end of November. By this time parents must choose which secondary schools to apply for. This may not seem like a problem but what if your child doesn’t pass the 11 plus exam? Frantic applications to the best state schools in the area will follow... Followed by a swift rejection letter saying they are already oversubscribed. Every parent’s worst nightmare!

    Let’s re-wind the clock and take the 11 plus exam in September. Your child passes and it’s all smiles and cheers. Your child fails and... No problem. You haven’t had to choose which schools to apply for yet! Now you can apply for the best state schools in the area safe in the knowledge that your child has a good a chance as any into getting into a good school.

    Here at 11plus swot we are behind the proposed changes and hope you, as parents, can see the benefits too.  For help with revising check out our easy to use online testing service. 

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