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Swot Up blog - hints, tips, news and events from the 11 plus swot world
  • Jargon Busting

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    Here at 11+ Swot, we believe in having fantastic verbal and non verbal reasoning skills, along with a superior Maths & English knowledge. Imagine our dismay when we found this list of educational jargon published on the Times Educational Supplement forum (we've selected our favourite six);


    Young Person/ Learner - Child

    Outcome Based Education - Teaching dependent on educational level

    Critical Thinking - Allowing children to think for themselves

    Learning Level - A confusing name for ground floor, first floor etc.

    Consensus Building - Coming to an agreement

    Co-operative learning - Working together


    We thought it would be fun to put these into a sentence

    "I was teaching a young person tailored to their outcome based educational needs. After a consensus building exercise, I encouraged a combination of critical thinking & co-operative learning on my learning level, the new science block."

    Fortunately our 11+ revision aids are much simpler to understand, take a sample test. Visit our online store for more information & support in passing the exam.

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  • london-to-southend-bike-ride

    On Sunday 17th July, six members of the 11+ Swot team & one worm took on the mighty task of cycling 52 miles from London to Southend. Luke Whittington, the team's mobile application developer drew the short straw, having to cycle the entire route in the 11+ revision mascot outfit.

    Despite three punctures, gear failures, getting lost and some terrible weather, the team completed the course in just under 9 hours. Gary Fenn (Project Manager) explained "We were unfortunate that the punctures happened so early (6 miles). By the time we fixed the bike we were so far behind everybody else that it felt like we were the only people in the race" Overall, the ride was a huge success with the worm managing to stay on his bike throughout.

    So far, the team have raised over £500 and are holding more events in the coming weeks to raise more money for Farleigh Hospice.

    Watch the a video of the worm in action at 

    To donate to the team and support Farleigh Hospice, visit

    Farleigh Hospice offer support to individuals and families of those with life limiting illnesses in the mid Essex area. They can support more than 1,100 people at any one time, relying solely on donations and sponsors to fund the organisation.

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  •  music

    Some parents encourage revision "at all costs", listen to music, play with a stress ball, stand on  your head, whatever it takes to get your child swotting up. Many parents that we talk to have banned listening to music during revision, but before you stop your child too, we searched the web for another side to the argument.

    • If your child feels comfortable listening to music, this should be encouraged. Listening to their favourite album will be less distracting than a new playlist because the sounds will be familiar.
    • We listen to music to calm, inspire and lighten our mood. Children require these qualities whilst revising to help keep focus.
    • Jazz and Classical music are popular choice mainly due to their lack of vocals. They act as white noise, which many argue is better than silence.
    • It works. For some children, it produces results. We recommend keeping tabs on your child, perhaps running a mini experiment.

    Food for thought. This is just a small sample in a sea of cons pertaining to the subject. We recommend, judging the age old question on an individual basis.

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  •  worm-mascot

    Since 2004, our aim has been to provide children with a revision aid that would help ensure exam success and ultimately, grammar school placement. Since then, thousands of children have passed the test and their kind words of recommendation have warmed our hearts. It's now 2011 & we've just launched our brand new website, with five key additions to help your child achieve 11+ success...

    What's new?

    • Easier Navigation: In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, our new site requires less clicks and improved usability.
    • Simplified Tools: Tracking your child's progress has never been easier, thanks to our new charts tool. Further introductions include a live pause button, allowing your child to complete the test at a later date.
    • Weekly News Updates: You & your child will benefit from timely blogs regarding the 11+ exam, including revision tips and tricks.
    • Be Part of the 11+ Community: Share news with friends & follow our latest updates through a variety of social media channels. -
    • Extended Catalogue of Resources: Our online shop has added to the thousands of test questions & revision aids. 

    What's the same?

    • Login details: To keep things simple, your personal information has been successfully transferred to the new look site.  No need to re-register.

    We hope you enjoy the revisions.

    Kind Regards

    Noah at 11 Plus Swot

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  • I thought I’d take a moment to go through one of the questions from our verbal reasoning practice tests. This kind of question is popular in the 11+ exam and can get you tied up in knots if you’re not familiar with it. It’s also a question that can eat up a lot of time if you’re not used to this style, so here’s an technique you can use to solve this one relatively easily.

    Here’s the question:

    Karen is older than Daniel, but younger than Jacob. Angela is younger than Carl who is younger than Jacob. Angela is older than Karen.

    Who is the youngest?

    Please circle the correct answer.

    A) Karen              B) Daniel              C) Angela            D) Jacob               E) Carl

    The key trick to this is to use a timeline. Imagine it like this:







    Start filling it in according to the clues you are given. Treat each clue as an individual fact. When you complete it, leave plenty of space around each name to allow them to shuffle around!

    Karen is older than Daniel, but younger than Jacob.

    So to translate this in to a less tricky sentence, Daniel is younger than Karen, and Karen is younger than Jacob. This gives us:












    Angela is younger than Carl who is younger than Jacob.

    OK, so Angela is the youngest in this sentence, with Jacob still at the top of our diagram. We’re not sure where Karen fits into this so be prepared to move her around:












    Angela is older than Karen.

    This sentence confirms that where we’ve placed Angela in relation to Karen is correct. Therefore the answer to “who is the youngest?” is B) Daniel.

    So in summary, when you see questions like this in a test:

    • Imagine a timeline
    • Take each clue one at a time
    • Leave space to shuffle people around
    • And as a bonus timesaver, if all the names start with a different letter, use that initial rather than writing the name out in full.

    You can find this question and more like it in our library of Verbal Reasoning Practice Tests.

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  • Bring Back The Cane!

    Comments: 2

    ... The candy cane, that is...


    Rewarding your child for hard work and perseverance is an integral part in keeping them interested in a subject. Whether it's an ice cream at the seaside or a new game for their Nintendo DS, your child will appreciate that there is more reward to them passing their 11+, than merely your kudos and a place at the best grammar school in the county.

    I recently attended an open evening, whereby the head outlined the cons of "the reward" and to be fair, he had a good argument. As an average, only one in seventy five young people that take the 11+ exam will receive a place at their chosen school. The odds don't look good. For your child, not getting an automatic place could lead to "double disappointment". No dream placement, No candy.

    Of course the odds can be increased. A thorough revision plan, regular breaks, hearty meals are all ways in which your child can get a head start above their peers. Not to mention using online revision tools & exam aids.

    Another option would be to set a percentage pass rate for your child. For example, a result of more than 85% will ensure they get their "candy". After all, in theory, your child could score 97% and still not secure that grammar school place.

    We think little reward goes a long way. Go on, reach for that sweetie jar.

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  • worm-hipstamatic

    A question we get asked a lot is “what score do I need to get to pass the Eleven Plus exam?” The easy answer to that one is “it depends.”

    The eleven plus exam uses standardised scores. This means the minimum pass mark is determined based on all collected results for that year, then adjusted depending on how many people sat the test and how well everybody performed across the board. One the answers have been standardised it is then possible to set a benchmark for all results. You can read more about the standardisation process here.

    There’s no such thing as a strict pass mark but you need to be scoring in the high nineties to give yourself the best chance possible. Near the time of the exam your sample tests need to be at or near 100% every time.

    Try it for yourself – are you able to score over 90% in one of our sample tests? Watch out for the time limit!

    Didn’t quite get the mark you’re hoping for? If you or someone you know is taking the 11+ exam then help them revise with 11+ practice papers from 11 Plus Swot.

    Buy 11+ practice papers now

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  • imbee-social-network

    You've heard the horror stories, and dabbled in a social network or two yourself. But, should you let your child out in to the online world all by themselves?

    The simple answer is no. Although the online world is getting safer with the emergence of panic buttons such as Click CEOP, it is still advisable to monitor your childs activities until you feel that they are worldly enough to police this themselves.

    However, times are changing, and the internet is becoming a youth club of its own. Safely, children can play games, watch videos, meet friends and most importantly learn. Taking away the privilege of social networking from your child, is in essence, restricting a communication channel with friends.

    So, what networks are safe for your child to be using?

    Our favourite "imbee", describes itself as "a social networking and blogging destination specifically designed for kids from ages 8 to 14". After a little dabble, the site appears visually very similar to the early days of MySpace, with similar functionality to Facebook. Children can blog, share pictures, create an avatar (illustration of themselves), play games, watch videos & much more. The most important feature of imbee is that a parent must approve the creation of a profile, giving you the power to constantly monitor activity.

    Further "social networks" for children are in existence, including Active Worlds & Boom Bang to name a couple, both of which are safe and centred around having fun online. Although it's in a parents nature to worry, these new wave of social savvy sites are a million miles away from the archaic days of chat rooms and their uncertain safety.

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  • luke-mobile-app-developer 

    If you're following us on facebook or twitter you will already have seen our 11+ Swot mascot (the worm) come to life thanks to our friends at JellyHead3D.We thought we'd take this opportunity to introduce you to the man behind the 52 mile charity bike ride & the worm costume;

    Name: Luke Whittington


    Occupation: Mobile Developer

    Education: First Class Honours - University of Essex

    Hobbies: Badminton, Photography & Socialising

    Why Farleigh Hospice?: I've had various family members require the need to visit a hospice, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the work which takes place in a hospice is absolutely amazing. Without the love and care provided, I know that the situations my family members were in would have been a lot worse. Farleigh Hospice is funded by donations in the local community, so if we can help this service continue, then it's the least we can do!

    Why Did You Volunteer To Be The Worm?: How many people can say they have cycled 52 miles dressed as a giant green worm? Besides bragging rights, it's for a great cause and it's usually something outrageous like this that'll get people to donate money to charity (which is a different story altogether). The more money we raise for Farleigh the better.

    Did you know: I passed my 11+ exam and was offered grammar school entry some 10 years ago.

    You can donate to this fantastic cause by visiting our JustGiving page.

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  • nfer 

    Everyone has heard of the 11 plus exam, however, few have heard of the examining board  who write the exam. Listed below are a few interesting facts about NFER;

    1. NFER is short for the National Foundation for Educational Research.
    2. They were founded back in 1946.
    3. The board are responsible for creating fresh, bespoke 11 plus tests for a range of schools & local authorities across the country each year.
    4. The tests are produced in accordance with the local authorities (& in some cases particular schools) specifications in terms of content and difficulty.
    5. Whilst the board write the exams, the content remains the property of the local authority or commissioning school. NFER are unable to make these tests publicly available throughout the duration of their use.
    6. In their own words NFER's research ensures that the range of products and services are engaging and exciting for the pupils.

    If you'd like to find out more about NFER, take a look at their informative website.

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