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Swot Up blog - hints, tips, news and events from the 11 plus swot world
  • Since launching the page on May 5th 2011 we have used facebook as a tool to promote our blogs & create a number of discussions around the eleven plus exam. The growth of the page has been largely organic and our hearts have been warmed by many of the kind words that our fans have blessed us with.

    To celebrate this milestone we have created a timeline:

    May 5th: Our fan page was born


     May 9th: We reached 25 fans & received our vanity url

     11+ vanity

    June 13th: Our 11+ revision mascot is unveiled for the first time

    11+ worm unveiled 

    July 18th: Photos from the 52 mile bike ride in aid of Farleigh Hospice were published

    bike ride hell

    July 26th: The worm is named "Zoltan" after a facebook poll

    zoltan named

    August 1st: We reached 50 fans!!

    August 11th: We share 5 amazing things to do this summer holiday

    things to do summer blog

    September 15th: We reach 100 fans!!

    facebook button 

    Follow us on facebook & twitter & join the conversation.

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  •  11+ exam results

    You may remember a blog that I wrote a month or so ago, Can a 26 Year Old Pass The 11+ Exam? I certainly do. Having passed with flying colours, I now saw myself as the "don" of the grammar school entry test. Filled with this euphoric feeling, I'm sure you can understand my confidence when I stumbled across an article on the BBC news website asking - "Could you pass the 11-plus?"

    The article was similar to the 11+ sample exam I took. With 10 minutes to answer 15 questions, I started the timer. A combination of verbal & non verbal reasoning questions with a little maths thrown in for good measure.

    On completing the test, I checked my score. 10/15. That's 67%! I immediately began to doubt my 11+ credentials & thought it might be time to invest in some revision resources from the 11+ Swot shop.

    Perhaps the BBC's version of the test picked some of the harder questions, or maybe I was simply having an off day? Have you tried the tests? I'd love to hear your feedback.
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  • williams-sisters-pushy-parents

    Pushy parents are often lambasted by both traditional and social media channels. This post will offer kudos to those parents who will stop at nothing to get the best for their children.

    The majority of people who oppose pushy parents would agree that it is the notion of making a child do something that they don't like doing that they disagree with. It's the belief that if a child is unhappy doing something, then they shouldn't be doing it. I disagree, below I list 5 reasons why a pushy parent is a good parent.

    • "I don't want to...". In life we all have to do things that we oppose. Whether it's taking out the bins or worse, going to work every day. I don't believe that not wanting to, is good enough reason not to do something. The benefits of taking the bins out are that your house will stay clean & odour free. The plus side to not enjoying work is at least being in employment and it's financial compensation.
    • Give it a try. I don't do heights, but I will always try my hardest to conquer this fear in the name of being able to say, I did it. Whether I enjoyed the experience or not, I can say take pride in saying, "I gave it a try and I did/ didn't like it."
    • A sense of achievement. Although naysayers will argue that children will simply rebel, being introduced to a subject and guided through how it works, eventually leaves a child feeling a sense of fulfilment. Often in life the biggest hurdle is making a start. Breaking down a task into bite-sized chunks will make a task more manageable and easier to achieve.
    • Become a success. Look at the Williams sisters. Their father installed a tough work ethic into them, with many citing that they were "bred to play tennis". Whether you agree or disagree with their fathers tactics, it is certainly reaping it's reward now.
    • Nature needs to be nurtured. Ok, so raw talent is something that can't be bought, but it needs to be nurtured. In my opinion, it's worse to waste talent than to have never had it in the first place. Without desire to succeed, even the most gifted child will end up lost amongst the crowd.

    In conclusion, it is imperative that our children are encouraged to succeed. Whether your child needs a little more help with their verbal reasoning skills or numeracy ability, it must be noted that we are not being pushy parents, we are simply guiding them towards a grammar school education and a ultimately better life.

    Do you agree with this post? Or do you take a more laissez faire approach to parenting, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Photo courtesy of

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  • literacy 

    Although the literacy rates in the UK make good reading, figures for other parts of the world are a far less rosy. In contrast to the UK's 99% of over 15 year olds attaining at least a basic level of literacy, countries including Afghanistan & Sierra Leone are far less fortunate with rates of 28% & 37% respectively. Figures courtesy of UNESCO.

    September 8th celebrates International Literacy Day 2011 and we thought there's no better way to celebrate than with an English test of our own, courtesy of the team at 11+ Swot.

    In each question below, find the two words that are different from the others.

    Example: (blue, mountaincat, yellow, purple)

    Question 1

    a) panic

    b) fear

    c) ghost

    d) horror

    e) snake


    Question 2

    a) taunt

    b) compliment

    c) ridicule

    d) mock

    e) unwrap


    Question 3

    a) Paris

    b) Sydney

    c) Japan

    d) Canada

    e) Birmingham


    Question 4

    a) turnip

    b) kiwi

    c) parsnip

    d) mango

    e) carrot


    Question 5

    a) ant

    b) lug

    c) carry

    d) suitcase

    e) bear



    1. C, E 2. B, E 3. C, D 4. B, D 5. A, D

    Did you score 100%. For more eleven plus questions, take a sample test.

    To find out more about International Literacy Day 2011, visit their website.

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  • literacy

    In celebration of International Literacy Day 2011 (September 8th), I have written a series of blogs to raise awareness of the event. There are huge inadequacies across the world in terms of literacy levels. We are fortunate in the UK to be at the favourable end of the league table. This blog will attempt to outline the importance of literacy over numeracy and vice versa.

    The Literacy Argument

    Literacy features in the vast majority of day to day activities, from reading the newspaper to holding a conversation with a friend. It is almost impossible to lead a normal life without being literate.

    The ability to express one's self through words and symbols has been considered by many as the purest form of art. From cavemen etching stories on the walls to the modern day novelist expressing their deepest emotions onto electronic devices.

    Put simply, literacy opens doors. A poorly worded CV is as likely to get a person employed as a mute performance in an interview. On the contrary, a well written letter or blog will encourage conversation and respect. That's the beauty of written and spoken English. It oozes seniority & commands respect, providing it is applied correctly.

    The Numeracy Argument

    I think most will agree that the world revolves around money. The amount of wealth a person possesses correlates positively with an individual's quality of life.

    It would be all to obvious to point out that money is counted in numbers, but to put it bluntly, it is. From childhood concerns, do I have enough money to buy all of those sweets? Into adulthood, can I afford the mortgage repayments on that house?

    It is without doubt that the UK, along with the remainder of the EU & United States are in a fairly poor state economically. Repossessions, debt & disillusionment with our leaders has ensued, but could this have been avoided if people were more number savvy?

    In Conclusion, Numeracy Wins

    Being literate is a gift, for sure. However, numeracy is vastly overlooked, simply because it's not every day that we are faced with Pythagoras' Theorum. The ability to figure out whether a particular mortgage is sustainable or whether you should upgrade your car to the latest model revolves around the skill of being numerate and will have a direct effect on your quality of life.

    Do you agree?  Or do you think the world would be a better place without numbers?

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