The 11+ exam is a big milestone in the life of any young student. It’s important that parents provide as much advice and support as possible to their children without putting undue pressure on them to succeed. Many of the most helpful things you can do as a parent revolve around issues of creating a structured and supportive routine that will provide the best backdrop for your child to study in.
Establishing a happy and healthy routine in the run up to the exam is essential for the best results. This means insisting on regular healthy meals, early bedtimes and a structured programme of study and physical activity. It may be beneficial to cancel all out of school activities for a couple of weeks before the exam to maintain focus on the exam process.
It is also important to ensure that your child can calculate the finish time of the exam independently. Test start times will vary and it’s useful to know your child is comfortable being able to gauge where they are in the exam against the time allowance remaining. This is a skill you can practice while going over past papers.
On the morning of the exam resist the temptation to cram in last minute revision as this will only raise stress levels. Plan a relaxed and calming morning routine as closer to normal as possible and leave plenty of time for the journey to the test venue. Try to contain you own nerves as these can easily transfer to your child. Try a fun sing song on the journey to keep stress at bay.
A breakfast of whole grains and protein like scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with some fresh fruit juice or water will be ideal for maintaining blood sugar levels, hunger and concentration.
Make a checklist of everything your child will need for the exam and have it all ready to take on the day. Things like a watch, glasses, tissues and anything else they need on a daily basis. If they insist on taking a mascot for support make sure it’s a pocket sized one that won’t clutter the desk and cause a distraction.
Prepare your child for any distractions that may occur while in the exam room. Despite the best preparations things will go wrong from time to time. Make sure they understand the importance of maintaining their focus and concentrating on completing the exam whatever happens around them. They should continue the exam unless they are specifically told to stop.
After the exam try to discourage your child from discussing specific questions & answers with friends after the exam as this can create anxiety if discrepancies are apparent. Reassure your child that you are proud of all the hard work and effort and buy them a small present or take them out for a treat if you can afford it.