At Maze Tuition we offer mock examinations as an optional part of our 11plus programmes. They’re open to all year 4 and 5 students including those who are not currently studying with us. We feel that’s it’s very important to open this opportunity to all students as the mocks are an invaluable form of 11plus preparation to all children taking this exam.
Mock examinations are similar to those taken by GCSE students just before Christmas with the premise being exactly the same- we are looking to see how students are progressing towards the overall standard. The results of mock exams help us to see exactly which areas students are excelling in and those areas that they are struggling with and would benefit from extra teaching input, revision and extra work at home.
At Maze we give an overall percentage score, also providing a marker to parents of where we expect students to score if they are to have a good chance of passing the 11Plus. Parents and tutors are then able to get an objective view of performance against the standard. Tutors will then use the outcomes as a form of assessment which can then be used to adapt a child’s tuition programme. Maybe providing more maths teaching input or non-verbal reasoning. Similarly it may be appropriate to remove some topics from a child’s tuition programme if they have performed particularly well in those areas.
Timings are also a central issue for many 11plus students, with most of my students being able to score very highly on this tough exam, provided that we give them endless time to finish the paper. When placed under time constraints children can often fail to complete questions and therefore fail to pass the exam. The maths part of the 11plus exam is a part where this is particularly pertinent as children have to read the question, which can be serval sentences long, they then have to break the problem down into steps of working out, complete the written and mental calculations necessary and then pit their answers together.
It’s always really interesting to find out how even the brightest children fare under the pressure of time constraints. Not to mention the ‘strict and silent’ environment that the grammar schools emulate to keep testing conditions at their most stringent.
The 11plus exams are increasingly difficult and only around the top ten percent of applicants will get a place at a grammar school. Children therefore have to be extremely well prepared both academically and emotionally to be at their complete best on the day of the exam.
Mock exams can therefore be beneficial for children who are studying in a group setting with a tutor, being tutored on a one to one basis or even those who are being tutored by a parent. The beauty of the mock examination setting is that it provides children with the chance to experience what it might be like to be in an unfamiliar environment, different teachers. It also provides children with the chance to test out skills and knowledge whilst working under timed conditions.
When results of the Mock Exams are released they often glean findings such as a need to manage timings on each sections better, to read more quickly, check work and use more efficient mathematical methods. `if you have any of the following concerns for your child then this may be the perfect answer for you.
Mock exams also show children exactly how hard the exams will be on the day. Children will be well prepared in terms of the topics and question types after their preparation but many are surprised by just how hard the ‘real’ questions will be. The better prepared children are for the level of challenge the better they will perform on the day as they will know what to expect.
Emotionally the 11plus examinations can take their toll on both children (and their parents)! We shouldn’t neglect the impact this may have on the children’s performance on the day as a child who feel anxious and agitated will not be able to remain calm enough to keep a clear head to recall all of their learning. The mock exams will help children to learn that the examination setting isn’t as bad they think and to desensitise themselves to the situations, feeling calmer and more at ease when they come to face the ‘real’ 11plus.
So if you’re considering putting your child in for an 11plus mock exam in your area then I’d like to leave you with some words from my previous students who sat the mock exams and then went on to pass their 11plus exams and gain a place at a grammar school-
“I wasn’t nervous as I’d done lots of (11plus mock) exams before”
“there wasn’t anything in the 11plus exams I hadn’t come across before”.