Who does well in the 11-plus?

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Fortunately, these days we do not talk about students passing or failing the 11-plus. We have moved on from these unhelpful labels.
Now, students who take the 11-plus will find out their scores during the Autumn. The county council will then decide, in the new year, the qualifying scores for each of the grammar schools in the county.
Here are a few thoughts on which children will do well in the 11-plus.
First, the exam itself. It is difficult – and is supposed to be! Some children may enjoy it as a challenge, whilst others may find the opposite. It’s up to parents, after a discussion with their children, to decide whether they wish to put their children through this experience.
From experience of supporting children over the past seven or eight years, I would say the following.
  • Children who achieve qualifying scores for the grammars as usually those who are in the top two or three at maths and English in their schools. They will be consistently getting high scores.
  • Children who do well are usually avid readers who enjoy a wide range of books – and read for pleasure and not because they have to.
  • Children who do well usually know things about the world – geography, history, current affairs… not as experts but just have an interest and know a few things. For instance, can your child answer the following questions: What is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famous for? Where is Paris? Who is the Prime Minister? What’s Brexit? Can you name any books by Charles Dickens? Can you name any plays by Shakespeare? When did the Second World War finish? What’s the Mona Lisa?
  • Children who do well look at a tough problem and think ‘how can I do this?’ rather than ‘I don’t know how to do this.’ It’s an important difference.
  • Children who are less likely to achieve the score can also benefit from preparing for the test because it teaches a way of approaching difficult questions, a way of thinking.