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Children looking to enter grammar schools and some independent schools will need to sit entrance exams like the 11 plus exam (also known as the 11+ exam). As crucial as the exams are, keeping your child motivated to revise before their exams can be challenging.
Our team of expert teachers has suggested some top tips for how you can encourage your child to maintain motivation in the lead up to the 11 plus.
Understanding the importance of motivation in 11 plus exam preparation
When it comes to revision, developing their own drive can lead your child to build their own sense of purpose. With the right motivation, they will have the drive to revise and study independently to achieve their purpose. Encouraging this self-motivation can set them up for long-term success.
Having the right motivators also creates genuine engagement between your child and what they are learning. This kind of engagement helps to drive children to be more involved in their studies, which can even result in them being able to learn more than their less motivated peers. In addition to being great for exam preparation, these qualities will help them settle into a high performing grammar school and beyond.
If your child lacks motivation, don’t worry. While the mounting pressure of exams, lack of a consistent study routine, or unclear personal goals can contribute to reducing your child’s motivation, these can all easily be addressed. The following tips can help eliminate these factors and keep your child driven in their 11 plus revision.
Setting realistic goals for 11 plus exam success
This is the first step in helping your child develop drive in their exam preparation. It’s a great way to keep track of revision progress, along with building a sense of fulfilment as your child ticks off their objectives.
Start by mapping out their current abilities in each subject, paying special attention to their strengths and weaknesses. Set goals based on these findings, spending more time working on areas they struggle with and less on topics they have mastered. Remember to set SMART goals: make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
From there, each goal should be broken down into manageable tasks. For example, if your child’s goal is to improve their reading comprehension skills, start with reading and discussing a short story or article every day, then move on to longer novels. This practice can help make goals seem more achievable, even if it takes small steps to get there.
Creating an effective revision plan for the 11 plus
With your child’s study goals in mind, you can now develop a revision action plan. Keep in mind how long your child has until the exam, and divide their work accordingly. Start with a weekly study session, then increase that to three or four times a week the closer your child gets to their 11 plus exams.
One of the biggest benefits of a revision plan is building a routine. Once your child is used to allocating time for studying, it becomes much easier for them to build consistency and for you to oversee and help them manage their revision. You can always increase the number of sessions as needed later.
Having a schedule also helps make exam preparation less daunting. Seeing each step of revision planned beforehand, you and your child can mentally prepare for studying relevant topics without worrying about missing anything important along the way. However, a revision plan should also be flexible to adapt based on your child’s week-to-week progress.
Online study tools like Bond Online Premium can help do this for you. As your child works through the assessments on the platform, the artificial intelligence (AI) identifies any misconceptions or knowledge gaps. The AI will then recommend the best topics to revise next based on these insights, and will continue to make recommendations the more your child uses the platform.
Free resource: In the lead up to the 11 plus, download our free step-by-step Revision Planner for your child to use in their own study space.
Incorporating 11 plus exam strategy into revision
Developing the right exam strategies can make the difference in your child succeeding in the 11 plus. Build a step-by-step exam routine for your child to follow, for example:
- Read questions thoroughly to make sure you understand them
- Make notes to refer to later if needed, especially in comprehension questions
- Eliminate incorrect answers in multiple-choice questions
- Use the P.E.E. method for written questions (make a Point, provide Evidence, and Explain)
- Double-check answers before moving on
- Manage time properly to answer as many questions as they can, and know when to move on without spending too much time stuck on a question
Complete mock tests using past papers while encouraging your child to practise their exam routine. This is a great way to build your child’s confidence and reduce stress for the exam. It's also a good opportunity to familiarise themselves with the exam’s format and question types, which could be confusing if your child has not encountered them before.
For help with exam practice, Bond Online Premium contains over 8,000 questions tailored to the 11 plus provided by Bond, the number one provider of 11 plus test practice. These encompass all the different types of questions your child might encounter in the exam, and you will also have access to CENTURY’s tried and tested Learning Nuggets. These have been designed by our team of expert teachers to support preparation for English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning for the 11 plus exams.
Maintaining a positive attitude
It is natural for your child to lose momentum during exam preparation, especially if they are doing a lot of revision over a long period. Taking breaks is vital to keeping your child reinvigorated throughout their revision period. If you notice their marks falling even if they were doing well before, it might be a good idea to take a break from studying to refresh, and avoid any feelings of dejection from lower scores due to tiredness.
Adopt a positive mindset when it comes to exams: instead of framing lower than expected scores as a failure, look at it as an opportunity to learn and build experience. Although exams can feel scary, having a calm and methodical approach can lead your child to success. This mentality can help reduce exam stress and help focus on revision.
Rewards and positive reinforcement
Celebrate your child’s wins, even small ones, to keep them engaged and driven in their studies. Rewards can vary greatly, from compliments and praise to physical rewards like stickers or their favourite ice-cream.
Don't underestimate the influence a few supportive words from a parent, guardian or loved one can have on building your child's confidence. Be your child’s biggest supporter, and recognise all the hard work they’ve put into their exam preparation. You might be surprised at how effective that can be as a motivator for your child.
Keeping your child motivated is crucial in 11 plus exam preparation for entrance into grammar schools and independent schools. For personalised revision plans and exam practice for the 11 plus, sign up for a free 7-day trial of Bond Online Premium.
Learn more about Bond Online Premium by registering for an introductory parent webinar or by visiting our website for more information.