Till date, the 11 PLUS exam (Grammar School Entrance Test) is a paper pencil tests for students wanting to secure the coveted year 7 seats in various grammar schools or independent schools of the country. 11 PLUS exam is conducted every year by these schools or group of schools and it scores the candidates using four sections, namely Math, Non Verbal Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension as well as English grammar.
Among these three sections, Maths is perhaps one of the most important sections. This is because it also helps in the Non Verbal Section if prepared thoroughly. Also, almost 30 -40 % questions in 11 PLUS exams are asked from this section alone, so it's importance cannot be overstated. This article focuses on some important Preparation tips for Math so that you can best prepare and consequently ace the 11 PLUS exam!!!
To devise an overall strategy for the MATH section in 11 PLUS, it is important to first understand its overall pattern.
As per student's feedback, recent papers for 11 PLUS were comparatively difficult, so the number of good attempts were reduced by nearly 5. The actual raw data and questions for 11 PLUS exam are not available, so it's difficult to give the exact percentile and score which will help you land a seat in a good college. Further, individual profiles of aspirants also play a critical role in admission. Note, the important thing to note here is that the scores published are not the actual scores but rather the scaled scores.
There are two types of scores in 11 PLUS, the raw score and the scaled score. The raw score is the real score that you get i.e. +3 for one correct answer. While the scaled score is calculated by the school's hosting the 11 PLUS. The scaled score is calculated because 11 PLUS aspirants have varied age within the birth year due to birth month and to make sure all the students are evaluated on the same level of difficulty, scaling is done.
One thing that an aspirant need to keep in mind is that the result you get is relative to others. So, depending on the paper each year, the cut off marks will vary. While giving your mocks exams you will notice that when you found the paper difficult so did the others and as a result, you will be judged on less score and vice versa.
Now that we have better clarity of the pattern for Math, let's move to the preparation. The first two to three months of 11 PLUS preparation (depending on the time you are left with) should be devoted to religiously completing the syllabus. This is a list of all the areas you need to cover in this period.
Learn tables till thirty Learn Squares, cubes, and reciprocals till 30. Please note that as the calculator is not provided in the exam, it will be useful to reduced time for calculations during the exam.
While doing the chapters, learn all the formulas and make a cheat sheet for them. When you finally solve the questions, don't look at this sheet. You should have learned it by heart and if you are unable to recall it then learn all the formulas again and do the question again the next day.
Also, make a biweekly plan for revision and allocate 15 minutes for it. Put up the formulas in front of you wherever you sit or carry them with you when you travel.
Now let's move to the syllabus for Math. You can use any book of your liking in which you are able to understand all the concepts. There is only one advice here, choose a book in which you can understand the explanation given for the questions.
People argue that there are no hacks for getting a good score in 11 PLUS but there is one, it's called giving MOCK Exams.
So you should attempt as many mock exams as you can and ANALYZE them. This point can't be stressed enough but just to emphasise again, ANALYSE MOCKS AFTER ATTEMPTING. Please remember is that this is not an exam for just hard-working people but for both hard-working and smart-working people. So be smart and attempt the maximum number of EASIEST questions in Math. Remember that all easy questions will give you more time for harder ones. There are no brownie points for attempting the hard questions.
Also, everyone has a different definition of easy, so play to your strengths. However, it might happen that the area you are confident in has the hardest questions. Don't fall for that trap, move to the easy questions immediately and don't let it affect your ego.
Start from question number 1 read it, see if you can do it in a minute or less i.e. if its formula based and there are not multiple cases and possibilities then go ahead and solve it. If you think you can solve it, but it will take 2-3 minutes just note it down on the rough notebook provided. Repeat this for all the questions.
In round 2, look at the list you have prepared, attempt all the questions you have marked which were easy but would take 2-3 minutes. The good thing about this strategy is that your mind will subconsciously be working to solve these questions and you will be able to solve them even faster than you would have, had you solved them on the first go. By the time you complete it, there is a very good possibility that the time will be up but if you manage to solve these hard ones then kudos to you.
These are some general tips you can follow while preparing for the Math section of 11 PLUS:
In 11 PLUS examination, some school provide a rough paper so while solving questions solve them neatly because sometimes you are unable to solve the question and have to skip it as it is taking longer than expected. In this case, when you come back to re-attempt the question, instead of starting from the scratch you can pick up from where you left.
While practicing try and evaluate how much time you are taking to solve the question. You need not start this practice right away but after you are done with basic questions, try to time yourself.
Most questions are designed to be solved under 1 minute so if you are taking longer than this period ask your peers or teachers for advice. Maybe they know an approach you aren't aware of.
All the tips that are provided above for Math preparation can be utilised to prepare for the intricacies of the 11 PLUS exam and eventually ace it! To implement it even more efficiently, Champs Learning brings you the 11 PLUS Preparation Course - a regular course for a year and Summer camp with Mock Exams. This is a course comprising of all the sections of the 11 PLUS exam.