The most frequently asked question by students at this point of time is "What should be done in terms of preparation for the next four weeks to pass 11 plus exam for the desired grammar school?" We need a strategy/plan that needs to be adopted to take the preparation to the next level in the coming days across each of the sections that one has seen in 11 plus exam over the last few years.
The Math section is the one that most students fear not to do well . A plan should involve the following:
Students should revise the basics across all chapters. This is recommended because the 11 plus exam has over the years tested students on their ability to comprehend basics rather than the ability to tackle advanced problems.
The next two weeks should be spent on working out the content from the study material you have. The focus should not be on time taken to solve the question but rather on the understanding of the method used to solve and the principle involved.
The remaining days in the run-up to 11 plus should be spent working out the questions from the Mock exams that one has taken over the past few months. The Mock exams have a standard of questions that is very close to the actual exam and the learning that one can derive by working them out would be immense.
The non-verbal section is the one that requires the least amount of concepts to be learnt and practiced. The plan for this section should be as follows:
The basic study material is to be quickly revised and elementary concepts of NVR to be revised. This activity should be finished in about a week's time.
The next stage would be to practice the sets given in the practice papers, which should go on until the week of actual exam. The emphasis here is more on identifying the approach that one should take after looking at the questions rather than on the actual solving of the questions.
Students should try and solve some puzzles from puzzle books which are readily available at all major book stores. This is so because 11 plus exam seems to be moving more towards the logical questions than anything else if the trend of the past few years is any indication.
The section that seems simple but difficult and time consuming to score is the Verbal/RC section and things might just be the same this year. A plan for this section should be:
Allot at least 1.5 hours every day to reading practice. This could be from the mainstream newspapers, weekly magazines or from online sources. In this case it would be a great idea to avoid tabloid newspapers ie newspapers that revel in sensationalising news and not on the good old reporting. This activity should go on till the day of actual exams. The reading of articles helps one acclimatise to the different kinds of passages and thereby reduces the 'alien' factor in the exam.
Some students are unduly perturbed by the questions on Vocabulary/acronyms/word matching, cloze passage as they believe that preparing for it is like swimming across an ocean. At this point of time it is futile to try and improve on vocabulary. However as one reads an article on a daily basis, this activity itself could form the base for new words.
Students should understand that the time on hand is more than sufficient to pass 11 plus exam provided one follows the above guidelines.
With just one month left for the most competitive 11 plus exam for an admission to a grammar school in year 7, the pressure on students(and of course parents) is extremely high. However, these tips might help you prepare for your exam in a systematic, time-bound manner:
Unlike SATs exams, 11 plus exams cannot be tackled by studying in the last fifteen days. Students are advised to prepare and follow a theory, practice, analysis and revision every week.
So, review it on a fixed day each week and plan accordingly next week. Also, students should study a few hours daily rather than have a 10-15 hour marathon once a week.
11 plus exam focuses on concept understanding and application, than just formulae. Make a list of formulae and concepts and add notes on their applications and usefulness in different question types.
Before trying to master tips and shortcuts, master solving a question in the most conventional manner.
After every practice test, analyse it at a sectional, topic, chapter and question-type level to identify strengths and weaknesses - in terms of speed and accuracy.
Further, recreate your revision schedule accordingly.
Compare your solutions to the official solution and identify areas where you could have solved the question faster/better.
It is a fact that 11 plus exam tests your understanding and accuracy, and not speed.
Also, it does not has sectional cut-offs and negative marks per questions. Hence, selecting the right question is more important than answering all questions or guessing answers to questions to maximise time.
Also, one has to be perfect at each section. One should practice solving questions of each section in given time.
Also, try to practice 4-5 practice exams in an exam-setting to get the best possible practice.
Do not compare if your friends have better scores or seem to study more.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
Your initial percentiles and scores may be low, but with systematic analysis and correction, students can see a marked improvement every week.