Three Common 11+ Myths

As the 11 plus will often be the first academic exam children sit, some tutees have falsely held beliefs about the test and how to tackle it.

Myth 1

"I've answered the last 5 questions as ‘A’ from the multiple choice options, therefore the next one cannot be another ‘A’."

Children will often try to see a pattern forming from their multiple-choice answers. For example if they have chosen ‘A’ a number of times, or whichever letter appears the most, they consider their answer to be wrong if it is another ‘A’.

Message to 11 plus candidates:

Obviously they all have an equal chance, so don't try to convince yourself that you must be wrong or there is a pattern of answers. Focus on working out the correct option and don't worry about the letter attached to it!


Myth 2

'I should always, always read the questions in the comprehension section first before the text.'

Lots of tutors will recommend this approach. I leave this decision to all of my students as sometimes this technique can simply further confuse a child’s understanding of the text overall.

Message to 11 plus candidates:

It's worth testing out both techniques and picking which you prefer. There is no right or wrong way, but getting a good understanding of the purpose and source of the text is crucial. Is it to inform? Is it to entertain? Is it to persuade? All of these factors influence how the text has been written and therefore your comprehension of it.

Remember, in traditional comprehension papers (with written answers and not multiple choice) you would always read the text first. Your answer sheets for the CEM grammar school exam will be marked by a computer too! 


Myth 3

 "The exam is multiple choice, with no spare paper, therefore I must work everything out in my head and only write the answers down."

The lack of spare paper and multiple-choice format of the exam makes the process even more daunting for children. In school, they are actively encouraged to write everything down and show their solutions in a step-by-step approach. Many children feel they cannot write on the question paper but they can and should be encouraged to make notes, underline the text and write down any sub-totals in data tables.

Message to 11 plus candidates:

You can use the exam question paper as space to write out your working, underline parts of a text or highlight sections of a data table. Write down all of your sums to avoid mistakes and read the questions at least twice. Only your answer sheet will be marked, so make use of the space available on the question paper for working out your answers.

 I hope that these myths have been positively debunked and your child can approach the exam confidently for a very successful outcome.