Flowers are blooming and the sun is occasionally shining; winter is just about passing on and spring brings with it all the promise of fresh starts. For many students their 11+ exams are now only five months away, and many parents may be starting to feel the pressure in ensuring that their children are fully prepared. Now is the time to strike the right balance between staying on track towards your child’s school goals and allowing them to enjoy the relaxation of their half-term.
At Eleven Plus Exams we usually encourage our students to ramp up their revision during the Easter break. This does not have to mean spending every waking hour at a desk, though. A solid revision timetable can help create structure for both you and your child and ensure they make the most of their time off to both enjoy themselves and focus on their areas for improvement in their 11+ preparation.
Here are some of our top tips for using the time over Easter to keep up with 11+ work.
Start revision bright and early!
Usually, the best time for children to study is in the morning. Sitting mock exams early in the morning can also be beneficial, as this will usually replicate the experience of the actual exam that a child will take.
Use past papers to identify where a student struggles and focus their revision on these topics. It can make revision a lot more manageable to tackle “topics” rather than “subjects”. Planning to work on common spelling mistakes for a half an hour, for example, is a far more achievable and specific goal than trying to work on “English”.
An efficient way to figure out which topics a student needs to work on is by sitting a mock exam. See the mock exam section below for more details on this!
A motivating revision schedule will start and finish on a student’s best subjects. Their most difficult subjects therefore come in the middle. Students can therefore avoid feeling demotivated by trickier subjects when they start and finish on a high.
Students should take breaks of approximately 15 minutes after each hour of work to keep up their stamina and concentration and to avoid burnout. It can be especially helpful for their productivity to step away from their workspace and to do something physical that takes their mind off revision.
A checklist of revision tasks can be a useful visual reminder of what a student needs to accomplish during their study period and it can be a good reminder of their effort and progress.
A revision timetable should be created with your child depending on what they believe they need to focus on. This can help them to feel a sense of ownership over what they are spending their time on.
- Figure out how much time you have to revise per day.
- Prioritise by subjects and topics. Start with those which your child feels least confident with.
- Allocate 30 minute time slots for revision with adequate breaks in between. This provides a time goal and helps avoid a frazzled brain feeling.
- Keep it flexible – some topics may need longer than others.
- Make the timetable achievable. Allocate time for fun activities, socialising and exercising, so your child has something to look forward to.
For a rough guideline, here is an example of how you might draw up your own timetable.
A mock exam is a timed paper in formal exam conditions that replicates the experience of the 11+ before the actual exam date. Our tutors believe that an early mock exam sat over the Easter period can be really beneficial for students.
They can enable students to get a sense of their progress and to spot their weaker areas early on, especially in comparison to their cohort. This allows students to focus their revision and to improve efficiently before their next mock – and the real exam.
At Eleven Plus Exams we provide detailed feedback reports with all of our mock exams that break down every question a student has sat into its subject, topic and subtopic. This allows students to easily identify their strengths and areas for improvement.
Our physical and online mock exams specifically mirror those set by examining bodies, such as CEM and GL in terms of format, content, difficulty and time pressure.
To find out more about our own in-house and digital mocks, you can visit our dedicated mock exam website: mocks.elevenplusexams.co.uk
We hope some of these tips are useful over your Easter break – happy revision!