Our tuition centre in Harrow opens its doors each April until September for 11 plus mock exams practice sessions. Our mock exams attract parents from all over the UK because each mock is uniquely tailored to an individual examining board and because, for most children, 11+ mock exams are a crucial part of the final build up of the 11 plus preparation process.
“Mock exams are a crucial part of 11+ preparation.”
From our experience running 11+ courses, we know that no amount of tuition and home practice can prepare a child fully for real exam conditions.
Children aged 10-11 generally have very little experience in exam conditions, as timed curriculum tests at school are far more relaxed and take place in familiar surroundings. Some children can even find mock exams intimidating and can get very nervous and have difficulty remaining focused when they attend a formal venue. We find that our own Year 5 students make greater progress with exam performance by sitting more mock exams and getting exposure to this environment.
Our own Year 5 students will typically sit in the region of 10-12 mock exams in the weeks leading up to their real exams. This allows the students to familiarise themselves with exam procedure and thus boost their confidence and reduce their nerves before their actual exam.
Most children will benefit from at least three mock exams. By beginning the mock exam process earlier, around May or June, a student’s ability can be gauged months ahead of their exam. This reduces the risk of causing worry or distress if a mock exam is taken too late and marks are not what a student is expecting.
One early mock exam also can give parents an idea of how well their child is performing against the competition. It enables parents to plan for the months ahead and leaves more time to address weak areas that have been identified in the student’s results.
Understanding how your child’s results compares against their competition, also, is an important step in 11+ preparation. This can enable you to plan for the months ahead and leaves more time to address weak spots that have been identified in their results.
Many parents may feel that their children are not ready for their first mock exam. In our experience, we generally find that this is not a big issue as long as the expectations of the student are managed, and they are reassured that high scores are not expected right away and that there is plenty of time for improvement.
What should you look for in a mock exam?
Papers tailored to individual exam boards.
Generic papers that offer general exam practice are less useful to your child than professional prepared papers that specifically mirror those set by examining bodies. The main purpose of a mock exam is for your child to sit a test that is as close as possible to the real exam that he or she will sit for their particular school.
Full length papers.
Look for full length papers, not shortened papers of around 30 mins, as many providers of mock exams offer. Reducing the length of a paper even if it is tailored to a single examining board can significantly distort its composition when compared with the real exam. A mock exam should mirror the conditions of the real exam as closely as possible, and exam timing is a crucial skill that children can learn when attending in person mock exams.
The best mock exam providers will offer a way to assess a student’s ability as compared to their cohort. This provides invaluable insight into your child’s relative progress.
At Eleven Plus Exams, for example, we have developed our own exclusive in-house software, the 11+ Peer Compare™ online system, to provide informative feedback reports. Feedback reports provide raw scores per subject and subject percentile rankings amongst the cohort that sat the test, and they identify specific areas of weaknesses.
Real exam conditions.
Where is the mock exam being held? How many students will be attending? Are there breaks? These are all contributing factors in how well a mock exam will reflect the real exam day.
Eleven Plus Exams Mocks
We have worked to streamline the mock exam process for parents, by providing all of the above for every mock exam we run, both physically and online.
To find out more about our own in-house and digital mocks, you can visit our dedicated mock exam website: mocks.elevenplusexams.co.uk