11 Plus Entrance Exam Tuition 

Success in the 11 Plus Common Entrance Exam opens the door to the best independent and grammar schools in England. We introduce private tutors to guide your child through each of the key skills they need in order to pass the 11 Plus with flying colours.

The 11 Plus tutors we introduce are friendly and professional and known personally to us. They all have proven success at the 11 Plus, with experience of specific London schools. Each is qualified to tutor all parts of the exam including literacy, numeracy and verbal and non-verbal reasoning. If you have not already chosen a school, we can offer academic assessments and guide you towards the best school for your child.

What should I look for in an 11 Plus tutor?

We are often asked to introduce an 11 Plus tutor with specific experience and a high pass rate for a particular school. In most cases, we are able to do this. However, we caution parents that just because a tutor has had previous success with students for a particular school, they might not have the same success with your child. Success in 11 Plus tuition depends to a large degree on the ability of the tutor to understand the learning style of your child. It also relies on them using different instructions from child to child (we have some entertaining discussions with Registrars who have read the same essay from several children!).

With the increase in pre-testing for boys at 11 Plus, and the 13 Plus becoming more of a streaming tool, we are seeing a huge increase in demand for 11 Plus tutoring in London (and to a lesser degree outside London). This means that decent tutors are in short supply and charge higher fees than parents expect. We often recommend parents who live outside Zone 2 to consider online tuition, allowing them access to the best 11 Plus tutors in London, who would otherwise not be able to take on this work because of travel time constraints.

We have written several advice guides for parents and are regularly featured in the press to discuss the 11 Plus. If you would like to discuss your son or daughter’s 11 Plus preparation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is the 11 Plus?

The 11+ is an entrance exam taken upon entry to year 7, used by grammar and independent schools.

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The 11+ exam, which governs admission to various types of secondary school, has been one of the key points in a young person’s life for some 40 years.

It comprises papers on literacy, numeracy, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Whether you are frantically preparing for January 2018, or starting a more leisurely journey towards exams in 2019, we hope that you find the following advice helpful.

When to start preparation for the 11 Plus?

The 11+ is one of the most crucial stepping stones to your child's future. That's why we advise you to start preparation one year in advance.

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It all depends on the individual child; your son or daughter may only need a few hours of exam practice, or, if there are deeper learning gaps, they might need several months of regular weekly tuition. The good news is that any support focused on the 11 plus will pay dividends in general schoolwork.

We find that about 12 months of gentle preparation is the average – so starting just after the Christmas of the year before the 11+ exam. If you have less time, you can still have impact in just a few hours – provided the correct methodology is followed.

Preparing For the English Paper

There are three main parts to the 11+ exam: English, Maths, and Reasoning

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The 11+ English paper can be challenging for most adults, let alone 10-year-olds. It involves composition and comprehension that requires them to be confident about ‘writing from the heart’. In my experience this is where many children – particularly boys – lose marks. The effective and constructive communication of emotions are not usually a strong point at that stage, which is why many boys’ schools work on a 13+ entry system, which boys sit when they are more developed.

An excellent way to improve verbal dexterity is to tell, or read, your child a story and then talk about it afterwards. Get them to describe to you what happened and explain how it made them feel. As well as helping them to unlock their emotions, effective story-telling brings a satisfying increase in marks.

From our experience as tutors, girls tend to have better accuracy, creativity and consistency with punctuation that allows them to achieve better grades on composition papers.

Preparing for the Maths Paper

Although it can be the most difficult subject for some pupils, the right preparation in day-to-day activities can help them succeed.

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You need to make sure that your child understands the core concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – and can apply this knowledge under pressure, particularly in problem solving type questions. Their knowledge should be strong and extensive, but flexible.

To help your child solidify their knowledge of maths, go over times tables regularly using games, cards and posters. Encouraging them to be alert and thinking outside of the classroom gives you the opportunity to make learning fun!

Preparing for Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning Papers

Often the most mysterious aspect of the 11+, a tutor can help give your child a deeper understanding of thinking strategies.

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Some people believe these test innate ability and therefore cannot be coached.  But I believe it is vital to provide opportunities for practice – easily done as there are plenty of books on sale.  There is no magic to it, but if the child has not seen this type of question before the exam they will likely be completely thrown.

A tutor can approach a wide range of reasoning problems with a child. Even if these exact problems are not on the exam, the student will know how to deal with the unexpected, having practiced methods of thinking and rationalising larger concepts.

Mock Exams

Anything you can do to help your child reduce the natural anxiety they may feel around the 11+ will be a good thing. One of the best things to do is a mock exam.

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Tutors can organise these for you and they can be fun! Alternatively you could organise your own by hiring a hall, or going to a house that is unfamiliar to your child, with a group of other children (even better if those children are unknown to each other) and taking a mock test. Keep things formal, give timings and ensure everyone works in silence. Put the pressure on to work fast, and throw in a couple of unexpected questions.

The aim is to help children prepare for what happens when things look unusual, and when problems arise. Then go through the papers afterwards to identify strengths and weaknesses. Bear in mind that mark schemes can be hard to understand and may need expert interpretation. Sometimes a composition piece might look good and be spelled and punctuated correctly, but has nevertheless failed to answer the question properly.

Advice for Revision

Giving your child's brain a moment to rest between study sessions can improve their concentration.

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If there is an iPad in the room while your child is trying to work it can prove an easy distraction between lessons. It is not good to switch from making ‘brain and pen’ connections to computer games because both activities stimulate different parts of the brain.

Your child will need to perfect the management of calm retrieval of data. They also need time to absorb information – some downtime to process the work they have completed and to let the information sink in. This is best done if breaks involve a walk or some other exercise.

What Parents Can Do

If you find yourself getting nervous, remember the ultimate goal - your child's happiness.

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With so much riding on the outcome, most parents are quite nervous (as are school heads!).  But it’s vital that you don’t convey this to your child. Aim to be relaxed and detached. Don’t push, just give gentle encouragement and explain that exams are not the be all and end all. Help your child to de-stress by making sure they take regular breaks.

Tired children are also easily frustrated, and are unlikely to be able to concentrate. Remember that factors such as parents’ relationship difficulties, financial stress, bullying and illness can all affect a child’s performance in their exam. Try to protect them from the real world as much as you can.

Exam Results

If your child doesn’t do as well as you expected, don’t take it lying down – appeal!

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Grammar schools have an established process for this. For independents, the decision is entirely discretionary. Generally speaking you are more likely to succeed if you have the support of your child’s head teacher to confirm that the poor performance on the exam day was unexpected.

But stay calm; our advice is to accept the result and praise your child for all their hard work. There are plenty of other schools that will be a good fit for your child and with a bit of help you can make a plan to get them back on the road to academic success and emotional well being.

Meet one of our typical 11+ tutors

Tutored for successful entrance to Emanuel, Alleyn’s, Ibstock, Wimbledon High, Dulwich College, Tiffin, Kingston and Sutton Grammars, Dame Alice Owen, City of London, King’s College School, Latymer, The Abbey School, Wellington College, Kendrick Grammar School, St John’s Leatherhead, Epsom College, Whitgift, Hampton School, Wycombe Abbey, Henrietta Barnett, Lady Eleanor Holles, Lady Margaret School, The Hall School (Wimbledon), and Godolphin and LatymerHas extensive experience tutoring children with Special Educational Needs
Leon is is qualified teacher with an certificate in Further and Adult Education
  • Rebecca has been fabulous and we are keen to stay in touch with her and as secondary school progresses, I am sure we will be back to get help and advice from you. Thank you for your help over these last few years. It is greatly appreciated.

    Mrs Campbell-Hill, 11+ Music Scholarship, Aldenham

  • James was offered at all 3 schools he sat exams for, Bancrofts, Forest and Chigwell Schools. The only child to do this in his school. We took some time to take this in but have now accepted a place at Bancroft's school for September. Nicolas was great....

    Mrs. Ardell, 11+ Bancroft’s, Forest and Chigwell

  • Regarding his 11+, all of you have been so helpful in various ways, letters arrived today after grueling & competitive exams/interviews. He received academic scholarship offers from all the schools he applied to - inc top awards at Forest, Bancroft's and City of London. It's extraordinary. We...

    Mrs. Keppler, 11+ Forest, Bancroft’s and City of London Bethnal Green

  • Thank you so much for matching us with such a wonderful, inspiring, intelligent and lovely young woman – Saskia – who has been the perfect tutor for Sadie. Sadie got into Christ's Hospital!

    Ms. Sirinelli, Christ’s Hospital 11+ prep Battersea

  • I found Erin to be an excellent tutor. She engages with her student and has a clear understanding as to how best to teach the child using methods they will relate to. Within a very short space if time Erin understood how my son approached English and...

    Mrs. G, 11+ prep

  • We are so happy with Alex. He is exactly what I had in mind when I first started considering a tutor for Roman. Roman thinks he is kind, hardworking and very helpful. He is cool too! Roman was excited to tell me everything he had learnt during...

    Ms. A, 11+ prep

  • Thank you very much for the reports and Nathaniel's offer to assist. I am happy with the reports as I believe that they accurately reflect his efforts and ability. I have good news – Imran has received his letter from Summerfields confirming that he safely passed his...

    Mrs. T, 10+ prep Chelsea

  • Erin's assessment report is very helpful and highlights the areas we need to work on. I'm pleased we did the assessment as it provides a clear idea of which areas require work.

    Mrs. H, Academic Assessment for pre-11+ Primrose Hill

  • Russell has been a wonderful tutor for my son and daughter. He has been patient, kind, insightful, intuitive, inspiring and a real positive force in the children's educational lives.

    Mrs. C, 11+ and 13+ prep

  • Because of Russell's efforts over half term, Doug's marks in his Common Entrance improved so much! I can't thank him enough.

    Mrs. T, 11+ prep

  • We want to thank both Natasha and Simply Learning for making such a positive difference in our daughter's confidence in exams. She did really well in her 11+, even maths which she was really struggling with before.

    Mrs. V, 11+ prep

  • Natasha was very supportive, solid and thorough in her teaching and really helped our son to get a grasp of the missing parts of the jigsaw. We are very grateful to her.

    Mrs. H, 11+ prep

  • Doug's marks in his Common Entrance improved so much! Russell remained calm and was just brilliant. I can't thank him enough.

    Mrs. R, 11+ Common Entrance

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