Read our top tips on how to help your child prepare for their 13+ Common Entrance Exam so that they can secure a place at one of the UK’s leading schools.
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The 13 Plus Common Entrance exam, taken in Year 8, is broader than any other exam your son or daughter will have tackled before. As well as English, Maths and Science, he or she will sit additional papers for anything from French to Religious Studies or Classical Greek. We introduce highly experienced 13+ tutors to help your child with these subjects and to give them the tools they need to secure a place at one of the UK’s leading senior schools. To ensure your child fully benefits from their course of tuition, it is important that they work with a tutor who compliments their character and learning style. Our bespoke tutor introduction services is guaranteed to match your child with a tutor who is the right fit for them.
The 13 Plus is an entrance exam used by many independent schools for entry at age 13, or year 9. As well as English, Maths and Science, your child may be asked to sit additional papers ranging from French to Religious Studies to Classic Greek. Many schools set their own 13 Plus exam papers, while other use the Common Entrance exam papers written by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB).
There are some things that your child can do whilst revising that will also improve the effectiveness of their work. Perhaps the most important is to take regular breaks. There is no point in revising non-stop for hours on end, they simply won’t be able to focus for this long. Even a five or ten minute break can be extremely restorative and they will return to their revision with new focus. However, breaks should not be spent reading a book, watching television or playing computer games, this will interfere with their brain processing what they have just learned. Then when they return to their revision it is helpful to review their notes and go back over what they did before their break.
Organisation is also vital. Scheduling their revision will mean they do not have to do too much in one go. They can also give themselves little rewards for completing their revision time. You should also have a designated place for their revision. This place should be quiet and free of distractions, it should also have all the materials that they might need close at hand. With regard to the revision itself, make sure your son or daughter makes good use of past papers. Getting to know the format of the exam is a must, as well as getting used to answering questions under timed conditions. If there is anything they don’t understand about their revision, ask a teacher, they will always be happy to help.
There are several everyday things your son or daughter can do that make a real difference to the quality of revision. Exercise improves oxygen flow to the brain so making sure they are active prior to revision is really beneficial. Similarly, eating healthily makes sure that they are awake and alert and ready to revise, rather than feeling sluggish and lethargic. There is also a large amount of research that details the benefits of positive thinking, this can be in the form of mindfulness or meditation, or simply just making a conscious effort to focus on the things that they do know rather than the things that you don’t.
This also helps your child to stay calm, which in itself improves performance. It is important they sleep lots as well, as the brain continues to process all the information they have learned during the day as they sleep. Furthermore, the more awake and alert they are, the keener they will be for revision the following day.
The most important thing is for your child not to worry, they should go into the exam feeling confident and knowing that if they do their best then there is nothing more that could be asked of them. On exam day they should not have to worry about anything else. Pack their bags and prepare their pencil case the night before. Know exactly where the exam is and at what time. They should also take water to the exam as it can improve their mental performance. Make sure that they have a good breakfast as well, as you do not want your son or daughter to be going into the exam hungry. It is also a good idea for them to bring a watch, as they will not want to be worrying that they cannot see the clock.
In the exam itself, advise your child to read the front of the paper very carefully, make sure they know exactly what is being asked of them. Then read the whole paper through and work out how long they need to spend on each question. Encourage your child to think carefully about each answer before they start writing and not to be afraid to leave out a question and come back to it at the end if it is especially tricky.
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