Preparing for 11 plus

It’s just not 11 plus, it’s the first challenge that your child will take and the idea should be to give them tools that will help them face the future challenges of life with grace. This is your chance to instil like skills in your child to last a lifetime. Don’t waste this chance with stress. Instead work together as a team to build something beautiful- a future leader.


  1. Start early

Does not mean that it’s advisable to start tuitions at Y2 or start panicking as soon as child enters Y3. What I really mean is that to prepare your child for a state level competition, it’s good to start instilling certain disciplinary habits early on.

I personally started with my daughter by introducing her to small self-discipline and life skills steps like limiting TV time, getting to a routine of reading, getting in healthy discussions about what’s happening in world, learning about different countries by browsing through some pictures, telling stories of people who went through hardship and made it to the top. This helped her to understand that life is just not about having a good meal, playing and enjoying; it’s also about learning, exploring and being inspired every day. This inquisitiveness is an essential and vital tool to keep the child inspired to not only go through the learning process of grammar school but also develop skills to sustain in a challenging environment with confidence.


  1. Go slow

The old saying, slow and steady always wins the race, is definitely true while facing just any challenge in life. Don’t just say it, live it!

When I was doing my Honours degree in Mathematics, I learnt the biggest lesson of my life. I was 19 then; a confident young girl who loved to ace. Our course was very vast with 18 elaborate topics to be mastered in just one year. The competition was tough and I was eager to be the first one to finish my topics. It was not impossible but now I realise how damaging it could have been. I started preparing and according to my plan, I should be studying 6 hours a day to achieve my goal. Two weeks passed and I had done well to stick to my plan. One day my algebra professor bumped into me. She took me by my hand and said, “You know, I am very disappointed.” Now that surprised me. I thought I was working the hardest and yet she didn’t think so. She handed me two cinema tickets and asked me to meet her the next day after I had watched the movie. The next morning, she smiled and said, “Remember, haste makes waste. All the effort that you are putting on your work is a waste if you are rushing towards it. Go slow and see the difference.”

She was right. I reduced my study hours to 4 and made sure that I had time to relax as well. Needless to say, I topped in my year.


  1. Make it fun

Fun is a vital part of every learning but unfortunately we have learnt not to tap into its potential as it is perceived to astray us from our path.

Can you remember the recipe of a dish that you made with your friends and family in midst of laughter and fun? I bet you can. There is a whole industry of educated people who are trying to make apps and games that encourage children to gain knowledge in a fun way. Words can be learnt in a fun way as well. We at Author In Me use wordoodle, which simply means to doodle the word and learn it in a unique way. Art has a way of helping us retain a certain thought and if we connect that thought to the word, it helps us to get a better understanding of it. Our ‘Vocabulary Enhancing Workshop’ is designed to introduce children to 10 different and unique techniques to get a better understanding of the words. We even have our Vocabulary Flash cards with a place to wordoodle behind each card.


  1. Be encouraging with a pinch of salt

It’s vital to be encouraging throughout the preparation time but I feel that some parents go overboard with encouragement, overlooking the key areas where yhe child may need an extra help.

I am in no way implying that you should start criticizing your child in any way, neither am I saying that I believe a balance should be made in encouragement and criticism. I believe that encouragement and concern should work in an 80:20 ratio. Encourage 80 times and express your concern over challenging topics 20 times. A bit of nervousness is essential in a child; it sometimes helps in keeping them focused on the final goal and also helps them to understand that every challenge in life requires a bit of disciplinary approach and 100% focus. But at the same time, make sure that you as a parent understand that its’ not an easy journey for your child. They will need to be reminded every day of their strengths. Encourage them by keeping a chart of the topics that they have learnt. Most parents make a list of topics are challenging but forget to make a list of topics that you have already covered. Once you make that list, discuss it with your child and assure them that their hard work is gradually taking them forward. Reinforce their strengths by using positive affirmations.


  1. Give space and take a break

The Grammar school preparation is a daunting task; not just for children but for parents as well. There will be moments of frustration, anger and guilt. Relax, it’s normal to go through these emotions.

I noticed something very peculiar when my daughter was preparing for her exam. She has always been a book lover but a couple of months before the test, she became hooked to books. She was obsessed and possessed by Harry porter. I assumed that during break times, she would want to meet friends or watch tele but that was not the case. She would just read whenever she got time. I was buying a fiction for her nearly every 3rd day! Initially, I thought it was good but later it did worry me. One day, I had a word with her and then I realised that digging into the book was important for her to get into a personal space bubble. This was a time and place where she was on her own, without any stress of work and learning. She could explore and relax. What I thought was an extra stress was actually her more relaxing time.  I realised that she needed space to think, to grasp and to express. But at the same time, I as a parent need my space to relax and unwind.
Remember to enjoy this journey without being too stressed about the result. It’s vital to be mindful of the fact that no matter where it leads, you have initiated the spark of knowledge within their young heart and given them skills to face any challenge with courage in life.


Just another Mum


Co- Founder