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11+ tutoring: A little goes a long way...

When we tutor, we often talk to our students about how 'learning' actually works. Whilst the standard approach to primary school seems to be 'get to Sunday and cram in all the homework then', we prefer to go down the route of little and often when we are providing 11+ tutoring.

From working with students for many years, it is apparent that those who engage for 10 or 15 minutes a day with work (whether that is reading/literacy/numeracy etc) will make the stronger overall progress. We are confident that this is because not only are they providing themselves with regular reminders about the skills required for success in the Wirral 11+ but that their brain is also getting used to being asked to work. This is no different to the way people train for fitness or against the effects of aging. Keeping your body going is known to provide the longer term benefits and we are keen to encourage the same with the learning process with our students.

In addition to stressing the need for regular practice as part of successful preparation, we also advise that the reverse does not occur, i.e. students spending hours slaving over 11+ papers. Spending such a long time doing it will remove any enjoyment for the work, make a child lose concentration and in the worst scenarios, create a resentment about the whole tutoring process.

Incentives are also a key part of a tutoring plan that will engage and enthuse students. It has to be remembered that for the children, committing to do the 11+ will bring extra work that perhaps their friends are not doing. To ease this slightly we suggest small rewards can help. By small we mean small! Not a game for the computer or a new expensive jumper but rather something as simple as a trip out for a snack or a family trip to the cinema. Whatever it is that is decided should be agreed with the child and only provided if commitment to practicing the 11+ skills and attending tutoring is shown. Please do make it dependent on overall scores as this will cause undue stress and worry if a question proves problematic.

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