Posted on 5th August 2012
Books for 11+ Preparation
Over the next few months thousands of year 6 children will be gearing up to take examinations. The 11+ will come around remarkably quickly, so it’s a good idea to start preparing nice and early in order to avoid any last minute panics.
There are loads of resources available to help your child revise and practise key topics, but choosing which study guides and test booklets to use can be a bit daunting and overwhelming as there are so many on the market.
As a tutor, I’ve come across numerous books designed to help children prepare for the 11+, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you in the hope that it will make that trip to your bookshop of choice to stock up on resources a little less taxing.
So, here’s my top 10…
1. Susan Elkin’s English ISEB Revision Guide covers both the 11+ and 13+ and it is packed with really excellent advice for both revising and approaching the exam on the day. She includes lots of example questions and model answers to inspire you and so that you can see what it takes to get top marks. The book is very detailed and has plenty of reminders about grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Unlike a lot of books it manages to combine being thorough but not overwhelming or intimidating.
2. The Bond books are some of the most widely available and famous, and they really are fantastic in my opinion. Bond publishes a wide range of books, and their test papers are particularly excellent. The maths ones are very varied and a good length for tackling frequently, and the English tests contain both comprehension exercises and short grammar tests. I’d say that these are an essential part of the ‘11+ prep kit’.
3. Collins does a really good English book as part of their ‘Revise and Shine’ series. It does have an inexplicable picture of two boys on a waterslide on the front, but apart from that it is very clear and helpful. The book contains an eight-week step-by-step revision guide and is very lively, colourful and engaging. Great if you want a really structured but fun approach.
4. The Kumon workbooks are good if there is a key area that needs attention (multiplication, fractions and such).
5. Letts have a splendid ’10 Minute Tests’ range for both maths and English and for children of a range of ages. These are good if you are planning the ‘little and often’ test approach. Each test is on a specific topic, so they are good at making sure you have each area of the syllabus covered. They also come with lots of fun stickers, which is always nice!
6. Bond have a ‘No Nonsense’ series for both maths and English which are well-presented, give little reminders of how to approach topics and short exercises to check that your child knows how to do certain types of questions.
7. I particularly like using Galore Park’s ‘So You Really Want to Learn…’ books when I am tutoring as they are packed with lively passages, have fun pictures and exercises on all sorts of topics. These are fantastic for introducing and revising topics, but I would get other books for exam- style practice.
8. For verbal and non-verbal reasoning, why not try AFN Publishing’s papers, which are very similar indeed to the actual 11+ exam papers.
9. GL Assessment also publish very good test papers which you can use when the exams get closer and you want your child to sit some ‘mock’ tests.
10. Most schools have specimen exam papers available, and you can get these via their websites, or by ringing the school and asking for them to be sent to you.
If you want more advice about preparing your child for the 11+, or you are thinking about hiring a tutor, don’t hesitate to get in touch.