Posted on 25th October 2012
Preparing for Entrance Exams
The autumn term is racing by (I can’t believe it’s the half term holiday already!) and this means that the countdown to the entrance examinations is ticking fast. Don’t panic yet though as there is still plenty of time to prepare and if you get cracking you’ll be in top form before you know it. The most important thing is to do a little, often. Make an action plan for your entrance exam preparation so that you can structure your studying sensibly. Below are some excellent tips and don’t forget that you can always call Enjoy Education for advice, we’d be delighted to hear from you and very happy indeed to help.
1. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself is to try a variety of past 11+ papers. Some schools will give out sample papers and they are also easily available from many bookshops. Don’t stick to just one book, as some are harder than others. You need to get used to doing all sorts of papers so that you are prepared for whatever the examiners might give you on the big day.
2. Do the past papers under timed conditions. It’s no good knowing that you can get full marks if you take three hours, but can only get through three questions in the actual allotted time. If the thought of doing a paper in only an hour fills you with dread then build up to the specified time in stages. Try doing a paper in an hour and a half, then one and a quarter and so on, until you whittle it down to just an hour.
3. Learn from your mistakes! This is very important indeed… It’s all very well doing plenty of practice papers but you need to go through the mark scheme and your answers afterwards to find out what you’ve got wrong. Once you’ve identified common mistakes and gaps in your knowledge you can revise these areas.
4. For the creative writing part of the exam it is harder to ‘revise’ in a traditional way like you can for maths. Instead you should be working on improving your vocabulary and the quality of your ideas. Read lots of different things over the next few weeks and pick up new words that interest you. Maybe you could keep a little list of new words and then try and work them into sentences. Enjoy Education always posts a ‘word of the day’ on Twitter, so follow us and pick up the words we suggest as well as finding your own. Set yourself small writing tasks each day so that describing things and thinking creatively starts to feel more natural.
5. If you have an interview as well as an exam then have a think about the sorts of questions they might want to ask you. The interviewer will probably want to know a bit about you, your hobbies and why you like the school, so make sure you feel confident talking about these things.
6. Try to stay relaxed! Obviously you need to work hard over the next few weeks, but you should also try and remain calm and not get too anxious. If you’re very stressed then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do your best.