The entrance exams at 11+ are, for the vast majority of children, their first big experience of external testing. So understandably, it can be a particularly anxiety-inducing time for children (as well as their parents).
As the entrance assessments are on Saturday 20 November, Mrs Stevens, our Deputy Head (Academic) has put together her top tips on how to prepare your child this week for the best possible outcome, whilst still supporting their mental wellbeing and alleviate any worries they (or you) might have.
1. Get your child to complete a practice paper.
At RHS, we have practice papers which you can download from our website HERE. Your child will take one Maths paper, two English papers and one Verbal Reasoning paper on the day.
2. Help by familiarising your child with verbal reasoning papers.
It's a great idea to help your child prepare with test papers so that they can acquaint themselves with the test format. Many children have never had experience of verbal reasoning tests before, particularly those from state sector primary schools, so practice will really help them feel more comfortable on the day. Treat the questions as puzzles to be solved and work through some examples with your child to help them see how to approach the questions and to remove anxiety about getting them right.
3. Prepare, but don't overprepare.
Preparation is a great idea but too much can push your child to burn out before the big day. We want to know the real ability of your child but not at the expense of their wellbeing. Use this week to plan ahead to ensure that you know the logistics of getting your child to the exam on time in a relaxed manner.
4. Inform us if your child has any special educational needs that may affect their performance.
We will be able to help your child through the assessment process best if we know about special educational needs. Being open during the admissions process will allow us to support your child.
5. Rest and have fun before the assessment day.
Give your child time off from test papers and preparation in advance of the assessments so that they're fresh and energised on the big day. Make the build-up to the exam day as calm as possible for your child. It's a good idea to spend time with them doing activities they enjoy. Aim for a balance, engaging them enough to keep their minds off any worries but not wearing them out so that they feel exhausted for the exam. Spending time together also gives your child plenty of opportunities to open up to you about any concerns they may have.
6. Make sure they know that you are proud of them no matter what.
This may sound obvious, but don't assume your child knows this already! Tell them clearly: this could be in written form if you think your child will absorb the message better this way. Have a clear plan B ready to action if your child doesn't achieve the desired result and be positive about it.
Good luck from us all at the Royal Hospital School!