The 11+ can be a daunting experience for both children and parents, but it doesn’t have to be! Although there is a lot of studying involved, did you know exam technique is an equally important skill in this exam? It is important to develop this alongside academic study so your child has the confidence to achieve the best results they can on the day. With that in mind, we asked Atom’s education experts for their 10 top tips to help your child improve their 11+ exam technique.

1. Read the rules!

Before you answer any questions, skim your exam paper instruction sheet and underline any important instructions.

2. Stick to the timings for each section

Some 11+ tests have timed sections and you must move on once that time is up. Look for the time allocations when you open your paper. Start challenging yourself at home to see what 15 minutes feels like – does it feel different when you’re watching TV compared to when you’re doing a practice test? It can do!

3. Be aware of the time

Wear a watch so that you don’t have to think about looking up to find the clock. Only ‘old’ watches are allowed – no smart watches or anything with a calculator!

4. Read the questions CAREFULLY

Some questions can catch you out! Pick out the key words and think about what you’re being asked. Always read the last sentence at least once to ensure you know what to write down as the answer. Sometimes it might not be obvious from the rest of the question!

5. Double-check

Always double-check your answers. Make sure it makes sense by reading the question and answer together. Avoiding easy mistakes is the quickest way to improve your score.

6. Tackle tricky vocabulary

If you are unsure of a word, try replacing it with a synonym to see what you think makes sense. If it is a multiple-choice question, use the process of elimination to rule out words that you know don’t fit.

7. Come back to hard questions at the end

If a question is tricky and taking too long, move on and get as many marks as you can on the easy questions first. Circle the question number so that it is easy to find later when you want to come back to it.

8. Trust your instincts!

Try not to overthink, and keep changing your answer. So long as you’ve read the question carefully, your first answer is usually correct.

9. Make the most of every second

If you finish early, double-check. Make sure you have answered every question and are happy with your answers.

10. Complete every question

You can’t lose marks for not answering a question! If you are not sure, use process of elimination to help narrow down your options and then select what you think is the most sensible answer.


Atom can help

Atom Nucleus is an adaptive online learning platform for children aged 7 – 12+. English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Science content is tailored to your child’s learning needs, helping them master key concepts, prepare for exams and reach their full potential.

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