Starting any application process can be demanding and time-consuming, and getting your head around all the things you need to do can be a pretty stressful task!

Preparing to Take the 11+ Exam

Prepare at a steady and comfortable pace!
Getting your child ready for the 11+ can be smooth-sailing! Photo via Visual Hunt

For some secondary schools in the UK, children are required to sit the 11+ exam. This exam involves students of all backgrounds, both in the state and independent sectors.

The 11+ exams take place in January in the run up to the new school year, but how long should pupils be preparing in advance for these exams, and how intense should this preparation be?

The 11+ exam is composed of different papers, including numeracy, literacy, and verbal and non-verbal reasoning. As you can see, there’s quite a lot for a child to prepare for at such a young age, so starting preparation early and at a gentle pace is the best way to approach these exams.

Verbal and non-verbal reasoning might be an unfamiliar area for some parents, and it can be hard to know exactly how to prepare for this section of the 11+. It is quite often considered that this section is tough to prepare or tutors UK for as it relies a lot on natural ability.

This is therefore one of the harder areas to practise for, but it is really important to practise questions like this to get an idea of how to answer them suitably.

The question of when to start preparing depends on the individual. If the pupil’s current attainment level is high, then you can afford to start a bit later, and likewise, if their levels aren’t that high, then you should start a bit earlier to get ready in time.

If your child has some significant problem areas, these will need extra time and consideration in the run up to the 11+, and many parents consider hiring a private tutor to combat weak spots, and equally to cultivate strengths, for the exam.

Most children will benefit from several months of gentle preparation, including personal tuition, in order to get ready for the 11+. On average, between six and nine months are spent preparing for these exams, depending on how much help and tuition is required.

It is generally advised to spend no more than 12 months preparing your child for the 11+ exams. This process can be pretty stressful for ten-year-old children, and applying too much pressure for too long a period of time can be more damaging than beneficial.

One of the most important areas to pay attention to when preparing is verbal dexterity, which is a part of the literacy paper. This involves comprehension and composition, which is an area that some students can lose the most marks.

It is also crucial to make sure that your child is up to speed with the main mathematical concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They need to be able to apply this knowledge to given problems, so it’s important that they really understand what they are learning.

There are many ways to prepare your child for the 11+ that don’t cost much at all. Simple games, quizzes and other fun learning techniques can be done at home and can really make a difference in how quickly your child learns and applies knowledge to general problems.

One of the best ways to get ready for the 11+ is by organising some mock exams. This way, your child can really get an idea of what to expect, how to apply their knowledge, and where they might be struggling a bit.

Your tutor should be able to get hold of some mock papers for your child to try, and make sure these are carried out under exam conditions! No distractions, no electronics and under strict timed conditions is the best way to properly practise.

Applying to University

When applying to university in the UK, your application will go through a system called UCAS.

Don't delay your uni application!
University applications can be daunting, but it's worth putting the effort in! Photo via

There are five steps for applying to university with UCAS:

  1. Register all your details with UCAS and set up your account – you can’t go too far wrong here as long as you make sure all your information is correct, and that you update it if anything changes.
  2. Find a course – this is probably the most important step of all! You will need to pick the course you want to do and be sure of your choice. There is lots of helpful guidance and advice out there to help you make your choice.
  3. Find a university – UCAS has every university in the UK listed on its website, as well as the courses they offer. Once you’ve chosen your course, you will be able to see which universities offer it, and you can start narrowing down your choices from there. You will need to pick a first choice, and four other universities as back up options.
  4. Complete the application form – Once you’re sure of all your choices and have decided on the five universities you want to apply to, it’s time to fill out the UCAS form. You can apply for different courses at different places, but you will online be allowed to submit one personal statement, so make sure it encompasses all the right information and is specific enough to the course/courses that you are applying for.
  5. Send of the form and wait! This is the most torturous part of the whole process unfortunately, as you sit and wait for the universities to consider your application and get back to you.

After a little while, you will start hearing back from the universities you have applied to. This could result in an interview, an offer (be it conditional or unconditional) or a rejection.

If you don’t manage to get any university place offers through your UCAS application, you can apply for a place through clearing. After results day, you can ring up universities offering the course you want to do and see if they will accept you with the grades you have obtained.

If you are applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or for some medical or art and design courses, the UCAS application deadline is much earlier in the academic year than for any other universities. You will need to check with your chosen institutions to make sure you apply in good time.

Most students will need to apply for student finance to fund their degree and living costs. This is a part of the university application, so you will need to know in advance if you will be needing student finance, and apply for it in good time through the government website.

Tutoring for Professional Exams as an Adult

Let private tutoring direct you to exam success!
When preparing for exams as an adult you need help and guidance. Photo via

As an adult, you might be looking to take an exam in order to progress in your career or move into a new profession.

Exams in law, accounting, medicine, and even more base level exams in adult numeracy and literacy require people to invest a lot of time and effort into preparation and practice. This is why many adults turn to private tuition.

Private tutoring, whether online tutoring or at home, can provide people with a fine-tuned education support alongside their studies from an expert. If you find a tutor with particular experience in tutoring for the exam you’re taking, then you’ll benefit from their expertise in the exam format as well as its content.

Studying for an exam as an adult can be tough when you’re having to fit it around a full-time job and other responsibilities. It can be hard to know where to start with exam prep, let alone how to prepare properly and learn everything you need to.

And that’s why hiring a personal tutor is such a great choice! You can meet whenever and wherever suits you, and you can even carry out your lessons via video chat if you don’t have the time to travel around for face-to-face lessons.

Make sure you find the right tutor for you so that you can receive the right kind of teaching that you need. If you are taking an accounting qualification such as the ACA, for example, you might want to specify that your tutor has professional experience in accounting or experience teaching it.

Some adults might find themselves opting to take a GCSE or A-level exam, whether in order to apply for a certain job or qualification, or to boost certain skills. This is much more difficult that if you were to take the exams at the target age group, as you are without the classroom education that most students receive in preparation.

Sometimes learning providers for adults taking exams cannot always give the personal guidance and support that you need in order to really get ready for your exams. Although you will receive the syllabus teaching you need, you might still feel a bit lost.

This is where tutoring comes in really handy – and it’s pretty much necessary! Even if you are doing a distance learning course or attending a class, it is really beneficial to get some individually tailored support to help you with your course.

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