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English at 11+ is no pushover

03 / Apr / 2017

If your child is sitting an entrance exam in Cheshire or the Manchester area this year, you’ll know that English is a key component of the 11+ papers.

Everything from comprehension and composition writing, to grammar and verbal knowledge is covered across several papers. Daunting for many children to say the least.

So how can you help your child master these different disciplines, while still maintaining their enthusiasm? Here is some smart advice from our top 121 Home Tutors team:

Crack comprehension

To do well in a comprehension, you have to be able to infer, explain and analyse. Our advice is to read with your child. And, crucially, ask plenty of questions:

  • How do you think X feels here?
  • What sort of atmosphere is it?
  • Pick out three verbs on the page that show how a character feels?
  • What is the settling/place like? Pick out how you know what it’s like
  • What do you think what happens next?

When your child answers, try the ‘how do you know?’ approach. For instance, if your child says the scene is scary, say ‘how do you know’ to get them to explore details in the passage.

It’s THIS deeper understanding of reading which 11+ exams always test.

From zero to hero descriptive writing 

Children must learn to ‘show not tell’ when describing language. Telling makes statements such as, ‘It was raining so I couldn’t see out of the window.’

Instead, showing describes what rain does. ‘Bullets hammered against the window, blurring the world beyond.’ Get them to imagine a picture in their heads: what do they see and hear.

Another neat trick, is to add contrast in a description or story. From quiet to noisy, empty to full, light to dark. Life isn’t static. Peace can be shattered by a sudden noise or event. Weather, too, can change the mood of a quiet scene in seconds.

Entrance Exam tuition to boost your child’s skills

If your child struggles with English, Maths or any of the reasoning-type papers, we’ve a team of fantastic tutors on your side.

As well as experienced 11+ tutors on the team, we even have former teachers who’ve worked in local independent schools ready to help your child shine.

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