We started in Y5 but I don't yet know how our little fish did - she sat the exam this past Sept 7th (2013).
I've posted a bit about what we did on this forum in response to 'When to start tutoring' - sorry don't know how to insert link.
I found it useful to read the 11+ guide for parents by bond (you can find it on amazon or at major book store/ newsagent - also available in some libraries). It has an assessment test for the 11+ inside which can help you better gauge whether your DC is up to this. Our little fish was borderline based on this test, but was very keen to proceed with the 11+ because so many of her friends were.
The stickies at the top of this region have a lot of information on content of the exam and practice materials which will help - and are very useful for those of us doing it DIY.
My other piece of advice is join (because it is free) as many on-line 11+ sites as you can and then really search through their free resources. There is all sorts of practice papers, advice on how to take the exams (some even have videos) and practice materials. We did sign up to these but only because our little fish prefers anything on a computer to on paper - so it was about variety to encourage practice.
In the end we found the BOND 10 minute quizzes a nice short-burst method of practice - starting off 9-10 at start of Y5, by Easter working in 10 - 11 books and over summer moved up to 11-12 books.
VR & NVR are really new and strange for your DC at first so it is about equipping them with the skills to calmly work out the puzzles. If they treat it as a game, it really is much less stressful.
There are some brilliant how to do Verbal Reasoning videos on 11 plus co uk (in Knowledgebase) and you can access a lot of them by typing HOW TO DO VR on You tube. The same site also has tips on how to do NVR by question type.
I advise you really read the sticky at the top of the Birmingham/ Walsall/ etc... section about the various test contents - so that you aren't trying to do everything. Some VR/ NVR just simply never appears on these exams.
My top 10 tips having been through this (and so I remember for DD2 in 2 years time):
1) Rome wasn't built in a day
- it's likely there will be areas of weakness. Identify them, be open about what needs to be done and focus on working on those areas.
2) Bribery is sometimes worth it
: Oddly enough weak areas tend to be where my DC didn't want to work - so we would do things like saying you can do X after you've finished work on thing you don't like. It meant that she didn't spend all her time doing NVR (which she adores).
3) READ. READ. READ
. Read proper children's fiction. There's a reading list here: http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/advice ... ading-list
Go back to having them read to you - make sure they understand meaning of words & that they are reading for deeper meaning (feelings/ foreshadowing/ who the author is writing for, etc....)
- healthy snacks/ snack breaks help a lot. It is worth investing a bit on extra fresh veg/ fruit and favourite foods (healthy!) to help feed the mind during all this.
5) REGULAR BREAKS
- after this we'll go play frisbee for a bit - became our motto. Just helps that there is a bit of incentive (bribery) to get on with the task.
6) START SLOW & BUILD MOMENTUM
. We started slow - and really worked on building reading time (up to 1 hour a day by summer - 30 minutes with me during morning sessions & 30 minutes before bed each night) and building up difficulty/ length of time on practice materials.
7) HAVE A TARGET
: Even if you don't stick to it - it is useful to say to your DC that you want them to have finished reading that book by next week or to have completed 4 ten minute Bonds by Friday. FIND A QUIET TIME & PLACE FOR THIS.
We opted for afternoons whilst DD2 was at an after school club and evenings when DH could look after DD2. At weekends it was just incorporated in homework routine (useful as her Y5 class had very little homework that year and DD2 had regular homework).
9) KEEP POSITIVE
: There will be disastrous quizzes/ tests - but that just happens. It could be for any reason: didn't read instructions/ wasn't feeling well/ was tired/ etc... The thing to do after something like that is work through what was wrong and make sure your DC understands it for next time.
10) MAKE IT ABOUT LEARNING - NOT ABOUT PASSING
. So many people take this test and all work so hard to pass that it really is a lot of pressure to make this all about passing. My strategy was to make this about learning. That working at this level was what I wanted for my little fish - and if she passes HURRAH - but it isn't the end of the world.
Ten is very young and this is a lot of pressure and a very tough exam. Preparing them to face the exam is important. We didn't send a watch on the exam day because we thought our DD would spend too much time figuring out how much time she had left on a section rather than just getting on with the answers. We also taught her some exam tricks: ruling out obviously wrong answers first/ then choosing between a few possible answers. We also stressed READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AT THE START OF EACH SECTION.
Finally - remember this is a bit of a marathon and you have to be on your game. Make sure you know when to apply for your child to sit the exam (info should come through school but also visit: http://www.birminghamgrammarschools.org/
- Year 7 admissions around May/ June time and note down KEY DATES for signing up/ etc...
You also should plan on a lot of time marking work & a lot of time searching out resources.
BBC Bitesize KS2 is very useful: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/
Woodlands Junior School: http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/
- maths zone & literacy zone
Some great free maths worksheets (with answers) available through:
Math drills: http://www.math-drills.com/
Worksheet Works: http://www.worksheetworks.com/
(NB English is AMERICAN ENGLISH - so health warning about English worksheets) - this site is BETA (in design) so there may be some glitches
GCP English workbooks (literacy by Year - we used Year 4/ Year 5) - really useful and reinforces spelling rules/ work with foreign words as well as grammar.
and don't underestimate the power of a search engine. If you want antonym practice worksheets - just type it in and see where it takes you.