I have a son in year 8 and when he did the 11+ his teacher said that she knows other schools do practice. Whether that's true or not I don't know. Practice aside, I just wish they'd take a more proactive approach and encourage those disinterested parents with kids who could pass, to give them a little bit of home-tuition, which would make all the difference.
As for panics - I'm living on a knife edge and am having to put on a cool, calm, relaxed air in front of my son. He's really capable - gets better grades at school than his brother who passed two years ago - but i just think he could panic and blow it. I remember two years ago my eldest son came out of the VR test and said it was nothing like the practice papers we'd done. That would just throw my second son. AND, I just found out yesterday that our first choice non-selective school has been put into special measures