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The more you know about the Kent Test 11+ exam, the better prepared your child will be.

It’s great that they have been taught the content. Marvellous that they have scored highly in practice papers. But how can you be sure they will perform well on the actual day?

Here we share the secrets the exam board just don’t want you to know…

Secrets of the English

The comprehension looks like it’s the queen of the English paper. All that reading at the front, followed by pages of questions.

But your child won’t realise that the 2 little exercises at the back count for half the marks of the whole paper (usually 12 out of 24).

And sometimes a mysterious score adjustment is applied to one of those tiny 6-question exercises. So between them, they may even count for more than half of the marks.

It may be a surprise you that there are only 9 pure comprehension questions to tackle. Other questions that are part of that exercise focus on synonyms, imagery or parts of speech – taken from the text.

Secrets of the Maths

The 25 maths questions are not arranged in order of difficulty. Sometimes there is a very easy one right at the end. Without some serious clock-watching, that easy mark will be lost.

Some questions are designed to take ages to complete. Money and shopping are classics for this. Others are purely a test of vocabulary – ‘What is the range of this set of data?’ or ‘Which shape has the most vertices?’

So a cherry-picking strategy will make sure as many marks as possible are gathered in the given 25 minutes.

Page 1 – what can I do quickly and accurately? 3 questions – great. 3 minutes (including quick checks). Done.

Now for page 2 and so on…to the end of the paper.

10 minutes in there will be 10 marks – or more – on their score sheet. Allowing the final 15 minutes to be spent picking up the slower marks to creep up to the level of a pass.

Another open secret is that Summer born children have to score a lower mark to pass. Usually it is around 16/25 for Winter children and 14/24 for Summer babies. There is an attempt at fairness underneath it, but with so few questions offered it has a bit of a clunk to it.

Secrets of the Reasoning

A strategy is everything in the verbal reasoning part.

If they skip any coding until all the vocab exercises are complete – then head back to it at the end – they won’t run out of time. Some children love codes, so try timing them doing a handful and then time them doing a handful of vocab questions. The difference may surprise them.

Non-verbal is a huge challenge in the time given. Some children enjoy the content, but the speed expected of them here is unbelievable. Even the brightest sparks are sometimes only getting 3/4 of these right. And many are unable to get close to the finish of each exercise before the clock stops.

Try asking your child to lean back. Look at a double page spread from afar.

Overview those 2 sides of odd one outs, or funny little brick towers. Which one looks easiest? Do that one first. Lean back again – and the next?

Yes upsetting the order is a risk. Some children every year don’t fill in the multi-choice options correctly and have a meltdown. So this needs practising beforehand.

If you expect your child to cope well at a grammar – they should be able to master this.

Secrets of the results system

Your school will get the results back at least a fortnight before they are allowed to share them with parents. If a child is just under a mark, they have the option to appeal (on the quiet).

It’s worth keeping an eye on the quality of the work in your children’s books over this period. Samples may be taken from them and passed under the nose of a secret Head Teacher Panel (with the power to award a pass when one has not been achieved on the day).

Over the years we have made it our business to understand the detail of our local 11+. If you would like us to empower your child – enroll them in one of our fabulous tutor clubs. You won’t be disappointed.