A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Tuition

The Beginner’s Guide to Starting Tuition: A Smooth Path to 11+ Success


Starting 11+ tuition for the first time can be exciting and nerve-racking for your child. Whether seeking support for the 11+ exams or simply looking to bolster your child’s educational foundation, this beginner’s guide will walk you through the essential steps to ensure a smooth and productive learning experience. From understanding Non-Verbal Reasoning to mastering times tables and building a solid grasp of Maths, English and vocabulary, we’ve got you covered!

Getting Familiar with the 11+ Landscape

Before diving into the specifics of subjects and techniques, it’s crucial to understand the landscape of the 11+ exams.
The 11+ exam originated in 1944 and was used to determine whether children could eventually enter university, although this practice subsided in the 1960s with the emergence of comprehensive, nonselective schools. These exams are designed to assess a student’s aptitude for grammar schools and selective schools, They’re used up and down the country under various iterations. In 2023, the Trafford Consortium switched from the CEM to GL-Assessment, leading to a series of changes in format and style.

The 11+ exams typically include questions about Maths and English and topics not typically taught at school, like Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, which explore letter and shape relationships and are similar to what you might find on an IQ test.  The GL-Assessment is used as the exam for most grammar schools in England but can vary from region to region.

Familiarising yourself with the format and content of these exams means you’ll be clued in on what exam applies to your borough and can provide your child with targeted and effective tuition from the ground up. You can find plenty of guides from popular websites like 11 Plus Guide and 11 Plus Exams that go into detail about the types of exams.

Demystifying 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning is often considered one of the trickier aspects of the 11+ exams, mainly due to its logical reasoning. Rather than written explanations, it can be even more complex if students can’t critically explain their ideas and thinking.
It evaluates a student’s problem-solving ability using visual patterns and relationships rather than words or numbers. At Newell Tuition, we focus on understanding the five techniques of NVR (Rotation/Reflection, Symmetry, Numbers, Shape Appearance and Position) and learning how and when to apply them in each question.

Newell’s tutors start the course with simple exercises using these techniques to ensure pupils understand the concepts and grasp the basics.  They’ll gradually progress to more complex patterns as they become more in tune with the methods and terminology. This can be built upon further by completing homework and additional practice at home.

Tackling Times Tables with Intuition and Building a Foundation

Strong mathematical skills are fundamental for success in the 11+ exams and beyond; times tables form a significant part of that proficiency. Mastering times tables is an essential building block. Begin with the basics, such as the 2s, 5s, and 10s, before progressing to the more challenging ones. Some times tables even have rules for which numbers come up in them – for example, every digit in a multiple of 3 will add to make another multiple of 3.

Active practice, practising what has been learnt in real-life situations, is crucial to retention for small regular topics like times tables and vocabulary retention.  Adding up the numbers on a supermarket bill and testing children on words found in the world can help solidify knowledge assimilated, and the application of it shows children how useful it can be to understand these small but significant foundations.

Mathematics forms a core component of the 11+ exams, so start by reviewing your child’s current level and identifying areas that need improvement. Use resources like practice workbooks and online tutorials to cover arithmetic, geometry, and problem-solving topics. Utilise active voice explanations and examples to keep the learning engaging and relatable.  Newell Tuition offers a fantastic blend of resources, from topic-specific papers to mixed GL-style.

Excelling in English: Reading and Retention

Understanding the English language can be magical as a kid, as words and meanings begin to fill in their comprehensive ability like a jigsaw puzzle.  The English section of the 11+ exams assesses reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. However, understanding grammar and language can also be advantageous for understanding complex word problems in Maths or Verbal Reasoning.

Conclusion – Embrace the Tuition Journey

Starting tuition for the first time might seem daunting, but it becomes an enriching experience that can benefit your child right into high school and beyond with the right approach and resources. Remember that every child’s learning pace is unique, so be patient and celebrate each milestone achieved. Whether navigating NVR, excelling in Maths and English, or nurturing vocabulary growth, you’re setting a solid foundation for your child’s academic success with every helping step.