National Offer Day… top tips for 11+ that you won’t find on any forum

I can’t remember a time when so many anxious parents were glued to their email accounts or waiting for the postman. I’ve done 11+ twice with my DS (‘darling son’, terminology commonly used on 11+ forums) and I still can’t bring myself to openly talk about it fully. I think I am suffering from some sort of post- traumatic stress disorder.

I have two medical membership exams under my belt, as well as additional diplomas. The stress of that was nothing compared to the draining process of 11+.

Here are my top tips for anyone thinking of undertaking this journey, advice you won’t find in any one of those forums:

This decision will affect the WHOLE family.

Have everyone on board. Let’s face it, there’s less time for siblings and more shouting at poor husband as you vent your frustrations over the total cost of 5 apples + 3 oranges.

Brush up (or in some instances learn from scratch ) on your skills you haven’t used for decade(s).

Definitions of onomatopoeia, alliterations, BODMAS … yes it’s a whole other language.

Every child is different.

My eldest was ‘easy’ he would get on with papers, the next test subject was different. Half the battle was getting him to sit down and do actual written work and the other half was dealing with his confidence. His confidence was directly attributable to his performance. It’s worth investing time, they are only 10/11 years old.

Accept bad days.

Everyone has them, forget it and move on.

Don’t go with the flow.

Forget others, forget the crowd. Don’t worry if Mrs X has three tutors for their son. It’s a personal journey; your child is different focus on them and their needs not Mrs X.

Don’t make your child sit 100 exams up and down the country.

Yes it’s great if you want to grow up and be a travel blogger but every exam causes stress, in varying degrees. Why put a 10 year old through it? Also ask yourself will they be able to deal with rejection? If someone asks you what schools you are sitting and you have trouble remembering … you’ve done too many.

Be realistic.

11+ is not for everyone, tutors and tuition can only help so much. Remember when they start school all these crutches will not be there. There has to be some natural ability. You cannot tutor forever.

Help others.

There are two groups. Those who don’t want to jeopardise their child’s chances so do not disclose any information. Suddenly lifelong friends become instantly unrecognisable people. Or there are the group who sympathise with what others are going through and willing to help. I’m definitely of the latter. Set an example to your child; help others, after all one good turn deserves another and someone may help you in return.


Yes it is justified and it is a must, don’t feel bad. It gets results.

Good luck DSs and DDs!