Of course, there is no secret formula to passing the 7+ exam (although inventors are very welcome to try!) but we believe that the following tactics will increase your child’s chances of success. Good luck!
Know your stuff
Yes, schools say that they are looking for ‘potential’ in children, but the sad reality is that due to the competitive nature of the exam, those who are more academically able will be considered over those who don’t perform as well in the written tests. Your child should have a solid knowledge and understanding of all the skills outlined in the Year 2 curriculum. Annoyingly, as the exam usually takes place in January, this means that your child may be assessed on topics that they haven’t covered yet in school. It is at this point that you may wish to recruit the help of a tutor, or order in some additional homework materials. Our favourites are Bond Books and Carol Vorderman’s 10-minute maths.
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and schools are looking for children who are able to suggest their ideas in front of their peers and show respect towards others. It takes a lot of gumption to say, “I don’t understand”, so schools will generally be impressed by a child’s honesty and self-awareness. Encourage these skills by enrolling your child in extra curricula activities, where they are mixing with children other than their classmates.
Whatever you do, don’t prepare answers to interview questions
Teachers are well aware that most children have been tutored, so are actively on the look out for “model” answers. Instead, encourage your child to show initiative during an interview, perhaps asking the interviewer how they are, or asking a question about the school (yes, this can even include a question about what is on the school dinner menu!) Impeccable manners are right up there with academic ability, so working on “pleases” and “thank yous” in all situations will put your child in good stead.
It really is as simple as that. Reading is the closest you will get to the magic formula for exam success. Reading will improve your child’s comprehension, creative writing, vocabulary, spelling, concentration skills…. the list goes on. Reading can be squeezed into any part of the day – if your child is a reluctant reader then use the school run as an opportunity to listen to an audio book. Also, it doesn’t matter what your child is reading. Of course, it would be wonderful if they were devouring children’s classics, but really anything will do! Magazines, leaflets, even the back of a cereal packet – the power of reading should not be underestimated.
Choose the right school
Before even thinking about how best to prepare your child, be sure that you have selected a school that will meet your child’s needs. If you’re child isn’t a high flier, a regimental, academic school may not be the best fit. Luckily, we are spoiled for choice in London and there are a number of schools that cater to specific needs; some offer fantastic sports grounds for budding athletes, others offer first class performing arts facilities – stick with your child’s interests and exam success will be far more realistic.
Above all else, we believe that successful 7+ candidates are children who are happy, relaxed and engaged in their education. It can be tempting to become stressed and anxious about the exam, but additional pressures on children will only have a negative effect on their performance.
We wish all 7+ candidates the best of luck; stay calm, keep working hard at school, show respect to those around you and we are sure you will shine!