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11 Plus Exam Tips!


One of our highly experienced and respected tutors, Jamie Doughty has put together his on the day exam tips.


Jamie works in an independent school in West London and, as well as his own class children, he successfully helps students at Headway pass their exams each year. Read on to find out more…

On the Morning of the Exam


Sleep: Get enough sleep the night before the exam. The more sleep you have, the better you will perform.


Food: Eat before your exams. The brain needs the fuel to function well so let it have some.


Water: Your body and your brain need water. Research has proven that your brain performs more efficiently when well-hydrated. Drink enough water, but not so much that you need to use the bathroom.


Temperature: The aim is to be as comfortable as possible during your exam so you’re not distracted. Take a sweater or jacket along in case of excessive air-conditioning or lack of sufficient heating. Choose a seat near a window for fresh air, if possible, but also avoid the window if there is a lot of noise outside. Arriving early may allow you to select the seat you feel most comfortable in.


Handling Anxiety: It is natural to feel nervous before your exam. Take a deep breath and try not to get overwhelmed. Take some deep and slower breaths if you find yourself becoming nervous or overwhelmed. By breathing correctly, you can provide your brain with fuel to help it perform better.


Arrive early: This will help you avoid unnecessary stress in the immediate period before your exam. Allow for traffic, check the weather reports for exam day, or even travel to an external exam location in advance to get an idea of how long it will take you to travel there on the day of the exam.


Bring necessary materials: Keep extra materials such as pens, pencils, calculators, rulers, or compasses packed and ready the night before the exam so you have time to locate the correct materials. Knowing you have everything you need will make you feel calmer and well-prepared.


During the Exam


Read the instructions: Make sure you focus on reading the instructions carefully. This is the most common avoidable mistake made by pupils. It may look like a paper you have done during practise but some information might be different.


Read each question: Really read what you are being asked to do on each question. Reread to help you understand what you’re actually being asked and remember that exams change all the time, so questions that appeared in the past may differ from those given in the present.


Focus on yourself: Don’t look around at how other students are doing. It can just distract you from your main task which is to do as well as possible on your exams.


Budget your time: Check how much each question counts towards your final mark and spend time on each answer accordingly. If you have a choice to write your answers in any order, do the easy ones first to build up your confidence.


After the Exam


When you leave: Smile, relax and be proud of your efforts!


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