So the new format 11+ tests for grammar schools are this week and the annual parent ‘nail-biting fest’ begins. Here are a few tips to ensure your worries for the outcome do not transfer to your child, who should feel confident to take the tests in their stride, knowing that whatever the result, you will be proud of the effort they made.
Avoid discussing fears over the result with a partner or friends within your child’s earshot. This will raise the pressure they feel and lead to raised stress levels. Your child should know that you see the test simply as a gauge of their ability so they will gain a place at the right school. Use of the word ‘fail’ should be limited. You must reassure them that whatever senior school they go to, you will make sure they have access to opportunities that will lead to success.
Have a relaxed evening the night before the test and a good night’s sleep. Last-minute cramming into the night will not allow their brain to switch off and will lead to an unsettled night, meaning they will be less alert for test day.
A good breakfast is crucial. I read recently that research suggests blueberries can enhance concentration and memory, so why not try some sprinkled on breakfast cereal?
Plan a treat or buy a small gift to celebrate their efforts and the test being over. Whether you also plan a treat for results day is up to you, but now is your chance to focus on rewarding the effort they spent preparing, whatever the outcome.