Becky Pengilly  

11+ Tutor

What can I do to help my child prepare for the CEM 11+ Test before he or she begins tuition?

Many parents are eager to purchase lots of material and make an early start on their child's 11+ . However, success in the 11+ examination relates to  carefully structured  preparation, knowledge, understanding and personal motivation. Wading through a mass of published materials and tests too soon can have the adverse effect on our youngsters. So here are some ideas you can work on at home  that will enhance ability as well as create firm foundations for future academic success beyond the 11+ years.



1)  Choose exciting vocabulary in discussions at home. Children will soon absorb new words  and  use them in the right context if they hear them often enough.  Let's switch the word 'great' for 'stupendous'.

“Did you have a great day?”

“Did you have a stupendous day?”


Abolish the words 'big' and 'large'  from your vocabulary – replace with these: colossal, huge, enormous, vast, immense, massive, gigantic

2) Draw or make a synonym spider with 8 wiggly legs.  Write the word 'great' on the spider's head. Then find eight synonyms for 'great', putting one at the end of each spider leg!  You have 'stupendous' already.

3)  Play Charades with verbs and adverbs.

Think of four interesting ways you can walk.

For example: saunter, stride, creeping , march.  Then select four adverbs that could match.

For example: rigidly, surreptitiously, rapidly, slowly.

Family members silently act their charade for others to guess. E.g. creeping surreptitiously.

Alternatively – sketch the action for others to guess!

The level of vocabulary depends on the child's age, yet never underestimate how important it is to drip feed new words.

4)  Share reading. However old your child is, especially if an independent reader,  spend time reading to them and sharing the joy of many genres of literature. This improves understanding as well as vocabulary. It is super for comprehension skills too, as you discuss the text together.


What you can do to help

= creeping surreptitiously

Do practical activities

1)  Go to a train station read a timetable and plan a short trip together.

2)  Plan a holiday for your family. What flight times are available? Which airline offers the best deal? How long is the flight? How much luggage allowance do you have? (If 23Kg, fill a suitcase – with anything perhaps books - and weigh it).  What size of hand luggage can you take? (Child can measure a range of bags)  What is the limit on liquids in hand luggage? 100ml. Child reads labels to see which shampoo, suntan and so on…fits that category.

Which holiday is the best priced?  What is the total cost for 2 adults and 3 children for one week? For two weeks? When is the cheapest time of the year to go? How does the temperature vary? Find difference in temperature from January to July.

3)  Research cost of a family pass at Legoland. Is it better value to buy a family pass than to visit 8 times?

4)  Bake. Change the recipe from making 12 cakes to 6, 18, or 15 cakes.

5)  Use money to buy fruit at the supermarket. How much is it per Kg? So how much is 500g? Weigh the fruit at the supermarket. Pay using cash. Is the change correct? Later at home write shopping trip into a worded problem. E.g. Luca went to the supermarket and bought some apples The apples cost £1.30 per Kg. How much did it cost Luca to buy 3.5Kg?  How much change did Luca receive from a £5 note?