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Review: 11+ English Revision Guide
By Sabah Hadi
02 Feb

I was honoured to be invited to review the 11+ English Revision Guide by Galore Park, one of many publications by the company known for its excellent resources for 11+, pre-test and 13+. Relevant resources for preparing children for the 11+ tests whether they be for independent schools or grammar schools are important tools. As a parent who has gone through the 11+ process some 5+ years ago, I am fully aware of the important part that good resources can play. In my role as a learning and education enthusiast and founder of the popular The 11 plus Journey where we support parents going through the process, I have discovered that most parents are in the same boat. Working with Galore Park for exchange of ideas, blog posts, competitions and resources has been a privilege. It helps us to give more value, furthering the support we can provide parents, carers and teachers. Good resources which aid study at home are hard to find in a space that has seen umpteen tutors and publications mushroom over the past two years.

The 11+ English Revision Guide is essentially (as the name suggests), a revision guide so you would need to make sure the child has gone through the syllabus and is ready to use this guide to consolidate and revise for the 11+ or Pre-Tests. 

Who is it for?
Aimed at students preparing for entry to independent schools and pre-tests, the book covers the entire ISEB 11+ English syllabus and hence will come in handy for students taking grammar school tests as well. If your child is in Year 5 and is well-ahead in their preparation, this would be suitable to be used closer to the tests.

What does it include?
The revision guide has a SPAG section, reading and creative writing section that deals with composition and tests. It is packed with ideas that parents can use to supplement the work in the book besides a spelling list, model writing samples and tests.

Sections for parents
What I found particularly useful was that it has a section ‘Advice for parents’ which will help parents guide their children and give them tips to tackle that particular section. For example, for comprehension the advice is that parents should read with their children and details how you can do that. A spot-on piece of advice and for which there is no substitute.

SPAG, Reading and Writing
The SPAG section focuses on Prefix/Suffix, root words and grammar technicalities. This is an area that needs practise and there is plenty of that here.

The reading section explores the different types of texts so children can refresh their memories and is a great reminder of the kinds of texts that could possibly find its way into the tests. What I found particularly useful is the depth that this book goes to. For example, in the writing section, children learn the difference between fact and opinion, foreshadowing that will give them clues as to how a text can progress and how the story can unfold. All important points to keep in mind when reading in order to aid with answering the subsequent comprehension questions.

The composition section is unique. It gives children topics and elaborates on what points to explore in that topic. This goes on to demonstrate how children can approach each task. It has sections on planning which branches out into the various prompts that children can use to start their story, how to plan description, non-fiction and how to write book reviews.

Activities that you can do outside book revision
The guide also includes reading activities and a list of games that you can play, useful information that is a good supplement to the task of writing in a book. These ideas explore the non-bookish learning tools that are vital for education and knowledge to be real and based on experience. When children indulge in extra-curricular activities, it complements what they learn from books.

I found that this revision guide is a wholesome package for consolidation and revision for the pre-tests. A wonderful resource for parents and one that I will sincerely recommend to those looking for a complete English revision guide for 11+ pre-tests.

What can YOU do to help your child?
I lay great emphasis on the role of an adult in a child’s life, in addition to the useful resources that they can provide them. I feel this is just as important, if not more to nurturing children who will go on to become well-rounded adults. Spending a small amount of time with your child having conversations around how their day has been, what they ate for lunch, reading their favourite book together or going for a walk around the house are simple things you can do to foster a bond and connection with them. This will instil confidence in your child and will provide the support they need to do well in school and in tests. These rather simplistic things hold the treasure that will help your child grow more confident not just in their academic life but also prepare them for the future. Moreover, the work you do for preparing your child for tests such as 11+ will lay the foundations for developing life skills such as work ethic and discipline. These are life skills and your child will thank you for helping them develop this at an early age.

No matter where you are in your 11+ journey, I wish you all the best with it and hope to interact with you on a shared platform. Our children are our future and there is no better investment than the time, love and care that you can provide to help them grow happily, successfully and with gratitude.

Sabah Hadi is a mum, writer and learning enthusiast. She is the creator of the The 11+ Journal, available on Amazon. It is a book for children, aged 6 to 12, to help children develop all-round personalities and grow up with the powers of gratitude, expression and self-regulation. She is also founder of The 11 plus Journey, an educational community

Tags: 11+, 11+ English, 11+ Revision, 11 plus, English, Entrance exams, exams, Independent School Examination Board, Key Stage 2, Parents, pre-test, pre-tests, Review, revision, Revision Guide, revision prep, school entrance exams

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