11+ and 13+ Parent Case Study – Three times through the entrance exam process
By Rathiga Raji, parent
12 Sep
There is no denying that the entrance exam process can prove stressful, even if you go through it just the once. We spoke to a mum who is guiding her third child through the entrance exam process; two of her children achieved scholarship at the 11 plus and now her son is preparing for the 13 plus. We asked her to share her experiences; what resources does she find most useful and what’s her advice for those just starting out?

First time around, when my daughter was in Year 4, I simply didn’t know where to start. Both my children were educated at state primaries and so they weren’t prepared at their schools. I tried several pricey tuition centres but these didn’t work out and I had to find an alternative to help my children succeed.  Based on research and recommendationI started buying books from Galore Park. The textbooks have detailed explanations which helped me to understand the content and therefore guide my children. My daughter took the 11 plus in January 2010 in North London Girls School Consortium Group 1. She was tested in English and maths and had an interview in February (which we didn’t prepare for). She also took a Watford grammar school test as a back-up, sitting in maths and verbal reasoning. She did well in both and we accepted the scholarship offer from an independent school.

My son took the 11 plus test for Merchant Taylors’ and Haberdashers’ in January 2011, and successfully passed the test and interviews. The test was again based on maths, English and verbal reasoning. He also sat for Queen Elizabeth Boys’ Grammar School and in September 2010, over 1500 took the test with him for 180 places, and I know that the number who took the 11 plus test for the same grammar school in September 2016 (with my third son) increased to 2204.

My next son is now revising for the 13 plus scholarship in January 2018 and is already doing sample papers.

So what would I recommend for revision?

My children had state school primary education and didn’t receive support for 11 plus test at their school. Therefore, I had to research online and buy materials from Galore Park and other online stores to ensure they were fully prepared. The exam papers from Galore Park were particularly useful; I made sure they did a test paper at least once a week from Year 5.  

Our most effective revision technique is that I ask my children to teach me a topic e.g. teaching me how to work out percentage, ratio etc. Teaching me means revising the content and if they can successfully teach me a topic, it’s likely they’ve mastered it. We do that on our car journeys, on walks and even when cooking.

Fortunately, my son’s current school is helping in preparation for the 13 plus and interview.  Resource wise, I bought the Galore Park 13 plus exam practice questions and answer books, which are endorsed by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB). So far, I’ve found the 11 plus tests more competitive than 13 plus but my best advice for both would be to complete one test paper a week as early as possible (for 11 plus, even from Year 4 or 5 depending on your child’s ability). 


Galore Park resources provide thorough preparation for a wide range of entrance exams and will support your child at every stage of the revision journey. Get a head start on revision with the last few days of our 15% off sale - our discount drops to 10% from Friday. Please note that past exam papers are excluded from the sale.


Tags: 11+, 11 plus, 13+, 13 plus, case study, parent, revision

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