Good Study Habits for the 11 Plus Pretest Exam

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With an increasing number of independent schools using pretests as part of their admissions process, parents are looking for useful resources that provide advice on studying for pretest exams.


At Pretest Plus, we produce high quality online practice pretests and courses to help children and parents become more familiar with the content of these assessments. In this post, we recommend some good study habits that will help your child prepare for the 11 Plus pretest exam.

The 11 Plus Pretest: A Brief Overview

Many of the UK’s top independent schools use pretests as the first stage of their admission process. Children normally sit an 11 Plus pretest in Year 6 or 7 to provide the schools with an indication of their academic ability and general suitability for a place at the school.


Students that do well in the pretest are usually invited back for another round of tests and interviews. This can lead to an offer for Year 7 or conditional Year 9 entry, depending on the school.


Most 11+ pretests include modules examining Maths, English and Reasoning (Verbal and Non-Verbal).

Adopt the Right Mindset

It’s important that your child approaches their studying with a positive mindset. Understandably, they may be nervous about the exam but try to encourage them to stay motivated in their approach to studying.


As a parent, you can try to set your child’s expectations by letting them know that if they work hard and put the effort in, they’ll increase their chances of success. At the same time however, try not to put any unnecessary pressure on them and let them know that the exam isn’t the most important thing in their lives.


Some ways that you can help your child adopt a positive mindset when they study, include:


– Giving them praise where it’s due. If they’ve successfully managed to study for an uninterrupted period of time, tell them that they’ve done well.

– Providing them with their own personal study space. If your child has their own inspiring place to revise, they will likely be more motivated.

– Discouraging ‘catastrophe thinking’. If your child feels overwhelmed with the amount of studying they have ahead of them, encourage them to break each task down into smaller chunks. It’s all too easy to slip into a negative frame of mind when overwhelmed.

– Avoiding comparisons with peers. As a parent, try not to compare your child with their friends. Instead, encourage them to do the best that they can, regardless of what other people are capable of.

Make Studying Part of Your Child’s Daily Routine


Consistency is key when it comes to studying for the 11 Plus pretest. Once your child gets into good study habits, it’ll soon become a routine that they’ll find easier to maintain as the exam approaches.


It’s a good idea to create a study timetable with your child that outlines what topics need to be studied on what days. If your child is involved in the process of creating the schedule, they’ll be more likely to stick to it. Above all else, it’s important to keep the schedule realistic.


Consider your child’s other commitments and plan studying times around them. You should consider the best time for your child to study. For example, some people are more alert in the morning, whereas others prefer to study at night.


Building flexibility into the schedule is also important as it’s likely that your child’s calendar will change at some point. Despite everyone’s best intentions, interruptions to your child’s routine will sometimes be unavoidable. Be prepared to adjust their study schedule if circumstances change.

Prepare with Online Pretest Practice Tests and Courses

At Pretest Plus, we’ve created online practice tests and courses designed to help your child prepare for the 11 Plus pretest, which is usually taken online. They focus on Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, and are designed to replicate the actual pretest exam that your child may take.


If your child is sitting the ISEB Common Pretest, our tests and courses will help familiarise them with how the actual exam will be laid out. They also help students get used to the types of questions that they’re likely to be asked on the day.


We provide detailed feedback for each question in the test, so that you can monitor your child’s progress and identify any areas that they need to improve. Each test also provides a breakdown of statistical averages, so you can benchmark their performance against their peer group.

Practice Tests

You can learn more about our highly accurate online ISEB Pretest practice tests by clicking on the links below. They are available to take online immediately after purchase. Each module is marked automatically and is then available for review with answers and explanations provided for every question. We also provide comparative ranking statistics on a per module basis so you can quickly identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Video Courses

We’ve also produced online video courses that cover everything your child needs to know for each section of the ISEB Pretest assessment. They consist of a series of lessons that go through each question type in great detail, providing step-by-step explanations and techniques to help your child recognise the underlying patterns to look out for. The courses cover every possible question type that could come up in the ISEB Pretest.

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Save 25% by purchasing our ISEB Pretest Courses Bundle, including all four products. Click the button below to learn more:


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Skill Practice

Our Skill Practice products consist of focused tests that allow your child to target specific question formats that appear in the ISEB Pretest. They are an efficient way to improve skills and boost scores quickly. All tests are marked automatically and feedback, solutions and statistical rankings are provided upon completion.

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Practice Verbal Communication Skills

A good study habit for your child to form in the lead up to the interview/group assessment element is to practice verbal communication. This can be done by practising interview scenarios, where your child speaks about their academic interests, extra-curricular activities and hobbies (as they may be required to do in an interview). Family dinner times provide the perfect opportunity to practice these communication skills. It can be beneficial for your child to have certain ideas that they’ve practiced delivering in a confident, articulate manner.


It’s likely that your child will be asked what books they’re currently reading. In this case, it’s important that your child has a good understanding of the texts that they mention.


In some independent schools, the interview is regarded as just as important as the academic elements of the admissions process.


Please note that Pretest Plus is an independent publisher of practice tests and not affiliated with or endorsed by the publishers of the ISEB Common Pre-test or any other Pre-test publisher.


Special Offer!

Don’t forget to use the code ppdiscount at checkout to get 10% off orders over £80 and 20% off orders over £200!


Related Article:

The ISEB Common Pre-test: What You Need to Know

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