Speed – the ‘Key to Success’?

Being able to work at the right speed in school and professional exams has been described as the key to success.

Once pupils know how to answer the questions they then have the challenge of completing 11+/entrance exams in a timed situation in addition to being in an unfamiliar environment. This occurs at the time when most pupils have not yet taken their Key Stage 2 SATs, although many may have previously taken a few timed ‘Optional End of Year SATs Tests’ in Years 3, 4 and 5. In terms of speed, the 11+/entrance exams are a more daunting task than anything pupils have previously taken. Make sure that your child has a watch and knows how to correctly tell the time and calculate time durations, as your child must be able to do this in an exam and pace themselves if a clock is not clearly visible.

Close up of girls doing homework.

Parents and Tutors can best prepare children for timed tests by using plenty of timed practice resources. It really is the case that the more you practise the quicker (and more accurate) you become. Provided, of course, that relaxation time is included in the practice schedule – to avoid burn out. A fresh brain works far more effectively than a tired one.

Timed tasks do not have to just take the form of practice tests; extend this timed element into card games, brain training games, literacy exercises e.g. comprehensions and compositions, maths techniques and  speed reading.  It has been suggested that certain kinds of music can speed up the completion of academic tasks by stimulating our minds into a higher level of ability. Unfortunately, there will be no Mozart or Lady Gaga music to turbo-charge brains to supersonic speeds in a real test environment – but perhaps you could try some at home.

My 11PLUS provides plenty of timed tasks and tests which will enable students to work against the clock and improve their speed. You can also compare your child/student against how quickly an average student answered specific types of questions on questionmix.com.

The teaching of exam timings as a technique needs to take place before 11 plus exams. Find out how long each local exam is and, more importantly, approximately how much time that gives for each question? For example, most Non-Verbal Reasoning test questions should take approximately 30 seconds. Students also need to know that they need to leave enough time at the end of each test to go back to questions that were unanswered and to check through their work for errors. With multiple-choice questions don’t spend too long on any one question. If you can’t answer the question, leave it and go back to it later – and then have a guess if you still don’t know. 

Mock Exam Days will help students to experience time management very realistically. They give pupils the opportunity to work at the speed required for each test and then improve on this before the real exams.

Recommended Resources

Free Worksheets to boost arithmetic skills

Topics include mental and written methods of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Time, Money, Number Sequences etc.

chuckra-11plus-playing-cards-square11+ Playing Cards

Why these playing cards are so popular as part of 11 plus exam preparation:

Build vocabulary, develop quick thinking and boost number skills. So many games for the whole family. Start with the easier ones and build up to the more challenging games as suitable. 

Online Practice

Try timed practice tests/quizzes in Chuckra 11+ Online or freely practise questions on questionmix.com which has a timer showing the average time taken by all students to complete each question. Questionmix.com also has a great selection of online brain games to help build confidence working under timed conditions.


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