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Recommended books for the 11+

13th July, 2024

Recommended books for the 11+

I have tutored for the 11+ in Warwickshire for over 10 years. In that time, I have built up a great set of resources that I use.

I have many people asking for my help with tuition, but my waiting list for a regular lesson is quite long.

If you are willing and able to help prepare your child, you can work through books yourself. On this page I share recommendations to a lot of the resource content that I use.

If you require, I can then provide ad hoc support, in holidays and half-terms, to plug in any gaps, or focus on timed tests. Contact me to be added to my list, and I will notify you when I open up bookings.

Why I recommend these books for the 11+

I always start with covering a lot of the basics in all the four main topic areas : English, Maths (sometimes called Numeracy), Non-Verbal reasoning (NVR) and Verbal Reasoning (VR).

The Bond Assessment books contain papers which cover more than those in the shorter “10 minute” books, and dip into a variety of questions instead of only doing one exercise repeatedly.

I don’t set these timed (not until later in Year 5) but allow students to attempt what they can, whilst offering hints for topic areas that are within reach.

Sometimes, with a little bit of encouragement, a pointer in the right direction, and they can answer the question that they earlier thought was, “Impossible!”.

The Bond Assessment books serve as a useful way to identify problem areas. At this point, I utilise other resources I have, some from other books and some that I have developed myself.

Whenever doing English and Verbal Reasoning, I would recommend that your child has a dictionary and thesaurus to hand.

Encourage them to use these, to look at spellings and word meanings, rather than relying on you to answer with a yes / no to, “Is this a word?” / “What does this word mean?”.

The act of looking up a word is more likely to result in them remembering the information about it!

Covering the basics for the 11+ in YEAR 4 (8-9)

The youngest I start tutoring from is year 4 (although many students start in year 5 or in the summer before the 11+). You could start younger but keep it very lightall topic areas are available for 7-8.

For the start of year 4, I recommend the Bond Assessment Papers 8-9 books. I like these because they give a good mixture of questions, and provide a gentle introduction to the topics.

I would aim to do 2 per week, rotating through English, Maths, NVR and VR.

Build on the basics for the 11+ at the end of YEAR 4 / start of YEAR 5 (9-10)

If your child starts tuition with me at the start of year 5, after an initial assessment, I usually aim to work through the Bond 9-10 books (and still take time out to focus on any problem areas that arise).

I recommend the Bond Assessment Papers 9-10 books for the start of year 5, or for the end of year 4 for those regularly getting good scores (over 85%) in 8-9 books. Remember, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, so while your child might be ready to go up a level in maths, they might need more practice at the current level in English etc.

I would continue with 2 papers per week while in year 4, and move to 3 papers per week at the start of Year 5. Rotate through English, Maths, NVR and VR.

The Bond Assessment Papers from 9-10 have Book 1 and Book 2. There is no difference in difficulty between the books, it’s just useful for when more practice at the same level is required, especially with NVR which has only 6 papers in each book.

More practice for the 11+ into YEAR 5 (10-11)

As we progress through Year 5, I aim to move on to 10-11 Assessment papers – doing well at this level, by the time of the 11+ exam, should stand your child in good stead.

I recommend the Bond Assessment Papers 10-11 books for year 5, once it is established that your child is regularly getting 85% or higher for 9-10 level.

Remember, do not to rush up to 10-11 in all topics at once – your child might find one topic easier. Move up in the easier ones, and if they require more practice at level 9-10 – see Book 2 papers.

I would aim to do 3, then 4 papers per week, as you progress through year 5. Still rotate through English, Maths, NVR and VR.

Now is a good stage to check how your child responds to working in timed conditions. All the Bond Assessment Paper books tell you how long each paper should take at that level – it varies for each topic, and for each level.

Initially, you might look to record how long your child takes to complete an Assessment paper.

– Shorter than the recommended time and with lower than expected scores? I would suggest encouraging them to take longer and more care – and to check their own answers!

– Much longer than the recommended time? Either encourage them to skip the trickier, time-consuming questions and focus on the ones they can do, or consider moving them down a level if the questions are too hard for them.

If their scores are reasonable, look to set a timer (which they can see) and practise doing to the recommended time, and then maybe try shortening that by 5 minutes.

The Bond Assessment Papers for 10-11 have Book 1 and Book 2. There is no difference in difficulty between the books, it’s just useful for when more practice at the same level is required, especially with NVR which has only 6 papers in each book.

Getting closer to the 11+ from the middle of YEAR 5 / summer preparation

As we get closer to the 11+ date, i.e. about 6 months before, I introduce shorter pieces and practice tests. These are trickier, and with multiple-choice answers (which is the format for GL – the exam board used in the Warwickshire area).

Shorter, multiple-choice timed tests for the 11+

I use the CGP “10 minute” format test books, initially not timed, but then useful to set them with a timer. Maybe 10 minutes with an extra 5 for checking, and then 10 total, and then sometimes 8 minutes. Remind your child to focus on the questions that they can do, and to check their answers when near the end of the timer.

The shorter papers I recommend (and use) focus on:

comprehension

proofreading (i.e. checking for spelling, punctuation, and grammar rules)

wordy maths

non-verbal reasoning (I use one specific for the GL exam board)

verbal reasoning

11+ style practice tests

At this stage, I also start to occasionally set timed, full 11+ style practice tests. I do these in “exam conditions”, i.e. no asking for help, no use of dictionary etc.

The aim of these tests is to develop your child’s exam technique:

– answer the questions under pressure

– explore the layout of question and separate answer booklets

– develop strategies for working on too many questions with not enough time

– remember to check answers.

The content of the practice papers (lots of different ones available) is meant to be at the expected level when the 11+ test is run, i.e. the start of year 6, so I do not focus too much on the scores achieved, especially initially.

More tips for the 11+ exam can be found on my “11+ Top Tips” page.

Recommended books for private school entrance exams

Although this page talks about recommended books for the 11+, these resources are equally useful for private school entrance exams. I have tutored many children for the private schools in the Warwick and Leamington area.

The Maths books cover lots of different topics, some multiple-choice and others that require written answers (as per private school exams).

The English books have particularly ‘knotty’ comprehensions that give plenty of opportunity to practise of reading and understanding texts. They also require written answers, a key difference between 11+ and private-school entrance exams.

Private schools often recommend these books on their websites, when preparing for their entrance exam. They usually have a verbal reasoning and almost always a non-verbal reasoning test. See the above links for the age appropriate books.

And if you want to prepare for the 11+ before YEAR 4 (7-8)…

If you and your child are keen to get started before year 4, then I can recommend the Bond Assessment Papers 7-8 books. Perhaps stick to the maths and English papers, to cover core skills, or dip into the NVR and VR papers if that would suit them better.

I wouldn’t set a regular routine for these (unless that works for your child) but try to set them as a fun activity, rather than a chore.

Nicola Bhalerao - Warwick Tutor

About Me

My name is Nicola Bhalerao and I am a private tutor based in Warwick. Since 2013, I have provided one-to-one tuition for children and adults. I specialise in maths tutoring, but cater for different requests, ranging from 11+ / entrance exams to various uses of maths, e.g. : interviews, job promotions, GCSE retakes, Functional Skills, nursing, teaching – any situation where confidence in maths is required.

My background is in computing, with a Computer Science degree from Warwick University. I have worked many years as a programmer, latterly in the games industry. Both my sons were tutored by me for the 11+ (they went to a local grammar school). I received training for teaching secondary school maths and I am fully CRB checked.

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