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Emb(race) the Clock – 17 Best Time Management Tips for the 11 Plus Exam

Your child’s ability to manage their time is an essential skill to develop for the 11 Plus Exam and beyond. Use these top tips to make every minute count.


Time pressure can be a big demotivator and stressor for your child. The best way to help them succeed in the run up to the 11 Plus Exam, and on the day, is to teach them the skills they need to manage their time, and to cope with pressure in a timed exam environment. Here’s what you can do.

Before the exam (for the parent)

  • Preparation for the 11 Plus Exam starts early in the year, giving you and your child a lot of time to develop and practice time management skills.
  • Does your child know how to tell the time on both an analogue and digital clock? This is an important skill to have when it comes to time management.
  • In the early days of preparation, focus your child’s attention on accuracy before speed with untimed exercises and quizzes. Once mastery has been achieved, speed can then be worked on.
  • When introducing timed exercises and tests, help your child by supervising the time they spend answering questions. This will also give you a good indication of areas of strength and weakness.
  • Teach your child, where possible, not to linger on questions they find difficult and to rather move on to answering other sections and questions before returning to them.

Before the exam (for your child)

  • Do you know what the 11 Plus Exam is all about and what it looks like? Learn about it
  • It’s your responsibility to ensure that you spend enough time every day preparing for the 11 Plus Exam.
  • Early on, spend time with your parents talking about the 11 Plus Exams, your study plan, and how everyone can help you in your exam preparation.
  • Practicing every day will build your skills and confidence. If you’re struggling with stress, though, here’s some great advice to help you cope.
  • Have you practiced taking tests and quizzes that are timed? The more you practice, the more comfortable you get and the less pressured you feel.
  • Take a watch with you to your exam. You won’t be allowed to take your phone.


During the exam

  • Skim your exam paper before you answer any questions and underline important instructions. It may feel like you’re wasting time, but if you rush or don’t pay attention to instructions you could lose important marks.
  • Look for time allocations for each section. If the instruction says you should spend 20 minutes on it, don’t spend more time than that. Rather move on to the rest of the exam and come back to unanswered questions with your remaining time.
  • It’s important not to rush, not just because you can make mistakes, but your hand can get sore from writing and your brain can get tired. If you start feeling this way in your exam take a minute to flex your fingers and roll your wrists in circles. Take a few deep breaths, stretch your neck and shoulders, and then get back to your questions.
  • Mark questions that you want to return to with a circle so you can find them easily when you’ve finished the paper. Use your remaining time to answer the easier circled questions first before moving to the harder ones.
  • Don’t panic if there are questions left unanswered at the end of the test. It’s important that the ones you answered are correct and not full of mistakes because you felt rushed.
  • If you hit a blank, don’t panic. Look away from your paper, take a deep breath and move on to a different section. You can always return to it later.
  • Don’t start rushing if you see other students leaving early.
  • If you finish early don’t be tempted to leave. Rather use the time to go over your exam. Maybe you’ve made a mistake without realising it? Or you can score some extra marks by answering the questions you’ve left out.


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