Tips on how to prepare for 11+ exams (part 1)

Part 1: Irfan Allana, one of our Harrow tutors, shares some useful tips he used when preparing for his 11+ exams;

I can still remember my feelings of elation when I ripped open my letter and had received an offer to study at my first choice secondary school, The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School.

Getting to that point was not an easy ride. At times, I was bored, frustrated and fearful all at once! However, it’s just as important to manage these feelings as it is to work hard.


  1. Start preparing for the exam early. You can then identify any areas where you’re having problems and work on them without any worry about not having enough time to get through all the material.

  2. Don’t overdo it! It’s the quality of the preparation you do and not the quantity that is important. In the year before the exam, do some worksheets in areas that you find difficult, and, in the months leading up to the exam, tackle a few past papers a week.

  3. Don’t stop your extra-curricular activities for the exam. There’s plenty of time in the day to do some work and something you enjoy, and that way you’ll be more productive.

  4. Don’t panic and let it take over all your preparation. It’s not the end of the world if you get something wrong; almost everyone will face something that they struggle with. The best thing to do is sit down with someone and see how they go about answering the question. 

  5. It’s also important to mix up your revision to stop yourself getting bored. If you’re not in the right frame of mind for an English paper but have scheduled to do one, just switch subject for that session and come back to it another time.

  6. Finally, make sure you practice some papers in exam conditions. It sounds daunting but you’ll have to do it for each exam on the day so it’s well worth being prepared for it.

For support with 11+ exams, please call or email our Private Tuition Agency or one of our Centres – our staff are always happy to help!