The Four Ways 11+ Students Lose Easy Marks and How to Avoid Them

The Four Ways 11+ Students Lose Easy Marks and How to Avoid Them

Sitting an 11+ mock test is a great opportunity for your child to experience a test environment and to put the exam techniques they've learnt into practice. Many parents are surprised, however, when they realise that their child hasn't implemented all that they've been learning when completing their mock test.


When the difference between going to a grammar school or not can come down to just a couple of points, it's essential that children get every single point available.


After spending hundreds of hours of writing and analysing mock tests, our team has become all too familiar with the mistakes that children make year after year. We've put together a list of four of the most common mistakes that children make so that you can help your child to avoid these errors both in their mock test and in the real exam. 

Not writing down their working

Every year, the top performers in our mock exams are the ones that wrote did the most working on paper. Children are given rough working paper in the exam so we encourage you to make sure they use it.


Many children forget that although they shouldn't write their final answers on their question papers, they are allowed to write their working on there. This is particularly useful when there is a diagram on the page. Make sure that your child is aware that they can and should be using the question paper to complete their working whenever it is it is quicker to do so.


Children sitting the Olave's Stage Two exam will get marks for their working, so they should be aware that their working needs to be legible to others and somewhat easy to follow.

Not guessing

If children realise they only have a couple of minutes left of the exam and many questions to complete, they should remember to go through the remaining questions and take a guess.


All of the local 11+ exams are multiple-choice and children are not penalised for incorrect answers so there really is no harm in this. Children could pick up a valuable few marks just by guessing the last few answers.

Not checking their working, particularly on the easy questions.

Approximately 40% of children incorrectly answer the easiest question in our Bexley mock test ever year. It seems that children are lulled into a false sense of security with easy questions and make silly mistakes. In maths, this is often due to not checking their working, in English and reasoning, children may not read the question properly or refer to the comprehension passage.


Make sure your child knows to check all of their answers if they have time, even the questions that looked easy. 

Not marking questions they're unsure of

Rather than spending too long on a particular question, children will sometimes take a guess and move on to another question. While this is a perfectly acceptable strategy, best practice is for students to mark these questions so that they can be prioritised when checking their answers later. Many students neglect to mark these questions and can even end up doing nothing in the final few minutes of the exam when they could have been checking their answers.

Occasionally, the children that are do mark the questions to come back to can mark these answers with very neat little stars or asterisks. This wastes valuable seconds in the exam. Remind your child that marking questions doesn't have to be neat, just obvious enough for them to notice later.

Not marking the answer sheet properly

Although mock tests contain examples and instructions on how to fill in the answer boxes, children are still prone to making mistakes here. Remind your child that a simple straight line through the answer box is sufficient for their answer paper to be marked by a computer. Some children take the time to shade the entire answer box; not only is this not necessary but it is very time-consuming. You may wish to practise filling in answer boxes at home before your child's mock test.


Kin Learning mock tests are unique in providing parents with feedback on all of the above areas so that you can work on exam technique as well as subject knowledge. Click here to read more about our mock tests in Bromley and Sevenoaks.

To provide children with rigorous preparation for the 11+ in an engaging and motivating environment, we also provide 11+ summer schools in Bromley throughout July and August. Click here for details.