Tutoring for 7+ exams

Q. Would it be wise to tutor my 6 year-old for 7+ exams if he's not officially prepared at his current school?


A. It is good to have this question from the parent of a 6 year-old and not a 2 year-old!

If your son is at a state primary he will not, of course, be prepared for formal 7+ exams. He may well be top in maths and English in his current school and generally very able but, if he has had no experience of, or practice in, the type of exams set by academically selective prep schools, then he will be at something of a disadvantage against those children who have seen such papers before, have been coached for them and had several goes at sitting them to a time limit.

He will also not necessarily grasp - without preparation - the importance of eg ensuring that you don't spend too much time on questions worth two marks when heftier ones worth six marks are lurking lower down the paper. In maths, he needs to understand the value of eg showing his working. This type of exam technique is what can give pupils - prepared either by tutors or their existing schools - the edge. So - in short, however able your 6 year-old, it makes sense to get a tutor for the few months before the exams - i) to ensure that there are no gaps in his knowledge of those aspects of the syllabus on which he is likely to be tested and ii) to give him exam practice thus ensuring that he has the skills, experience and confidence to negotiate a 7+ paper and make the most of the marks available.