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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Eleven Plus Focus

It is Sunday morning. The washing up is done. The house is tidy. The dog has been walked. The pre Eleven Plus candidate bounds up to you and says: “Oh Good. It is time for our eleven plus fun. I did enjoy our work together last week.”

You look at your child with just a degree of reservation. Is this the same child that announced last night that university was for boffins? Then comes a little glimmer of light in your brain. Your much loved child is in a good mood. It is time to play!

Start by giving your child a problem that has to be solved mentally. After completing the task ask your child to try to describe to you the thought processes involved. Try to avoid building a concrete visual aid. We want the whole exercise done in the head – if possible.

Imagine a 3 cm cube pointed on all sides. If this cube were divided into smaller cubes of 1 cm each, how many would have:

Paint on three sides

Paint on two sides

Paint on one side

Paint on none of the sides?

It must help to have a clear visual image of the large cube. Being able to work out the nature of the sub divisions is also essential. Some parents and children tackling the task will use a form of motor imagery where they will be able to almost `pick up’ the cubes and turn them over looking at all the sides.

The problem can also be solved by mathematical means – where the solution is talked through.

Some children (and some parents) may it difficult to solve the problem by any means – as they become distracted. “Focus, dear. Focus!”

Talking through the solution to the problem will help you understand the imagery involved in solving the problem.

Just think how you will feel if questions 57 to 61 on the actual Eleven Plus reasoning paper are to do with calculating the number of painted surfaces in a 4 cm cube.

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