You would like to give your eleven plus child some advice about how to behave in the actual eleven plus examination. You should remember that every single one of your reactions to hard and almost impossible eleven plus questions will be mirrored in the examination. Any harsh words, muttered expletives and un-wholesome thoughts will be replicated. One further word of warning – if you are accustomed to leaping swiftly out of your chair to make a quick cup of coffee – then warn your loved child not to get up in the examination to take a short break.
If your child does meet horrible questions then suggest that he or she moves on. It is no good feeling frustrated and upset – there are lots of questions – try it and move on. Remind your child not to utter imprecations under the breath because they may become magnified in the silence of the examination hall.
Tell, no order, your child to feel good about the questions that were genuinely easy. Suggest that a mental pat on the back could help to build confidence. It is not clear if back scratchers are allowed into the examination hall. If they are your child could have a tremendous advantage over all the other children who would be watching your child to see if the questions were easy (two pats with the scratcher) medium (one pat) or hard (no pats).
Remind your child to relax. This is not the application of yoga in the middle of the examination. No sitting down in the lotus position while completing the paper. Mention that balancing on the shoulders with legs crossed may prove to be a little too much for the examiner. It is, however, something that you can do while waiting beside the car - provided you are not wearing a skirt.
Tell your child that he or she is bound to meet a few really bad questions on the paper. If the correct mental anticipation in place, the shock will be lessened. Leave it and move on! Repeat after me: “Leave it and move on.”
Warn your child that the examination hall will not be an environment of familiar household noise and hustle. There could be other children in tears, possibly some vomiting and certainly the squeak of other chairs. The T.V. will not be on in the other room. The washing machine will not be going through a cycle. The percolator will not be percolating. Keep calm. Keep focused. Do NOT whisper to your child that the only bad thing that can happen is failure.
Discuss the zone. This is the state of euphoria you hope your children will reach along with calm confidence. Astronauts achieve the zone prior to take off. Heavy weight boxers enter the zone as they stride towards the ring. A bride enters the zone as she is walking up the isle. You want your child to enter the zone when sitting waiting for the instruction to: “Turn over and begin.”