There is something that we all know a little about – something to do with the only thing that is certain in life - death and taxes. In the eleven plus examination the only thing that is certain is that time passes. The examination starts and ends – and in between there are questions requiring answers. You heard it here first!
Start simply with your child. Make sure that your child knows how to recognise the numbers on the watch. (There could be Roman numerals.) Make sure too that he or she can work out when the `fifteen’ arrives. Do lots of work too on when half way should arrive and what to do when there are just ten minutes to go.
If you child is take his or her watch off and place it on the table before the examination starts then spend time suggesting that the 12 is always at the top. Remind your child why the hour hand is often smaller than the minute hand. Discuss why the examination may need, at times, to be broken up into five minute segments.
By the way – keep mentioning that times passes in a clockwise manner. It shoots off to the number immediately preceding the hand. We can have eleven plus time after the hour and eleven plus time before.
It is likely, however, that a most effective reward for telling the time accurately is a present of a new watch just before the eleven plus. The mothers and fathers who `lend’ their child a watch for the duration of the examination could possibly consider that their child is growing up. Just as it was considered politic to offer a colleague a watch on retirement – so an eleven plus child seems to need a watch to mark the passage from working towards an examination to duly completing a competitive examination.
Ideally the watch should have large face so that it can be seen easily. It may also help to have easily discernable numbers. The eleven plus is not the time for Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. Parents could consider a clear face and clear numbers. The eleven plus is also not really the place for a watch that can tell the time all over the world, or shows how deep your child can dive or has an alarm that has the potential to startle the most diligent eleven plus candidates.
One or two parents may even want to talk about the passage of time.
"Take your watch off when you sit down.
Face your watch towards you.
Look at the clock on the wall. See how the time tallies with your watch.
Look closely at the instructions that tell you how long the test will take.
Work out for yourself when half way is.
Work out for yourself when there will be ten minutes left to go.
If there are fifty minutes and fifty questions you have a minute for each question.
If you have fifty minutes and eighty questions then you need to be around question 40 when you are half way.
By the way, put your watch on when you stand up after the examination."