Tutor View: Ali Baig, North Finchley Tutors

North Finchley Tutors’ 11-plus course requires a commitment of 6 hours a week but the centre has a track record of getting children into the country’s top schools, including Henrietta Barnett School and Queen Elizabeth’s School.

Name: North Finchley Tutors

Top tips for maths: The most important thing is to focus on both speed and accuracy. In terms of speed, for most papers, you should expect to spend 30 seconds on the easy questions and perhaps 3 minutes on the difficult ones. The ability to work fast is almost as important as the ability to answer the question. 

Although schools say that the questions will always stem from the KS2 curriculum, some schools do put in extra KS3 questions, as the demand for places is getting even more rigorous in recent years.

Focus on KS2 topics but do include logic problems, inverse operations, numerical reasoning, Fibonacci sequences, Venn diagrams and problems and puzzles. We recommend Inspire Maths for year 6 and year 7.

Top tips for English: Whether you are preparing for written exams or multiple choice ones, the comprehension is the most difficult part. The key thing to remember is to improve your child’s vocabulary. Use Synonyms and Antonyms by Christine R. Draper to enhance your child’s knowledge of words, synonyms, antonyms which will make the understanding of the passage much easier.

Also, whilst practising, learn to underline and highlight the passage, so your child can explain where they got the answer from. This will force your child to revisit the extract and not just guess answers from memory!

Top tips for verbal and non-verbal reasoning: For verbal reasoning, children perform well if they are widely read and have an extensive vocabulary. Play word games like Scrabble, crosswords and word searches. Watch Countdown together as a family. Ensure you focus on grammar rules and lexis too. Memorise the meanings of suffixes and prefixes, as well as the different word classes.

For non-verbal reasoning, apart from using acronyms like  (SPANSS), which stands for shape, position, angle, number, shading and size, there are things which you can do with your child at home to improve non-verbal reasoning. For example, playing games like spot the difference and adding numbers from number plates as well as playing with construction toys like Lego is a fun way to develop spatial awareness and understanding.

Are you now offering online tutoring? We are presently offering online tuition; however, we are normally based at our centre in Woodhouse College in North London.

How are children responding? Our children love coming to us and we pride ourselves on the family feel of our centre. We do maintain our clear expectations and provide one-to-one feedback on classwork and homework as well as maintain positive relationships with all of our students.

When should a child start preparing for the 11-plus? 11-plus preparations should begin in year 2 but only at a gentle level, not relating to exams at all; however, this does not have to be done at home if parents have the time and the resources in order to get them started.

In year 2, we recommend arithmetic exercises and lots of reading, whereas in year 3, we recommend starting the year 7-8 Bond books for all four main 11-plus subjects.

In year 4, we strongly recommend starting the extremely successful 11-plus course at North Finchley Tutors. We have an extremely experienced and successful team who are specially trained in different aspects of the 11-plus course. Unlike other 11-plus tutors, we will be available all the way until the last exam your child sits and then even help you decide which school would be best to choose for your child, if you need the support.

How many hours a week does a child need to study? By the time your child reaches year 4, they should be studying for at least four to six hours per week towards their 11-plus exam. During the holidays, try to increase this. In year 5, your child will need to increase this to at least 7-8 hours per week.

What are the best materials to use? We use a variety of different resources for different stages of the 11-plus course. Most of our resources are designed in house and have helped our students to be extremely successful in their 11-plus exams.

Schools tutored for: Queen Elizabeth’s School, Henrietta Barnett School, Dame Alice Owen’s School, The Latymer School, St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School, North London Collegiate Girls School, The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, Highgate School, University College School, Channing School, St Albans School.

Also see: How to get into a top grammar school

How long have you been a tutor: I have been a tutor for over 12 years now but all the team at North Finchley Tutors are qualified teachers currently working in sought after primary and secondary schools. They are all experienced 11-plus tutors for over 5 years.

Cost: 11-plus tutoring is priced at £100 per week which includes 6 hours tuition and all the resources needed in order to successfully pass the 11-plus grammar school and independent exams. 

Website: North Finchley Tutors

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