Improving your Child’s Memory – The 11 Plus Exam

If your child is quickly approaching the taking of the 11 Plus exam then one fundamental skill that you are likely working on is their memory. Whilst many may believe that information retention is a skill that we either have a natural propensity towards or otherwise, in actual fact an effective memory is something that can be learnt and improved through set exercises. Here we look at

1. Destressing

First and foremost it is important that your child be relaxed. Being stressed prevents the brain from absorbing information by blocking it from reaching the Reflective, higher thinking area of the brain (known as the prefrontal cortex) where long term memories are stored.
To overcome stress you could play a couple of their favourite songs prior to revision periods, or play a game, such as a card or ball game.

2. Grabbing their attention effectively

Events that are memorable are far more ‘long-term’ memory friendly than mundane revision tasks. Why not find out about your child’s upcoming lessons and create posters that provide cryptic clues? They should then be encouraged to guess as to what the topic may be.

3. Using colour to establish memories

Colour is effective because our brains have a natural propensity towards absorbing sensory information (with sensory being sight, smell and touching). For revision you should then use varying colours of paper and differently coloured pens to highlight important words, or phrases.

4. Making it fun through novelty

Be sure to introduce plenty of varying resources, such as video clips, and add in a little novelty to make it memorable. Why not teach a set point with a certain hat on and another with a pair of sunglasses?

5. Adding personal meaning

Your child must consider everything that you teach them as personally significant to them. One way of ensuring this is to use your child’s interests to connect the learning and the materials that they’ll be working with. This could see you telling a story, factoring in the key elements of the teachings into pivotal points within the story.

6. Creating patterns

The brain has a natural inclination to retain patterns, so create charts, mnemonics, and lists of similarities/difference and build analogies around the content that your child is learning.

7. Creating long term memories through mental manipulation

Once your child has processed the information that has been presented, it must then be utilised to ensure that it is stored as a permanent memory. This may involve them summarising from memory what they’ve learnt in their own words.

8. Practice, Practice, Practice

Build upon the information that has been learnt through the senses by using different senses to revise. For example, you may teach a concept through a chart, but then use a video to reinforce it; this uses both sight and hearing respectively.

The 11 plus Tutors in Essex help students in achieving the 11 Plus Exam results that they deserve. Our small team of highly experienced teachers understand their students as individuals and provide tutoring that is completely bespoke as according to their students’ varying capabilities, learning styles and skillsets.



  • Jamie

    I never would have thought that distressing could be so important but it makes sense that it’s easier to focus when you’re relaxed. Using color, patterns, and personal meaning are great tips. These things are much more unique that simply trying to memorize by repetition. I wish I would have known about these techniques while I was in school!