Preparing your child for the dictation element of the 7 Plus exam can be very difficult, especially if you are not familiar with all aspects of the 7 Plus process. Students usually take the 7 Plus exam in Year 2, to be admitted to their new school in Year 3. Although the 7 Plus exam is normally taken early in Year 2, it is important to note that some schools mandate that it be taken before November.
The expectations for 7 Plus English are that a student should be conversant with the full of KS1 curriculum (and sometimes beyond this level). With some elite schools, students are required to be able to write at least half of an A4 page composition with a clear beginning, middle, and end story structure in addition to being able to read fluently and respond to comprehension questions in full phrases.
The 7 Plus dictation part often requires the students to listen to sentences, which they then have to write down. For instance, the student may be required to write down a sentence that the assessor reads out loud during the exam.
The 7 Plus dictation part assesses the student's listening, grammar, and spelling abilities. Schools will therefore assess the student to see if he or she can pay attention by listening, write clearly and neatly, use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and edit their work based on the sentence's context. They will specifically be examining your child's comprehension of fundamental grammatical rules such as the use of proper nouns, and the use of capital letters at the beginning of sentences, as well as the use of full speech marks, question marks, commas, exclamation points and stops at the end of a sentence.
The ability of a student to properly listen to contractions like "it's", "he's," and "you're", and then write the correct contracted version (it is, he is, and you are) may also be tested by some schools. They will be looking to determine if your child can recognise proper nouns, which are words that need to be capitalised and include days of the week, locations and names.
Schools will also use homophones like their/there/they're, or too/to/ two, or four/for/ and you’re/your, or even blew/blue in an attempt to throw the student off guard. As a result, the school will assess whether the student can use context to determine which word is correct.
Although practising dictation with your child can help them to better understand what is needed to achieve top marks, and possibly boost their confidence, the truth is that many adults also have trouble with homophones. Hiring a private tutor is one of the best approaches to guarantee that your child receives the correct instructions. A capable tutor will guide your child in sentence construction practice and explain what the examiners or assessors will test during the exam, and how homophones and contractions are used to ’trick’ students.
The more comfortable your child becomes with the types of mistakes that could easily occur when using homophones, the more probable it is that they will steer clear of them throughout the exam. Therefore, it is essential to provide your child with the fundamental knowledge and comprehension required for the 7 Plus exam and to equip them with the confidence to know that they can use different words that may sound the same, in a variety of situations with different meanings.
My recommendation is a two-hour session (albeit online or in-person) at least once a week, to practice the important aspects of 7 Plus English and mathematics. Keep in mind that your child will have a better chance of passing (or even excelling) on the 7 Plus exam if they are properly prepared.