Preparing for the 11 Plus exams can be tremendously challenging and intimidating for parents and students. With so many different approaches and strategies for acing the exam, it can be hard to know what to focus on and where to begin. However, one method many parents have turned to for help is using 11 Plus writing examples to assist their children in preparing for the writing aspect of the exam.
While showing writing examples from other students to prepare for the 11 Plus exams may seem like a great idea, many potential drawbacks must be carefully considered. Perhaps the biggest concern when using writing examples is that the quality of the examples provided may not be up to par with what is expected for the actual exam. Indeed, a study by Bae and Park (2018) published in the Journal of Writing Research found that providing too many model compositions can limit students’ creativity and discourage them from exploring their unique style, causing them to struggle to find their footing when it’s time to write their pieces.
In addition, using writing examples from other students can often lead to a false sense of security. It may not adequately prepare students for what they will face on exam day. Rather than truly understanding what is required of them and how they can translate their strengths and unique perspective into their writing, students might instead rely on the examples provided, causing them to be unprepared and ultimately underperform on the day of the exam itself.
Furthermore, even when the quality of the examples is high, using such writing examples may not necessarily be the most effective way to teach writing skills. A study by Zohrabi (2014) published in the Journal of English for Academic Purposes found that providing model texts may not always suit all individual learning needs and can lead to a lack of originality in their writing, rendering their writing less effective and less engaging.
To overcome these challenges, we take a different approach at our Creative Writing Crash Course – one that we believe is more effective, engaging, and rewarding for students. Instead of relying solely on writing examples, we provide students with personalised feedback and direct support on their writing, ensuring that they understand what is required of them and how they can best demonstrate their strengths and creativity on exam day.
What works better for students is feedback on their own work and giving them specific directions on how to maximise their creative voice and what they need to improve on their own writing – this is what we do in the creative writing courses, and the results speak volumes. We see students making a 10-40% increase in their marks by the second homework assignment – it is absolutely amazing to see this!
Have a look at how we mark students’ work in the video below to see why it helps students, as opposed to memorising of writing prompts.
Through this approach, we can tailor our instruction to each student’s unique needs and learning styles, bringing out the best in them and helping them achieve their full potential. And by encouraging our students to take risks and explore their unique writing styles, we help them to build their confidence and mastery over the writing process, providing them with the skills they need to succeed not just on the 11 Plus exam but in all aspects of their writing and academic journey.