Over the last few days, my mum has been receiving results about how well her tutees did in their 11+ exam. It makes me feel old when I realise I was one of those kids more than a decade ago. For those unfamiliar with this exam, it is an entrance test to get into a grammar school or an ability selective school. These schools are sort of like private schools (minus the poshness and manners) without paying the money thus making it extra popular with brown parents.
It’s hard to say for sure what have been the most important moments of my life but I can say with confidence that passing my 11+ exam was one of them. I am so grateful for the opportunities and teaching I received at my secondary school. If I hadn’t passed, I would have been going to a local girl’s school and I’m sure I would have turned out rather different:
- (even) more chavvy
- not as good (but hopefully not bad) academically
- probably uncomfortable around guys.
I’m not sure I would have made it to Imperial. Who knows if I’d even be studying Mathematics?! I definitely wouldn’t have had James (ewww a boy) as a best friend.
My parents only realised you sit the 11+ when you’re 10 about 4 months before the exam (who came up with that?) so I had limited time to prepare for it. Four months sounds like ages but it’s not uncommon for parents to start years in advance. That’s how fierce the competition is. I had 3 papers to sit: verbal reasoning, non verbal reasoning and maths. Out of the three, my preference was for Mathematics. I remember actually enjoying the practice papers. On the flip side I had to work hardest for non verbal reasoning which tests how well you notice patterns and sequences through images eg.
(I’ll post the answer at the bottom)
Preparing for the 11+ was the first time I really committed myself to something. My parents claimed that it didn’t matter what the outcome was as long as I tried my best. Total bull of course. We were all totally invested in it. And attending the opening evening for my secondary school cemented it further. I walked through the doors of the green and blue school building and decided that it was the place for me.
I don’t remember much about the day except that I had orange juice and a Penguin chocolate bar in the break. But I remember being really nervous… right up till the moment I started the paper after which I just focused on the questions. As the exam was multiple choice, I had no idea how well or badly I had performed. Whenever my mum asked I told her that if I passed, it would be a scrape and if I didn’t, it would be by a small margin.
I was quite anxious about receiving the results but not nearly as much as my parents. I was at school when my results letter arrived. My mum doesn’t believe the whole ‘patience is a virtue’ stuff and tore it in. She then promptly drove to my school, stormed in, found me waiting in the queue for lunch, dragged me into an empty music room and swung me around. One of the happiest moments of my life.
Turns out I did pretty good too. In typical fashion I dropped one mark on the Maths paper. When my dad asked me what I wanted as a present, I wracked my brains for the best possible thing I could think of and said… A FISHBURGER FROM McDONALDS.
Not so clever after all.
Over and Out!
(The answer is B)