Preparation for the CEM exam is certainly possible, despite the claims that this is the ‘unpreparable exam’. The test has no special or unique elements. After all, there are a limited number of activities an eleven year old can be assessed on in an exam context. What makes this test unusual is its focus on testing a child’s knowledge and ability in English. This intense concentration on English skills is the main reason this exam is more difficult to prepare your child for.
As the exam focuses heavily on a child’s English skills it is important to develop your child’s spelling and vocabulary, comprehension, grammar and syntax skills. English is best learnt in a ‘drip-feed’ way over an extensive period of time. Intensive work over a short period of time yields minimal benefits.
AE Tuition advises putting your child on a ‘diet’ of daily English exercises from as early as year 3. AE Publications’ foundation series of Spelling and Vocabulary Workbooks 1-3 is ideal for this. The books have exercises to help the child to learn both the dictionary meaning of a word and its use in context. There are a further 5 books at intermediate stage and 4 books for advanced stage. If a child completes the whole series of 12 Spelling and Vocabulary books over a three year period from years 3-5, they would have been exposed to over 5,000 words and have developed an extensive vocabulary. AEP is also publishing three additional books on Semantics in September 2014. These books cover synonyms, antonyms and homonyms, which are also essential learning for the CEM 11+ exam.