In the Comprehension section of the paper you will have to answer concisely. That is, you must answer the question fully but not waffle on endlessly.
Obviously the answer to a question worth 4 marks should be longer than one worth 2 marks, but you are not aiming for long answers for the sake of it. Unless you have anything more to say continuing to write is not going to earn you any more marks.
Have a look at this example:
Describe the character of Donald.
Answer 1: Donald is a confident man who is used to getting his own way because he knows what his ability is and he therefore doesn’t worry about giving orders. Some people think he is a bully because of his bullying behaviour towards people he works with and he often makes them upset by giving orders.
Basically there are two points here; that Donald is confident and Donald is a bully.
So how about this?
Answer 2: Donald is a confident man used to giving orders and getting his own way. However, to some his behaviour can come across as bullying.
Writing in a concise way can be practiced. Sometimes this is a case of finding one word instead of using 5. That comes down to vocabulary. Often that means useful phrases we pick up over the years like ‘as a result of this’ or ‘despite this’. Encourage your children to read newspapers, blogs or any form of online journalism really. The National Literacy Trust have an online newspaper for kids. Reading articles develops ways of making a point succinctly and increases interest in the world. Perhaps read together and discuss.
There have been a few 11+ Grammar School tests recently that have asked pupils to give instructions – things like: how do you make a cup of tea? Or how do you eat an ice cream?
The aim is to explain efficiently. It is hard sometimes not to trip over your words when you write – to give enough detail but also not too much. So, practice writing instructions.
Don’t time the worksheets to begin with, but as you get closer to the exam use a stopwatch. Remember to make them check!