We have compiled some of the commonly asked questions about the 11 Plus exam in this very useful guide for parents who are seeking clarification.
The 11 Plus Exam is a standardised test that measures your child’s knowledge and skills, and is normally required towards the end of their primary education. It is a selection process setup by grammar schools and some private schools. Although it is not mandatory for all students to take the exam, parents who are interested in enrolling their kids to grammar schools are recommended to gather as much information as they can regarding the exam to better prepare their kids.
In primary schools in England, the 11+ is a test taken by some Year 6 pupils. Also known as the “Transfer Test”, it’s a selective entrance examination to find out who are academically-ready to attend grammar school for Year 7 and up.
Your child need to take 11 Plus exam if he or she is already towards the end of Year 5 or starting Year 6 of primary school and is seeking entrance to attend to some of the selective private schools.
No, it’s not. It’s up to you if you decide that your child has to attend grammar school.
It’s not compulsory for them to take it. But if your child attends a local authority primary school in a county that still includes grammar schools, then he/she is automatically listed for the 11+.
The content of the exam differs among various areas in England, but usually, the test focuses on an integration of these subjects.
The 11 plus exam questions generally fall in the following categories.
It depends on what LEA (Local Educational Authority) your child takes the test in and also differs from year to year. You’ll also have to set the standardized weighting and pass mark for your own region, but as an example, in Bucks, the pass mark has been 121 in the previous years.
The average score is 100.
The highest score was 140 or 141.
10 years old
11+ examination papers are timed and they usually last between 45-60 minutes.
There’s no synchronicity on the start date of the 11+ examinations. Nevertheless, state grammar schools should provide preliminary results prior to the closing date for all secondary school applications in October. Therefore, in most cases, your child need to sign up by July of Year 5, and examinations usually happens in September of Year 6.
You can wait till Year 4 or so until you get a good feel of your child’s ability for 11+. By then, the system will have been changed, but most likely, a promising 11+ candidate would be a year or so advanced of the average attainment levels for their year.
Eleven plus exams are quite competitive and although based on the KS2 foundation, it gets very challenging with verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. Without regular practice it is very difficult to get through the elevenplus exams with good score.
If you defer the 11 plus preparation to the last minute then it can quickly get very stressful for the child and the parents.
Starting the 11+ exams preparation early and using the right preparation techniques is the key to stress free journey during the process.
A strong foundation and plenty of time on practice papers can help prepare your child for the 11+ exams.
For the 11 plus examination that take place during the month of September, the results are declared within a month or so. The exact date for the results can be obtained from the school or the eleven plus examination authority.
A majority of the independent schools conduction 11+ exams during the month of January and pre-tests in the month of November. The 11 plus results for the January exams are declared by February.
If you have specific questions about your schools or region then write to us and we can find the details for you.
In England, partially selective schools are those state-funded secondary schools which select a fraction of their intake by skill or aptitude, acceptable as an arrangement continuation which occurred before 1997.
There are 164 continuing grammar schools in many parts of England, and 69 in Northern Ireland. In some counties wherein remainders of the Tripartite System still lives, the 11+ continues to exist.
The 11 plus test was officially stopped in Northern Ireland in 2008.
In the UK, it is a state secondary school in which students are accepted based on their abilities.
Some English counties have maintained mostly selective schools systems and that includes Lincolnshire, Kent, Buckinghamshire and Medway.
There are 163 grammar schools in UK.
What’s ‘special’ about grammar schools is that they are state secondary schools that choose their students through an exam taken by kids at age 11, hence, being named as the "11-plus".
Because these are state-funded, grammar schools do not charge students, although there are a few grammar schools which have boarding facilities. So in that case, these schools would charge payments not for tuition but for boarding fees.
Grammar schools in UK registers the same ages of students just like other state secondary schools in the country. This means that pupils normally attend grammar schools during their 7th Year, at age 11, and when they turn 17 or 18, they leave---usually that’s at the end of their Year 13.
A selective school is one wherein it accepts pupils based on some kind of academic selection standards.
Grammar schools are controversial because critics claim that this system is divisive-- it could cause in a gap between learners coming from more affluent families destined for universities and better jobs; and learners from middle class or working-class families may be destined for less profitable roles.
Particularly in the UK, a comprehensive school is a kind of school for secondary aged pupils, which does not choose its students on the basis of academic aptitude or abilities.
In the UK, independent schools are also known as private schools. These are fee-levying schools, administered by a board of governors (elected)
This is a type of school in UK, for students who didn’t pass the 11+ exam. This focuses on practical instead of academic subjects.
Grammar school was created for those learners who are academically gifted and would proceed to universities and consequently, better jobs. Comprehensive schools however, admit children of all capacities and base their criteria on a various factors such as their location from school, etc.
Open days are a good way for parents and children in order to evaluate the school. If you can’t be present on these chosen days, most schools invite parents with their kids by way of appointment during the school term.
Grammar schools have always been in competition with Independent schools. But according to a study by Durham University that examined over half a million pupil records, grammar schools are no worse or better than non-selective state schools when it comes to attainment.
Loreto Grammar School
St. Olave’s and St. Saviour’s Grammar School
Wallington County Grammar School
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys
Nonsuch High School for Girls
Queen Elizabeth’s School
Upton Court Grammar School
The Tiffin Girls’ School
St. Paul’s Girls’ School
Godolphin & Latymer School
St. Mary’s School- Ascot
Guildford High School for Girls
North London Collegiate School
King’s College School- Wimbledon
St. Paul’s School
City of London School for Girls
Henrietta Barnett School
Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School for Boys
St. Michael’s Catholic School
Beths Grammar School
Bexley Grammar School
Chislehurst and Sidcup school
Townley Grammar School
Newstead Wood School
St. Olave’s & St. Saviour’s Grammar School
The Latymer School
North London Collegiate School
St Paul’s School
Wycombe Abbey School
City of London School for Girls
Guildford High School for Girls
Royal Grammar School
King’s College School
City of London School
The last grammar school in Wales was in Dyfed that closed in 1988. Even though supporters claimed that grammar schools enhance social mobility by facilitating the smartest and most skillful kids reach their fullest abilities, critics declared that these can be really detrimental to those that don’t make pass the mark or are slower developers than others within the same age bracket.
Before the mid-1960s, students transferred from primary school to either a Secondary, Junior or Senior on the basis of the or 'Quali' (Qualification Exam) (the Scottish equivalent of the '11-plus').
The education system in Northern Ireland (NI) covers a lot of differences as opposed to the one in Wales and England. For instance, there are no SATs and religion still has a huge role.
The GL Assessment is divided into 4 subjects; Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. The exam comes with a separate answer book where questions are typically answered by filling in the blank space provided or by multiple choice. Some would say that the GL Assessment is easier than the CEM test because its queries usually come from a question bank. That said, test-takers can prepare for the exam by acquainting themselves with the different types of questions and by practicing regularly.
Unlike the GL Assessment, CEM tests are not split by subject and they are usually divided into several sections instead. A typical exam would have 2 paper tests - one for English and Verbal Reasoning, and the other for Maths and Non-Verbal Reasoning. However, the format tends to change every year so expect the unexpected when it comes to the CEM test. But just like the GL Assessment, the CEM test comes with a separate answer book where the questions are typically answered by multiple choice or by filling in the blank space available. It’s important to note that the flow of the CEM test is random, which is why it is considered to be the tougher test out of the two 11 plus exams. It may start out with simple math equations before moving on to non-verbal questions. And then it may end with worded problems before wrapping up the whole test. The weight of each subject is unknown so test-takers may need more preparation for the CEM test.
The CSSE Essex 11+ Test is designed for children who are looking to apply for a place at one of the ten Grammar schools that are part of the consortium of selective schools in Essex.
The Kent Test is an examination used to assess whether Year 7 grammar school entry is a suitable option for your child. It is used by most, but not all, of the 35 wholly selective and 4 partially selective grammar schools in the region.
Both exams cover Maths, English, Non-Verbal Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.
Format of the exam papers
The GL Assessment comes with a separate answer book where questions are typically answered by filling in the blank space provided or by multiple choice.
Some would say that the GL Exam is easier than the CEM test because its queries usually come from a question bank. That said, test-takers can prepare for the exam by acquainting themselves with the different types of questions and by practicing regularly. Meanwhile, CEM tests are not split by subject and they are usually divided into several sections instead. A typical exam would have 2 paper tests - one for English and Verbal Reasoning, and the other for Maths and Non-Verbal Reasoning. However, the format tends to change every year so expect the unexpected when it comes to the CEM test.
But just like the GL Assessment, the CEM test comes with a separate answer book where the questions are typically answered by multiple choice or by filling in the blank space available.
It’s important to note that the flow of the CEM test is random, which is why it is considered to be the tougher test out of the two 11 plus exams. It may start out with simple math equations before moving on to non-verbal questions. And then it may end with worded problems before wrapping up the whole test. The weight of each subject is unknown so test-takers may need more preparation for the CEM test.
The GL exam usually takes 45 minutes to finish but this can vary depending on the school or your location. The CEM, on the other hand, does not follow a set format as it tends to change annually. That said, no one can tell exactly how long the exam timing is. It is said that the average exam time is between 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Knowledge and Skills Those who are taking the 11 plus exam are expected to have proficiency in maths, english, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. In some cases, test-takers may also be required to be equipped with creativing writing skills and music as well.
Your child’s 11 Plus Exam depends on their school and the region where you reside. It is important to remember that schools may also choose to change the examiner. This essentially means that although schools in your region may have a standard, your child’s school may choose to do their exams differently. To better prepare for the exams, it is crucial to do your research. Be updated with not just the exam board, but also the subject, format, and length of the exam. Additionally, some schools may have other tests such as creative writing that are not usually included.
This depends on your child’s school and the type of exam your child will take. The GL Assessment usually takes just 45 minutes of the test-takers’ time, but the CEM Test may require your child to sit more than one exam. In the past, the CEM Test had given out 4 different papers, each covering one subject. The test takers were then given short breaks in between, taking up more time than the usual 45-minute test. But again, the format of the CEM Test is highly unpredictable so your child may or may not be required to sit more than one exam.
There is no right or wrong time to start 11 Plus Tutoring. The perfect time to start would totally depend on your child’s skills, schedule, and personality. On average, kids start their 11 Plus tutoring at around Year 4. This would give them ample time to prepare for the exam without getting burned out from studying. Meanwhile, some parents may feel that Year 3 is the best time to start. This may be true if your child needs more time to study and practice what they’ve learned. However, one of the major drawbacks of starting too early is the stress that your child might feel. You’d want to make the learning process fun and enjoyable for them instead of making them feel pressured to succeed in the exam. The fear of failure tends to get the best of even the brightest kids. On the other hand, starting at Year 5 may also be suitable for your child. But just remember that it may be more difficult to book a tutor at this time. Most tutors would prefer to work with their students earlier, giving them more opportunity to assess their skills, learn new concepts, and to work on their weaknesses.
Some kids start their 11 Plus tutoring at Year 3 and this is perhaps the earliest time when you can enroll your kids to a tutor. Most children begin their tutoring in Year 4 and this is considered to be the best time to start according to a majority of parents.
There are 5 factors that could help you DIY your child’s 11 plus exam preparation: participation, feedback, planning, consistency, and accountability. As you can already expect, having enough time and being available for your child’s study time is crucial. With the help of study resources and apps like Kidsmart, you don’t need to be physically present with your child during their hours of study. But you need to put in a bit of time for planning and giving feedback. Planning entails choosing and purchasing the right study resources and scheduling study-related activities for the week. Following up with your child’s progress and giving feedback is equally important as it helps your child get back on track when they feel unmotivated. Giving praise when they’ve earned it is also a great way to show support. To make 11 plus at home successfully, you and your child need to be held accountable for your respective tasks.
Research about the 11+ in your area
The first thing you need to do to prepare your child for the 11 plus exams is to do some research and find out about the 11 plus exam in your area. The exam varies from region to region or school to school. There may be some important things to take note of that may not be part of the usual exam. Creative writing, for example, is not typically part of the 11+ but it may appear on the test for some institutions.
Decide when to start preparing your child for the 11+
Preparation is everything when it comes to the 11+ exams. You’d want your child to have ample time to study and to be familiar with the exam. Most kids start their 11+ preparation at Year 4 but the best time to begin depends on your child’s preferences. Some may perform better by starting earlier, while others feel stressed and burned out when there’s too much studying.
Create a preparation plan for your child
The next step is to create a study plan that matches the 11+ exam requirements in your area. Assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses and figure out a plan that can help them develop their knowledge and skills. There are plenty of pre-planned resources on the internet but it may be more effective to create a custom plan for your child’s progress.
Contrary to popular belief, tutoring is not mandatory. However, your child may benefit a lot from 11 plus tuition, especially if you do not have enough time to assist your kids with their studies. At the end of the day, it all depends on what works best for your child.
KidSmart app helps with strengthening the foundation, practice tests and dedicated tutor suport.
Find the right practice materials for your child
Not all practice materials are created with the same quality. You’d want to have resources that are engaging and fun but also challenging and informative. Choosing the right study materials for your child is difficult. But the sooner you find what keeps them motivated, the faster and easier it is for them to keep learning.
For most grammar schools, the 11+ exams take place within the first two weeks of September, but this could vary according to your location. If your child attends a local authority primary school, then the exam will be taken in one of their classrooms. But if your child goes to a different type of school, then they will be invited to take it at a local grammar school.
Exam results are typically released during mid-October but again, the exact date depends upon your location. They are sent by post or by email, and they could also be posted online as well for you to view. Test results are usually sent in by this time so that parents can proceed to submit secondary school applications by the end of the month.
Information about the 11 plus is limited since most schools prefer not to divulge the contents of their exams. Having said that, it may be tough to dig out the info you need for your child to prepare. While there may be plenty of websites online that offer advice and study tips, the exact details of the exams are never included. Also, it is important to note that information varies depending on your location and the school. To find out more about the 11+ exam, try asking your local authority or the school you are applying to.
The deadline for registration depends on where you are in the country. Registration typically begins during the month of May and it ends in October. However, some schools may also set their deadlines as early as July so it’s best to stay updated.
The 11+ exam is not mandatory. If your child attends a local authority primary school in an area that still has grammar schools, then your child will be automatically registered for the exam. However, you may always choose to opt out of the 11 plus. Only those who are interested in enrolling to a grammar school are required to take the exam.
The 11 plus exam typically covers 4 disciplines: Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. All questions are typically answered by multiple choice except for the English exam which may also be a written piece of work. For some schools, they may also require a Music Aptitude Test (MAT)
The verbal reasoning portion of the exam involves solving word and text problems. This test is an assessment of your child’s understanding of English grammar and vocabulary. What is a good verbal reasoning score? It is difficult to determine a good verbal reasoning score because the 11 plus exam is standardised using a complex statistical process. This process takes into account the difficulty of the exam and the age of your child. However, a child must approximately score between 80-85% for the whole exam in order to pass.
The non-verbal reasoning portion, on the other hand, contains problems that deal with pictures and diagrams. This exam may also include a few Maths questions.
The passing score of the 11 plus exam depends on the standards of the Local Educational Authority (LEA) your child took the test in. Each region has its own minimum mark for entry into a grammar school. Schools within the same LEA may also have varying minimum pass marks. Moreover, the 11 plus exam is standardised using a complex statistical process. Your child’s score will be adjusted to reflect their age and the difficulty level of the exam. This is to ensure fairness among all test-takers.
A quick search online should give you a list of the nearest grammar school in your area. You may also visit the National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA) website to find a school.
We don’t like to think about it but there’s a possibility that your child might not make it into their first choice of school. But all hope is not lost as you can always make an appeal for your child to be reconsidered. A grammar school appeal is a collection of documents that are submitted to the school’s admission board. It may include letters of recommendations from your child’s previous teachers, awards, and recognition. You may also provide documents that prove how your child may be placed at harm if they are not admitted to the school. Examples of such documents includes travel timetables or your child’s health records.
After submitting your appeal to the school, you will be invited to a hearing in front of a panel. Although attendance is not obligated, participating in the hearing is another opportunity to explain your case. How to cope with the pressure of 11 plus? To avoid the stress of the 11 plus exams, preparation and organization is key. Help your child by planning ahead and by gathering all the necessary information about the exam beforehand. It is also important to give emotional support by reassuring them of their future. Let them know that no matter what happens, you are proud of them and will continue to cheer for them throughout their journey. Meanwhile, it is also important to manage your stress. By having a cool and calm demeanor, you are not only giving your child’s self-confidence a boost but you are also setting a good example for your child on how to manage stress.
Different people will tell you different things. Parents are often left feeling pressured after discussing and comparing their 11 plus plans with their fellow parents. But remember, what may work for their child may not work for yours and vice versa. It’s good to seek advice from those around you but the best place to start is to simply ask your child. After gathering all the information you need about the exam, sit down with your child and have a little chat about the exam. Find out what their strengths and weaknesses are and decide the best 11 plus preparation method for them. 11+ Preparation Apps One of the most practical ways to prepare your child for the 11 Plus Exam is by utilizing an 11+ Preparation App. Apps like Kidsmart are designed to help your child practice the necessary skills for them to pass the exam. Choose an app that isn’t just informative, but also one that is engaging, easy to use, and rewarding.
There are plenty of study material available online. In fact, Kidsmart offers a FREE download for a collection of 100+ practice papers for you to use with your child.
If you are interested in downloading our FREE collection of 100+ practice papers for the 11 Plus Exam, simply head over to this page and click the download button.
You can search online for revision sheets, download and print the sheets. There is a lot of free material online.
If you already have a KidSmart subscription then revision worksheets are already included with your subscription.
A collection of 100+ 11 plus exam papers for practicing every day. The pack includes practice papers from grammar and independent schools. Whether you are preparing for CEM, GL, CSSE or ISEB you will find sample papers in this pack.
11 plus mock test is a great way of preparing your child for the real exam. There are multiple ways you can help your child experience the 11 plus mock tests and it comes with some cost as well.
Some mock test providers offer class room style mock exams which are normally quite expensive but letting your child sit a couple of these tests can help them get a feel of how a real test may feel like.
Other providers can send mock tests by post or email and these are relatively cheaper than the class room style options.
For questions and concerns regarding the 11 Plus Exam, please feel free to send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Alternatively, you can also check the eleven plus forum where you may find someone to help to get answers to some specific questions.