What is the 11+ Exam?

The 11+ Exam or 11 plus as sometimes called  is a selective entrance exam taken in September i.e. beginning Year 6. It is used to determine whether ra child is academically fit to attaint selective grammar schools. The contents and format of the exams, the pass marks vary from region to region. It  is important to look into the details for the test in your area and be ready for what will happen on the day of the test.

The test is generally based on some or all of the following  Subjects:

  • English : Test include comprehension, spelling, punctuation or grammar and questions based on skills covered in the Key Stage 2( sometimes KS3 ) English curriculum.
  • Maths : Test is based on Key Stage 2/3 Maths concepts. Problem-solving and multistep word problems .
  • Verbal reasoning : Children will be tested on their ability to solve problems involving words, numbers and letters. Common questions include sequences, relationships, codes and word meanings (synonyms and antonyms). A wide vocabulary is essential for success in verbal reasoning exams
  • Non-verbal reasoning. This area tests children on their ability to see patterns and relationships between 2 and 3D shapes. Common types include sequences and patterns, similarities and differences and code type questions.

There are two main exam boards for the 11+ Exam:

  • GL Assessment (previously known as NFER) administer the 11+ exams for the majority of grammar schools in Berkshire, Bexley, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral, Wolverhampton. The GL 11+ exam cover English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning (spatial awareness). Each school can choose any combination of these to best fit their selection criteria.
  • CEM developed by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University administer the 11+ exams for Cumbria, Dorset, Kent, Lancashire, Medway, Northern Ireland and Wiltshire. The CEM 11+ exam covers verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning. (The verbal reasoning exam includes many of the skills tested in the GL English exam; the numerical reasoning exam includes many of the skills tested in the GL maths exam. Schools in Devon, Essex, Hertfordshire, Trafford and Yorkshire use a mixture of GL and CEM).

In both GL and CEM exams, there is a strong emphasis on core skills in literacy and numeracy  

How do I best support my child in preparing towards the 11+?

The best time to start preparing your child for the 11+ depends entirely on their current attainment levels and experience. Your son or daughter may only need a few weeks or months of preparation as the 11+ exam approaches, with a focus on practising exam papers, developing the exam technique and confidence. Most children benefit from several months of support; often regular weekly tuition, building rigour and polish across core skills, being fully stretched and challenged academically and then shaping their performance towards the demands of the exam. Any support or tuition focused on preparing for the 11+ exam also brings a significant and broader benefit to your child’s, in terms of their general schoolwork and confidence.

Some parents will choose to prepare their child using resources available, such as the series of Bond 11+ books or GL and CEM past papers; other parents will choose to send their child to 11+ group tuition (please see our page on 11plus tuition https://www.1stclass-tuition.co.uk/11-prep/) with classes outside of school hours; other parents may choose to enlist the services of a professional tutor or teacher, who specialises in preparing children for the 11+ exam.

1stClass Tuition (https://www.1stclass-tuition.co.uk/book-a-tutor/) provides specialist 11+ Examination tutors who have considerable experience in preparing children for entry into grammar schools. All of our 11+ tutors are qualified and experienced teachers; a significant number working as teachers within the Primary, Prep and Grammar School Sectors and who have thorough knowledge and experience of the 11+ process.

Most parents request 11+ tuition from Year 4 or 5. Initially, our 11+ tutors will provide an assessment of the child’s current levels before then going on to ensure a rich and rigorous foundation across all core skills before then preparing children towards the demands of the exam itself: building confidence and exam technique. 

What happens if your child does not pass 11+?

If your child doesn’t do as well as you expected, parents can submit an appeal to challenge the decision. You can also consider applying again for a later selection, at 12+ or 13+.

Above all, 11+ tuition should be a very positive and enjoyable experience, for both the child and the teacher. It is about each child achieving their personal best, whatever that may be. With many years of experience in teaching children on a one-to-one and group basis, we know that children often make remarkable progress in only a few weeks.

Tips for success for 11+ exam success

Maths 11+ exam  day tips

  • Always Jott, show workings and make notes! Check back your work at all times
  • Always read questions very carefully! most 11+ questions are two-step or multi-step.
  • Ensure you have firm grasp of place value, times tables and fraction, percentages and decimals

English 11+ exam day tips

  • Always read the text carefully through once before you look at the questions. The answer is always in the text!
  • In comprehension tasks, support your answers with the text, explanation and evidence Endure you’ve found evidence to prove your answer.
  • In proofreading tasks, bear in mind that there are unlikely to be more than 1 or 2 questions where the answer is ‘N’ for no mistake!

Verbal reasoning 11+ exam tips

  • Vocabulary questions can be very tricky. If you don’t know the meaning or the words, look carefully at their roots and any prefixes or suffixes for clues as to their meanings.
  • It is important to read and listen carefully in the practice section, some question types look very similar and it is important you listen to, or read, any instructions really carefully. 

Non-verbal reasoning 11+ exam tips

  • Watch out for similarities and differences – this is key to many NVR questions.
  • Patterns feature heavily in NVR too, look for alternative patterns or parts of patterns which increase or decrease in size or number.
  • Think ‘What has stayed the same, and what is different?’ when you look at patterns and shapes. This can help you spot ‘like’ and ‘unlike’ shapes.

How 1stClass Tuition Can help

  • We run intensive exams tuition classes every Saturdays and weekdays
  • We focus on exam boards for each specific child
  • We teach exam techniques and build your child confidence
  • Visit our site https://www.1stclass-tuition.co.uk/11-prep/or contact us:

E: admin@1stclass-tuition.co.uk
P: 0845 548 0140 / 07737413749 / 07943925691