June 5

What is the 11 Plus?


The 11 Plus exams are used by grammar schools and selective independent secondary schools to admit students based on academic abilities and potential. Several examination boards administer the tests; the most widely used bodies are CEM and GL. Other than these, individual schools may opt to conduct their own assessments or form an association of schools like the CSSE, based in Essex. If you want your child to sit the 11 plus test, it’s best to shortlist schools of your choice and then find the exam boards they use. This will help your child prepare well.

When to start 11 plus preparation?

11 plus exams are taken in the last year of your child’s primary education (usually in September of year 6). The assessments have been designed to assess Key Stage 2 (KS2) knowledge – KS2 extends from year 3 to year 6). You should bear in mind, though, at the point of taking the exam (beginning of Y6), your child would not have covered the entire KS2 syllabus. So it’s essential to make adequate preparation to fill the void. Besides, we have seen some maths questions from KS3 (secondary) level crop up in past papers. And even the English papers have used texts from GCSE papers and old classic novels.

With that being said, It’s hard to recommend a one size fits all answer to the above question. But we have personally known students who have successfully prepared from year 4. However, most of our students start in year 5 – giving them plenty of time to consume their schoolwork in addition to the extra tuition.  

I would recommend speaking to a tutor who is experienced with the 11 Plus process. They should be able to give you a better after considering your child’s ability and aptitude for learning. If you’d like to speak with one of our team, we’d be glad to help.

What subjects are tested in the 11 Plus?

Four subjects are tested: English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. This may vary from each test body or school. For example, CSSE does not have an explicit section for non-verbal reasoning while others do. Please check with the relevant organisations.

As mentioned earlier, the 11 plus exams are testing children’s KS2 knowledge; however, It’s essential to learn topics from KS3 (year 7 and 8).

How hard are the 11 Plus exams? How hard is it to get into a grammar school?

Exams have been made to select students who show exceptional academic ability and potential. So, for a year 5 student, the tests can be very challenging. After all, they’re being assessed on work they haven’t yet covered in school.

In addition to the exam itself, limited spaces and a high number of applicants make the process even more challenging.

With this in mind, it makes sense to choose the right type of tuition and preparation to maximise your child’s success.

If you’d like more information, we’d love to hear from you.


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