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11 + Preparation

Grammar and private schools are renowned for their superior GCSE and A Level results when compared to other forms of secondary education. Admission to these schools are based on a child’s academic ability and, therefore, based on selection by the test known as the Eleven Plus exam (or 11+).


The term “11 Plus” refers to the fact that the test selects for schools with an entry point for children aged 11 or over. Students will take the exam in the first term of Year 6 in primary school, with the result determining whether a child is admitted to the school. The reason for this selection process is to establish the child’s ability to cope with the demanding academic schedule of the grammar school system.

The exam papers will be based on some or all of the following types of questions and usually involve sitting between 2 and 4 examinations consisting of the following:


Verbal Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning is believed to be an effective way of testing a child’s potential. While some of the question types simply test a child’s logical deduction skills or their ability to decipher codes, much of an 11+ verbal reasoning test will require a good grasp of English grammar and a wide vocabulary. It also requires strong basic maths skills as most verbal reasoning tests also include maths questions. Most schools and LAs administer at least one verbal reasoning test.


Non-verbal Reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning questions are designed to test a child’s ability to work out problems. This involves the child thinking about pictures and diagrams, and solving problems based on these items. It also makes demands on the child’s mathematical capabilities. The questions use abstract figures which require the child to work out similarities in sequences of shapes or codes. Non-verbal reasoning requires good spatial awareness and it is a skill that some children will have naturally. For those who do not it is still possible to learn good technique, which our tutors are able to assist with.


Mathematics and English

11+ maths tests will cover only those topics that have been taught during Key Stage 2. It is therefore essential that your child is secure in their understanding of the maths they are learning at school. If a child has a good basic education in English and possesses an age-appropriate vocabulary, the main challenges in 11+ English are the comprehension exercise and the essay. These are used by some LAs and schools, but not to the same extent as verbal reasoning tests and non-verbal reasoning tests. However, where they are used, you can expect the standards to be quite high.



The number of students applying for grammar schools is increasing every year, making the demand for places available very competitive. We therefore encourage parents to start preparing their child for the exams at least a year in advance. This is so that they are able to meet the ability standards required by improving in any areas they may need help and also, so that they have the exam practice in place to ensure they are fully prepared for the exam.

We start preparing students for 11+ exams from Year 4, however, parents can still introduce their children to 11+ earlier then this as there are many resources available for earlier preparation. Our tutors have many years experience in helping students to prepare for the exams. They are committed to ensuring your child is taught how to tackle the questions by understanding the areas that they are being tested on. We have accumulated a vast bank of resources and papers to assist with the preparation and practice for the exams.

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