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The 11 Plus Exam: Everything You Need To Know

The 11 Plus Exam

When your child reaches a certain age, you have to think about where they will go for secondary education.

In the UK, we have a host of schooling options available. Most children will go to public schools, but there are also many private or grammar schools available. If you’re considering one of the latter two options, then you’ll encounter the 11+ examination. Naturally, if you never went to grammar or private school, and you don’t have any children that have been, you might not know anything about this exam. So, we’ll do our best to explain everything you need to know:

The 11+ Explained

The 11+ exam is a specific examination that children take if they wish to enter certain grammar schools or private schools in the UK. It’s used as a way of pinpointing the most academic children applying for spots at these schools. If your child does well in the exam, there’s a higher chance of them being accepted. 

When Is The 11+ Taken?

It can depend on the school you want to send your child to. Some schools make them take the exam in Year 6, while others ask them to take it in Year 5. Of course, this means you need to be looking at schools towards the beginning of Year 5, just in case they want an 11+ to be sat in this year. 

What Is Tested?

The exam can vary depending on which examination board has created it. There are currently two that provide this exam: GL and CEM. Both of them structure the exam differently, but they each include these four subjects:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Verbal reasoning – problem-solving based on words and text
  • Non-verbal reasoning – problem-solving using shapes and patterns

With GL exams, there are separate papers for each of these subjects. In CEM, they typically only have two papers – one for maths and NVR, one for English and VR. The questions each examining body uses can also differ based on whichever ones they have in circulation. CEM also typically has multiple-choice questions, while GL doesn’t. 

How Do You Prepare For The 11+?

Unless your child goes to a primary school that specifically feeds into a grammar school, it’s unlikely to provide support for the 11+ exam. Instead, you will have to prepare them by either going online and finding past examination papers or hiring a tutor. It’s very easy to go online and look for tutors near me to find an 11+ exam tutor for your child. This is the best approach as they get support from someone who knows the examination a lot better than you do. Therefore, they can find past papers for your child, create their own mock questions and ensure they’re prepared as well as possible for the exam. 

Once the test is complete, your child will get their results in October, after which you can apply for secondary schools. Remember, this exam is only needed if they want to go to specific grammar or private schools.

On that note, this is everything you need to know about the 11+ exam for your kids. Hopefully, you’re in a much better position to know how to prepare them or if this exam is even necessary for your child. 

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