11+ Advice and Guidance for Parents - What is the 11 plus?

The 11 plus is a set of entrance exams taken by children at the beginning of Year 6 when applying to selective grammar or independent schools.

The ‘11’ refers to the age children reach when entering secondary education. Therefore, most children are 10 years old and starting their final year of primary school when it comes to sitting the exam.

The 11plus exams are designed to test a child’s academic ability and determine which students will get a place at their desired selective school. As there are more applicants than selective school spaces available, the entrance process is competitive. Therefore, many parents opt training and mock tests to their children and help smooth their transition into secondary education.

What is included in the 11plus exam?

The 11plus entrance exams may include sections in Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR). Many independent school entrance exams will also include a creative writing task.

Although the high entry standard of the 11+ exam remains consistent across the country, the approach can differ. However, many schools currently test Maths, Verbal Skills (which includes aspects of English and Verbal Reasoning) and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Before embarking on your 11plus journey, we recommend consulting your local consortium of grammar schools, local education authority website or contacting the school directly to find out the specific subjects required for your local grammar school.

It is also important to check if the selective school you are interested in has a catchment area, and if so, how this affects the admissions process.

What is CEM and GL?

The two biggest exam boards across the UK that produce the 11+ tests are CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) and GL (Granada Learning).

When you research the specific skills required, as mentioned above, it is important to find out which exam board your child will be sitting, in order prepare your child most effectively.

How does this affect the way I prepare my child?

Whether your child is sitting the CEM or GL Assessment format 11+ entrance exams, preparation is key to building the necessary skills and confidence. Our 11+ Mock tests are suitable for all types of 11+ entrance exams and are completed by children across the country, to help them prepare. Our 11+ Mock tests helps you to monitor your child’s progress and tackle their specific weaker areas head on!

Is the 11plus right for my child?

Preparing for the 11plus entrance exam is a unique journey, with each child progressing at different speeds with individual goals. However, before starting out, it is important to manage expectations regarding whether or not the 11plus route is right for your child.

They are keen to learn – The grammar school environment is very fast paced and focuses on academic aspiration. Therefore, a child that is enthusiastic about learning and improving will see the 11+ process as a series of new challenges that they are willing to take on. Enthusiasm is perhaps one of the most important 11plus traits and a mindset that thrives on challenge is essential for this process.

They are coping well at school – As the 11plus is designed to measure a child’s potential at a level that is usually one (or more) academic years above their own, it is important that your child is coping well at school before starting your 11+ journey. Recommendations off teachers, consistent grades and a familiarisation with working to a certain pace can be a great indication that your child is ready for the 11+.

They enjoy extra-curricular activities – Many selective schools encourage children to take on extra-curricular activities – for example, a school may have their own specialism with a wide range of sporting, musical, language or crafts on offer. If this sounds like something your child will enjoy, then this may be another indication that the 11plus route is right for them.

If you are unsure about whether your child could succeed in the 11 plus, it's a great idea to get an assessment from Educare11plus. For example, we offer 11 plus mock exams throughout the year to reflect each region, ensuring we give you the most reliable and accurate feedback possible, which can be used to gauge a child's ability and identify any particular strengths and weaknesses in their knowledge.

From the outset, it is important to view the 11+ as a process of real value which will ultimately improve core skills in Maths and English, whilst providing great stead for secondary education.

You will find that entering the process with the overarching outlook of time well-invested, that you will immediately feel less pressure and thus your child will too.

Whichever stage your child is at, the most important thing to remember is that Educare11plus offer support to produce the best 11 plus study results for your child!

Please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 07853 349555 with any further questions. We are always happy to help!