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Advice on 11plus preparation and cramming

How long do you need to prepare for the 11plus exam or will cramming work?

Cramming for the 11plus exam
Can you cram for the 11plus exam?

Stephen McConkey, an experienced headmaster and 11-plus author, emphasises the importance of a steady approach to 11plus preparation rather than cramming. Here he gives an overview of the situation and shares his thoughts and ideas and finally offers his top 11plus tips for parents looking to prepare their children for this important exam.


The demand for school places in the UK is indeed high, leading to increased competition among parents and students. Dissatisfaction with the mainstream school system has prompted more families to consider alternative options, such as independent schools, which often require entrance exams like the 11-plus.


As a result of this high demand, some schools have multiple stages of assessment to determine admission. This may include more than one exam or even interviews as part of the selection process. With many applicants vying for limited spots, schools must employ rigorous methods to identify the most suitable candidates.


The rise in the number of pupils attending independent schools, as reported by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) census in 2022, further underscores the competitive landscape in education. This increase indicates a growing preference for independent education among families, contributing to the overall demand for school places.


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