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  • Writer's pictureLearning Together

Could you pass the 11-plus?

Well why not have a short try and experience the stress and pressure that your child will face in what is often called a high stakes 11+ exam. Many years ago, about 40 years now, the government began abolishing state sponsored elevenplus exams which selected children for grammar.

Public opinion is still very divided on this emotional 11+ exam. Parents and teachers still have mixed and often opposing opinions. Some say it improves social mobility while others say it only confirms the social split in our country.  

There are adults who will praise the 11+ exam explaining just how good it was for them and others who suggest that they were devastated when they failed. 

But how difficult was it? 

I found a rather dated but still very relevant onlineelevenplus exam on the BBC web site. It is only a test of 15 questions in 10 minutes as compared to what a child might face – upto 100 questions in 60 minutes. 

At one time the eleven plus exam was taken by almost every child in the UK but now the numbers are considerably fewer with many LEAs not setting this high stakes 11plus examination

The exam, which most children were required to take in their final year of primary school, decided what sort of school a child’s parents could select for him or her. Those who passed could elect to go to grammar schools, while those who failed didn't have this same choice.

In England, 164 grammar schools remain, and pupils wishing to attend must still pass an 11 plusexam and competition for these places is fierce, selective schools report that they might have as many as 10 applicants for each place available. 

With competition for places so high parents will spend thousands of pounds on private tuition to help their children prepare for this demanding eleven plus exam. ( We are talking about state grammars here and the demand and competition for entrance to Private school is every bit as high.) 

The elevenplus exam in Northern Ireland still exists and it is know as the Transfer Test. Here the tests are set by two bodies, AQE (Association of Quality Education) and PPTC (Post Primary Transfer Consortium). Parents choose whether their child sits these tests. 

You probably think that you are smarter than your 10 or 11 year old child so without paying a penny to a private teacher or without any preparation, you can have a go at the BBC’s short onlineeleven plus exams.

You will have 10 minutes to answer 15 questions. Click the "start" button and begin. 

Best of luck!


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