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What is the 11+ exam?

The 11-plus exam is a test given to pupils in their last year of primary school (year 6 in England and year 

7 in Northern Ireland) and is used as a means to determine whether that pupil is suited to the academic rigours of a grammar school education. In other words will he/she be offered a place in the grammar school or private school of their parent's choice?

Since the early 1970's many areas of the United Kingdom have not used the selective 11-plus exam and have favoured a comprehensive education system that is non-selective. However, there are still a considerable number of Local Authorities, Foundation Schools, independent schools and private schools that still admit pupils based on selection by the test known as the 11-plus.

What Sort of 11-Plus Test Will My Child Have to Take?

The requirements will vary from Local Authority to Local Authority and from grammar school to grammar school. The eleven plus exam papers will be based on some or all of the following types of questions and it may involve sitting two or even three eleven plus examinations. Sometimes the tests will be of a different kind, e.g. a non-verbal reasoning and a verbal reasoning test and in other cases the tests may be the same e.g. two verbal reasoning tests.

This involves children thinking about words and text and solving problems, sequences, series (in both numbers and letters), synonyms and antonyms, compound words and logical deduction to name but a few question types. There are 21 common question types that have been used in the past and are likely to be used in some format in the future. Verbal Reasoning requires your child to have a good grasp of English grammar and a wide vocabulary. Most schools and Local Authorities administer at least one verbal reasoning test.

This test type covers a wide range of subject areas such as which shape is next in the series, odd one out, reflections and spatial awareness of 2-D and 3-D shapes. Your child may also be required to understand rotation and symmetry.

A common and difficult question type is working out which cube is made from a net – in other words can your child understand the connections between a 2-d shape folded into a 3-d shape.

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Your child needs to be able to quickly spot differences and similarities between shapes. Sometimes a smaller shape will be hidden in a larger shape. Will your child be able to see the hidden shape? Non-Verbal Reasoning also makes demands on the child's mathematical capabilities perhaps being asked to calculate how much of a shape is shaded. Understanding simple concepts such as right and left or up and down will help your child deal with more complex and demanding aspects of Non-Verbal Reasoning.

Many Local Authorities and independent schools use non-verbal reasoning tests. Non-verbal reasoning makes demands on the child's mathematical capabilities, however, it makes less demand on the understanding of written language. 

These are used by some Local Authorities 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 d levels of work to be quite high.

11-plus exam administration

The Local Authorities or the schools themselves usually carry out all eleven plus exam administration. Many schools are now forming consortium's that deal with all administration. Contact the school directly or the Local Authority for exact details as these can vary from area to area and school to school.

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** This information is provided for guidance only and while the content is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate we cannot be held in any way responsible for any errors or omissions that it may contain. Please contact your LA or chosen grammar school for all admission and elevenplus exam queries.**


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