11 Plus Exams


What is the 11+?

● The 11+ is a selective entrance examination for secondary school, used by both state funded grammar schools and many private schools to identify the most academically able students.
● The exam is taken towards the end of Year 5 or beginning of Year 6
● The exam boards are CEM and GL

CEM = Berkshire, Bexley, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral and Wolverhampton.

GL = Dorset, Kent, Lancashire & Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Medway, N. Ireland, Wiltshire

CEM & GL = Devon, Essex, Hertfordshire, Trafford, Yorkshire

The 11+ is not a compulsory test. If your child goes to a local authority primary school in a county or metropolitan borough that still has grammar schools, they’ll be automatically registered for the 11+. But it’s not compulsory for them to sit it. It’s up to you to decide if you want to apply to a grammar school for them and if you feel this would suit them academically.

Differences between CEM and GL exams are as follows:

GL covers English, maths, VR and NVR. Schools can pick to administer all subjects, or select those that best meet their requirements. The exams are being split by subjects. Skills being tested = Vocab, Logic, Maths, Spelling.

CEM covers VR, NVR and numerical reasoning( ← main maths skills are being assessed). CEM papers do not separate by subject. There is 1 paper for English and VR and 1 paper for maths and NVR. There is no published syllabus for the CEM exams. Skills being tested = English, Comprehension, Vocabulary, Spelling and Maths.

Duration for each paper (GL and CEM) is 45 mins.

What happens after the exam?

You will usually receive your child’s 11+ results in October in the form of a ‘standardised score’. This is thought to be the fairest way of presenting the results as it takes into account the fact that some children could be almost a year younger than others when they take the test. For example, a child born on August 31st one year could be at a disadvantage to a child born on September 1st the year before. So if these two children get the same ‘raw score’ in their tests, the final score of the youngest child will be higher to make up for their age.

Once you get the results, you’ll usually have until the end of October to apply for secondary school places.
Most secondary school places are allocated in the beginning of March, usually on 1 March or the first working day afterwards.
Pass Mark Competition for the Slough schools is fierce, with all four schools heavily over-subscribed. The tests aim to identify the top 30 per cent of pupils based on their performance in the exam – a score of 111 or greater means that your child falls within this range and is considered suitable for grammar school education. The qualifying standard for the three Reading schools varies; you can find more information about admissions on each of the school’s websites. In both cases, if there are more pupils meeting the qualifying standard than there are places, the schools will apply their own admissions criteria.

Schools in Berkshire

● Reading Girls school (GL)
● Kendrick School (CEM- Girls Grammar school)
● Langley Grammar School (CEM)
● Upton Court Grammar school (CEM)
● St. Bernards Catholic Grammar School (CEM)
● Reading boys grammar (CEM)
● Herchel (CEM)

The Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools, Kendrick School and Reading School all use the same examination, with children sitting the test on the same day. The test aims to assess the children’s ability in verbal reasoning, numerical and non-verbal reasoning. The examination consists of two separate multiple-choice papers, each lasting about 45 to 50 minutes. Both papers will cover all three areas and the children have to write their answers on a separate answer sheet. Reading Girls’ School use a different test paper but also assesses children’s skills in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and mathematics, all of which are multiple-choice.

Schools in Buckinghamshire

● Aylesbury Grammar (Boys) GL
● Aylesbury Grammar (Girls) GL
● Beaconsfield High school (Girls)GL
● Burnham Grammar school (co-educational) GL
● Chesham Grammar school (co-educational) GL
● Dr Challoner’s Grammar school (boys) GL
● Dr Challoner’s Grammar school (girls) GL
● John Hampden Grammar school (boys) GL
● Royal Grammar school (boys) GL
● Royal Latin Grammar school (co-educational) GL
● Sir Henry Floyd Grammar (co-educational) GL
● Sir William Borlase Grammar (co-educational) GL
● Wycombe High School (girls) GL