Ten things you need to know about the Bucks CEM 11+

As we wrote in our previous blog about it’s challenges, navigating the finer details of the 11+ exam and indeed how you can best prepare your child for it can be a tricky business. ISEB, GL, CEM are all need-to-know terms and that fact that a number of top U.K. day and boarding schools often set their own highly competitive papers can make the whole subject feel like a wealth of complexity.

Kirsten Wainwright, Assistant Centre Director at BYT High Wycombe, took a little time out to compile our list below on the need-to-know when it comes specifically to the Bucks CEM 11+. Keep an eye on our blog too as we’ll be covering the ISEB, GL and more when it comes to the 11+ in the coming days.

Ten things you need to know about the Bucks CEM 11+

  1. Buckinghamshire is one of the only counties in the country in which all children take the 11+, unless they opt out. It has 13 selective grammar schools (4 boys, 4 girls and 5 mixed gender).

  2. Since 2014 the test has been comprised of two multiple choice based tests set by CEM (Centre for Education and Monitoring, based at the University of Durham)

  3. Both tests are taken on the same day and include questions on Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning, English comprehension and Mathematical problem solving.

  4. The tests are machine marked and 50% of the standardised score is for Verbal Reasoning, 30% is for Mathematical Reasoning and 20% for Non-Verbal Reasoning.

  5. Unlike many other selective counties, Buckinghamshire only requires children to reach the qualifying mark (121), this will allow them to be considered for their school of choice and their actual score does not effect their placement.

  6. CEM cite that the papers are ‘tutor-proof’ because they do not release any practice materials or mock exams. They simply supply the list of topics mentioned previously.

  7. However two days before the tests Buckinghamshire children sit two preparation papers each lasting about 25–30 minutes, containing test items that mirror what they will find in the full tests. The preparation papers will not be marked or taken away from the school and will be destroyed after completion.

  8. Although the papers are not released by CEM, tuition is still extremely popular prior to children sitting their exams. The topics are well known by experienced tuition centres and similar preparation materials are available.

  9. If your child does score below the 121 pass mark you are entitled to submit a review.

  10. As the topics contained within the Bucks CEM 11+ can often be different or more advanced than those the children may have already experienced in school, a little regular tuition can be extremely beneficial. Do feel free to drop into our High Wycombe Tuition Centre and meet Kirsten, Max, Geordie and the rest of the team to find out how we can help.