11+ Exams

In the UK, there are different options for schools available to pupils starting their secondary school education: the state schools and the independent schools. Within the state school system, there may be an option of going to a grammar school which is a selective state school.

Grammar schools are state secondary schools. They are the only state schools in England that are allowed by law to select their pupils on the grounds of high academic ability and hence being tested through a selective entrance test. 

What is an eleven plus exam?

The eleven plus exam is the entrance test used to decide which children are eligible to gain a place in a grammar school. It is taken in September at the beginning of a child’s year six in Slough, Reading and Buckinghamshire. The results are released in October of the same year. After the parents/guardians receive the result, they fill out the Common Application Form (CAF) for applying for a place in a secondary school. 

As there are only a limited number of grammar schools in selected counties within the UK, and a limited number of places offered in these grammar schools, the competition for these places is severe. In some grammar schools, the only way of securing a place is through achieving a high score in the eleven plus examination because sometimes the designated pass mark may not be enough to secure a place in that grammar school. The pass mark is determined by the overall standard of the cohort for that year, so it is essential to understand that the pass mark is not fixed and varies in accordance with the performance of each year’s cohort. 

Understanding the eleven plus exam

The examination tests a student’s ability to apply their knowledge in areas of Verbal Reasoning, English, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics and Numerical Reasoning. Different Grammar schools have a preferred format for their selective test. We at AVS specialise in preparing children for eleven plus exams for entry into Slough consortium grammar schools, Reading grammar schools & Buckinghamshire county grammar schools. These tests are broken down into small sections which are timed individually and focus on different aspects of each subject. Our AVS courses tackle these individual aspects to ensure that the children are well prepared to take these tests. 

Grammar school entrance examinations may consist of all or a subset of the following:

  • Numerical reasoning (mathematics)
  • Verbal reasoning
  • English comprehension, punctuation and grammar
  • Non-verbal reasoning

 These examinations include some areas which are taught in primary schools and some that are not taught in primary schools. Even though primary schools do cover some of these aspects, the children still do need guidance as these exams are designed to assess a pupil’s knowledge under stringent time constraints. Therefore, it is highly beneficial to enlist the help of experienced tutors with the understanding of how to tackle these uncovered areas and manage anxiety while taking these tests. Doing so will improve the child’s confidence and enhance their capabilities to apply themselves in the exam.