If you're navigating the educational path of your child, you've likely heard of the 11 Plus exam. This guide is your gateway to understanding this pivotal exam and its significance in your child's academic journey.
Whether you're just starting to explore the 11 Plus or looking for insights to better support your child, we're here to provide you with a clear understanding of what to expect. So, let's embark on this journey together, ensuring you're well-prepared to guide your child toward success in the 11 Plus exam and beyond.
What Exactly is the 11 Plus Exam?
The 11 Plus exam is the academic test your child encounters around age 11, marking the grand finale of primary school. It’s a mix of multiple-choice and written brain teasers, spanning English, mathematics, and the ever-tricky verbal and non-verbal reasoning.
But here's the catch: there’s no one-size-fits-all for the 11 Plus. Depending on where you are in the UK, the test can look quite different. ISEB, CEM, GL Assessment – these boards craft their versions of the exam, each with its unique flavour. Independent schools generally write and mark their exams for Maths and English. We will explain the differences between them later in this guide.
A Bit of History
The 11 Plus exam was introduced to help find students with strong academic abilities for selective schools. The main idea was to make sure that no matter where you come from, you can get a good education. Even though the test has changed a bit over the years, its main function of deciding who can access selective schools hasn't.
Who Can Take the Exam?
The 11 Plus exam is usually taken by students in their last year of primary school when a child is 10 or 11 years old. The rules about who can take the test can be different depending on where you live and the school you're interested in. For grammar schools, though, most students have the opportunity to sit for the exam, no matter where they come from or what school they currently attend. Just be sure to look up the specific requirements that the schools you want to apply for have in place.
Independent schools mostly require that students take the ISEB Pre-Test. Some will then offer a place, others will require an additional interview, and the most selective will have an interview and additional written exams. We offer a revision course specifically for preparation for these exams.
When to Apply for the Exam and When the Exam Takes Place
Generally, applications for the 11 Plus exam are submitted in Year 5, often during the spring or early summer. The exam itself usually takes place in the autumn of Year 6 (when your child is turning 11).
The most important thing to remember is to pay attention to the deadlines and carefully follow the application instructions given by your local education authority or target independent school. That way, you can make sure your child can take the exam on the scheduled date.
Independent VS Grammar School 11+ Exams
Independent schools have more freedom in designing their entrance exams. The ISEB is the exam board for independent schools, but they sometimes use school specific written papers for Maths and English, and they might include Creative Writing as a significant part of their test.
usually use multiple-choice papers, and these exams are regulated by
organisations like the GL or CEM. They mainly cover English, Maths, and
Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Be careful as some grammar schools have
a writing task in their 11 Plus exam. You should be able to find online
whether the grammar school you apply for includes a writing task inside
their exam papers or not.
So, while the content is alike, the way you'll be questioned can vary quite a bit between these types of schools.
How to Prepare Your Child for the 11 Plus Exam
Understand the Exam Format:
Start by getting to know the specific format of the 11 Plus exam in your area. Different exam boards and schools may have variations in the content and structure of the test. Having a good grasp of the format will guide your preparation efforts.
It's a smart move to begin preparing at least a year in advance. The earlier you start, the more time your child will have to develop their skills and build confidence. This way, preparation will be less intense and better for your child’s wellbeing, and this will have long-term academic benefits.
Assess Your Child's Strengths and Weaknesses:
Take the time to identify where your child excels and where they may struggle. This will help you to put together a plan to target their needs.
Regular practice is key to success. Use official past papers or materials from reliable sources to mimic exam conditions. Focus on improving time management and accuracy.
Balanced Study Routine:
Create a study routine that covers all relevant subjects, including Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Make time for each subject based on your child's strengths and weaknesses.
Set Realistic Goals:
Help your child set goals that they can realistically achieve, and make sure they understand these objectives. Celebrate their progress along the way to keep them motivated.
Consider Professional Help:
Use Educational Resources:
Take advantage of educational materials such as books, online courses, and websites designed specifically for 11 Plus preparation.
Practice Timed Tests:
Encourage your child to take timed practice tests regularly to improve their speed and confidence. Review their performance to identify areas that need further work.
Use Exam Strategies:
Teach your child exam strategies, like how to deal with multiple-choice questions, manage time during the exam, and stay calm under pressure.
Promote a Positive Attitude:
Promote a positive and growth-oriented outlook. Remind your child that it's perfectly fine to make mistakes and that each attempt is a valuable learning experience.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:
Help your child stick to a healthy routine by making sure they get enough sleep, eat balanced meals, and stay active. A healthy lifestyle helps them think clearly and stay focused.
Practise Past Papers:
Use official past papers from the exam board your child will be taking the test with. This will get them used to the types of questions and topics that might come up in the exam.
Simulate Exam Conditions:
Set up mock exams with time limits to mimic what it's like during the real exam. This helps your child feel more comfortable with the exam environment.
Review Key Topics
In the weeks leading up to the exam, focus on going over important topics and strategies. Try to avoid cramming everything in the night before the exam.
Pay attention to how your child is feeling. Keep the lines of communication open, offer reassurance, and be there to support them if they're feeling stressed about the exam.
Get Ready for Exam Day:
Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep, has a healthy meal, and arrives at the exam location with plenty of time to spare. Give them words of encouragement and boost their confidence.
Keep in mind that every student is different, and how they prepare may be different, too. Customise your approach to match your child's specific strengths and areas where they might need extra help. With commitment, a well-organised strategy, and support from family and teachers, your child can do well on the 11 Plus exam.
The 11 Plus Exam Format
The structure of the 11 Plus exam can be different based on where you live, the particular school you're interested in, and the organisation in charge of administering the test. Here's a basic overview of what you can expect in the 11 Plus exam, which typically evaluates a student's abilities in subjects such as Maths, English, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning.
The Four SectionsMathematics:
- The Maths part of the exam tests a student’s skills in working with numbers and solving problems.
- It covers various Maths topics like basic calculations, shapes, equations, and interpreting data.
- Questions can be in different forms, like multiple-choice, short-answer, or written responses.
- Your child will need to show that they have a good grasp of Maths concepts and can use them to solve problems effectively.
- The English part of the exam checks a student’s reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar skills.
- It often involves reading passages and then answering questions to see if the student understood the text.
- Students might also come across vocabulary and grammar questions that require finding words with similar or opposite meanings or filling in sentences with the right words.
- Verbal reasoning questions test a student’s skills with words, language, and logic.
- Students might have to do things like finish word analogies, spot patterns in letter sequences, or solve word puzzles.
- The aim is to see how well a student can use their verbal reasoning abilities and apply logic to problems related to language.
- Non-verbal reasoning is about testing a student’s skills with visual patterns and shapes.
- Students will come across tasks like finishing sequences of shapes, finding the one that doesn't fit, or solving spatial puzzles.
- This part of the exam checks how well a student can spot and understand patterns without relying on language skills.
11 Plus Maths Topics
What your child needs to study for this exam can change depending on where you live and the school they want to attend. But generally, here are some of the Maths topics your child might come across in the test:
Number and Arithmetic:
- Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers and decimals.
- Fractions, percentages, and ratios.
- Prime numbers, factors, multiples, and prime factorisation.
- Place value and number sequences.
- Properties of shapes (2D and 3D), including triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, and polygons.
- Calculation of angles in triangles and quadrilaterals.
- Understanding of symmetry and reflection.
- Measurement of length, area, perimeter, and volume.
- Basic algebraic expressions and equations.
- Solving linear equations and inequalities.
- Patterns and sequences.
- Introduction to algebraic concepts like variables and coefficients.
- Interpreting and putting together charts and graphs (bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts).
- Reading and analysing data presented in tables.
- Probability concepts, including likelihood and probability calculations.
- Students will come across word problems that are like puzzles based on real-life situations.
- They will need to take what they have learned about Maths and use it to solve practical problems in the test.
- Units of measurement for length, weight, capacity, and time.
- Conversions between different units of measurement.
- Perimeter, area, and volume calculations for several shapes and objects.
Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages:
- Understanding the relationships between fractions, decimals, and percentages.
- Converting between fractions, decimals, and percentages.
- Performing operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) involving fractions and decimals.
Time and Money:
- Telling time, calculating time intervals, and solving time-related problems.
- Handling money, including currency denominations, making changes, and solving money-related problems.
Patterns and Sequences:
- Finding patterns and sequences in numbers, like figuring out what comes next in a series.
- identifying the rules or formulas that create these sequences, which is like solving a Maths puzzle.
Thinking logically and solving tricky Maths puzzles and problems.
Advanced Topics (varies by exam):
In some 11 Plus Maths exams, students might come across more challenging things like algebraic expressions, working with coordinates on graphs, and solving complex Maths problems using careful thinking.
To get ready for these kinds of questions, it's important to study these topics step by step and practise them often. You can use official practice papers and other materials designed for your specific region and exam board to make sure your child is well-prepared for the Maths part of the exam.
11 Plus English Syllabus
The 11 Plus English exam is about testing your child’s language and reading skills. What they need to study for this exam can be a bit different depending on where you live and which school they want to get into. But generally, here are some of the things they might come across in the test:
- Reading passages and showing how well they can understand and explain what they read.
- Answering questions that test their knowledge of the passage, like what it's about, important details, and how it feels.
- Vocabulary development, including the understanding of synonyms, antonyms, and homophones.
- Identifying the meanings of words in context.
- Building a broad and varied vocabulary.
Grammar and Punctuation:
- Correct usage of grammar, including verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, pronouns, and sentence structure.
- Punctuation rules, including the use of commas, periods, apostrophes, and quotation marks.
- Identifying and correcting grammatical errors in sentences.
- Spelling accuracy and proficiency in both common and less common words.
- Spelling patterns and rules.
- Homophones and commonly misspelt words.
Composition and Writing:
- Creative writing: write stories, describe things in detail, or try to convince others with their writing.
- Making sure their ideas flow well, using the right words.
- Making sure their writing is free from mistakes like spelling errors, grammar problems, and punctuation issues.
Literary Devices and Figures of Speech:
- Recognising and understanding literary tricks like similes (comparisons using "like" or "as"), metaphors (comparisons without "like" or "as"), personification (giving human qualities to nonhuman things), and alliteration (repeating the same sound at the beginning of words).
- Spotting and explaining when authors use language creatively or imaginatively in their writing
Inference and Deduction:
- Using logic and reasoning skills to make smart guesses and deductions from what a text says.
- Coming to conclusions based on the information the text gives.
Analysing poetry, including identifying poetic techniques, themes, and the overall meaning of poems.
Familiarity with different literary genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama.
Critical Thinking and Evaluation:
- Judging how well persuasive arguments or different viewpoints in texts are put together.
- Spotting when there might be a slant or opinion in what is written, and separating that from facts.
Text Structure and Features:
- Understanding how texts are structured, including headings, subheadings, paragraphs, and captions.
- Analysing the purpose of various text features in non-fiction texts.
Please note that in the 11 Plus English exam, your child might come across a mix of the things listed above and that the exam might focus more on some areas than others. To get ready, it's a good idea to use official practice papers and other materials designed for your specific area and the exam your child is taking. Also, reading a lot, helping your child to practise their writing, and building strong language and reading skills will help them do well in the exam.
11 Plus Verbal Reasoning
Here are key aspects of 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning. Verbal reasoning questions have different types, such as:
- Word Analogies: Figuring out relationships between words and applying the same idea to new word pairs.
- Letter and Number Codes: Decoding letters or numbers using given rules or patterns.
- Missing Letters: Completing words by adding missing letters or finding the right letter sequence in a series.
- Word Connections: Finding connections or associations between words in a group.
Vocabulary: A strong vocabulary is important. A student should know the meanings of words and how they relate to each other.
General Knowledge: Students will be asked about facts and information from different subjects and fields.
Critical Thinking: Verbal reasoning requires students to think carefully, make connections, and use logical reasoning to solve language-based problems. It's about finding patterns and rules in what they're given.
Problem Solving: Students will use their language skills to solve puzzles and answer questions.
Time Management: Being able to work quickly and accurately is important.
Practice: Like other parts of the 11 Plus exam, practice is key. Students should try different types of verbal reasoning questions to get used to them and gain confidence.
Preparation Materials: You can find special practice books and resources from educational publishers that are made just for the 11 Plus verbal reasoning exam. These materials have sample questions and explanations to help your child get better at these skills.
It's important to know that your child can get better at verbal reasoning with practice and help. Some children might be good at it from the start, but others might need more practice to do their best. So, getting support and using these resources to get comfortable with verbal reasoning is a big part of getting ready for the 11 Plus exam.
11 Plus Non-Verbal Reasoning
Non-verbal reasoning is a part of the 11 Plus exam that tests how well a student can solve problems using pictures, shapes, and patterns, instead of words. Here are key points about 11 Plus Non-Verbal Reasoning:
Types of Questions: In non-verbal reasoning, there are different types of questions, like:
- Shape Analogies: Finding relationships between shapes and applying those relationships to new pairs of shapes.
- Series Completion: Completing a series of shapes or patterns by figuring out the next one in line based on a rule.
- Matrices: Working with grids of shapes and finding the missing one by following patterns in rows and columns.
- Codes: Decoding visual symbols or shapes using given rules or patterns.
Spatial Awareness: This part of the exam checks if a student understands how shapes and patterns relate to each other in terms of space. This includes things like recognising when shapes are turned, flipped, or changed.
Critical Thinking: The student will need to think carefully and critically to solve non-verbal reasoning problems. It's about finding the hidden patterns, rules, and relationships in pictures and shapes.
Problem Solving: Students need to use logic and problem-solving skills to solve visual puzzles. They have to study the information given and figure out the right answers.
Time Management: Managing time well is important because you don't have a lot of it for these questions. Practising with time limits is crucial to get better at it.
Practice: Just like with other parts of the 11 Plus exam, practising regularly is key to doing well in non-verbal reasoning. Students should try different types of questions to get used to them and improve their skills.
Preparation Materials: You can find special practice books and resources from educational publishers made specifically for the 11 Plus non-verbal reasoning exam. These materials have sample questions and explanations to help your child get better at it.
Your child’s skills in non-verbal reasoning can get better if they practise and get some help. Some kids might be naturally good at understanding shapes and patterns, but others might need more practice to do really well. So, it's important to get support and use resources to feel confident with non-verbal reasoning, especially when getting ready for the 11 Plus exam.
11 Plus Practice Exam Papers
Practice papers for the 11 Plus exam are very important if you want your child to get into selective schools. These papers include a mix of real past exams and ones that are made to look just like the actual exam. They will help your child to get used to what the questions are like and how hard they can be.
They cover subjects like Maths, English, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning, and they come with detailed explanations and answers. These papers will give you all the support your child needs to get ready for the 11 Plus exam and increase their chances of getting into top schools.
11 Plus Maths Papers
- Independent School 11+ Maths Exam Papers
- Grammar School 11+ Maths Exam Papers
- Ivy Education 11+ Maths Exam Papers (coming soon)
11 Plus English Papers
- Independent School 11+ English Exam Papers
- Grammar School 11+ English Exam Papers
- Ivy Education 11+ English Exam Papers (coming soon)
11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Papers
- Independent School 11+ Verbal Reasoning Exam Papers
- Ivy Education 11+ Verbal Reasoning Exam Papers (coming soon)
11 Plus Non-Verbal Reasoning Papers
- 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Exam Papers
- Ivy Education 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Exam Papers (coming soon)
11 Plus Preparation Tips for Children
Super Organisation: Imagine you're a superhero getting ready for an epic adventure. Just like heroes keep their gear in order, you should keep your study materials organised. That way, you'll always know where your study materials, notes, and schedules are.
Understand the Challenge: Think of the 11 Plus exam like a cool puzzle or a tricky quest in your favourite video game. Take some time to figure out what the exam is all about, what kind of questions you'll face, and what you need to do to succeed.
Fun Study Plan: Pretend you're planning a fun adventure with a map filled with exciting places to explore. Your study plan is like that map! Create a schedule with missions for each subject, and don't forget to add breaks for snacks, games, and fun!
Set Study Goals: Imagine you're a hero in a video game, and you have to complete different levels. Set goals for each study session, like defeating a boss in your game. Keep track of your progress on your way to becoming a study hero!
Practice Regularly: Becoming an expert at something takes practice, just like a wizard practising spells. Work through old exam questions and practice exercises regularly. It's like levelling up in a game!
Use All Resources: Heroes have tools and gadgets, right? You can use textbooks, websites, and study guides to understand everything you need for the exam. Think of them as your study superpowers!
Seek Help When Needed: Even heroes ask their friends for help sometimes. If you find something tricky, don't be shy – ask your parents, teachers, or tutors. They're like your study sidekicks!
Manage Time Wisely: Pretend you're a time wizard who needs to complete tasks quickly. Practice finishing your practice tests within a time limit. It's like a challenge in a game!
Focus on Weak Areas: Everyone has things they're not so great at. Identify those areas and work hard to make them stronger, just like levelling up your character in a game.
Stay Positive: Imagine you're the main character in an exciting story, and you're on a quest to succeed. Stay positive, believe in yourself, and picture yourself achieving your goals. You're the hero of your own story, and heroes never give up!
Remember, you're on an exciting journey to conquer the 11 Plus exam, and with these tips, you'll be well-prepared to face any challenges that come your way!
Private Tuition for the 11 Plus Exam
Getting private tutoring for the 11 Plus exam can be useful if you want your child to do their best. Private tutors work one-on-one with them and make their teaching fit exactly what they need.
They know all about the exam, its format, and how to do well in it, so they can give your child expert advice and help them feel more ready.
Private tutors can also spend extra time on the areas where your child might not be as strong, help them get better at solving problems, and boost their confidence when taking the exam.
At Ivy Education, we offer:
- 11 Plus Tuition
- 11+ Grammar School Exam Prep Courses (Online)
- 11+ Written Entrance Exam Technique Course (Online)
Eleven Plus Scores and Pass Mark
You might hear about something called "standardised scores" in the 11 Plus exam, and it can be a bit confusing. These scores are made to make the test results fair and easy to compare. They do two important things:
Equalise Test Differences: Sometimes, different test papers have different numbers of questions or time limits. Standardisation makes sure that everyone's test is looked at fairly, no matter these differences. It changes the raw scores (the number of right answers) into standardised scores.
Age Adjustment: Children born at different times of the year might have some advantages or disadvantages because of their age, like knowing more words. To make things fair, scores are adjusted to a "standard" level for all children, no matter how old they are.
Standardised scores usually have an average of around 100, and they go from about 70 to 140. The highest score sets a "pass" point. While all this might sound complicated, what's more important for parents is to focus on the pass mark for their area and how many right answers their child gets during mock exams. That's what helps see if they're ready for the 11 Plus. Your child can also take an academic aptitude test to assess potential against independent school averages and UK national standards.
The score you need to pass the 11 Plus exam is not the same everywhere in the UK. Different independent schools and grammar schools have their own rules and criteria for passing. Here are some examples for grammar schools, but remember that these numbers can change from year to year and can be different in different parts of the same region:
London: You usually need at least 80% to pass.
Kent: The pass score is typically around 330 out of 420, but it can change depending on how many students are taking the test that year.
Buckinghamshire: They often set a pass score of around 121 to 124.
Essex: You need a score of at least 303 to pass.
Birmingham: The pass score is around 220 out of 282 for both parts of the test.
Lincolnshire: Lincolnshire sets the pass mark at approximately 220 out of 282 (for both papers) for its selective schools.
These are just a few examples, and pass scores can be different in other places. Parents and students need to look into the specific requirements for the schools they want to get into and keep up with any changes. You can usually find this information on local authority websites or in school admission guides. It helps you understand what's expected for the 11 Plus exam in your area.
For independent schools, it is better to consider the CAT4 score your child is currently getting. For example, a student who is aiming for Westminster or St Paul’s Girls’ School should be scoring more than 135 in their CAT4. This is because these are some of the most competitive schools in the UK.
Benefits of Passing the 11 Plus Exam
Passing the 11 Plus exam comes with some important advantages:
- Access to Quality Schools: It lets you go to selective secondary schools, which often have great education, smaller classes, more resources, and experienced teachers. These things can make your child’s learning experience even better.
- More Opportunities: You get to explore advanced courses and join extracurricular activities in these schools, which can help you learn even more.
- Confidence Boost: Passing the 11 Plus exam shows that your child has worked hard and done well in their studies. It can make them feel more confident about themselves and their abilities.
In a nutshell, passing the 11 Plus can set your child up for a bright academic future and open doors to lots of educational opportunities.
What to Do When You Receive Your Child’s Results
- Celebrate or support your child, depending on how they did, and recognise their hard work.
- Understand what the results mean, like their score or whether they passed or not.
- Look into different school options, no matter the results, and check out potential schools. Our consultants can help you with every step of the admissions process.
- Talk to your child about the results, listen to their feelings, and include them in deciding what to do next.
- Plan the next steps, like getting ready for a selective school, exploring other choices, or thinking about an appeals process if needed.
What to Do if Your Child Fails the 11 Plus Exam
- Be there for them emotionally and let them know it's just a part of their school journey.
- Have a chat with your child about the results, and let them share any worries they might have.
- Check out other school options, like regular secondary schools, and go to info meetings.
- Get advice from teachers, school counsellors, or education experts to figure out what's the best path for your child based on what they're good at and what they like.
- Keep being involved in your child's school life, help them transition to a different school if needed, and encourage them to stay positive about learning and growing personally.
- The 11 Plus exam has been a big part of the UK's education system since 1944. It's a test that children usually take when they're around 10 or 11 years old.
- The goal is to find students who are really good at school subjects like Maths, English, and reasoning.
- The test isn't the same everywhere in the UK. It can change depending on where you live and who's in charge of making the test.
- If you want your child to do well, it's essential to prepare early. That means making a plan, understanding what the test looks like, figuring out what your child is good at and where they need help, and using study materials and practice tests. Doing well on this test can lead to great schools and more confidence.
At Ivy Education, we provide tuition to help your child pass the 11 Plus Exam and access high-quality education in independent and grammar schools.
The 11 Plus exam is a test in the UK that children usually take when they're around 10 or 11 years old. It's an important exam because it's a key way to get into certain independent and grammar schools. It looks at how good a student is in subjects like Maths, English, verbal and nonverbal reasoning.
It's best to take the 11 Plus exam when your child is in their last year of primary school, usually when they’re 10 or 11. This will be in the Autumn term of Year 6. But remember, the timing might change depending on where you live and the rules of the schools your child wants to go to. So, make sure to check out the exact details for your area.
Registering for the 11 Plus is a two-step process. First, you apply directly to the schools you're interested in. Then, after getting your child’s exam results, you might need to fill out something called the Common Application Form (CAF). This helps you pick your preferences for different schools.
The 11 Plus exam usually tests a child in Maths, English, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning. But keep in mind that the exact content and how the test looks can be different depending on where you live and who's in charge of the exam.
he way the exam is set up can change based on where you live and who's running it.
It covers subjects like Maths, English, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning.
The pass mark for the 11 Plus can be pretty different depending on where you are, which school you're aiming for, and how many other students are taking the test that year. These pass marks can change from year to year, so it's important to stay updated. You can usually find the most accurate info about pass marks from your local education authority or the schools themselves.
In general, most children can take the 11 Plus exam, regardless of their background or where they go to school. But remember, there might be some rules about age and residency that you need to check with your local schools or education authority. Just make sure your child meets all the criteria and follows the right steps to take the test.
Prepping for the 11 Plus is a journey. It's a good idea to start early, understand how the test works in your area, figure out where your child needs help, and make a study plan. You can use official past papers, study guides, and online courses. Getting a tutor or taking a preparation course can be a big help too. Just remember to practise regularly, set realistic goals, stay positive, and make sure your child stays healthy with good sleep, balanced meals, and exercise.
Yes, there are lots of practice materials available for the 11 Plus exam. You can find official past papers, books, online courses, and websites that offer sample questions and mock exams made especially for 11 Plus prep. If you want more personalised help, tutors can also provide you with materials and guidance.
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