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Article 1: What is the 11+ exam?

There are always more pupils applying for grammar schools than there are places available, (sometimes as many as 10 pupils for every one place) and so competition can be fierce. The 11+ is a test taken by some Year 6 pupils in primary schools in England. It’s a way of selecting who’s academically suited to attend a secondary grammar school.

The content of the 11+ exam varies between different areas of the country but generally it will focus on a combination of the following four subjects:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Non-verbal reasoning/spatial awareness

Although the English and maths tests tend to follow the National Curriculum, the verbal and non-verbal reasoning/spatial awareness tests are not school-based subjects and will not be taught as part of the curriculum in state schools. Therefore your child is likely to need additional support and practice to familiarise themselves with verbal and non-verbal reasoning/spatial awareness exam question types.

There are two different formats for 11+ exam papers:

  • Traditional format – where children write their answers on the test paper
  • Multiple-choice format – where multiple choice answers are marked in a separate answer booklet on an OMR sheet.

11+ exam papers are timed and usually last between 45-60 minutes. Children should practise with timed 11+ mock tests such as Einstein11Plus online tests.

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