What is the 11 Plus Exam?


An In-Depth Guide for Parents and Students

The 11 Plus exam, often known as the Eleven Plus, is a competitive entrance test that evaluates a student’s aptitude and ability for admission to Grammar School. Students in Year 6 of primary school in the UK take it. The 11 Plus, how to prepare for it, how it works, what to anticipate on exam day and how to succeed are all covered in detail in this comprehensive handbook for parents and students.

Therefore, the 11 Plus entrance exam is a significant turning point in a student’s academic career because it establishes whether or not they are qualified to enrol in a Grammar School in the UK.

Grammar schools offer a tough academic curriculum and are extremely selective, which can give students a solid basis for future academic and professional success.

Why Take 11 Plus Exams? 

Students are tested on their knowledge in core subjects such as English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

The purpose of the 11 Plus exam is to provide a standardised method of assessing a student’s ability and potential for academic success.

Moreover, the 11 Plus exam enables students to showcase their skills and demonstrate their potential for success in secondary education.

Eligibility for the 11 Plus Exam 

To be eligible for the 11 Plus entrance exam, students must generally be in Year 6 of primary school and be residents of the local area. However, the eligibility criteria for the 11 Plus exam can vary depending on the school and the exam board, so it is important to check with the individual Grammar Schools for specific eligibility requirements.

Preparing for the 11 Plus Exam – How to Make it Right? 

Preparing for the Eleven Plus exam papers is critical to students’ success in getting admission into the top Grammar Schools.

What Does the 11 Plus Syllabus Include?

Whether students take GL or CEM 11 Plus exams, they must prepare for:

Importance of Preparation 

Before taking the 11 Plus exam, students and their parents must understand the importance of entrance test preparation. Since the exam is highly competitive, students must put in the time and extra effort to ensure their best performance on exam day. Meanwhile, good 11 Plus test preparation will help students feel confident and calm and give them the best chance of success.

Tips for Successful Preparation 

There are many strategies and tips that students and their parents can use to help prepare for the 11 Plus exam. Some of the most important include:

  • Starting early: The earlier you start preparing, the more time you’ll have to work through the material and build your skills.
  • Focusing on the subjects: Understanding the subjects covered in the 11 Plus exam is crucial to success. So, make sure you understand the format and content of the exam.
  • Using practice exams: Solving and revising 11 Plus practice exams is an excellent way to build familiarity with the exam format and help you see where to improve.
  • Staying organised: Create a study schedule and stick to it, taking regular breaks and keeping track of your progress.




Common 11+ Preparation Strategies 

Parents need to learn when to start 11 Plus tutoring and exam preparation to help their children prepare for the entrance exam. At 11 Plus Tutoring, we use some of the best and most common strategies, which include:

  • Using study guides: We offer detailed online 11+ study guides that provide an overview of the exam format and content and can help you understand what to expect. Read our CEM guide and GL Assessment guide to learn what exam papers and questions you will have to prepare for.
  • Practising problem-solving: Our expert tutors enable students to practise 11 Plus Maths problems, especially those likely to appear on the exam, to help build your problem-solving skills.
  • Seeking assistance: Consider seeking help from 11 Plus tutors who can help your child prepare and improve performance through the 11 Plus exam tuition using the best resources.

Building your vocabulary: Building your child’s 11 Plus vocabulary is crucial for success on the entrance exam, as many questions require a good understanding of the language.

Do you know the difference between the GL Assessment and CEM exam boards and how they prepare the 11 Plus papers? Let’s find out!

What are the 11 Plus Exam Boards?

GL Assessment

GL Assessment develops and administers 11 Plus Grammar School exams covering English, maths, verbal, and non-verbal reasoning.


CEM (Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring) offers 11 Plus exams in verbal, non-verbal, and numerical reasoning.

Resources for 11 Plus Preparation 

There are many resources available to help students and their parents prepare for the 11 Plus exam, including:

  • Study guides: We provide our students with offline and online 11 Plus guides, giving an overview of the exam format and content.
  • Online resources: Our 11 Plus tutoring platform offers online resources, practice exams, tips and 11+ mock test papers to help students. 
  • Tutors: We have the most qualified 11 Plus tutors to help students with specific areas they are struggling with and provide additional practice opportunities.
  • Books: Many books are available at 11 Plus Tutoring to help students prepare for the 11 Plus exam, including study guides, worksheets and practice exam booklets.

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Understanding the 11 Plus Exam Scoring 

The 11 Plus exam scoring system varies depending on the type of exam and the Grammar School to which the student is applying. However, most 11 Plus exams are scored based on a standard point system, with higher scores indicating a higher level of ability. The scores are used to determine a student’s eligibility for admission to selective schools. It is important to know what marks your child must get to secure a place at Grammar School.

Tips for Exam Day Preparation 

As with any standardised test, preparation is key to success on the 11 Plus exam. Here are some tips to help students prepare for exam day:

  • Get a good and sound sleep the night before the exam.
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast to help you stay focused and alert during the exam.
  • Arrive at the testing centre at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam.
  • Bring all necessary materials, such as a photo ID and admission ticket.
  • Stay calm and focused throughout the exam.
  • Read each question and all instructions carefully before answering.
  • Use all of the time given to answer each question thoroughly and accurately.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for the 11 Plus exam 

Common mistakes to avoid on the 11 Plus exam can significantly impact a student’s performance. Parents and students must know these common mistakes to ensure a successful outcome. Some common mistakes include the following:

  1. Not being adequately prepared: Lack of preparation and familiarity with the exam format can lead to poor performance.
  2. Not following instructions: It is essential to read carefully and follow all instructions on the exam to avoid losing points or making mistakes.
  3. Rushing through the exam: Reading each question and carefully thinking through the answers can significantly improve the 11+ exam performance.
  4. Not using time wisely: Managing time during the exam is critical, so students should allocate sufficient time for each section.
  5. Not double-checking answers: Double-checking answers can help catch any mistakes that may have been made, so it is essential to carefully review all answers before submitting the exam.
  6. Not staying calm: Being nervous or stressed can negatively impact performance, so students need to remain calm and focused during the exam.
  7. Not practising: Practising can help students become familiar with the exam format and build confidence, so it is important to practise regularly before the exam.

Avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure a successful outcome on the 11+ entrance exam.

Commonly Asked Questions About 11 Plus

Students aged 11 in their last year of primary school take the 11 Plus test.

No, not all children must take the 11 Plus exam under any obligation. For further queries, you can email us at [email protected].

If your child fails the 11 Plus entry test, you can still try Grammar School admission through late transfer tests called 12 Plus and 13 Plus.

The 11 Plus Grammar School transfer test is usually taken in September.

The 11 Plus exam usually takes around two to three hours to complete, with each paper lasting approximately 45 – 60 minutes.

Again, it depends on a child’s ability. Still, we recommend you start preparing your child for this competitive 11 Plus exam as early as possible, ideally from Year 3.

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You can join us in free trial lessons to experience and use our 11 Plus resources without any signup obligation!

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Let Us Help Your Child Prepare for the 11 Plus!

Our 11 Plus tutoring provides training for your child. During our online sessions, a tutor will guide your child on all the key areas! With the added benefit of interactive one-to-one lessons, students can directly ask questions from their tutors. Contact us today to give your child a brighter future.

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