(VIEW all our 11-plus practice tests.)
The 11-plus exam is often taken by pupils in their last year of primary school education (year 6 in England and year 7 in Northern Ireland.) It is used as a means of selection for entry into grammar and private schools.
The preparation and learning required for this demanding exam can be quite intense. The test is used as a means to determine whether a pupil is suited to the academic rigours of a grammar school education where teaching and learning can move at quite a fast pace.
Since the late 1960s and early 1970s many areas of the United Kingdom have discarded the Eleven plus exam in favour of the comprehensive education system that is non-selective. Prior to this almost all school pupils took some form of 11+ exam when they were 10 or 11 years of age.
While many areas are now comprehensive there are still a considerable number of Local Authorities (LAs), Foundation Schools, independent schools and private schools that still use the 11+ exam.
The 11-plus exam is used extensively in Buckinghamshire, Essex, Kent, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and Northern Ireland where it is known as The Transfer Test. Large numbers of private schools throughout England still use the 11-plus exam to select pupils for their senior schools.
What is the content of the 11-plus?
The exam may vary from LA to LA and from grammar school to grammar school. The exam may involve sitting two or even three test papers.
The exam is likely to be based on the following 4 subject.
The test may be a combination of the following:-
Verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning are not taught in many state schools and further down this page you can access resources for all of these 11+ exam subjects.
Sometimes the tests will use different subject areas e.g. a non-verbal reasoning and a verbal reasoning test and in other cases the tests will be the same e.g. two verbal reasoning tests.
This involves the child thinking about words and text and solving problems, sequences, codes or logical deductions etc. It requires the pupil to have a good grasp of English grammar and a wide vocabulary. Most schools and LAs administer at least one verbal reasoning test.
Many LAs and independent schools also use non-verbal reasoning tests. This involves the child thinking about pictures and diagrams, and solving problems based on these items. It may include topics such as reflection of shapes, shapes hidden in other shapes and it also makes demands on the child's mathematical capabilities. However it makes less demand on the understanding of written language.
English and Maths
These are used by some LAs and schools, but not to the same extent as verbal reasoning papers and non-verbal reasoning papers. However, where they are used you can expect the English requirements to be quite high. A child may be required to complete a piece of written English such as a story or be asked to write a letter. This is especially true in areas that are heavily oversubscribed for grammar school places.
Who sets the 11-plus exam?
Many of the 11plus tests used by grammar schools or LAs are produced by NFER and they have comprehensive information on their website. Many private schools also set their own version of the exam.
The 11 plus papers come in two formats:
Where your child writes the answers in a space on the eleven plus test paper.
Multiple choice format
In this type of 11 plus test your child marks their answer on a separate score sheet by putting a line against the correct answer or choosing one answer from a number of possible answers. This in itself is a difficult task and is akin to Non-verbal reasoning. This type of answer format is usually to accommodate marking using a computer optical reading machine. (Many teachers call these multiple guess papers)
The LAs or the schools themselves usually carry out all eleven plus exam administration. You should contact your LA or selective school for details. You should also be aware that there are a number of different school types in the UK.
Wikipedia has a lot of useful information about the 11+.
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