How to Pass the 11 Plus Exam: A Guide for Parents



How to Pass the 11 Plus Exam: A Guide for Parents



There are many benefits to passing the 11 Plus exam, including the opportunity to apply to your child’s first choice grammar school. However, passing the exam requires more than just knowing the material. Sometimes it is the extra effort that makes the real difference. In this guide, we provide an overview of how to pass the 11 Plus exam.


Find Out What Exam Board Will Administer the Test

There are two main 11 Plus exam boards – the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) and Granada Learning (GL). Your location will determine which test your child will sit. Although the exam formats are similar, there are differences that will affect what material your child needs to study. Private or independent schools may administer different exams.

Start Preparing for the 11 Plus Early

In most cases, children need regular study schedules months in advance to pass the 11 Plus exam. A structured study plan well before the exam day will give your child plenty of time to practice and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

It is important not to overload your child with too much study. Space out learning into small chunks over a long period to avoid overwhelming them. At 10 or 11 years old, a child can concentrate for about half an hour before becoming weary. Half an hour every other night should suffice if you have a structured study plan.


Cover Each Element of the Exam

Regardless of the exam board, your child will probably be tested on English, Maths, Verbal, and Non-Verbal Reasoning or a combination of these subjects. It is crucial to cover all possible topics in your child’s study schedule.


For the English part of the exam, your child will be tested on:

- Spelling

- Punctuation

- Comprehension

- Sentence structure

- Grammar

- Vocabulary

- Literacy


Work on these topics through writing exercises and reading.


In the non-verbal reasoning section, your child will be tested on shapes and spatial awareness. Studying mirror images, working on addition and subtraction using objects, and playing Maths games are good ways to prepare.


For the verbal reasoning part, focus on building vocabulary and using practice papers to improve verbal reasoning skills.


For the Maths section, ensure your child has a good understanding of numeracy and Maths concepts covered in the Key Stage 2 Maths curriculum.


Practise Both Question Formats

The 11 Plus exam formats include multiple choice and standard question formats. Make sure your child practices both formats if they are tested by the schools you are applying to. Both formats require different skills and should be practiced equally.


Use 11 Plus Practice Papers from

Using practice exam papers is one of the most effective methods to prepare for the 11 Plus. Practice papers help your child familiarize themselves with the exam layout and encourage good time management. Introduce practice papers about halfway through your study schedule so your child gets used to answering questions under timed conditions.

Practice papers also reveal your child’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to adjust their study schedule to focus on weaker areas.


Get Support from Other Parents

Sometimes, the best advice comes from parents who have already experienced preparing their child for the 11 Plus. Online communities and forums are good sources of information on local details, such as the exam board, possible pass marks, and available school places but do not relay on tis for really accurate information.


 Consider Using a Private Tutor

If your child is struggling with 11 Plus preparation, a private tutor can provide one-on-one attention and expertise. However, tutors can be hard to find, so start your search early. If you live in London, Exam Papers Plus specializes in 11 Plus preparation and offers hourly tuition as well as intensive and residential courses.


Although following this advice does not guarantee success, it will help you prepare your child as fully as possible. This advice is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being always accurate as the situation at a given school can change.

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