What is the 11+ Exam


Secondary school selection (Also known as the eleven plus exam.)

The Eleven plus test is a test given to pupils in their last year of primary school (year 6 in England and year 7 in Northern Ireland) and is used as a means to determine whether that pupil is suited to the academic rigours of a grammar school education. In other words will he/she be offered a place in the grammar school of their parent's choice? Since the early 1970s many areas of the United Kingdom have not used the Eleven plus exam and have favoured a comprehensive education system that is non-selective. However, there are still a considerable number of Local Authorities (LAs), Foundation Schools, Independent Schools and Private Schools that still admit pupils based on selection by the test known as the Elevenplus exam. This site will provide practice for this type of selection test. The 11plus exam is used extensively in Bucks, Kent and Essex.

What Sort of Selection Test Will My Child Have to Take?

This will vary from Local Authority (LA) to LA and from grammar school to grammar school. (You should confirm details of the exam with your LA or chosen school.) The eleven plus exam may be based on some or all of the following types of questions.

  • Verbal Reasoning questions
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning questions
  • Mathematics questions
  • English questions
It may involve sitting two or more eleven plus examinations. Sometimes the tests will be of a different kind, 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.

Verbal Reasoning exams

This involves the child thinking about words and text and then solving problems, sequences, logical deduction and other language based questions. 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.

Non-Verbal Reasoning exams

Many LAs and independent schools also use non-verbal reasoning tests. These involve the child thinking about pictures and diagrams, shape and space and solving problems based on these, it also makes demands on the child's mathematical capabilities. However it makes less demand on the understanding of written language.

Mathematics and English exams

These are used by some LAs and schools, but not to the same extent as verbal reasoning tests and non-verbal reasoning tests. However where they are used you can expect the requirements to be quite high.

Who sets these selection tests?

Many of the 11plus tests used by grammar schools or LAs are produced by the school themselves or by external companies. The 11 plus papers come in two formats:

  • Standard format
    Where your child writes the answers in a space provided 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 or through the correct answer.

Exam administration

The LAs or the schools themselves usually carry out all eleven plus exam administration. (You should confirm details of this with your LA or chosen school.)

Is this site suitable practice for the Northern Ireland Transfer Test?

Yes. The Northern Ireland Transfer Test is based on English and Mathematics and this site will provide practice in both subject areas.