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What is the 11+ Entrance Exam? The Eleven Plus Explained

Is your child studying for a grammar school entrance exam, often known as the 11 plus exam?

This can be a very stressful experience.

Many of our students tell us that worry has left them feeling overwhelmed and sometimes immobilised by performance anxiety.

Our teachers all have a background in mental health and mindfulness and are cognizant of the role children’s emotional health plays in academic pursuits.

This is how we’ve managed to support students to receiving offers to top schools, without losing their sense of wonder and curiosity.

We want to show you how in today’s blog!

In this article, we’ll talk about:

  • What the 11 plus entrance exam is,
  • How to help your child during their preparation period,

What is the 11 plus entrance exam?

Administered in Fall of Year 6, the 11+ entrance exam determines academic prowess. It is an optional test that enables children to gain entry into a selective secondary school.

Although not all Grammar schools will require this test, many will. Those schools within the Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools are among them. Check your local authority website for details on entrance requirements and deadlines.

If you live around Slough and are applying to a school within the Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools, you may be interested to know that your child will only write one exam, even if they are applying to more than one school!

Did you know:

When it comes to the number of Grammar schools in one town, Slough is towards the top of the list!

What does the 11+ exam consist of?

This exam allows secondary schools to assess your child’s academic aptitude across 4 main categories: Math, English, nonverbal reasoning, and verbal reasoning skills.

There are two examination boards that set the tests: The GL examination board and the CEM examination board. Generally, they both cover the same topics (we’ll explain more below). The Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools uses the CEM exam board.

While there is basic criteria that all schools and exam boards must follow, the topic combinations, exam layout, and test length might vary between grammar schools and exam boards.

11+ GL exams board

The 11+ with the GL Exam Board

The GL exam contains 4 distinct sections: English, Maths, Nonverbal Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. All schools who use this exam board have the option of selecting any combination of topics. Nonverbal Reasoning with English, for example, or Verbal Reasoning with Maths.

Because schools administering the GL eleven plus test have a choice in the areas they examine, the duration of the exam will be determined by their selections.

Everything you need to know about the CEM 11+

The 11+ with the CEM Exam Board

The CEM exam contains 3 sections: Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning.

Don’t let the different names fool you!

The Verbal Reasoning test will have aspects of the GL English exam and the Numerical Reasoning test will include skills from the GL Maths test.

The CEM eleven plus exam will be divided into two test papers, each lasting 60-65 minutes each.

Did you know:

There are only 163 grammar schools in England, with less than 20% of the population admitted. It’s worth preparing for it!

How Can I Help My Child Prepare for the 11+ Exam?

This entrance exam will require your child to demonstrate 3 core abilities (beyond academic fortitude):

  • Stamina
  • Time management
  • Courage

In order to help your child successfully prepare for the eleven plus exam we recommend that families start early with a little and often approach.

The little and often technique will build their stamina and help them to manage their performance anxiety. It’s also known as spaced repetition, and it’s an excellent learning strategy.

Slowly introducing timed sessions can help your child gain confidence in their response, allowing them to work through the exam without being overwhelmed.

While the exam will cover KS2 course material, your child should anticipate the questions to be phrased in a way that encourages critical thinking.

Developing their growth mindset and resilience while exploring new and challenging topics will provide students with the ability to deal with difficult test questions.

Bettering Youth 11 Plus Exam Tutors

Online tuition by qualified teachers.

Exam coaching by teachers who are mental health professionals and mindfulness coaches.

Successful exam rates.

Working with a Bettering Youth eleven plus tutor, you are gaining:

  • Over 10 years of curriculum knowledge;
  • Our years of successfully supporting students into receiving admissions offers to their top schools;
  • The emotional wellbeing coaching that encourages top performance without the anxiety and stress;

Our tutors are hand-picked for the remarkable way they educate children through their contagious enthusiasm, engaging teaching methods, and ability to break down large ideas into manageable chunks.

While we employ tried-and-true tools to assure a smooth route to exam achievement, we personalise our courses for each individual student. We know that engaged learners retain more information.

Working with us guarantees that your child is learning rather than merely memorising.


11+ Plus Resources

How To Make The 11+ Word List Stick: 14 Word Games

11 Plus Papers: 4 Common Mistakes and how to Solve them

Revealed: How to Build a Growth Mindset and Succeed More

How to Boost Reading Comprehension Through Storytelling

How to Build Confidence in Maths

6 Powerful Steps to Support Reluctant and Struggling Readers

What is the 11+ Entrance Exam? The Eleven Plus Explained

1 thought on “What is the 11+ Entrance Exam? The Eleven Plus Explained”

  1. Pingback: The Eleven Plus (11+) guide: Where to Start in Preparing for Entrance School Exams - Bettering Youth

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