Everything you need to know about the GL 11+ Assessment: 2021-22 edition

The GL 11+ exam has been used for over 35 years to help students demonstrate their skill and academic fortitude to competitive independent and grammar schools.

Like all 11+ entrance exams, the GL transfer exam is taken in the Fall prior to year 7 with most exams written in September. However, in light of the interruption during the 2019-2021 academic year, many schools have decided to push the date back a few weeks. (Please be sure to check with your individual school for more details.)

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Poster highlighting everything you need to know about the 11+ GL exams: academic proficiency exam, taken at the start of year 6, maths english non verbal and verbal reasoning.

What is GL assessment testing?

GL Assessment testing is used by independent schools and grammar schools across the UK to assess a student’s academic skill and overall potential. GL assessments are typically used for the 11+ entrance exams. They are written in the Fall of the child’s Year 6 academic year in preparation for entrance in Year 7.  These exams tend to use multiple choice questions across Math, English, Non Verbal Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. 

What does GL in GL assessment stand for?

GL stands for Grenada Learning. Grenada Learning bought out the previously used formative assessment provider, NFER in 2001. NFER, National Education Foundation for Education Research, still works in conjunction with GL as a research company. 

How do I prepare for the GL 11+ Entrance exam?

One of the best ways to prepare for the 11+ entrance exam is to start with little and often exposure to the GL style of questions. Doing practice papers can help your child become familiar with the transfer test exam layout. 

Bettering Youth is also a strong believer in preparing children mentally and emotionally for exams. In preparation for the GL 11+ entrance exam, your child should also develop resilience, understand how to deal with stress in a healthy manner, and manage time effectively. These are all key skills Bettering Youth tutors blend into our mindfulness tuition programs. 


11+ Practice Papers using the GL assessment

Below are the practice papers and familiarization papers provided by GL assessment. They are free to print!

Verbal Reasoning:

11+ Verbal Reasoning Parent’s Guide

11+ Verbal Reasoning Booklet 1

11+ Verbal Reasoning Answer Sheet 1

11+ Verbal Reasoning Booklet 2

11+ Verbal Reasoning Answer Sheet 2

11+ Verbal Reasoning Booklet 3

Verbal Reasoning Answer Sheet 3

Non-Verbal Reasoning:

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Parent’s Guide

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Booklet 1

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Answer Sheet 1

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Booklet 2

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Answer Sheet 2

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Booklet 3

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Answer Sheet 3

11 Plus English:

11+ English Parent’s Guide

11+ English Booklet 1

11+ English Answer Sheet 1

11+ English Booklet 2

11+ English Answer Sheet 2

11 Plus Maths:

11+ Maths Parent’s Guide 1

11+ Maths Booklet 1

11+ Maths Answer Sheet 1

11+ Maths Booklet 2

11+ Maths Answer Sheet 2

What schools use GL assessment?

As a general rule, the following counties use GL assessments: Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Kent, Lancashire & Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Medway, Northern Ireland.

What format are GL assessment answers?

Answers for these 11+ exams can be standard, although they are more often multiple choice questions with answers being written in an answer booklet. 

What subjects do the GL 11+ exams assess?

The GL entrance exams focus on four main areas: English, Maths, Non Verbal Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. 


  • Reading comprehension of fiction/non-fiction texts and poetry
  • Short exercises in spelling, punctuation and grammar 


  •  Number, measurement, geometry and statistics 

Non Verbal and Spatial Reasoning:

NVR tests are meant to ascertain if a child can identify important information and manipulate information without forgetting detail. The questions will work with diagrams and pictures. These are important aspects to Math and Science. 

Spatial tests involve the mental creation, retention and manipulation of visual images. They assess the efficiency of the thinking processes that use mental images of shapes and space. (gl assessment, 2020) 

  • Odd one out
  • Rotations
  • Code breaking
  • Like shapes identification
  • Missing sequences
  • Missing squares
  • Most Like
  • Nets
  • Spatial Recognition

Verbal Reasoning:

VR tests focus on the connection between words. They may involve the manipulation of letters and numbers to create codes and patterns. 

There are 21 types of Verbal Reasoning questions used in GL assessments:

  • Code breaking,
  • Removing and inserting a letter to form a new word
  • Related words
  • Closest meaning
  • Identifying hidden words
  • missing words
  • working with letter and numbers
  • rearranging letter
  • letter sequences
  • connecting word
  • number sequences
  • forming a compound word
  • Word making
  • letter connections
  • logical problem solving
  • antonyms (Opposite words)
  • Synonyms (Similar words)
  • Completing the words
vocabulary freebie
Download our 11+ vocabulary builder

How long are the GL assessment papers?

Most GL exams are 45 minutes for 50 questions. Though this may vary. 

Schools that use the GL 11+ entrance exams

Aylesbury Grammar School

Aylesbury High School

Barton Court Grammar School, Kent Test

Beaconsfield High School

Borden Grammar School, Kent Test

Boston Grammar School, Boston

Boston High School 

Bourne Grammar School, Bourne

Bournemouth School

Bournemouth School for Girls 

Burnham Grammar School

Calday Grange Grammar School 

Carre’s Grammar School, Sleaford

Chatham & Clarendon Grammar Kent Test

Chesham Grammar School

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School 

Cranbrook School Kent Test

Crossley Heath Grammar

Dane Court Grammar School, Broadstairs  Kent Test

Dartford Grammar School Kent Test

Dartford Grammar School for Girls Kent Test

Devonport High School for Boys

Devonport High School for Girls

Dover Grammar School for Boys Kent Test

Dover Grammar School for Girls Kent Test

Dr. Challoner’s High School

Dr. Challoner’s Grammar School

Ermysted’s Grammar School

Folkestone School for Girls, Kent Test

Gravesend Grammar School Kent Test

Henrietta Barnett School

Highsted School Kent Test

Highworth Grammar School Kent Test

Invicta Grammar School Kent Test

John Hampden Grammar School

Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, Grantham

Kesteven and Sleaford High School, Sleaford

King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth

Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School

Lancaster Royal Grammar School

Loreto Grammar School

Maidstone Grammar School Kent Test

Maidstone Grammar School for Girls Kent Test

Mayfield Grammar School Kent Test

Oakwood Park Grammar School Kent Test

Parkstone Grammar School, Poole

Parmiter’s School

Plymouth High School for Girls

Poole Grammar School

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Alford

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham Kent Test

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Horncastle

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School for Boys

Queen Elizabeth’s High School, Gainsborough

Queens’ School

Rickmansworth School

Ripon Grammar School

Royal Grammar School High Wycombe

Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School Kent Test

Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys Kent Test

Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School

Skipton Girls’ High School

Sir William Borlase School

Skegness Grammar School

Sir Roger Manwood’s School Kent Test

South Wilts Grammar School for Girls

Spalding Grammar School

Spalding High School

St. Michael’s Catholic Grammar School

St Clement Danes School

The Folkestone School for Girls Kent Test

The Harvey Grammar School Kent Test

The Judd School Kent Test

The King’s School, Grantham 

The Latymer School, Edmonton

The Norton Knatchbull School Kent Test

The Royal Latin School

The Skinners’ School Kent Test

Tonbridge Grammar School Kent Test

Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School Kent Test

Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys Kent Test

Upton Hall School

Watford Grammar School for Boys

Watford Grammar School for Girls

Weald of Kent Grammar School Kent Test

West Kirby Grammar School

Wilmington Grammar School for Boys Kent Test

Wilmington Grammar School for Girls Kent Test

Wirral Grammar School

Wirral Grammar School for Girls

Wycombe High School

What is the Kent Test?

The Kent Test is an entrance exam created by the county of Kent. Schools that use the Kent exam will require students to sit a non verbal, verbal reasoning and Maths paper that are produced by GL Assessments, while the English portion is an additional piece set by the school.

Is tuition necessary?

The 11+ entrance exams have become increasingly more challenging. As such, preparing your child for the types of questions and exam layout can ensure a more confident approach to the exam. This is why Bettering Youth offers exam preparation for pre-year 4s, year 4s and year 5s. We believe learning should be personalised, fun, and also teach the child how to deal with stress and performance anxiety.

If you would like to discuss your child’s exam please get in touch, here.

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Sarahlynn Preparing for an online workshop with parents

About the Team

GL 11 + exam tutors at Bettering Youth offer academic and emotional wellbeing support to students. Our head office is located in Ascot but tutors offer 1-1 online and in person sessions across the county. Trusted by over 1.3 thousand families worldwide.

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