What is 11 Plus?

Dec 29, 2019 | North Oxford

What is the 11+?

The 11+ is a selective entrance examination for secondary school, used by both state-funded grammar schools and many private schools to identify the most academically-able children.

The exam is taken towards the end of Year 5 or beginning of Year 6 of primary school.

The 11+ is still used in the following counties which have state-funded grammar schools: Berkshire, Bexley, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Cumbria, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Medway, Shropshire, Trafford, Wiltshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral, Wolverhampton and Yorkshire.

Northern Irish grammar schools use the Northern Ireland Transfer Test.

There are two main exam boards for the 11+ exam: CEM (Durham University) and GL Assessment. Which exam board will be used usually depends on the location of your chosen grammar school. However, sometimes exam boards can vary between schools in the same area, so it's important to check with your chosen grammar school what exam board they're using as it will affect how you prepare your child: 

GL Assessment: Dorset, Kent, Lancashire & Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Medway, Northern Ireland, Wiltshire.

CEM: Berkshire, Bexley, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral, Wolverhampton.

GL and CEM: Devon, Essex, Hertfordshire, Trafford, Yorkshire

What does it test?

The content and structure of the 11+ exam varies between different areas of the country, but it will generally focus on a combination of the following four subjects:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Non-verbal reasoning

Although the content of the English and maths tests tend to follow the National Curriculum, verbal and non-verbal reasoning are not subjects that are taught as part of the curriculum in state primary schools.