Understanding 11+ Exams

Many parents now opt for the grammar and private schools which are renowned for their superior GCSE and A Level results when compared to other forms of secondary education. In turn, these schools have a strict admission policy based on a child’s academic ability dictated by a selection best known as the Eleven Plus exam (or 11+).

The 11+ exam is taken usually in the first term of Year 6 in primary school for Grammar schools and in some independent schools they  into the early Spring term. The result is then publish in early March which determines whether your child will be admitted into the school. A reason for this selection process is to establish the child’s ability to cope with the demanding academic schedule of the grammar and independent school and hence the very good results achieved by these schools.

The 11plus exam are based on some or all of the following types of questions and usually involve sitting between 2 and 4 examinations.


Verbal Reasoning

This involves the child understanding the words and text clearly to solve problems, sequences, and many more types of problems requiring the utilisation of different techniques. It therefore requires the child to have a good grasp of English grammar and a wide vocabulary. Nearly all schools and many Local Authorities administer at least one Verbal Reasoning test as part of their 11plus tests.

Non-verbal Reasoning

This involves the child thinking about pictures and diagrams, and solving problems based on these items. It also makes demands on the child’s mathematical capabilities. but very little on the use of English.

Mathematics and English

These are used by some Local Authorities and schools, but not to the same extent as Verbal Reasoning tests and Non-Verbal Reasoning tests. However, where they are used, the standards are high.

The number of students applying for grammar schools is increasing every year, making the demand for places available very competitive. It is therefore advised for parents to start preparing their child for the exams at least 18 months in advance to keep the learning curve incremental. It also allows sufficient time to meet the exacting  standards set by learning these area thoroughly and then giving them exam practice to ensure they are fully prepared.

We start preparing students for 11+ exams from Year 4 (See our 11plus Foundation). However, parents can still introduce their children to 11+ earlier then this as we have great expertise and resources to enable for earlier preparation. Our dedicated teachers have many years experience in helping students to prepare for the these exams for which are fantastic results speak for themselves and brought about by our passion to see your child being successful in their application to their school of choice. Our success is brought about our understanding of what the schools require and encompassing this in our hugely successfully methodology centred on on our committed to ensuring your child’s success. This is complimented by our vast bank of resources and papers comprising of both external and inhouse bespoke papers to assist with the preparation and practice for the exams.


Children living in the Harrow, Wembley, Ealing, Barnet and surrounding areas are very fortunate that they have access to some of the best schools in the country.