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11 Plus English Paper

A full syllabus as to what our 11 Plus English papers contain, how they are composed, from the Comprehensions to the Writing tasks. In turn, the English sample paper with full exemplar responses is linked to on this page.


Our comprehensions have been created using a variety of articles and texts, to expose your child to a truly broad range of possible material.

We believe that children should understand the context of language in a way it shall be presented to them in real life, rather than in an exam paper. Our English papers ultimately train you child to understand an article, critically break it down into its constituent parts, before then creating their own piece of writing, in a form of a written task. This, we believe is how English should be tested, and is the best form of understanding all parts of what your child will be assessed for in an exam. From vocabulary, to understanding sentence structure and spelling will all assessed in each of our English papers. Each comprehension contains 20 marks worth of questions.


What Articles Did We Use?

We have taken articles based on a number of different styles, including:

Book Excerpts
  • These are the most typical of comprehensions to expect in an exam, and generally come from fictional books. Our papers contain a number of excerpts from fictional books written for your child’s age, and therefore are perfect for assessment. The style should be familiar to your child, as it would be similar to the books they study in school, although a few papers have been made more challenging, introducing new vocabulary to expose your child to a higher level of English, to prepare them for anything they may be challenged with.
Science Journals
  • These test your child’s ability to absorb unknown content, and unfamiliar words. This truly tests how to understand the context of an article, using words you do understand to try to unpick facts, and follow a logical progression of ideas.
Newspaper Articles
  • These present a story, sometimes in a bias way, to a wide audience. Here the language is of a simple level, yet deducing between fact and opinion may be tricky, and requires a detailed understanding of the nuances of journalistic writing.
  • These are the least formal of the English language texts in our tests. They adopt a sometimes ‘chatty’ form but are nonetheless a vital part of the English language in current society, and therefore understanding how to convey a message in a relatable, quick and efficient way is a skill your child will need to be well accustomed to.
Instruction-Based Text
  • Whilst these could take a number of different forms, generally they are recipes or instruction booklet excerpts. These articles will be the most rigorous with respect to specific details within texts, and therefore require a thorough read of the article before attempting the question.


What Sort of Questions can you Expect?

Our comprehensions contain in general 3 styles of questions: grammatical analysis, text analysis, and opinion- based questions.

Grammatical Analysis
  • Each of our papers will contain at least 2 questions testing your child’s understanding of the grammar within the text. This could be about specific words, such as finding an adjective, noun, verb or synonym. They could ask you to define certain unfamiliar words using the information provided to you. They may question your understanding of sentence syntax, such as why the author used direct text, or ended the story with an exclamation.

Sample Question: “Considering the text, suggest a synonym for the word ‘unravel’ (line 5). (1)”

NB: All questions end with a number in brackets indicated the number of marks available for this questions. They add up to a total of 20.

Text Analysis
  • These questions are based directly from the text, asking you to recall facts from specific lines, and may ask for multiple points to obtain full marks.  These questions could be in the form of multiple “true or false” style questions, asking you to rewrite parts of the passage or continue writing the text in your own voice. They assess understanding of the text, and will differentiate between students who have grasps some concepts of the text, compared to those who have internalised the full text, and the accompanying abstract concepts.

Sample Question: “Using information in the text, state whether the following image descriptions would more characteristic of a 1970s textbook or of a 2005 textbook, giving a reason for your answer in each case:

a) American fighter plane fires at Vietnamese soldiers. (2)

b) American soldier being treated in a hospital bed for severe injuries. (2)”

  • These questions test a much broader understanding of the text. Whilst many children will be able to pick out specific parts of grammar, or find facts within a text, a limited number will be able to fully absorb the text in front of them, and then develop concise arguments for questions posed towards them. These questions are therefore the most challenging, but also give very effective practice to your child. By forcing them to question why they believe certain ideas within a text, they begin to develop a foundation of critical analysis, a fundamental basis of answering comprehensions at all levels, even through to GCSEs.


Written Mark-Schemes with Full Exemplar Answers

Our comprehensions have been planned and tested thoroughly to ensure they teach your child, each and every time. Alongside a challenging set of questions, our papers offer unrivalled mark schemes, and offer further information, to reinforce learning. We want children to use our mark schemes to supplement their learning, and to ensure they get the most out of every comprehension.

Writing Tasks

To accompany our comprehensions, each English test has a writing task for your child, which varies in its nature. They form the final part of our all-encompassing syllabus, challenging your child to put to practice all the language understanding they currently have, and to apply it to various situations. Each paper is accompanied with a full sample essay, written specifically to the title, and therefore provides a realistic idea of how your child could write their essay in the future. Our writing tasks fall into one of 5 categories:

Describing an Experience using Vivid Details
  • For example, a title may be “You went scuba diving for the very first time at a coral reef. Write a diary entry describing what you experienced. (20)” This type of question looks at assessing the use of appropriate and extensive vocabulary to ultimately paint a picture in the mind of the reader. Furthermore, conveying this image effectively in a tone suitable for the setting, with adequate sentence flow to ensure the reader can follow a logical storyline is a necessity to achieve the top marks.
Picture Description / Inspiration
  • Some of our writing tasks will involve showing a picture, and asking the student to use it to create their own piece of writing. This style of question is very open, and encourages children to be creative, and interpreting the image in any way they like. Rather than looking for a detailed description of what the image contains, this question looks more for a story, with the image being but a snapshot of it.
Book Review
  • This question is rare, but offered as a means of assessing your child’s ability to summarise an piece of writing. This question will normally ask your child to review a book they have recently read, and encourages the development of ideas and opinion.
Arguments For and Against a Case
  • This is another less common question, however, asks your child to form arguments for and against a posed question, such as “Should it be compulsory for every student to play a musical instrument? (20)”. This again develops a mind-set for your child, getting them to think analytically about scenarios, and to then synthesis an adequate debate, weighing up for and against arguments.
Creative Writing
  • Finally, this type of question truly encompasses the vast majority of writing questions your child might encounter. It assesses all of the following question types above, the ability to describe events vividly, to tell a story effectively, to develop ideas and opinions and to potentially develop arguments too. However, ultimately, the test of a good story is its effect on the reader, and to entertain them. Whilst this may initially seem a challenge, we have over 60 fully written answers, customised to each writing task of each English paper, to help get your child in the mind-set of a budding author!

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