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11 Plus Application Advice Overview

Understand the variants of the 11 Plus exam, and gain an understanding of how we can help you.

What is the 11 plus

Broadly speaking, the 11 plus is a means of selecting primary school children to move into secondary school. The phrase ‘11+ exam’ sometimes refers to the multiple choice exams used by grammar schools to select students, but is also used to refer to the exam independent schools use to select students too.

Grammar Schools

Grammar schools use 2 exam companies, GL and CEM, to offer their exams and this will vary on the school and area you are applying to. They broadly assess the same core skills of NVR, VR, Maths and English, and are entirely multiple choice.

  • GL 11+ exams overall cover the four subjects of Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Schools can choose to examine any or all of these four subjects, hence why our online system is fully flexible in terms of which books you can choose.

  • CEM 11+ exams cover these four subjects likewise, but over three exams: Verbal-Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning. The Verbal-Reasoning section encompasses English and Numerical Reasoning is more-or-less Mathematics.

Independent Schools

These schools do not adopt the same format as GL or CEM, and frequently formats vary between schools. The exams are designed to select only the highest achieving students applying, and therefore can include particularly challenging questions for only the most gifted of students.

  • Indepedent School exams may cover a range of school subjects in addition to Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. They are often more difficult than the GL and CEM exams, and require written and worked responses rather than multiple choice.

How does Secondary Entrance fit it this?

We as a company we collectively have sat both for grammar and independent schools around the country.

We created a unified curriculum which at its core covers all parts of the 11+, whether this is CEM, GL or an independent school exam. We have looked at papers for each style, and have made one unified resource that encourages learning, as opposed to preparation for specific exam styles.

We have written our tests in a way that minimises the amount of guesswork allowed, exposes your child to 'decoy' answers where appropriate, and develops your child's aptitude by presenting the question types that your child may face from a wide variety of angles. We get them to think laterally.

Maths – Our Maths tests fit a multiple choice style, that cover all points on the national 11+ syllabus, with some questions designed specially to challenge the most able of children, in order to prepare them for 'discriminatory questions'.

English – Our English tests consist of one comprehension and one written essay per paper. This encourages practicing English effectively, in the same style as children should expect once they begin secondary school. This also helps preparation for 11+ CEM Verbal Reasoning, which contains assessments through a passage of grammar assessment and a comprehension.

Verbal Reasoning – Our Verbal Reasoning tests follow a 11+ GL style of assessment, covering a 23-point syllabus, however, questions have been adapted to include more context within a sentence, therefore giving a child exposure not just to a vast amount of vocabulary but also its context within sentences.

Non-verbal Reasoning – Our Non-Verbal Reasoning tests assess all major pattern and question styles a child should expect from a GL, CEM or independent school assessment. They have been adapted to contain some truly discriminatory style questions, that challenge even the most able of 11+ applicants.


What we believe at Secondary Entrance

We know 11+ exams. Having ourselves sat the 11+ and have achieved places some of the most prestigious secondary schools and through to the best 10 universities in the world, we are confident that our combined experience is more than enough to help children of all ability to achieve success in the 11+.

We believe education should be affordable and of high quality, and as students how ourselves have sat the exam, we know such papers are scarce and difficult to find.

How can we help?

We have three separate services which we hope can help your child achieve their goals. We have high quality 11+ practice papers, a bespoke 11+ tutoring service and plenty of free 11+ training resources. Our content authors, editors and tutors are all experts that have studied at institutions that rank in the top 10 in the world. Our services are of the highest quality yet are very affordable.

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