What will my child be tested on in the 11+ exam?

All schools test different things in their selection tests. The exams mostly consist of Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning, Maths, and differing aspects of English. Not all schools test all four areas, but when you apply for admission you will be told what to expect in the selection exam. Good practice papers should give your child the chance of practicing all these topics.

Many independent (private) schools also require you to write a story or description.

What is Verbal Reasoning?

Verbal Reasoning is solving language-based problems. There are around forty different types of verbal reasoning questions commonly found in eleven plus exams, for example, building or identifying words, finding similar or opposite meanings, even mathematical reasoning is often included.

A wide vocabulary is vital for good Verbal Reasoning.

The papers on this website have been tested with hundreds of children, resulting in high levels of success in entrance exams.

They offer your child the opportunity to experience questions similar to those used in tests around the country.

What is Non-Verbal Reasoning?

Non-verbal reasoning is solving problems which are not language-based. These problems have pictures and patterns which come in 5 basic question types.

1. Analogies. A pair of shapes is given that are related in some way, and you have to apply the same relationship with a second set of shapes. Sometimes it’s worth describing very simply what you can see in the shape, and asking what has happened to change the shape.

2. Similarities. There are two types of similarities; the first is where you have to find a shape which matches the group. The second type is where you find the shape which does not fit, i.e. the odd man out. Again here, it’s worth describing very simply what you can see in the group of shapes, so you can find what is common to the group

3. Series. A set of shapes form a pattern and you must find the shape which is missing from the pattern, or the next shape in the series or sequence.

4. Matrices. These questions are grids of shapes where you have to match the pattern to find the missing shape. Similar reasoning to ‘analogies’.

HINT! These questions are always multiple-choice, so a good way to tackle them is to eliminate answers which are obviously wrong and remember you can do a pencil sketch if it will help visualise the answer.

5. Codes. Shapes are given codes depending on their characteristics, and you have to find out what each code letter stands for and work out the code for a given shape. Always look at each letter separately. If two shapes have the same letter then they must have something in common.

When should I start preparing my child for 11 plus exams?

Ideally children should start preparing in year 5. They can then build up knowledge gradually and gain confidence in answering the type of questions on the paper. Parents should always emphasis that by practising questions the child will find the exam easier. Try to not pressurise your child. Nervous children make silly mistakes.

How are the 11 plus exam scores calculated?

Because children born in September will be older when they sit the exams than children born in the summer months, the scores in the 11+ exam are standardised. Standardised scores correlate the pupil’s raw score and age. That means that younger children have their immaturity accounted for.

The age of the child is taken to the nearest completed month e.g. a child born on the 25th of May 2001 who takes the test on the 12th November 2011 will be 10 years and 6 months. His/her scores will be standardised by taking into account the scores and ages of all the candidates that took the test on the same day.

What is the pass mark?

There is not a pass mark! The school or Local Authority decides who is to be offered a place at a selective school. There is a pre-determined number of selective places, and these are filled from an order of merit.

Is speed or accuracy most important?

The selection papers are timed and are designed to put the candidate under some pressure, but accuracy is also important, there is no advantage getting to the end of the paper but getting 50% wrong. Many children find the timing difficult, so should be encouraged to do their best.