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  • How do you prepare for the Eleven Plus Exam?

    Practice makes perfect or so they say. However more accurately it should read "Practice, the results of which are known, makes perfect." No point practicing something if you don't know if you're getting better.


  • There are many different forms of grammar school selection tests or 11plus exam. If you are to prepare your child properly then you must find out exactly what type of test or tests your child will sit. The exam could be any combination of Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and maths!

  • You must find out all that you can about the 11plus in your area and then prepare accordingly. Structured preparation for the 11plus will improve your child's understanding and self-confidence. Parental support and encouragement is crucial to your child's attitude as they prepare for the 11plus.

  • Local Authorities and private schools often provide familiarisation tests for the school pupils to complete either in school or at home. Check the school's website ! State schools are often discouraged from providing any additional practice yet many private or independent schools do provide additional practice papers. This will give these children an advantage when they come to sit the actual exam.

  • There are many ways in which parents can help their child to prepare for the11plus. Bear in mind that this additional work cannot be done in two or three weeks before the exam. It will require a lot of time and effort from both parent and child.

How to pass the 11plus. Tips for parent and child.

  • Find and practice using good quality practice material which provide scores and relevant professional feedback.

  • Get all the right equipment including rough paper, a few pencils and a watch. A child must get used to practicing in an exam situation so you’re used to the pressure when it comes to your real exam. As a parent you must check with the relevant body/school to ensure what equipment is permitted in the exam room.

  • Encourage your child to practice as many different types of questions and tests as possible before sitting the real exam. The more questions that they practice the more confident you will be and the more types of questions you will have seen.

  • Get the information. Parents should ask the school or LEA for information on the content of the exam their child will be sitting. You have the right to ask what sort of questions will be asked, where the child will be expected to sit the exam and how long the test will last. Will the test be in the school or at another venue.

Some simple tips.

  • When they practice any form of question make sure your child is in a comfortable environment.

  • Don’t sit them down to a practice just before going out or when they’re going to be disturbed or they are focused on something else. It’s important to give your child your full attention both when practicing and when taking the  real exam.

  • We suggest that you take the practice tests offered by the school or LEA.  They may be quite short and may have a worked example, have a go at those to get a flavour for the type of questions you’ll be given.


  • Your child needs to practice various questions to be comfortable that their skills are up to the required standard to sit the 11+ exam.

For your child to read.

  • Read any guidance provided before sitting your selection test. Make sure you know how much time you have and roughly how long you should be spending on each question.

  • Don’t get bogged down on a question. If you get stuck, don’t let the clock run down, move on, you might find the next question easier and you’ll pick up more marks by moving on.

  • ​Once you leave a question forget about it until you return to it later in the exam.

  • Don’t guess wildly. Your 11plus exam score will be gained using a combination of speed and accuracy. It’s important not to haphazardly guess to try and finish all the questions.

  • ​Work carefully and as quickly as you can. The more you practice the quicker you will get at each type of question.


  • Spend a few seconds familiarising yourself with any information you’re presented with before launching into the question. 

  • Get used to doing rough work on paper and use a big A4 sheet so you’ll have enough room to do your workings. Leave yourself plenty of space and don't cram all your workings into the corner.

For parents to read.

If you are going to help your child then use quality practice products that provide both scores and professional feedback on their performance. The aim is to improve future scores and understanding.

Feedback is essential if you are using any online exam practice aids. This feedback will help you find out how many questions your child got right and where you could improve.

We recommend, as do many schools and tutoring companies, a company called Learning Together. They provide suitable practice material in all 4 subject areas and have a useful online practice platform at .

Commercial Practice Papers

  • Many versions of these exist and are available from good bookshops and on the Internet. Choose a publisher that employs experienced teachers at Key Stage Two level. You need to use the knowledge that the author has gained in the classroom.

  • Practicing a variety of question types, in both traditional format and multiple choice, will help your child to become more confident in their own ability and will introduce them to a wide range of questions of varying difficulty. 
    If you are going to coach your child yourself the you will need good skills and techniques books. 

Other Options
Other options include CD roms full of 11plus practice papers. CD roms can be a bit of a pain to setup and use but many contain useful practice. Of more use is a good online systems operating through your browser.  Learning Together is a very well established publishing house and have launched a comprehensive online learning platform.

  • Epapers for Immediate Use
    This a useful source when you need extra papers in a hurry. Many sites offer downloadable products.

  • Private Tutors
    The thousand dollar question! Do I send my child to a private tutor either one to one or in a small group. If this is your choice then you must be certain that the person that you entrust your child to is honest. trustworthy and does not present any threat to your child's safety and that you will get value for money. Sitting in a group of 15 or 20 pupils is not much different from being in a school classroom and personal attention to your child may be limited.

  • However attending a good tutor will usually be very beneficial for your child. Recommendations from friends and family can be a useful way to link to a good tutor.

  • Do it yourself! Some publishers such as Learning Together publish skills and technique books on verbal reasoning and non verbal reasoning and we have found these to be very useful for parents that want to coach their own child.

Adminstration of the 11plus exam.
You should contact your chosen school or LA for all administrative details as this can vary widely across the country.

Preparing for the elevenplus exam.

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