WHAT IS THE 11+ EXAM?
The eleven plus exam is part of secondary school selection.
The Eleven plus test is a test given to pupils in their last year of primary school (year 6 in England and year 7 in Northern Ireland) and is used as a means to determine whether that pupil is suited to the academic rigours of a grammar school education.
In other words will he/she be offered a place in the grammar school of their parent's choice? Since the early 1970s many areas of the United Kingdom have not used the Eleven plus exam and have favoured a comprehensive education system that is non-selective. However, there are still a considerable number of Local Authorities (LAs), Foundation Schools, independent schools and private schools that still admit pupils based on selection using the test known as the Elevenplus.
Many of these LAs and some of these schools use 11 plus test papers prepared by NFER.
The 11plus exam is used extensively in Bucks, Kent and Essex.
(The 11+ exam is known as the Transfer Test in Northern Ireland.)
What Sort of Eleven Plus Test Will My Child Have to Take?
This will vary from LA to LA and from grammar school to grammar school. The eleven plus exam papers will be based on some or all of the following types of questions and it may involve sitting two or even three eleven plus examinations. Sometimes the tests will be of a different kind, e.g. a non-verbal reasoning and a verbal reasoning test and in other cases the tests will be the same e.g. two verbal reasoning tests. It is also possible that the test paper may be a combination of two or more of these question types.
Verbal Reasoning for the eleven plus.
This involves the child thinking about words and text and solving problems, sequences etc. It requires the pupil to have a good grasp of English grammar and a wide vocabulary. Most schools and LAs administer at least one verbal reasoning test. There are at least 21 different types of VR questions.
Non-verbal Reasoning eleven plus tests.
Many LAs and independent schools also use non-verbal reasoning tests. 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. However it makes less demand on the understanding of written language.
Mathematics and English eleven plus tests.
These are used by some LAs and schools, but not to the same extent as verbal reasoning tests and non-verbal reasoning tests. However where they are used you can expect the requirements to be quite high.
Learning Together provide suitable practice material in all these subject areas.
Who sets the eleven plus exam?
Many of the 11plus tests used by grammar schools or LAs are produced by NFER or Durham University CEM and they both have comprehensive information on their websites. Private schools often produce their own tests so it is worth visiting their website for information.
The 11 plus papers come in two formats:
Traditional format where your child writes the answers in a space on the eleven plus test paper.
Multiple choice format where your child marks their answer on a separate score sheet by putting a line against the correct answer. This in itself is a difficult task and is akin to Non-verbal reasoning. This type of answer format is usually to accommodate marking using a computer optical reading machine. (many teachers call these multiple guess papers).
Eleven plus exam administration.
The LAs or the schools themselves usually carry out all eleven plus exam administration. You should contact your chosen school or LA for all administrative details.