What You Can Expect From the 11+ Exam

What is the 11+ Exam?

The term “11+” or “11 plus mock tests” is used to describe various tests that are used to determine whether or not a child is eligible to enter into Grammar School. The exact format and contents of the exam vary greatly from one region to another, and pass marks can as well. So it is critical to check into the details of the test in your local area and be prepared for what will take place on test day.

What Can My Child Expect From the 11+ Exam?


A majority of 11+ exams contain some or all of the subjects below:

English – Tasks on the exam can include grammar, punctuation, spelling or comprehension and generally questions will be based on skills that are covered by the English Key Stage 2 curriculum.

Maths – Exam questions tend to be based on Maths Key Stage 2 concepts.

Multistep word and problem-solving problems are quite common since examiners are wanting children to use a broad range of skills and ‘think outside of the box.’

Verbal reasoning – Children are tested on their abilities for solving problems, that involve letters, numbers, and words. Common questions include word meanings (antonyms and synonyms), codes, relationships, and sequences. To be successful, a broad vocabulary is essential.

Spatial and Non-Verbal Reasons – This part of tests a child’s abilities to see relationships and patterns between 3D and 2D shapes. Common types include code type questions differences and similarities, and patterns and sequences.

11+ Exam Timing

11+ papers timing will vary between areas, and you should also check to find out what the actual times are for the test your child is going to be sitting for. Children commonly do not finish their paper. However, don’t worry. It isn’t necessarily a problem. A clock should be visible inside the room and the starting and ending times (or amount of time allowed on the paper) should be displayed clearly so that all students can see it. Tip: Be sure your child is able to calculate time intervals. That is why she or he will be able to work out quickly the amount of time they have left on the exam.

11+ Exam Answer Formats

Most 11+ exams are either Standard Answer format or Multiple Choice format.

On multiple-choice exams, students are problems with a small list of potential answers and must choose the best answer. These answers are often recorded on a special type of answer paper that has a grid format for children to make their answers on. The lost of potential answers often includes one ‘silly’ answer, in addition to a couple of obvious ‘wrong answers’ that are designed to catch children who haven’t fully read the question or completed all of a word problem’s steps, for example. It can be very helpful to fill the special answer paper out and for you and your child to check the answer options and discuss the kinds of wrong answers that are displayed.

In a standard format exam, a child is asked to write down their answer within the provided space. Often there will space for writing in subjects such as Maths so you should encourage your child to write down their working since sometimes that will mean they are awarded at least 1 point on a 2-point question. On a Standard Format English exam, normally a child will be expected to write their answers in full sentences with proper punctuation and spelling. It is very important to make sure you know what the question is actually for. For example, ‘find and copy a phrase or word from the text’ means the child must directly quote from the text instead of writing down their own idea.

Necessary Equipment for Taking the 11+ Exam

Stationery will usually be supplied to take the exam, or you will be provided with a list of requirements ahead of time. Be sure your child knows how to properly use a ruler and protractor if they are allowed.

Make Use of Jottings in the 11+ Exam

Children are allowed in a majority of 11+ exams to (and should also be in the habit of using) jottings, showing their working, and underlining phrases and keywords.