Are All 11 Plus Exams the Same?

Lots of parents each year sit with crossed fingers, legs and toes hoping their child will be accepted into an excellent grammar school. By all means, a grammar school is not a make-or-break moment for any child, but these schools have been known to nurture talented students and help them excel.

Students who want to get into a grammar school must sit a grammar school entrance exam knows as the 11+ test. However, contrary to what many parents believe, not all 11+ exams are the same. This is important information when preparing your child to take the test. Read on to learn how the 11+ test can differ.

The GL Assessment 11 Plus Exam

Standing the test of time, the 11 plus exam made by GL Assessment - the first of two examining bodies - has been around for over two decades.

The test had been criticised for being too predictable. Instead of children evidencing their rational thinking, logic and intelligence, the test was set up to make students only recite answers. However, the exam body has addressed these concerns and improved their 11 plus exam in the last years. It is still widely used as an entrance exam.

Durham University CEM 11 Plus Test

The second body developing an 11 plus exam is at the Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring (CEM) in partnership with Durham University. This test has also been criticised because past papers are not released, and thus, it is hard to prepare for. A specific 11+ preparation course remains the best way to prepare for the CEM version of the 11 plus exam.

The Good News!

The good news is even though there are two examining bodies, these exams are quite similar. They both test students in four key concepts and look into much of the same topics. Yet, when a single answer could be the difference, it is always best for your child to prepare for the exact 11+ exam they will take.

The Third 11 Plus Exam

There is a small percentage of grammar schools who choose to use neither of the examining bodies above. These schools will prepare their own entrance assessment made by their teachers. As any parent can imagine, preparing for one of these exams is difficult and using an 11 plus preparation course remains one of the most effective ways.

Other Factors

Some grammar schools will look beyond the exam result when admitting students. They may also factor in the student’s accomplishments in sport, music or other disciplines. Even students who are gifted in these areas will need a strong academic background.

Preparing for 11 Plus Success

11 Plus Success has been helping students prepare for both types of 11+ assessments set down by both examining bodies in a single course. Choose an 11 plus preparation course that is tailored to the needs of your child and the test they are actually going to sit!

Enter your text here...

  • Hi. Please do you know which of the two exams that North halifax grammar school, halifax in West Yorkshire takes? Is it GL, CEM or do they have theirs prepared by the teachers? Thanks

    • Hi Bola
      Thanks a lot for your comment.
      Yes indeed, The Crossley Heath Grammar School and The North Halifax Grammar School exams are both GL Assessment.

      The Crossley Heath Grammar School consists of three parts to the entrance exam: English, Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning.
      English: 60 minutes – 30 minutes comprehension test and 30 minutes writing test.
      Mathematics: 30 minutes to attempt 40 questions.
      Verbal Reasoning: 30 minutes to attempt 50 questions

      The North Halifax Grammar School operate a joint registration and admissions process with Crossley Heath School. The admission test will consist of:
      • a test in English
      • a test in Mathematics
      • a nationally validated test in Verbal Reasoning (VR)

      Site features example test papers. GL Assessment for Verbal Reasoning, Maths and English papers are created by the school themselves

      Would you like some more information?
      Please email us at: to discuss further.
      Many thanks

  • >
    Share This