How Do I Pass the 11+ Exams?

If you found yourself reading this blog post, you’re likely to be a young and bright student preparing for your 11 plus exam - or the parent of a young and bright child. The million-pound question is how do you pass the 11 plus exam?

The 11 plus exam is the assessment used by Grammar Schools to determine which students will thrive in an academically challenging schooling environment, ultimately preparing them for University and highly respected careers.

To know how to pass the 11 plus exam, you need to know more about the content of the 11 plus exam and how the selection system works. We have the key information right here!

The Content of the 11 Plus Exam

There is no single type of 11 plus exam and it is always worth knowing which type of 11 plus exam your child will sit. A small majority of Grammar Schools use their own exam made by their teachers. The other Grammar Schools are likely to use one of two tests made by two different examining bodies.

If your child is sitting one of these exams, they will be confronted with questions that fall within four different categories:

1. Maths (Numerical Reasoning)

The Maths section requires students to display advanced knowledge of Mathematic subjects taught in the National Curriculum. They will be faced with long division, ratios, algebra, fractions, multiplication and fractions.

2. English

Similarly, students will need to be pushing the ceiling of the national curriculum with their English skills. The must have a wider-than-average vocabulary with excellent skills in comprehension.

3. Verbal Reasoning

Close to the English component of the exam but not the same, Verbal Reasoning requires an in-depth understanding of syntactic structures (Grammar). They should be able to use their knowledge and skills to analyse sentences and texts.

4. Non-Verbal Reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning questions will focus on the student’s problem-solving skills and their abilities to think logically. They may look at sequences, images and diagrams to find an answer. This section is one of the most difficult to prepare for.

Why Is All This Relevant?

You came here to find out how to pass the exam, not what is in it, right? Well, the truth is that you need to know what is in the exam in order to know how to pass the 11 plus exam. Students need to prepare for their test by enhancing on these skills. For example, if a student is weak in percentages, they will need to improve in that area because it is part of the numerical reasoning section of the exam.

To make sure your child is preparing for the exam properly, they will need to stick to a study schedule that caters to all these areas. Coming up with such a plan can be difficult for students and parents because they don’t have all the information - or the time to seek it out.

There are ways around this problem. Parents can spend time digging out all the different areas which the exam will cover and buy resources which will help their child. However, this can be extremely time consuming and not overly accurate. Private tutors with 11 plus experience then become an option - but these can also be very expensive.

A more affordable solution which ensures that your child is preparing for the 11 plus exam’s content is with 11 plus courses. These courses are available online and accessible at all times around your schedule. They even come with online spaces so that you can track performance and improvements.

What About the 11 Plus Exam Pass Mark?

Just like there is no single 11 plus test, there is no defined 11 plus pass mark. It is often estimated that students will need around 85% or more correct answers to earn a place at a Grammar School, but there are other factors to consider.

Different regions set their pass mark at different levels. The more Grammar Schools there are in the county means that the pass mark is usually lower - because there are more places up for grabs. But this doesn’t mean that the pass grade for two grammar schools in one region are the same.

If you are hoping for a grammar school place in Kent, Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire, your child will probably require a lower grade than if they were in Greater London. Sometimes a Grammar School will order their applicants based on their 11 plus score and then factor in some of their other accomplishments in sport or music.

In short, children should aim to do their best and prepare for the exam meticulously. You cannot change the pass grade, but you can always change the exam grade. If you find that you are just under the pass grade, there is an option to appeal. Only give the pass mark real consideration after the test has been taken and the scores are in.

Other Ways to Make the Grade

We already explained why preparing for the specific content of the exam is crucial but here are some more things you should bear in mind to help pass the exam:

  • Start extra study in the beginning of Year 5 or earlier
  • Don’t overemphasise the importance of the test - it may be too pressuring for kids
  • Make sure your child gets enough sleep and eats well
  • Research the best study tips
  • Create a studying space at home
  • Get involved and reward achievements to increase engagement

These are all ways that you as a parent can help your child prepare for the exam. Any parent who wants to provide bespoke support which is tailored to their individual needs should consider the services of 11 Plus Success.

Top-rated and made by experienced 11 plus tutors, our 11 Plus Success course is just a few clicks away. Start competing with other parent-child teams with our renowned course. The 11 Plus Success team are available and ready to answer your questions so you - and your child - can learn more!
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