What Should Someone Expect if Taking the 11+ Exam?

What should your child expect if they take the 11+ exam?

An even better question first is what exactly is this 11+ exam?

The terminology of ’11+’ is widely used in reference to various tests used in ascertaining whether or not a child is personally eligible to enter Grammar School. The specific exam format, contents, and pass marks can vary quite a bit from one region to the next. As such, it is crucial to look into the specific details for any testing done in your area so you can be prepared for what is going to happen on the actual testing day. It is possible to sit 11 + mock exams in preparation for the real thing.

What should your child anticipate in the 11+ exam?


The majority of 11+ exams have questions that touch on some of or even all of the following subject matters:


Exam tasks might include grammar, punctuation, spelling, and comprehension questions based on the skills that the Key Stage 2 English curriculum goes over.


Exam questions are usually based off of the concepts in Key Stage 2 Maths. Multistep problems and problem-solving are frequent since examiners want children to apply various skills and get creative in their thinking.

Verbal Reasoning

Kids get tested on their capability to solve provided problems that incorporate letters, numbers, and words. Common questions might include things like codes, relationships, and sequences, as well as word meanings (via antonyms and synonyms). A large vocabulary is crucial for later success in life.

Nonverbal and Spatial Reasoning:

This area of the test probes the capability of children to see patterns and recognise relationships between both 2- and 3-D shapes. Frequent test items might include code-type questions, similarities and differences, and sequences and patterns.

The 11+ Exam Timing

There are regional variations in the 11+ papers’ timing, so you need to again look up actual testing times your child might sit through. Children frequently fail to finish the entire paper, but this isn’t actually an issue most of the time. A clock is made visible inside the testing room. Also, the start and finish times, or just the time allotted for the paper, are also clearly displayed so everyone can see.

Pro Tip: Be sure your child is able to calculate time intervals so they’re able to figure out how much time they have left.

11+ Exam Answer Formats

Most 11+ exams are either standard answer formatting or multiple choice.

Multiple-choice exams mean students are provided a shortlist of potential answers and have to pick the best one. Many times, answers get recorded on special answering paper that has a grid format so children are able to mark the answers they choose. In a list of potential answer choices, there’s usually a minimum of one answer choice that might just be considered ‘silly’ as well as a few blatantly ‘wrong answers’. These are intended to flush out children that didn’t complete every step on a word problem or failed to fully read the question. It’s useful to go about practising filling out a special answer paper, as well as looking over answer options with your child, so you can discuss what kinds of wrong answers might be shown.

Standard format exams happen when a child needs to write down answers in a provided space. There is usually space for jottings in a subject such as Maths, so you should encourage your kid to demonstrate their workings, since this will sometimes get them at least 1 point in a 2-point question. In a standard format English exam, test takers are typically expected to write out in full sentences using proper spelling and punctuation. It’s crucial to see what the question is specifically asking for. For instance, finding and copying a phrase or word from the text means direct quoting rather than writing down their own thoughts.

11+ Exam Equipment Requirements

In many cases, the exam will come supplied with stationery. There might also be a list of the requirements dispersed in advance. Be sure that your child already knows how to properly use rulers and protractors if they are allowed.

Using 11+ Exam Jottings

In the majority of 11+ exams, children are not only permitted but should even be in a habit of making jottings where they underline phrases and keywords to demonstrate their working.

Clare Louise