11 Plus Exam Questions and Answers for Parents

If you are a parent of a Year 6 student, you are probably wondering what the 11 Plus exam is all about and how to prepare your child for it. Here we’ll answer some of your frequently asked questions about the 11+.

What Is the 11 Plus exam?

11 Plus Exam Questions and Answers for Parents

The 11 Plus is a standardised test that is used to assess the academic abilities of students in their final year of primary school or Year 6 (age 10-11).

The exam is used by some grammar schools and other selective schools in England and Northern Ireland to determine which pupils are admitted to school for secondary education.

Why Should My Child Sit for the 11 Plus?

Your child may want to sit for the 11 Plus to attend a selective secondary school such as a grammar school and independent or private school. A selective secondary school offers a more challenging curriculum and a more rigorous academic environment. They can also provide students with access to a wider range of extracurricular activities and opportunities.

Of course, there are also other good secondary schools that a student can attend, even if they do not sit for the 11 Plus. However, a selective secondary school can offer several advantages that may be appealing to you.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to sit for the 11 Plus is a personal one. Parents should carefully consider their child’s individual needs and school aspirations before making a decision.

If you are unsure whether or not your child should sit for the 11 Plus, you can talk to their school teacher, a careers advisor, or other parents who have experience with the exam.

Is the 11 Plus the Same Across the UK?

The 11+ is not the same across the UK. The specific content of the exam, as well as the way it is administered, can vary from region to region and from one grammar school to another. 

Two exam boards play a key role in developing and administering the 11+ for most schools. GL Assessment is a leading provider of educational assessments and resources for schools and colleges.  CEM is a research and development organisation that specialises in educational assessments. The test is designed to assess students’ abilities in English and mathematics.

Some grammar schools also set their own in-house 11+. However, the majority of grammar schools use the GL or CEM. Parents should contact their local authority or the individual grammar school to find out which exam board is used for the test.

When Is the 11 Plus Taken?

The 11+ is typically taken in the spring of Year 6 or by September. The exact date of the test varies from region to region and school to school. Some grammar schools may also offer their own in-house 11+. These exams are typically taken at a different time than the regional 11+. 

Parents should contact their local authorities or individual grammar schools to find out more information about the 11+ in their area.

What Subjects Are Tested in the 11 Plus?

What subjects are tested in the 11 Plus exam?

The specific subjects that are tested in the 11+ vary from region to region or according to the exam board that administers the test. Typically, the test includes English and Maths. Contact your local authority or the preferred grammar schools to know more about the components of the 11+ in your area.

  • English: Includes grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing
  • Mathematics: Includes number skills, problem-solving, and mathematical reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning: The ability to understand and reason with language
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning: The ability to understand and reason with abstract symbols, space, and position

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What Kind of Questions Are on the 11+ Test?

The 11+ typically uses multiple-choice questions. In some English sections, the test may ask for creative writing tasks.


  • Comprehension questions: These questions ask students to read a passage of text and answer questions about it.
  • Grammar questions: These questions test students’ understanding of grammar rules.
  • Vocabulary questions: These questions test students’ knowledge of word meanings.


  • Arithmetic questions: These questions test students’ ability to perform basic arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Algebra questions: These questions test students’ ability to understand and solve algebraic equations.
  • Geometry questions: These questions test students’ ability to understand and apply geometric concepts.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Analogy questions: These questions ask students to identify the relationship between two words and then find the word that has the same relationship to a third word.
  • Synonym questions: These questions ask students to choose words that have the same meaning as a given word.
  • Antonym questions: These questions ask students to choose words with the opposite meaning as a given word.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

  • Pattern completion questions: These questions ask students to identify the next pattern in a sequence of shapes or images.
  • Arrangement questions: These questions ask students to arrange shapes or images in a specific way.
  • Logical reasoning questions: These questions ask students to identify the logical relationships between different elements of a problem.

How Long Is the 11 Plus Test?

The length of the 11+ also varies from region to region and school to school. However, most exams last for several hours.

The specific length of the 11+ can vary depending on the number of subjects that are being tested and the format of the test. For example, tests that include a written answer or non-verbal section may be longer than tests that do not.

Note also that the actual test is timed. Students need to be able to manage their time effectively to complete all of the questions.

Is the 11 Plus a Pass or Fail?

The 11+ does not have a traditional pass-or-fail scoring system. Instead, students are given a standardised score, calculated by taking into account several factors, including the student’s raw score on the test, their age, and the difficulty of the exam paper.

The standardised score is then compared to the school’s entry requirements to determine whether the student is eligible for admission.

Also, passing the test doesn’t automatically admit a child to a grammar school. In some cases, schools may also consider other factors when making admissions decisions, such as the catchment area.

What Is the Pass Rate for the 11 Plus?

There is no official pass rate for the 11+. However, most schools have their minimum requirements for entry or they use a percentile ranking system to determine which students are offered places.

This means that students are ranked against other students in their region who took the test. Schools then use this ranking system to decide which students to offer places to.

When Are the Results of the 11 Plus Released?

The results of the 11+ are typically released in mid-October, although the exact date varies from region to region and school to school. Contact the local education authority in your area or the individual grammar school to find out the exact date of the 11 Plus results release.

Once the test results are released, parents will be notified of their child’s score. They will then need to decide which secondary schools they want to apply to on behalf of their child. The deadline for applying to secondary schools is typically in late October or early November.

Secondary school places are offered to students in March. Students are offered a place at the highest-ranked school on their application form to which they meet the admissions criteria. If a student is not offered a place at any of their preferred schools, they may be able to appeal the decision.

How to Pass the Eleven Plus Test

How to Pass the 11 Plus Exam?

There are several things that children can do to prepare for the 11 Plus and increase their chances of success. Here are a few tips:

Start Preparing Early 

The sooner children start preparation for the test, the more time they will have to develop their skills and knowledge. Parents can support their children by providing them with practice materials and resources and by helping them to develop good study habits.

Focus on the Core Subjects

The tests typically cover English, mathematics, and verbal reasoning. Children need to focus on developing strong skills in these core subjects by doing extra practice in these subjects and by helping them understand the concepts that are being taught.

Practice with Past Papers

One of the best ways to prepare for the tests is to practice with past papers and other resources. This will help them to get an idea of the format of the test and the types of questions that are asked. Find free past papers for them to practice with and by helping them mark their paper.

Get Help From a Tutor

If children are struggling to prepare for the test on their own, they may want to consider getting support from a tutor. Tutors can provide them with individual attention and can help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed on the test.

Create a Positive Learning Environment

Make sure that your child has a positive learning environment at home. This means providing them with a quiet place to study and with access to the resources they need. It also means being supportive and encouraging.

If My Child Doesn’t Do Well on the 11 Plus, What Are My Options?

If your child doesn’t do well on the 11+, they may still be able to attend a good secondary school. Many good secondary schools do not require pupils to sit the 11+.

How Many People Fail the 11 Plus for Grammar Schools?

It is estimated that around 30-40% of children in England do not score high enough on the test to be admitted to a selective secondary school.

Some factors can affect a child’s chances of success on the 11 Plus, including their socioeconomic background, their access to good quality education, and their abilities. 

The 11 Plus has been criticised for being unfair to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, supporters of the test argue that it is a way to ensure that the brightest and most motivated students can attend the best secondary schools.

Can My Child Appeal Against Their 11 Plus Results?

Yes, parents have the right to appeal against their child’s 11 Plus results. If a parent appeals, their child’s results will be reviewed by an independent panel.