Resit 11+ Exam

Can You Resit the 11+ Exam If You Fail?

The 11+ exam is a significant milestone for many students in the UK, as it determines their entry into selective grammar or independent schools.

With such high stakes, the question of whether one can resit the exam if one fails becomes crucial.

Let’s delve into the intricacies of resitting the 11+ exam and what it entails for you and your child.

What Is the 11+ Exam?

Can You Resit the 11 Plus Exam if You Fail?

The 11+ exam, also known as the 11+ or Eleven Plus, is an entrance examination taken by students in their final year of primary school, usually at the age of 10-11. It assesses a student’s verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, maths, and English aptitude. 

The exam varies depending on the region and the school or local authority, so it’s best to contact or visit them when you can.

Can You Resit the 11 Plus Exam?

Now, the answer to this question largely depends on the policies of the specific grammar school or independent school to which a student is applying. Unlike some standardized exams like GCSEs or A-Levels, there isn’t a universal resit policy for the 11+ exam across all institutions.

However, some areas may offer opportunities for students to resit this one exam, albeit with certain conditions and limitations. For example, in some cases, a child may be allowed to retake the exam the following year if they narrowly missed the required score or showed significant improvement in their academic performance.

Some things that are being considered when it comes to resitting the 11 Plus include:

Locale Authority Policies

The policies regarding resitting the 11+ exam vary among different local authorities. Some may permit resits under specific circumstances, while others may not offer this option. Children and parents need to familiarize themselves with the policies of their respective local authorities.

Availability of Places

Another factor influencing resit opportunities is the availability of a grammar school place at your child’s first choice of selective schools. They may decide to offer resit opportunities to eligible candidates if there are unfilled vacancies after the initial round of admissions.

Time Constraints

Since the 11+ exam is typically taken in the primary final year, children may have limited opportunities to resit the exam before transitioning to secondary school. Therefore, time constraints may affect a child’s ability to resit this one exam.

Are There Alternatives to Resitting the 11 Plus?

While resitting the 11+ exam is one option for pupils who wish to improve their scores, it’s not the only path forward. Some alternative routes to gaining entry into selective schools may be:

Appeal the Result

In cases where a student feels their exam results day don’t accurately reflect their abilities, they may have the option to appeal the decision. This process involves providing evidence or supporting documentation to request a reconsideration of the initial assessment.

Consider Other Schools

If resitting the 11+ exam isn’t feasible or desirable, students can explore other non-selective state schools or institutions with different admission criteria that better align with their academic strengths and interests.

Take the 12+/13+ Exam Transfer Tests

The 12+ or 13+ late transfer test refers to an examination taken by children seeking entry into selective schools at a later stage than the traditional 11+ entry point. These tests are typically administered for students who wish to transfer to grammar schools or other selective institutions in Year 8 (age 12) or Year 9 (age 13).

What Happens if You Fail the 11+ Exam?

Failing the 11+ exam can disappoint children and their families, but it’s important to understand that it’s not the end of a child’s academic journey.

First, it doesn’t mean a child won’t have access to quality education. There are plenty of excellent non-selective schools, comprehensive schools, or other institutions where students can thrive academically. 

Some schools may even consider factors other than exam scores when making admissions decisions. This could include academic performance throughout primary, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, or interviews.

In certain cases, an appeals process may be available for children and parents who feel their exam results don’t accurately reflect their abilities. This process typically involves providing evidence or supporting documentation to request a reconsideration of the initial assessment.

If a student is determined to attend a grammar school or selective institution, they may have the option to transfer to such a school later, such as during secondary school if they demonstrate exceptional academic progress.

Can You Go to a Grammar School Without Passing 11+?

Failing the 11+ exam can disappoint children and their families, but it’s important to understand that it’s not the end of a child’s academic journey.

In-Year Admissions

Some grammar schools offer vacancies for children to join at different points during the academic year, particularly if spaces are available in higher year groups. In such cases, admissions decisions may be based on factors like academic performance, interviews, or entrance tests specific to the school.

Independent School Entrance Test

Some students who do not make it to the 11+ pass mark may opt to apply to independent schools that do not require the 11+ for entry. These schools often have their entrance exams or assessments, and admissions decisions may be based on academic ability, interviews, and references.

Transfer Test at a Later Stage

In some cases, students who attend non-selective secondary schools may have the opportunity to transfer to a grammar school later, such as in Year 9 or Year 12. These transfer processes or late transfer tests may involve assessments, interviews, or portfolio reviews to determine suitability for admission.

How Do You Support Your Child If They Have Failed the 11+ Exam?

How Do You Support Your Child If They Have Failed the 11+ Exam?

Supporting a child who has failed the Eleven Plus exam can be challenging but crucial for parents. With the right guidance and attitude, it is certainly doable. Here are some techniques for providing the support your child needs:

Provide Emotional Support

Encourage Open Communication

Create a safe space for your child to express their feelings about the exam results. Listen to their concerns without judgment and validate their emotions.

Reframe Failure

Help your child understand that failing the 11+ exam doesn’t define their worth or intelligence. Emphasize that setbacks are a natural part of learning and growth.

Celebrate Effort

Acknowledge your child’s hard work and effort in preparing for the exam, regardless of the outcome. Reinforce the idea that resilience and perseverance are valuable qualities.

Explore Alternative Educational Paths

Research Non-Selective Schools

Explore alternative options such as non-selective, comprehensive, or specialist schools that may better suit your child’s academic needs and interests.

Consider Tutoring or Additional Support

If your child is determined to improve academically, consider hiring a tutor or enrolling them in supplemental classes that offer practice papers, practice tests, and other support to prepare and strengthen their skills in areas where they struggled during the Eleven Plus exam, for example in words or numbers.

Investigate Vocational or Alternative Education

Investigate vocational training programs, apprenticeships, or alternative educational pathways that align with your child’s interests and career goals.

Focus on Personal Development

Encourage Extracurricular Activities

Encourage your child to explore extracurricular activities or hobbies that allow them to develop skills and interests outside of academics. Participation in sports, arts, or community service can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Promote Self-Reflection

Encourage your child to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and goals for the future. Help them identify different areas of improvement and set realistic, achievable targets for personal growth.

Build Confidence

Engage your child in activities that promote self-confidence and self-belief, such as public speaking, leadership opportunities, or creative projects. Celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how small, to foster a positive self-image.

Offer Practical Support

Offer Study Skills Workshops

Organise study skills workshops or seminars to help your child develop effective study habits, time management skills, and exam techniques to serve them well in future academic endeavours.

Seek Professional Guidance

Consult with teachers, educational psychologists, or career counsellors for personalized advice and support tailored to your child’s needs and learning style.

Stay Informed

Get in the loop about educational policies, opportunities, and available resources. Attend school open days, information sessions, and parent-teacher conferences to stay engaged in your child’s educational journey. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The average 11+ score can vary depending on factors such as the region, the examining body, and the difficulty of the exams. However, it’s essential to note that the 11+ exam is typically standardized to ensure fairness and consistency across different administrations.

In some areas, the 11+ exam may be scored based on a percentile rank system, where a student’s performance is compared to that of their peers. In such cases, the average score would typically fall around the 50th percentile, indicating that the student performed similarly to the average test-taker in their cohort.

It’s also important to consider that different schools or examining bodies may have their scoring system and criteria to decide the pass mark or fail thresholds. As a result, there isn’t a universal “average” 11+ score applicable to all students taking the exams. Children and their families should consult the relevant examining body or school to understand their specific exam scoring methodology and expectations.

Master the 11 Plus

A unique, confidence-boosting way to study for the 11 Plus