How Long is the 11 Plus Exam?

Knowing how much time you’ll have for each part of the 11 Plus exam can help you and your child get ready without feeling rushed. 

Let’s dive into the time details of the exam to make sure you’re all set for the big day!

How Long is the 11 Plus Exam?

How Long is the 11 Plus Exam

The duration of the 11+exam is a critical aspect as it assesses not only a student’s knowledge but also their ability to manage time effectively. 

The exam papers are timed, with a general timeframe of 45-60 minutes per paper, whilst the average number of questions per paper is around 50. 

Students essentially have approximately 1 minute per question. This shows that speed and accuracy are significant factors in completing the exam.

To prepare for the long and challenging test day, children would need to go through a timed practice test to simulate the test conditions of the actual exam.

The whole testing process can also be lengthy, especially for parents waiting for their children, so use the time wisely and keep a positive mindset for whatever comes next.

How Many Questions Are in the 11+ Exam?

11 Plus exam questions

The 11+ exam is not a standardised test with a fixed set of questions. The format of the exam may be based on the exam board administering the test such as GL assessment and CEM. It can also differ among regions and even between individual schools.  

Some areas have a combination of multiple-choice questions and written exams and may cover subjects such as English, mathematics, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning.

The number of questions in each section can vary, and the overall length of the exam may also differ. Here’s a quick breakdown for each test section:


Encompasses 49–56 questions within a 50-minute timeframe. The test covers reading comprehension, spelling, punctuation, and grammar questions.


Consists of 50 questions to be completed in 50 minutes. The majority of questions are presented in a multiple-choice format, with occasional small standard format boxes for written answers.

Verbal Reasoning

Comprises 80 questions to be tackled in 50 minutes. The test assesses the ability to discern patterns and manipulate verbal information. Questions may be in multiple-choice format or require independent answers.

Non-verbal Reasoning

Poses 80 questions, divided into four sections with 20 questions each and distinct timings.

Typically in a multiple-choice format, the exam covers tasks such as identifying odd patterns, analysing rotations of images, deciphering codes, recognising transformations, completing progressive sequences, filling in arrays of nine squares, and more.

Schools and other educational sources often publish sample papers or past papers that can give a sense of the types and quantity of questions that may be included in the exam. 

What Does an 11+ Exam Look Like?

The 11+ exam is a test that some students in the UK take when they’re 11 years old. It helps them decide if they can go to certain selective secondary schools such as grammar school.

The exam is not standardised nationally, and each school or local education authority may design its own test or use a common format with slight variations.

The exam usually has questions on different subjects.

In English, you’ll be asked to read a story and answer a series of multiple-choice questions about it. This will check if you understand what you read. Having a good vocabulary is important in this paper. 

Math covers everything you learned in year 6. Make sure you remember your math concepts and know how to solve problems with more than one step. Some questions might need you to use basic formulas.

With verbal reasoning, you might have to figure out relationships between words, group similar concepts, or complete sentences. It’s all about words and understanding the connections between them.

On the other hand, non-verbal reasoning is about solving problems using shapes and patterns instead of words. It’s like solving puzzles using logic.

Many students undergo preparation through practice tests, tutoring, and other resources to enhance their performance in the exam. Parents and guardians are advised to check with the relevant schools or education authorities for the specific details of the 11+ exam in their area.

Master the 11 Plus

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