How Many Questions Are There in the 11 Plus Exam?

The 11 Plus exam comes in different structures depending on the consortium, individual schools, and exam boards involved. This diversity makes the evaluation process of 11 Plus unique and diverse.

But, two big players in this are the exam boards GL and CEM. GL Assessment, especially, is the main source for most 11+ grammar schools and independent schools.

GL 11 Plus Exam Questions and Structure

11 Plus Exam Questions and Structure

GL Assessment follows ‘standard’ formats in its four main sections. However, not all schools or regions opt to include all four subjects covered by the GL assessment. This allows them to customise the test content according to their preferences and admission criteria. Here’s a quick look at the questions and structure of its 11 Plus exam.


  • Encompasses 49–56 questions in 50 minutes.
  • Covers reading comprehension and spelling, punctuation, and grammar questions.
  • The reading comprehension section involves a passage of around two sides of A4, followed by 20 questions testing the child’s inference, deduction, and vocabulary understanding from the text.
  • Spelling, punctuation, and grammar sections each comprise 8-12 questions. They often ask students to spot the mistake or complete the sentence.


  • Consists of 50 questions within a 50-minute timeframe.
  • Explores number facts, measurement, data or statistics, algebra, and geometry.
  • The majority of questions are presented in a multiple-choice format. Occasionally, there might be a small standard format box for a written answer.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Comprises 80 questions to be tackled in 50 minutes.
  • Assesses the ability to discern patterns and manipulate verbal information.
  • The questions may come in the form of multiple-choice, determine the answer independently, or include structures that can be confusing and time-consuming for students who are unfamiliar with them.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

  • Poses 80 questions, separated into four sections with 20 questions and distinct timings each.
  • Guages children’s problem-solving skills using visual information.
  • It generally comes in a multiple-choice format where a child is asked to identify the odd pattern among given options, analyse rotations of images, decipher codes and patterns, recognise transformations from one pattern to another, complete a progressive sequence, fill in an array of nine squares, and more.

What Are the Differences Between GL Assessment and CEM

11 Plus Exam - GL Assessment and CEM

When it comes to the 11 Plus exam, GL (Granada Learning) Assessment and CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) are the major players, each with its unique characteristics. Here’s a breakdown of their distinctions:

GL Assessment

  • Curriculum Coverage: Aligns with the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum but spans the entire syllabus, including Year 6 content not yet taught.
  • Question Types: Draws from the GL Assessment Question Bank, featuring diverse question types across English, maths, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning.
  • Format: Offers both standard format (written answers next to questions) and multiple choice options.
  • Exam Time: Varies across regions but typically around 50 minutes for each subject.
  • Practice Materials: Publishes practice materials to aid preparation.


  • Curriculum Coverage: Closer alignment with the national curriculum, emphasising logical reasoning and spelling.
  • Question Types: This can be a mix of English and verbal reasoning in one exam and maths with non-verbal reasoning in another. The emphasis is on highly challenging questions to assess the ability to apply knowledge to new situations.
  • Format: A mix of standard and multiple choice format but questions are adaptive or adjusted based on student performance.
  • Exam Time: Sections are shorter and timed. Often, it integrates all subjects in shorter timed sections, flitting between maths, problem-solving, and logic puzzles.
  • Practice Materials: Historically did not publish practice materials.

Tips for Preparing for the 11 Plus Exam

Given the varied question types and formats, preparation for the 11 Plus demands a comprehensive strategy.

English and Verbal Reasoning

Students need to foster a broad vocabulary base and understand word meanings to excel in English and Verbal Reasoning early on.


Students should focus on rapid recall of number facts for the Maths section.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

For non-verbal reasoning, students should hone their logical thinking skills with logical puzzles. 

Parents can support their children by providing them with past papers to get them used to the types of questions and the timing of the actual test. The goal in preparing the students is to instil confidence in them about taking the exam.

Master the 11 Plus

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