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A Beginners Guide to the 11 Plus

A Beginner’s Guide to the 11 Plus

11 Plus | November 8, 2018

Grammar schools require children to pass the 11 Plus to gain a place. Find out more about the basics of the 11 Plus and what you need to know.

The 11 Plus can be a stressful time for both parent and child. Given that this exam will likely be a child’s first experience with a real test, the mounting pressure and fear of failure are sure to have an impact.

However, with a better understanding of the 11 Plus, some of the pressure can be alleviated.

Albeit extremely important for many children, the 11 Plus at the end of the day is still just an exam.

We have compiled some important information about the exam, which may help ease some of the stress.

Exam Test

What is the 11 Plus?

Known by various names such as the Eleven Plus or 11+ exam, the 11 Plus exam serves as an entrance test for grammar schools in the United Kingdom.

The primary objective of the 11 Plus is to help fairly allocate the limited grammar school places to the most academically capable students.

Typically, students take this exam during their final year of primary education, generally around the age of 11.

By assessing the academic capabilities of students, the exam aims to match them with schools that best cater to their unique needs and abilities.

The topics in the 11 Plus

The 11 Plus is comprised of multiple test topics aimed at evaluating a student’s academic aptitude.

These are Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning, English, and Mathematics.

While primary schools typically teach English and Mathematics as part of the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum, Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning are not typically included in the curriculum.

It’s worth noting that although aspects of these subjects may surface while learning other disciplines like Mathematics, Science, English, Art, Design Technology, and Computing, Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning aren’t explicitly taught in the early academic years.

As a result, these portions of the 11 Plus exam may prove especially difficult for many students due to a lack of exposure to these concepts.

It is important to note that the specific tests included in the 11 Plus exam can vary depending on the local education authority and the specific school to which the student is applying. Some schools may also incorporate additional tests or assessments as part of their admissions process.

Schools don’t prepare children for the 11 Plus

First things first, you must accept that primary schools generally do not prepare students to sit the 11 Plus.

In fact, the national curriculum does not require primary school students to be educated or prepared for the exam.

One of the reasons for this is that there are not enough grammar schools in the UK to justify 11 Plus prep as part of the national curriculum.

A quick search on Google will tell you that there are only 163 grammar schools in England, and only 5% of secondary students attend grammar schools.

There are not even enough local authorities in the country with grammar schools. So, certain parts of the country do not even use the 11 Plus exam.

As mentioned previously, the English and Mathematics portions of the 11 Plus are based on the key stage 2 National Curriculum syllabus taught in Year 5 and Year 6.

However, the 11 Plus is taken by students shortly after they begin Year 6.

Naturally, most students prove to be underprepared in these areas.

Additionally, it is crucial to note that Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning are not part of the key stage 2 National Curriculum.

Essentially, they are not taught in primary school and, resultantly, 11 Plus candidates must become familiar with these topics and revise them outside school.

At the very least, a child taking the 11 Plus must be familiarised with the exam sections by completing multiple mock exams.

Tuition Tree’s Mock Examinations service is extremely popular among parents who have children seeking admission to grammar schools in the West Midlands region. Find out more.

11 Plus Tuition

Competition for places at grammar schools is fierce

While grammar schools are already limited in number in the UK, even then, each school has very limited places.

Thus, the schools themselves have to be exceptionally selective when allocating places.

Naturally, the competition to get admitted to grammar schools is intense. Even that may be an understatement.

Therefore, if you and your child are serious about grammar school admission, it is best to begin preparations for the 11 Plus beforehand.

Some children do need extra help to just pass

It is not just that primary schools do not help prepare pupils for the 11 Plus. Some children just do need the extra hand.

We have all heard stories of students passing the 11 Plus with flying colours with not an iota of revision. These extraordinary children are definitely the exception here.

It is completely natural for a child to need help. If your child suggests they are having trouble, it is best to give them all the help possible.

It is important to keep the children encouraged and their spirits up.

No child is the same as the next. Where one may struggle with the mathematics bit, another may have problems understanding verbal reasoning.

It is best to pinpoint the areas of weakness and focus on improving those parts while overall revision continues.

Private tuition does help

Private tuition, whether in a classroom or with an individual tutor, will not only prepare students appropriately for the 11 Plus but help turn their weaknesses into strengths.

With tuition focussed entirely on the 11 Plus, a child will gain keen insight into the exam and be better prepared than when they revise by themselves.

The structured lessons provided via private tuition can be the essential difference between making it into a grammar school and missing the passing mark by an inch.

Lessons and revisions are tailored around every individual child to give them the best possible chance at passing the 11 Plus.

Tuition Tree

Tuition Tree for 11 Plus preparation

At Tuition Tree, we recognise the importance of providing comprehensive support to students aiming to excel in the 11 Plus exam and secure admission to their desired grammar school.

With an impressive 84% success rate in helping students gain entry into grammar schools, our specialised tutoring services are tailored to meet the unique needs of each child.

Our approach involves personalised study sessions, offering both individual and group options.

This ensures that every child receives the focused attention required to unlock their full potential.

Should you be interested in our services or have any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us at 0121 270 2889 or complete our call-back form.

Alternatively, you can reach out to us via email at info@tuitiontree.co.uk.


Keep reading: 11 Plus FAQs


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