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GL 11 Plus English

GL 11 Plus: English

GL Assessment | May 11, 2023

Learn about the English section of the GL 11 Plus exam along with essential tips and strategies for successful revision.


In this article, we will discuss the English section of the 11 Plus exam.

The 11 Plus exam consists of four parts, including English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-verbal Reasoning.

While primary schools are responsible for teaching English and Mathematics in line with the key stage 2 National Curriculum, the GL 11 Plus examination syllabus targets Year 6 standards for these subjects.

For children taking the exam at the beginning of Year 6, this can be challenging as they may not possess the necessary proficiency in English and Mathematics to excel in the 11 Plus.

It is worth noting that some school authorities may include more advanced questions in the 11 Plus test than those found in the key stage 2 National Curriculum.

Our focus will be on the English section of the 11 Plus exam, including what it entails, what to anticipate during the exam, and how to prepare effectively.

11-Plus Exam

Following a recent partnership, grammar schools in the West Midlands will be using a single 11 Plus examination provided by GL Assessment for 2024 admissions and onwards.

We will focus on the English section of the GL 11 Plus exam in this article.

Read more: GL 11 Plus: Single Entrance Exam for West Midlands Grammar Schools


11 Plus English

The 11 Plus English test evaluates the proficiency of students in the subject as taught in primary school as part of the key stage 2 National Curriculum.

As mentioned previously, the English portion of the 11 Plus may contain content that is also more advanced compared to what children are familiar with up until that point.

This is because the 11 Plus exam takes place at the start of Year 6, but the exam covers elements of the syllabus taught in both Year 5 and Year 6.

This section of the exam covers the following areas of the syllabus:

Most children struggle with questions that involve reading comprehension, grammar, and punctuation.

What to Expect on the 11 Plus English Test

The structure of the English section in the GL-administered 11 Plus exam may vary, but the following format is commonly used:

The reading comprehension segment consists of a passage that spans approximately two pages.

This section aims to assess students’ comprehension skills, including their ability to make inferences, deductions, and understand vocabulary in context.

The passages can encompass various forms of writing, such as fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, ranging from traditional to contemporary styles.

A strong command of vocabulary across different genres can be highly beneficial for students taking the exam.

Depending on the school, the answer format may involve multiple-choice questions or written responses in standard answer boxes.

For the three following sections of the English test, the GL 11 Plus exams use two styles of questions: ‘finish the sentence’ and ‘spot the error.’

Typically, a total of 36 questions can be expected in total for this part of the exam, with either 24 questions of the former style and 12 questions of the latter, or vice versa.

Examples of 11 Plus English Questions

To reiterate previous statements in this article, the English test in the GL 11 Plus exams is designed to align with the key stage 2 National Curriculum.

However, since this covers English topics taught in Year 5 and Year 6, most students may not be fully prepared as the 11 Plus exam is usually taken at the start of Year 6.

With questions encompassing grammar, punctuation, and comprehension topics, this section of the 11 Plus challenges students to apply their existing knowledge and skills to new problems.

To provide an idea of what to expect, we have curated a selection of example questions commonly found in 11 Plus English tests, sourced from GL Assessment.

However, it is important to note that these examples only represent a fraction of the question types that will be encountered in the actual exam, which will feature more diverse questions.

Reading comprehension

This part of the exam begins with a text portion. The text is usually the length of two A4 pages.

11 Plus English Example 1


This is then followed by a series of questions related to the text at the start of the test.


11 Plus English Example 2



11 Plus English Example 3



11 Plus English Example 4



11 Plus English Example 5


How to Prepare for 11 Plus English

Beginning 11 Plus preparations reasonably early increases a child’s chances of passing the exam and securing a spot in a grammar school of their choice.

We recommend children begin studying for the 11 Plus as early as Year 4.

Despite being taught English as part of the key stage 2 National Curriculum, many primary school students still find this part of the 11 Plus test to be quite demanding.

Nonetheless, by implementing proper preparation and revision techniques, students can attain their desired grades with confidence.

To effectively prepare for the English section of the GL 11 Plus exam, we offer the following essential strategies:

Become familiar with the 11 Plus English test

There is no denying the importance of becoming well-acquainted with the structure and format of the 11 Plus exam, particularly for grammar school applicants aiming to excel in all sections, including English.

This entails comprehending the total number of questions, time limitations, and various question types that may arise.

To ace the English segment of the exam, it is vital to consistently review the syllabus to gain a comprehensive grasp of the specific English topics that will be assessed.

Master the fundamentals

It is vital to ensure that your child has a strong understanding of the basics of the various areas to be tested in the 11 Plus English paper.

Help them become familiar with the most commonly used terms in English questions like ‘deduce’, ‘compare’, ‘infer’, ‘contrast’, and ‘suggest’, among others.

Make sure that they learn all the relevant prepositions and how they are different from adverbs.

A strong grasp of other areas of grammar and punctuation is also essential for passing the exam.

Read above their required level

Mastering the English section of the 11 Plus exam requires a strong foundation in reading skills.

To excel in this portion, it is crucial to cultivate a love for reading in children.

One effective approach is to introduce them to challenging literature, especially classic novels.

Such books not only enhance reading skills but also expose children to unfamiliar vocabulary, thereby boosting their language proficiency.

Regular reading practice yields multiple benefits, including increased word recognition speed and stronger comprehension skills.

These abilities also play a pivotal role in managing time effectively during the English paper of the 11 Plus exam.

By honing their reading capabilities through regular engagement with challenging material, children can unlock their full potential in this section of the 11 Plus.

Revise regularly and take mock tests

Developing your child’s English skills for the 11 Plus requires a strategic approach that includes regular practice and targeted revision.

Ensure your child covers all the relevant English topics, ranging from basic concepts to more complex ones.

Engage them in practice exercises and sample questions specifically designed for the GL 11 Plus exam.

This consistent practice not only fosters familiarity with question types but also enhances their problem-solving speed and accuracy.

In addition to regular revisions, incorporating mock tests into your child’s preparation can yield substantial benefits.

Mock tests are a highly effective method for 11 Plus readiness. They play a vital role in honing children’s ability to answer English questions with precision.

Furthermore, these simulated exams acquaint children with the diverse question formats they may encounter during the actual test, instilling the confidence and proficiency necessary for achieving the required scores.

Embrace this comprehensive approach to empower your child’s English skills and optimise their performance in the 11 Plus exam.


Tuition Tree’s Mock Examinations service is in high demand among parents whose children are applying to West Midlands Grammar Schools.

Tuition Tree

How Tuition Tree Can Help

Preparing for the challenging 11 Plus exam can feel extremely formidable, both for students and their families.

However, success in this endeavour requires unwavering dedication, unyielding commitment, and a genuine thirst for knowledge.

At Tuition Tree, we specialise in providing exceptional tutoring services that are specifically designed to prepare children for the rigorous GL 11 Plus exam.

With an outstanding track record of achieving an impressive 84% success rate in helping students secure admission to grammar schools, we are deeply committed to their academic advancement.

Our approach revolves around personalised study sessions that cater to both individual and group settings, ensuring that each child receives the focused attention necessary to unlock their full potential.

We understand that every student is unique, and our expert tutors adapt their teaching methods to suit their specific needs.

If you would like to learn more about our comprehensive range of services or have any inquiries, please feel free to contact us via phone at 0121 270 2889 or by filling out our call-back form.

Alternatively, you can reach us via email at info@tuitiontree.co.uk. Our dedicated team is always enthusiastic and ready to provide assistance, addressing any concerns you may have along the way.

At Tuition Tree, we are here to support your child’s educational journey and help them thrive in the competitive landscape of the 11 Plus exam.


Keep reading:

GL 11 Plus: Mathematics

GL 11 Plus: Verbal Reasoning

GL 11 Plus: Non-verbal Reasoning


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