Grammar School 11+ Entrance Exam Preparation

Whilst the majority of UK secondary schools allocate places based strictly upon how far a family lives from the school, there are a few schools who make offers for some, or all of their places based upon entrance exam results.

Within the UK there still exists selection of locations where grammar schools still operate and in order to secure a place at age 11 a child needs to pass that school’s particular entrance exam.

The vast majority of these schools are the grammar schools that were set up by an act of Parliament in 1944.

As attitudes around education changed, however, in 1976 most were either closed, converted into comprehensive schools, or switched from state to private.

A few remain in certain counties and there is always stiff competition to secure a place in those remaining Grammar schools.

This is why it’s important to ensure that any child aiming to sit an entrance exam has sufficient practice and understands exactly what’s required in the exams.

There is no, single, standardised set of exams for all grammar schools and therefore it’s important to understand exactly what is required for each and every school you might be considering for your child.

Exam types

Broadly speaking, the eleven plus Grammar school exams fall into four main categories

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Non-verbal reasoning
  • Maths
  • English language

Most Grammar schools within the same county will have the same permutation of exams, however, they are at liberty to change this and so it’s important to ensure you are aware of any changes.

To practice or not to practice

If asked, most schools will say that there’s no need to practice for their eleven plus entrance exams, “The brightest children will always score the highest marks.”, is usually their standard response.

Our view, however, is different.

In that exam room your child will be under time pressure to move through their exam paper quickly and confidently and any time wasted whilst they’re thinking, “Now what does that mean?”, or “I wonder how I do this type of question?” is only going to reduce their mark and jeopardise their chance of securing a coveted offer.

Experience and data analysis has shown that certain question types do occur more frequently than others and therefore it’s quite sensible and fair for children to practice, and obtain feedback on their progress, in the run-up to entrance exam season.

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Further reading

We’ve written some useful blog articles related to the eleven plus and exam preparation and have linked three below.

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Due to the present coronavirus related issues we are currently only offering online tutoring, however, for families in the Peterborough area, once the Government has confirmed the ‘all clear’ we will be offering face-to-face tutoring again.