The 11+ (or "11-plus") exam is an entrance exam that is usually taken at the beginning of Year Six. This exam is mostly sat in the month of September. The test may consist of some or all of the following subjects:
• Verbal Reasoning
• Non-Verbal Reasoning
The average score, which may also be age weighted, will determine if a child is admitted into the grammar school of their choice.
One of the key variables that must be taken into account is the different types of exams. The tests are not always the same. Some schools only test Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, whilst others test three or all four of the subjects mentioned. The questions are presented differently and the skills examined vary depending on the exam board the school chooses (if any). The two main examination boards are:
• GL Assessment formerly known as NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research) usually administer and verify all tests students sit in the following grammar school regions: Berkshire, Bexley, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral and Wolverhampton.
• CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) is another institution responsible for verifying all the admission tests for the following regions: Cumbria, Dorset, Kent, Lancashire, Medway, Northern Ireland and Wiltshire. The CEM 11+ exam usually covers the verbal and nonverbal reasoning part as well as the mathematical part of the test. (This institution usually evaluates the skills obtained in the mathematical and English assessments of the GL Assessment).
NOTE: Schools in Devon, Essex, Hertfordshire, Trafford and Yorkshire use a mixture of GL Assessment and CEM to perform admission tests. This brief but concise guide for parents of the 11 plus test should be taken into account when children are in the process of taking or revising for the actual 11 plus exam.
Take into account tutor experience and subject knowledge
One of the things to consider in relation to the 11 plus test and this guide for parents, is the importance of selecting the best tutors with high knowledge and experience of teaching to the respective exams in your region. Skills in numerical subjects such as mathematics is essential and the English element is very demanding and comparable to a GCSE Foundation paper.
Elements which are usually in the real 11 plus exam:
• ENGLISH: Comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and excellent spelling.
• MATHEMATICS: Arithmetic skills, data manipulation, reasoning and problem solving.
• NON-VERBAL REASONING: Assessment of pattern detection, spatial awareness and logical skills.
Schedule and steps to follow for the 11 plus test
The following information shows the schedule that can be taken into account as an 11 plus test guide for parents. This schedule reflects tests that will be sat in the following years:
• September 2019: If your child has already been preparing for this test it is advisable to take it this year, otherwise, it is recommended to wait another year. Check the age limits of each school and verify if that school meets the parameters you want for your child.
• April 2020: To be better equipped and prepared you must approach the school you wish your child to attend directly and register for the tests before the deadline given. You usually register for the exam in the months of April or May. Buckinghamshire automatically enters all primary children for the 11+ exam.
• September 2020: In general, most grammar schools usually make students sit the 11 plus test in September and not in June or July. This allows for more preparation to achieve an excellent and adequate result to enter one of the many schools on offer. The 11 plus exam usually happens during the first two weeks of September. It is important that you go directly to your selected school to verify the exact date.
• October 2020: The results are usually announced in October, one month after the test in September.
• March 2021: After your child is selected you must be aware of the Top 5 school selection choices on your Secondary admissions form. Places are usually confirmed on March 1, 2021.
• September 2021: Those children selected to enter Grammar School begin their first term in their chosen grammar school.
What to do if your child is selected?
Beyond being proud of your child and having boundless joy, some schools may invite selected students for an interview. In this way, the schools can obtain a more defined profile of the selected group of students. Many schools after attending the interview day and verifying everything usually make a conditional offer to the child. This 11 plus test guide for parents is important to keep in mind.
Apart from that, research the curriculum of the school fully over Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and determine if it meets the necessary needs of your child to flourish both academically and personally.
What to do if your child does not pass the 11 Plus Exam?
Let's talk about the psychological aspects that this test can cause in the event that your child is not selected. We all know that the 11 plus exam is by no means an easy exam. The preparation is very demanding and intensive, so it is not uncommon for many children not to be selected (hopefully not the case of your child) but if this is the case, the first thing is to encourage and offer your child encouragement. Demonstrate that if they could not enter one of the several grammar schools, their effort has been recognised and they are adequately rewarded for it. As parents it is paramount that you do not show disappointment or discomfort as this will negatively affect your child immensely.
One of the actions to consider in this guide for parents of the 11 plus exam, is if your child is not selected, take notes of their weaknesses and reinforce them for any future grammar school entrance exams in Year 8 and Year 9.
Another aspect to consider is that on certain occasions, due to several factors, children do not always remain in their selected grammar school of choice. If so, give them plenty of support and express joy and positivism. Encourage your child that all will work out better in the end and that they will form many new friendships in their new school.
Not only have we covered the basic elements of the 11 plus test in this guide for parents, but we have also given precise descriptions of the most relevant positive and negative aspects of the whole 11 plus process. You may wish to re-read this article again and focus on the details and information given carefully in this 11 plus test guide for parents.