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What is the 11 Plus exam?

What Is 11 Plus Tutoring Image Of An Empty School Table With Worksheets On It Photo By Katerina Holmes: Https://

Many parents in the UK might find themselves asking, what is the 11 Plus exam? If your child is approaching their final years in primary school, understanding the 11 Plus exam is vital in planning their secondary education. We’re here to help guide you through what the exam is and what you’re child will gain from taking part in it.

Understanding the Basics: What is the 11 Plus exam?

The 11 Plus exam, also known as the “11+”, is an entrance exam taken by some children in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary school. The exam is essentially used to identify a child’s potential to thrive in either a grammar school or a selective independent school setting.

To put it short, if you want your child to enter into a grammar school for their secondary education, instead of a comprehensive school, they will need to take and pass the 11 plus exams.

The Exam Structure

The 11 Plus exam usually covers four areas: English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. However, the specific subjects and format can vary depending on the region and the school to which the student is applying. Each institution also has its own specific requirements that need to be met, so make sure you check which ones your child will need to participate in.

English: This part aims to test comprehension, vocabulary, punctuation, and grammar. All whilst putting your child’s creative writing skills to the test.

Mathematics: This section covers topics from the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Testing mental maths, maths concepts and skills and problems that have to be solved in multiple stages.

Verbal Reasoning: This is designed to test a child’s problem-solving skills using words and text.

Non-Verbal Reasoning: This includes solving problems to do with diagrams and pictures.

The Purpose

So, what is the 11 Plus exam designed to achieve? The exam is designed to assess whether grammar school is a suitable option for a child. Grammar schools, unlike comprehensive school which have no academic requirements to enrol in, are selective secondary schools that offer a more rigorous academic curriculum. Achieving a good score in the 11 Plus exam can open doors to these prestigious educational institutions.

Preparing for the 11 Plus Exam

Some parents choose to hire a tutor to help their children prepare. While there are plenty of practice papers and online recourses to help support your child, tutoring adds a more personalised and structured study tool that can prove valuable when it comes to taking 11 plus exams.

It’s also never too early to help your child start preparing to take these exams. As there are a number of exams taking place around the time your child will be leaving primary school, it’s a good idea to start preparing in years 4 and 5.

Here at Powertutors, we provide a variety of services around the 11 plus exams, from individual tutoring sessions to group classes.


So, in answer to the question, “what is the 11 Plus exam?” – it’s a key milestone in your child’s educational journey. It’s a competitive examination, but with the right preparation and support, your child can approach it confidently. Remember, whether your child passes or not, the 11 Plus exam is just one of many paths in education, and there are always alternative routes to success.

Get in touch with Powertutors today to discuss how we can help your child prepare for these exams.

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