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What is 11 plus ?



The 11-plus or Eleven plus is an examination administered to some children in England in the final year of primary education. This is at the age of 11 to 12 years.


The term 11 plus is derived from this age band. 11 plus exams forms the entrance process for Grammar schools and it checks of children are ready for the academic rigour of a grammar school of some of the 164 grammar schools in England.

What is 11 plus ? The 11 + test is supposed to check a child’s intelligence through testing, mathematics, English and a variety of reasoning in a variety of contexts.


These include verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The reasoning papers are not taught in schools and do not form part of the National Curriculum.


  • Verbal Reasoning eleven plus tests involves thinking about vocabulary, text and solving problems, sequences etc. There is now a modern version of verbal reasoning.


  • Non-verbal Reasoning eleven plus tests involves thinking about pictures, diagrams, illustrations and solving problems based on these items.


  • Mathematics and English eleven plus test requirements are very high where these are used.


Many of the 11plus tests used by grammar schools or local authorities and were set by GL. Increasingly, CEM – Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring or the University of Durham is setting the papers.


This is because they are a non-profit, independent organisation. Unlike the GL papers who produce example papers for sale CEM 11 + TM (or Durham 11 plus) do not.


The 11 plus papers come in two formats: Traditional format involves writing the answers in a space on the eleven plus test paper.


Multiple choice format marks their answer on a separate score sheet by putting a line against the correct answer and computer optical reading machine marks the paper.


Local authorities and in some case schools administer the eleven plus exam administration. Visit What areas still have Eleven Plus Exams? for details in each LA or selective area.


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