11+ selection to grammar schools

11+ Papers

During Years 4 and 5, you will need to start looking at the options for secondary education. In  some counties parents have to make a choice betweem selective or non-selective education. This can be a difficult decision.This page gives specific advice for parents living in areas which have grammar schools. Please refer also to our page on Choosing a secondary school - advice for parents of Year 6 children for further information on the transfer process.

Parents should be objective and attend Open Days at all the available schools locally. This will give you a direct comparison and then when you visit the Head teacher of your junior school they can personally clarify the situation based on their knowledge of your child’s academic prowess.

There are some areas however, where all children are entered automatically for the 11+ and parents can choose to opt their child out if that is their wish. Your child’s school will tell you if they think that your child will succeed and be happy at a grammar school.

Both the class teacher and the Head will have the experience to know what qualities are needed to survive in a competitive environment. They will have seen your child work and play with their peers and be able to assess their standard of maturity and ability to work under pressure.

The school should have some test results to show you for your child so that these can be equated against the results needed to gain a selective place the previous year. Be honest with yourself that the decision you are making is in the best interests of your child and not just your wish! Remember it is your child that has to go to school every day and if they are struggling to compete and survive they are naturally going to be very unhappy. There are so many opportunities in life now it is likely that your child will be very successful if allowed to develop and mature happily into their future career

Grammar schools

Entry to Grammar schools is by ‘testing’. Normally the child will be tested in at least three areas. This could be done at the grammar school itself or more commonly at a fixed date in the child’s own junior school with their own teacher and an outside invigilator. The areas covered may vary from county to county but could comprise

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Non verbal reasoning
  • Mathematics
  • A written essay (this might only be looked at if your child is ‘Borderline')

In some areas the format of the papers will be multiple-choice questions and these are then computer marked. In others, there are traditional papers. Please ask your Head teacher what format the exam takes in your area, always confirm the subjects involved and the format of the papers.

Some counties standardise the scores against the child’s date of birth so there is some allowance if your child is young in the age group. Others do not permit this…so beware! In some counties, schools prepare the children with practice papers for this test but other Local Authorities do not allow this. They feel that if your child is capable of attaining entry to the Grammar school it is not necessary

Application forms and making your choice

Some parents will receive an application form inside the Information Booklet on secondary education. Others will be able to complete this form ‘on-line’. There are fixed dates for both these procedures so take care. In some areas, there is a space for the name of one school; in others, you may choose up to six different schools! It is usually a good idea to give reasons for your preferences especially if there is a health issue or a family member already attends the school.

You need to think carefully about your choices and make them realistic for your child’s ability as in some counties your schools will only accept first choices. If your child does not fulfil all the criteria for this school, you may find that your second choice school is full!

Points to consider in making a selection for grammar schools:

  1. Some children at 11 may be mature, confident and naturally perform well under test conditions. Others find the pressure too much and do not do themselves justice! It is so difficult to gauge as to whether or not they will gain confidence if placed in a highly competitive and fast track method of schooling! Only your class teacher and Head teacher can advise you…...please listen!
  2. If you select a grammar school as your first choice and unfortunately your child misses the required mark in even one test they may not gain admission to their first choice school. Some of the grammar schools only admit children who have really high scores in every area.
  3. The school you have selected for your second choice may turn out to be full of first choice applications. This means your child is then passed on to your third choice school.
  4. It can happen that your third choice school could also be full and your child may have to wait until a place is rejected at a school or be allocated yet a different school by the Local Authority.

You have to be aware of the entry criteria. If a school is over subscribed and you live too far away, or they have enough children nearer to school than you, your child may not be given a place. Some schools state in their entrance criteria that they only accept ‘First choice’ candidates. This is because they know from previous years that they will be over subscribed. Parents will be aware of the examination results, ethos, behaviour of the pupils and the standard of teaching and care that every child receives for each school.This is very important and it is correct that it should play an important part in each and every parent’s decision.

Every parent wants their child to have the best and to achieve at least as much if not more than them. They also want the best possible school for their child. If you have an academic, conscientious, confident child who is capable of accepting any challenge you have no problem. If you are aware that non-selective education will be ideal for your child and that they will achieve well there is also no problem

A problem is always the over-ambitious parent who will not listen to advice, or the child who performs inconsistently and has slightly less confidence. 'Middle of the road’ children are difficult for staff and parents to predict. They may mature and survive having to live from day to day with more capable children…or they may wilt! Who can tell?

Sample 11+ Questions

1. Choose a number to make this statement correct:
37 + 20 = 57 so 57 – 20 = ?

2. Which three items from this menu cost exactly £15.77?
plaice £7.88
burger £4.90
lamb £5.99
veggie burger £4.88
3. In the number 47381, the digit 4 is worth 40000. True or False?
4. Select the pairs of decimals which add to 10.
2.7 + 8.3
4.6 + 5.6
7.2 + 2.8
5.2 + 3.8
6.1 + 4.9
5. Jack is 10 on 14th August this year. He has exactly 4 weeks to wait until his birthday. What is the date today?
13th July
14th July
15th July
16th July
17th July
6. Ellen is converting 7500g into kilograms. Which calculation will she need to do?
7500 x 1000
7500 x 100
7500 ÷ 100
7500 ÷ 1000
7. Six boys share three cakes. Three girls share two cakes.
The boys get more cake than the girls. True or False?

Underline the closest answer in the following questions.


2001 x 6.94 =


        20000    80000    14000    11000    15000   


37 x 52 =


        1400    2000    1700    800    2400   


15999 + 12101 =


     24000    25000    26000    27000    28000 


34839÷ 69 =


        500    600    350    425    625  


8.2 x 8.9 =


        66    69    72    75    78   

The table below shows children's scores in three Mathematics tests. Each test had a different number of questions. Maximum marks possible for each of the tests was as follows -
                Test 1 - 60 marks, Test 2 - 40 marks and Test 3 - 50 marks.










Test  1 45 52 26 57 51 46 29 56
Test  2 38 37 18 39 28 36 18 25
Test  3 45 42 31 46 47 46 43 50


What was Mike's average score in the three tests as a percentage?


 35%    40%    45%    50%    55%   


In which test did Jen do best?


 Test 1    Test 2    Test 3   D


How many children scored less than 50% on test 1?


 1    2    3    4    5   D


How many children scored more than 50% on test 3?


 4    5    6    7    8  


Which child scored 100% in one of the tests?


 Emma    Jen    Mike   Bill  
 John    Susan    Matt    James  

Which is the best answer?


How tall is a man?


 50cm    1m 80cm    1m 15cm    2m 20cm    1m 50cm    90cm  


How long would it take an eleven-year-old to walk 3 miles?


 2hrs 15mins    25mins    220mins    1hr    1hr 40mins    3hrs  


How heavy is an apple?


 10g    940g    15kg    2kg    1kg    120g  

True or False?


An acute angle is more than 90 degrees.


 True    False  


The internal angle of a regular hexagon is 50 degrees.


 True    False  


A scalene triangle has two equal sides.


 True    False  


If you add two odd numbers the answer is always odd.


 True    False  


The product of 8 and 254 is 262.


 True    False  

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