What is the 11+ exam?

The 11+ is an optional selective exam taken at the start of year 6, when pupils are either age 10 or 11. It was commonplace throughout England and Wales between 1944 and the mid-1970s. However, it is now only used in certain regions of England. The purpose of the exam is to select the children who would be most academically suited to studying at a secondary grammar school.

There are two main providers of the 11+ exam: CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) and GL Assessment (Granada Learning Assessment).

The CEM exam covers English, verbal ability, non-verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning. These are mixed papers containing sections covering different subjects. This exam places strong emphasis on English skills, including comprehension, spelling and vocabulary.

The GL Assessment covers English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. These papers are often separated by subject, however certain areas are moving towards using mixed subject papers. In most areas, this exam gives equal weighting to all subjects.

The chosen exam board for each region or school is subject to change. We advise that you contact the local authority or school(s) for further information before selecting the books you require.

How AE Publications can help

We offer a wide range of 11+ books, focusing on techniques required for both types of exam. These can be purchased individually or as different sized bundles according to subject or exam-board.

Our Year 5-7 GL Assessment, CEM and Mega Bundle provide the most thorough means of preparation. They comprise a full course of books which should ideally be completed over a school year, ready for the exam the following September. This will give a child plenty of time to work through all elements of the exam requirements in a calm and steady way, avoiding cramming too close to the exam.

After completing a bundle, our 11+ GL Assessment or CEM specific testpacks should be used for final exam preparation. These contain practice papers which simulate the format and content of the 11+ exams and may be completed as standard or multiple-choice tests.

We also provide 11+ preparation material for children in years 3 & 4. These should be completed over the course of those school years, and children in year 4 can then move on to the testpacks. We do not offer exam board specific bundles for these age ranges to allow you to keep your options open. We have found that children who begin preparing in these years gain a firm foundation for the more complex techniques required in year 5.

Although we advise taking a full school year, it is never too late to begin; any preparation is beneficial, even working through the testpacks in the weeks before the exam.

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