The 11 plus exam is highly competitive. Selective and grammar schools require students to sit entrance exams for oversubscribed school places.
While these exams test for ability, it is very possible for very bright children to miss out on top marks. This is because the 11 plus exam is not about how bright you are, but also how well you have mastered exam techniques and how fast you are at answering the questions correctly in the allocated time.
The 11+ syllabus
The 11+ syllabus for English and maths covers National Curriculum topics taught in KS2 English and maths. For English and maths, the exam will test children only for topics in the KS2 syllabus including numerical reasoning. However, children sit the exam at the beginning of year 6 before they have had a chance to cover the whole KS2 syllabus. This is why many parents enlist the help of 11 plus tutors to help accelerate their child’s learning in time for the exam and to ensure there are no gaps.
The 11+ syllabus also includes non-verbal reasoning which is a subject that is not taught in schools so adequate preparation is usually necessary.
The 11+ Exam
The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE) is responsible for administering the 11 plus exam in Essex. Your child will sit the CSSE exam if you are considering any of the consortium schools which includes King Edward VI Grammar School, Colchester County High School for Girls, Colchester Royal Grammar School, Southend High School for Girls, Southend High School for Boys, Westcliff High School for Girls, Westcliff High School for Boys, St. Bernards High School for Girls, St. Thomas More High School and Shoeburyness High School.
The entrance exam for Chelmsford County High School for Girls is created by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM), the same organisation that provides entrance tests for grammar schools such Ilford County High School and Woodford County High School.
What does the 11 plus exam consist of?
The CSSE 11+ exam consists of an English paper and a maths paper. The English paper covers comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, creative writing and verbal reasoning while the maths paper covers mathematics and non-verbal reasoning.
The CEM 11+ exam consists of two papers (English and maths) which are divided into sections that focus on specific skills. CEM papers test for comprehension, literacy, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning,
Verbal reasoning which focuses on critical thinking and problem-solving skills using words and text and includes topics such as word problems, letter sequences and number codes as well as non-verbal reasoning which focuses on problem-solving using patterns and shapes and includes topics like the odd one out, like shapes, code breaker and missing squares.
How can I find out more about 11 plus?
You can speak to your child’s teacher or school about your child’s suitability for the 11 plus exam. Additionally, CSSE and CEM websites both provide a wealth of information which includes free familiarisation papers. If you are interested in 11 plus tutoring, speak to us to see how we can help.