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11+ Exams - Past papers and Private Tuition

11+ Exams - Past papers and Private Tuition

What are the 11+ exams?

If you want your child to go to a grammar school, they'll first need to sit and pass the 11+ exams. The places for grammar schools are usually limited, so they choose the best and brightest students based on the results of these exams.

Do all year 6 pupils have to take the 11+ exams

When you register for your child’s place at a grammar school, you also need to register them for the 11+ exams - except in Buckinghamshire, where every child is automatically opted in. It varies by school, but generally the deadline for registering for the exams is June or July of year 5, with the exams taking place the following September.

What kind of 11+ questions can you expect?

The 11+ exams usually consist of four key sections: English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning:


It can be easy to assume that the English section will focus on testing the child’s spelling and grammar, however this isn’t the case.

The English section will usually contain a passage of text which the student will study carefully. They will then be asked multiple choice questions about the text to test their understanding.

You can find an example of English 11+ exam questions here.


The maths questions cover a variety of topics, however it is important to note that they can stretch into the year 6 curriculum, which is why an experienced tutor is often deemed essential.

Here are some good examples of the kind of 11+ maths exam questions you can expect to see.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

The non-verbal reasoning section of the test can often seem daunting, as it isn’t a case of using the knowledge your child has gained from their school lessons. It resembles an IQ test, where the student has to use logic and reasoning to identify patterns.

It’s definitely worthwhile checking out some past exam papers for this section, as your child could get a bit of a shock if they haven’t undertaken this kind of test before.

Verbal reasoning

Despite its name, this doesn’t involve talking out loud! This section focuses on finding connections between words, cracking codes, and understanding sequences. This is another exam that may be unfamiliar to many children, so it is worth ensuring they have the right help in order to prepare effectively, and make sure you check out some past questions.

Does my child need a tutor for the 11+ exams?

With limited spaces being available at the best schools, inevitably the 11+ exams can become a bit of a competition. Parents want to give their child the best chance of excelling in their exams, and this means that they need to be better than their peers.

A tutor who specialises in 11+ exams is often the go-to solution. They will be able to take your child through past papers, teach them 11+ exam tips and tricks, and help them understand the level of care and detail that is required from them to ensure that they don’t miss any marks.

Early 11+ exam preparation is also a key factor when it comes to success. Many dedicated parents ensure that their child begins preparing for the exams the year before, ensuring that by the time they sit the exams, they have already had a full year of pretty intense training.

Kirstan N

Kirstan N

21st Jun 2022