The 11+ assessment is not dissimilar to the 7+. However, there is naturally a significant rise in difficulty due to the increased age. As a consequence, the work put in for the 7+ tests will be hugely beneficial when it comes to the 11+. The test is divided up into English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The 11+ is a particularly important exam series as a successful attempt will enable your child to take common entrance for their secondary school of choice. 

We would certainly recommend taking a break after 7+. However, it would be unwise to leave these four topic areas unchecked for over eighteen months. Start preparation for 11+ well in advance so your child can gradually get into the swing of it. Remember: a little and often is preferable to masses of work over a short period of time.

What is being tested?


The English paper is made up of three key areas: comprehension, spelling and punctuation. 

The first important tactic is to read the questions first. In some schools, students are taught to read through the text first, as teachers don’t want their pupils to rush straight to the questions and make mistakes. However, this isn’t in fact the most effective way of tackling a comprehension exercise. If you don’t read through the questions first, then you don’t know what you’re looking for. You’re simply reading through a text without any particular direction. With the questions in mind, you are an informed reader, searching the text for specific targets.
Another useful strategy is using the text paragraphs as a guideline for where the required information will be. For example, if there are ten questions and ten paragraphs, you can more or less guarantee that the information required to answer question one will be in paragraph one. The information for question three will be in paragraph three and so on. While one shouldn’t adhere to this religiously, double check your work if you think you have found the answer to question one in the final paragraph! It simply isn’t how the test is usually structured. 

It is important to understand that when it comes to spelling, you are not actually required to understand the sentence. You are only being asked to spot the word that is misspelt. With this in mind, it can be useful to read the sentence backwards, as it trains your mind to look for errors, rather than get bogged down with the context of the sentence.
Also useful for spelling is phonetics, which means that you sound the word out under your breath. If you’re unsure of a word and it sounds wrong, chances are you have misspelt it.
The final step for spelling is called the systematic check. Once you have applied your process of elimination, backwards reading and phonetics you should only have a couple of potentially misspelt words left. Now you need to go through each letter of every possible misspelt word and ask yourself if you are happy with each of them. This may sound painful but it’s very necessary to achieve the desired result. 

The principal rule for punctuation is the reverse to spelling – so make sure you get them in the right order! For punctuation, it is of great importance that you read the sentence through and absorb its meaning and intentions. Without taking the time to establish this, you won’t know where the emphasis lies or understand the rhythm of the sentence. This will prevent you from adding or removing a question mark, full-stop, comma etc.

Finally, phonetics also plays an important role when it comes to punctuation. It is important to read the sentence out under your breath so you can assess the sentence flow. If a punctuation symbol disrupts this flow, it is unlikely to belong there (unless it has been employed for effect). Likewise, if the question is a long sentence that has lots of words flowing into one another, you probably need a full-stop or a comma.



The maths techniques required for the 11+ is based on the Year 6 programme of study. However, this should be regarded as the baseline level. Many schools test students far beyond the expected level for their age. The skills required can be split up into number, FDP (fractions, decimals and percentages), ratios, geometry, measurement, stats, basic algebra and problem solving.

For number, it is vital that candidates are able to comfortably recall multiplication facts. Written and mental methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division should also be done at a good pace and accuracy. This includes written methods for decimals and simple operations with negative numbers. Candidates should also be able to identify special numbers such as square and prime numbers, as well as factors and multiples.

For FDP, candidates should be able to convert between the fractions, decimals and percentages, and be capable of using each to solve a variety of problems. They may also be asked to solve problems involving backward fractions and percentages.

For ratio, candidates should be able to solve a variety of problems, using the concept to solve questions that require conversion. This includes using maps and scale models, problems involving quantity and recipes, and speed distance time questions.

For geometry, candidates should be able to identify the properties of different polygons and quadrilaterals such as sum of interior angles and parallel sides. They should also be able to reflect shapes on diagonal mirror lines and identify order of rotation. At this stage, there are also questions involving coordinates in all four quadrants.

For measurement, there is a variety of questions on conversion between measurements, simple conversion between metric and imperial units, time and calendar problems.
For stats, candidates should be able to construct pie charts and line graphs, and use these to solve a variety of real-life problems from tables, graphs and charts.

Basic algebra includes work on sequences (nth term), forming simple expressions, some simultaneous equations and solving very basic equations (one or two steps).

For problem solving, there is a wide range of questions which may or may not incorporate the topics above. Some of the key skills needed are trial and improvement, following instructions, working systematically, organisation of work and solving puzzles.

math angles

Verbal Reasoning

This part of the test is almost entirely based around knowing what words mean, so it’s a good opportunity to reemphasise the importance of reading. Children with insufficient vocabularies will struggle on this paper. 

The following exercises are likely to come up in one variation or another: code sequences, missing letters, synonyms, antonyms, related words, sum completion, word analogies, letter connections, hidden words, code pairs, problem solving, letters for numbers, number sequences, moving letters, word constructions, word combinations and double meanings. 

Candidates should be familiar with all of these terms and exercises to the extent that no question should confuse them when it comes to test day.


Non-Verbal Reasoning

For Non-Verbal Reasoning, it’s important to have a good maths vocabulary to describe shapes, position, direction and rotation of shapes. Although this may mean that the candidate loses some time initially, it will improve their marks in the long term. Using the process of elimination is also highly recommended when dealing with the more challenging questions. This should be done by isolation of specific aspects of the patterns, rather than trying to tackle the shape as a whole. 

The following exercises are likely to come up in one variation or another: code sequences, code pairs, patterns, spot the difference, odd one out, related shapes, shape sequences.

Candidates should be familiar with all of these terms and exercises to the extent that no question should confuse them when it comes to test day.