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How to apply for the 11 plus (11+) exams

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

7 Tips for applying for the 11 Plus (11+) exams

This easy guide will take you through the application process for the 11+ with a step-by-step system:

1. Research schools

Make a list of grammar schools that would suit your child and shortlist the ones you are most interested in pursuing. You may need/want to take into account their:

  • Priority criteria – for example, if they have a catchment area or prioritise candidates with siblings already at the school


  • PAN (Published Admission Number) – the number of spaces for Year 7 entry for that year


  • Ethos – what are the school’s values & do they align with yours


  • Facilities – what facilities can your child access while at the school


  • Co/Extra-curricular programme – clubs, societies, trips


  • Previous years’ results – for GCSES and A Level


  • Recent inspections/rankings – e.g. Ofsted, ISI, The Good Schools Guide, The Sunday Times Parent Power National Ranking


These kinds of details can be found on our website via the school-specific blog posts or on the school’s admission websites.

2. Attend open events

Online or in-person open events provide the opportunity to find out about the school in more depth. They may be on in the morning, daytime, or evening, and they may run all-year-round or alternatively, may only be available in certain months.

 You will need to check the school’s website where they list their open events to see these exact dates/times as well as to book a spot if the event is ticketed.

3. Register for the entrance exams

Registration is carried out online usually in the spring or summer of the year before entry, either on the school’s website or their consortium’s website through their Year 7/11+ entry Admissions page. It is vital that you find out the exact dates for registration opening and closing because applications after the deadline will not be accepted unless there are special extenuating circumstances. 

There may also be an accompanying registration fee which you will also need to submit before the registration deadline; sometimes, this fee is taken out of the first term fees.

4. Fill out a CAF application

Through your home local authority admissions department’s website, you will need to submit a Common Application Form (CAF) where you list your child’s top school choices in order of preference. The number of schools you can apply to depends on where you are based; usually this number ranges from 3-6 schools.

The Year 7 entry into 2024 deadline is 31 October 2023.

5. Fill out any additional forms

Some secondary schools require you to submit additional forms, for example, a SIF (Supplementary Information form). Make sure to check the school’s website to figure out if you are required to submit anything beyond the registration form/fee and CAF application.

6. Keep an eye on emails

Frequently check your emails to see if the school or consortium has sent you any details regarding their admissions progress. In particular:

  • Entrance exam date(s), times, & location


  • Open event booking information


  • Scholarship/bursary feedback


  • Results/Offers/Appeals information


7. Appeal

National Offer Day falls on 1 March 2024; it is the date when your child will hear from the school if they have been offered a place for Year 7 entry. If you are unsuccessful, you can appeal by contacting your home local authority who will guide you through the process for your area.

The appeal process is very difficult to be successful in; you are only likely to get through to the school of your choice through the appeal process if you have very strong evidence for your case. This is why it is so important that your child is prepared so they can achieve a high score in their entrance exams, securing them a place when offers are initially sent out.

How to prepare your child for the 11 Plus (11+) exam

The most useful way to prepare for the 11+ entrance exams is to use practice papers to familiarise your child with the exam content and format. 

Our website offers a range of practice papers that focus on the essential skills your child needs to prepare for the 11+ entrance exam including English, maths, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning. These practice tests can help your child to build their confidence and improve their performance on the exam.

On our sister site, Examberry Tuition, you can also sign up for in-person and online 11+ tuition courses and 11+ mock exams to give your child the best chance of getting into the top school of their choice.

Maths: https://examberrypapers.co.uk/papers/11-plus/maths

English: https://examberrypapers.co.uk/papers/11-plus/english

Verbal Reasoning: https://examberrypapers.co.uk/papers/11-plus/verbal-reasoning

Non-Verbal Reasoning: https://examberrypapers.co.uk/papers/11-plus/non-verbal-reasoning

Examberry Tuition: https://www.examberry.com

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