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What Percentage Do You Need To Pass The 11 Plus (11+)?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is the 11 Plus (11+)?

The 11+ is an exam administered to students in their last year of primary education who are applying to selective schools. This exam aims to assess whether a candidate is suitable for admission to a grammar or independent school. There are 164 grammar schools and many independent schools that use the 11+ exam to allocate their Year 7 spaces each year. 

This test covers four main subjects: maths, English, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning, although its structure varies depending on the area or school. 

Securing high marks in the 11+ will not necessarily ensure entry into your child’s chosen school, as there are usually other criteria for admission; however, it will ensure that they have the opportunity to apply. 

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Passing the 11+

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One of the most common questions from parents preparing their child for the 11+ exam is, ‘What percentage does my child need to pass?’. 

The percentage required to pass the 11+ can vary based on the area or school your child is applying to and the competition that year. Many grammar schools and consortiums set a pass mark, sometimes called a ‘qualifying mark’, for their 11+ exams. However, it is important to note that there is no national pass mark for all 11+ exams.

This pass mark can be higher in areas with fewer grammar schools, as the available spaces are more competitive. Areas with more grammar schools typically have lower pass marks; for example, Kent has approximately 35 grammar schools and 3 partially selective schools.

This article will provide you with some key information about the scoring process of the 11+ and clarify how to interpret your child’s results. 

Age-standardised scoring

Many schools use age-standardised scoring to eliminate age disadvantages in the 11+ exam. When your child has completed the test, their attainment estimate is calculated.

This considers the number of correct answers across the different test papers, ensuring equal weighting is given to each. If your child has taken an adaptive test, the difficulty of the questions is also considered. 

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Timing is also taken into account when calculating the attainment estimate. This means a 50-minute 80-question non-verbal reasoning test won’t be directly compared to a 50-minute 50-question English exam. 

The attainment estimate is then converted into a standardised score to ensure fairness when comparing scores of children who are almost an entire year apart. Younger pupils are awarded extra marks to compensate for their age. For example, a child born in September and a child born in August could achieve the same raw score, but the child in August would achieve a higher standardised score. 

What is a good standardised age score in the 11+?

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Standardised age scores usually range from 60 at the lowest end to 142 at the top. All the scores are mapped onto a curve to give a broad overview of the year-group performance. 

On average, a score of 80 or below represents the bottom 10% of the year group, a score of 100 is average, and 120 or above represents the top 10% in the year group. The highest standardised score a candidate can achieve is 142. 

Many schools will have a qualifying score or rank the standardised scores of every child who took the 11+ from highest to lowest. They will then offer places to a set number of the highest-scoring candidates. This is usually around 180 places; however, it can vary depending on several factors. 

Achieving the qualifying score in the 11+ does not mean your child will automatically gain a place at their chosen school. For grammar schools, achieving this score only means you can list the school as a preference on your child’s Common Application Form (CAF).

Other admissions criteria, such as whether your child has a sibling at the school or is eligible for free school meals, are also considered and valued higher than their score in the 11+. 

Consortium’s qualifying scores

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Below, you can find a list of the grammar school areas or consortiums which have set qualifying scores or have provided previous qualifying scores.

You can also access our full information articles about each place by clicking on your area.

  • Buckinghamshire
    • There are 13 grammar schools in Buckinghamshire which have formed together as The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS).
    • Candidates take the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test and must achieve a qualifying score of 121.
  • Essex
    • The qualifying score for this consortium varies each year depending on the success rate of the previous year.
    • In previous years, the minimum qualifying score has been 303 (this is a combined age-standardised score from both test papers) 
  • Kent 
    • Your child will get three standardised scores for English, maths and reasoning. They will also receive one overall score. 
    • The grammar schools in Kent are looking for an overall score of 332 or more, with no individual score lower than 109.
    • The highest possible score a candidate can receive is 423.
  • Kingston-upon-Thames
    • The qualifying scores for the Tiffin Schools are calculated based on the size and performance of the year group, so they are calculated until the tests have taken place.
    • In 2022, the lowest scores that were offered a place were 103 for Tiffin School and 107 for The Tiffin Girls’ School. 
  • Lincolnshire
    • The qualifying standardised score is 220 for both papers. 
    • The maximum score a child can achieve is 282, meaning your child would need to score an average of 78% on both papers to achieve the qualifying score. 
  • Redbridge
    • The qualifying score for the Redbridge 11+ test is 104.
  • Slough 
    • The qualifying score for the Slough 11+ test is 111.
  • Trafford
    • In past years, the qualifying score for the Trafford Consortium has been 334, combined from both test papers. 
  • Wirral
    • Candidates must score a combined mark of 236 in the Wirral Admissions Test to be considered for a place at one of the schools that use it. 
    • For the schools that are in Wirral but do not use this test:
      • St Anselm’s College: This school does not publish its pass mark, but there are 156 places available, and applicants are ranked in order of score.
      • Upton Hall School: Children need to score 236 or above to be considered for a place, and there are 156 places available.
      • The Blue Coat School: The first 27 places are offered to children who score 213 and are eligible for free school meals. There are 180 places available. The remaining places are offered to the highest-scoring candidates. 
  • Medway
    • The qualifying score for Medway varies from year to year. 
    • The lowest combined qualifying score hasn’t gone below 483 in recent years.
  • West Midlands
    • In 2023, the grammar schools in Birmingham, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Walsall, and Wolverhampton joined together to form the West Midland Grammar Schools partnership.
    • In previous years, the combined qualifying score for entry to grammar schools in Birmingham has been 205.

Examberry Papers

One of the most effective way to prepare for an 11+ entrance exam is to use practice tests written by experts.

We offer a range of  11+ revision resources including area & school-specific papers, subject-specific papers, spelling & vocabulary resources, and reading books.

Each of our practice tests:

Key Recommendations for the 11+

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