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When to apply for the 11 Plus (11+) exams: an easy guide 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The 11+ exam is an important step in a child’s education in the UK. It’s a selective entrance test usually taken in September of Year 6, used by 164 grammar schools and numerous independent schools to determine Year 7 admissions. 

Securing high marks in this examination will ensure you can apply to your child’s first choice for their next school. Typically, the 11+ exam contains a set of multiple-choice and/or written papers that examine students in verbal reasoning (VR), non-verbal reasoning (NVR), English, and maths. 

Although the actual 11+ exam is usually in September of Year 6, preparation and administration begin much earlier. 

This guide aims to provide clear and helpful information regarding the 11+ and when you should begin the application process. 

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What to do before applying for the 11 Plus (11+)

1. Research your chosen schools

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Firstly you should research the schools in your local area and which ones use an 11+ exam for admission. It is also essential to check the school’s specific requirements and ensure your child qualifies for entry. 

This information is available on either the school’s website, the local council’s website or their consortium’s website if they are part of one. 

2. Make sure you understand the format of the exam

The format of the 11+ exam can differ depending on the area or school you are applying to. Ensure you and your child are comfortable with the question format, which subjects are included and the difficulty level before applying for the 11+. 

Knowing what to expect can help with the preparation and ensure the 11+ exam is the right choice for your child. 

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3. Start preparing early

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Your child will be in Year 6 when they take the 11+ exam. Ideally, they should start preparing at the end of Year 4 or the beginning of Year 5.

Beginning early and tackling topics in bitesize chunks will reduce stress, ensuring your child absorbs all the relevant information. Preparing in advance will also help you identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, ensuring you have enough time to help them in the areas they are struggling in.

4. Consider investing in resources or paying for tuition

The best way to help your child familiarise themselves with the types of questions they will get in the 11+ exam and the difficulty level is to encourage them to sit practice papers. 

This familiarity will significantly reduce stress in the lead-up to the exam, helping to improve time management skills and confidence. 

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At Examberry, we offer a wide range of practice papers which closely replicate the format and style of the actual 11+ exam. With various area and school-specific resources, you can find tailored support for the school your child is applying to. We also offer a number of practice papers for English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

You may also want to consider sending your child to 11+ tutoring to ensure they receive tailored assistance and stay on track. At Examberry Tuition, we offer specialised private or group in-person tutoring and online tuition, with teaching tailored for your child in the lead-up to their 11+ exam.

When to apply for the 11 Plus (11+)

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Most grammar and independent schools will open their registration in April or May, when your child is in Year 5, and set a deadline for around June or July (it is important to note that each school has a unique registration process, and registration dates can vary from these months).

For grammar schools, you are asked to fill out a registration form which you can usually find on the school’s or the consortium’s website.

For independent schools, you will usually be asked to fill out a registration form from their website and submit a non-refundable registration fee. You may also be asked to submit additional information, such as a reference from your child’s current school and a passport-sized image of them. 

Registration for bursaries and scholarships may be included in this application for the 11+ or part of a separate process, so checking if you need to submit multiple forms is essential. 

Most grammar school 11+ entrance exams take place in September, and most independent school 11+ exams take place from November to February when your child is in Year 6. 

After registering, you should see if the school you are applying to has any upcoming open events. These are great opportunities for prospective students and their parents to visit the school. Open events can include guided tours, Q&As, pamphlets, and the chance to walk around the school and speak to staff members. Schools usually have booking forms and information about their open events on their websites.

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+

Further Recommendations for the 11+

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