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11+ Birmingham Entrance Test Information 2023

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is the Birmingham 11+ entrance test?

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The Grammar Schools in Birmingham 11+ entrance test is the exam which children must sit to gain entry in Year 7 to the eight schools in the consortium of “The Grammar Schools in Birmingham” listed below.

  • Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School for Boys
  • King Edward VI Aston School
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls
  • King Edward VI Five Ways School
  • King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls
  • King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys
  • Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls

These schools are highly competitive. Your child will not only need to pass the Birmingham 11+ test, but score very highly in it, in order to get into the school of your choice.

Make sure you check the websites of individual schools for their admissions criteria. Some schools give priority to children living within a certain catchment area.

The Birmingham 11+ test is a standardised exam covering Maths, English Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-verbal Reasoning/Spatial Awareness. As of 2022, the exam will be produced by GL, not CEM as in previous years, so make sure you prepare for the GL style of exam. Read on for useful information about this new format of exam and how to prepare.

BRAND NEW practice tests for 2023 11+ Birmingham exams

View sample pages: Test 1, Test 2, Test 3, Test 4

Dates and application information 2023

The test is sat by Year 6 students in September. Registration opens earlier in the year, so make sure you check the Grammar Schools in Birmingham website so that you don’t miss the deadline

Application process:

  • Register for the Birmingham 11+ entrance test
  • Sit the Birmingham 11+ entrance test
  • Receive results from the test. If your child has passed the test, they can apply to the schools in “The Grammar Schools in Birmingham”.
  • Complete and submit a Local Authority Preference Form

Dates for 2024 entry

Registration for testing opened: early May 2023
Registration closed: 30th June 2023
Test date: mid-September 2023
Results of the test sent out: mid-October 2023
Local authority preference form deadline: 31st October 2023
National offer day: 1st March 2024

These dates will give you a rough guide as to when registration for the test for 2024 entry will open. 

The 11+ Birmingham test format

The Birmingham 11+ test is made up of two papers.

Both papers last about one hour, including additional time for instructions and examples. They are multiple-choice and have separate answer sheets which will be marked by an automatic marking machine. There are no written answer sections in the test.

Each paper tests 4 subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • English Comprehension
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-verbal/Spatial Reasoning


The papers are divided into individually timed sections which are preceded by instructions and example questions.


The Mathematics section covers key aspects of the KS2 National Curriculum. A rough guide to topics covered:

  • Arithmetic – operations, number properties, decimals, BIDMAS
  • Algebra, simple linear equations
  • Fractions and Percentages
  • Measurements – unit conversions, area and volume
  • Graphs – Venn diagrams, line graphs, pie charts, pictograms
  • Statistics – mean, median, mode, range
  • Geometry – 2D shapes, angles, coordinates
  • Word questions

English Comprehension

Children will be given a passage to read, then must answer comprehension questions on the passage. These questions will test your child’s understanding of the passage, ability to make inferences, understanding of a writer’s style and tone, knowledge of literary devices, vocabulary knowledge, and grammar.

Verbal Reasoning

This section tests your child’s vocabulary knowledge and reasoning skills. Topics can include: synonyms and antonyms, word puzzles, missing letter puzzles, alphabet code puzzles.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

This section tests your child’s spatial awareness and reasoning skills. They will need to spot sequences, understand relationships between shapes and diagrams, and visualise the nets of shapes.

It is divided into short sections of different question types, including both non-verbal reasoning and spatial reasoning. Each section is individually timed and will contain practice questions.

The Birmingham 11+ entrance test top tips for your child

  • For maths, make sure you are familiar and confident with the KS2 maths syllabus, as this is what the questions will be based on.
  • Read the questions carefully! Just because the questions are multiple choice, it doesn’t mean they are easy.
    In the comprehension section, there is often more than one option which looks as though it could be correct – be careful not to fall for red herrings.
  • Pay attention to the time! As with any exam, time management is key, but it is especially important in the Birmingham 11+ entrance test because this is made up of many different parts.
    -Read and listen to any instructions about timings carefully.
  • Don’t leave any blanks! It is always worth filling in an answer even if you are unsure.

How to prepare for the 2023 11+ Birmingham exam

The most useful way to prepare is to do practice papers to familiarise yourself with the style of the exam.

You can access a familiarisation guide here. 

GL also has familiarisation papers which you can access here.

However, these papers are not structured in the same way as the Birmingham test.

For expert practice papers updated to reflect the latest version of the Birmingham 11+ entrance test structure, have a look at the papers in our shop:

View sample pages: Test 1, Test 2, Test 3, Test 4

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