If you have heard of grammar schools, or independent schools, then you may have heard of the 11 Plus exam. This exam is the taken in primary school as an entry test to their high-level school. With such high stakes, a common question asked is, do you have to pay for the 11 Plus exam.
The 11 Plus exam is free to take for all students. This is because it is a selective entrance exam to grammar schools, which are also free. However, competition is high for these schools, and while it may be free, you should try and get an 11 Plus exam as soon as possible.
Despite this, there is high competition, and for a good reason. If you do not know about this exam, or about grammar schools, read on to find out.
Do you have to pay for the 11 Plus exam?
The 11 Plus exam is free for all students. In some cities or counties, the students will automatically be registered for the 11 Plus exam if they go to a primary school in a county or city with grammar schools. It is sometimes their responsibility to opt out of the 11 Plus exam. However, they do not need to sit the exam. For more information about the cost of the 11 Plus exam, look at this guide by EasyA. For more information about opting out of the 11 Plus exam, check out this article by Oxford Owl.
What is the 11 Plus exam?
The 11 Plus exam is a selective entrance exam to grammar schools. The test is taken by students in their local primary school, or their nearest grammar school. The test is composed of different key skills needed in secondary education. There is more than one test paper. This can be on the same day, or over multiple days.
After students have completed it, it is marked, and they are given a score. The schools will then view the tests and choose students who they think will be successful in their future and will benefit from being among other smarter students. The exam tests students on English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.
If you are unsure of whether this is suitable, you should consider the average grade and report of other students and compare to your or your child’s report. You can also ask your teacher whether they think that your ability is enough to secure a pass. You can find a full guide to the 11 Plus exam, in this Think Student article.
What is a grammar school?
Grammar schools are selective, state-funded secondary schools. They use the 11 Plus exam to see the candidate’s academic ability and if they believe that the student will thrive in their school.
Grammar schools are very competitive and so students will be among other high achievers, so are thought to thrive more. This has been proven, with evidence, that more students being accepted into universities if they went to a grammar school. You should note that passing an 11 Plus exam does not ensure a place in the school. To find out more about this, read this Think Student article.
Is the 11 Plus exam compulsory?
The 11 Plus exam is not compulsory. It is up to the student and their parents to decide whether the 11 Plus exam would suit them. However, as mentioned before, some places automatically register the children for the exam, and are required to opt out. To find out more you can read this Oxford Owl guide.
Is it worth taking the 11 Plus exam?
The 11 Plus exam is definitely worth taking. If you or your child wants to thrive more in their educational career, and get a boost, they should definitely try taking the test. If they are accepted into a grammar school, they will be among other more academically able students, and will suit more to their needs and ability.
Grammar schools give students have a higher chance of getting into a better university. Exam results usually outperform students from comprehensive schools. People like David Attenborough and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher went to a grammar school.
If you are not sure whether you or your child can pass, it is great to give it a try. It is free after all. It is very hard to get into a grammar school, there are less than 200 grammar schools of about 3000 secondary schools. You can read more about this, in this Think Student Article.
What are the downsides of a grammar school?
Usually, wealthier students will attend due to private tutoring. This can further classism. For those who could not get this, may find it hard to keep up in grammar school. Also, failing the test can be very upsetting for the children. Some schools prioritise the 11 Plus over the normal curriculum. This can harm them in the future, and the other students.
Finally, there is a general rule that these students do better. This means that due to contextual admissions in universities, better grammar school grades will be put into consideration. Meaning that grammar school students won’t have an academic advantage. You can read more about contextual admissions on this UCAS page.
How should you prepare for an 11 Plus exam?
From Year 4, you should try to build your, or your child’s reasoning and critical thinking skills. Then try some practice questions from Year 5. It would be great to create a plan. To do so you will need to find out your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You should bear in mind that they are still quite young in all of this, so they should avoid anything too strenuous.
The Bond 11+ structure program can be great, and can be found by clicking on this link. Otherwise, you can view this article by Oxford Owl, for a detailed plan. There is also a great starter pack offered by Bond 11+ for new students, or parents trying to help their child. This can include small tests, and revision planners. You can view this, by clicking on this link.
From this article we hope you have gained an insight into the 11 Plus exam, and how much it costs, and how it works, but also the grammar schools, and how it will affect their future. It is definitely seen as a great opportunity, and something that should be discussed, as it could very much help the student in the future.