As the end of the school year slowly approaches, many students often will wonder about the next year and the challenges it will bring. For students in Year 5, some will sit the 11 Plus exam at the beginning of Year 6. This may be a big affair for both the candidates and applicants involved; there may be questions and confusion for those involved in the process. Naturally, as it can be hard to sort out the dates and details, many are asking when the 11 Plus exam is.
The 11 Plus exam is typically sat during the first two weeks of September from the 1st of September to the 14th. Different grammar schools will have different dates within this period. It is strongly recommended to check on the school website, as dates are subject to variance.
While this may have given an extremely brief overview of the time range for the exams, it may be helpful to read on for more helpful information, a detailed timeline, and some advice too.
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What is the timeline for the 11 Plus exam?
Of course, it may not be enough to receive only the date range for the 11 Plus exam. Below you will find a timeline for the process of the 11 Plus exams:
- April – Typically grammar schools will open their registrations for the 11 Plus exam (usually on their websites) in April/May and close their registrations in June/July. There may be variance with these dates, so please check these dates with the schools themselves (found on their websites). Buckinghamshire automatically enters all primary children for the 11 Plus exam. It utilises an opt-out system for parents who must actively choose to withdraw their child from the process.
- September – Usually, grammar schools will hold their 11 Plus exams during the first two weeks of September. Each school typically chooses dates within this period to host their 11 Plus exams. Although this period may be subject to variance. Therefore, it is wise to double-check the school’s website.
- October – Results are generally posted mid-October by grammar schools.
- March – School allocations are posted on the 1st of March.
- September – New Year 7s start in September.
To find more details on the timeline of the process, check out this article from Teachers to Your Home, discussing the procedures involved.
What is the 11 Plus exam?
The 11 Plus exam is a selective examination taken by some primary school students at the beginning of Year 6, typically in September. It is named such because even though the candidates will mostly be ten years of age, the 11 Plus refers to the fact that the schools are for children aged 11 and older.
The content varies between four “disciplines”: Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Maths and English – the 11 Plus is based on questions surrounding these “disciplines”. Candidates may sit two, or even three examinations on these.
Generally, two exam boards, GL and CEM, are used for the basis of the 11 Plus Schools in Devon, Essex, Hertfordshire, Trafford and Yorkshire typically use a combination of both exam boards. Below is a rough guide to the two boards:
- GL Assessment conduct the 11 Plus exams for most grammar schools in Berkshire, Bexley, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Kent, Shropshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral, Wolverhampton. The GL 11 Plus exams cover English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non- Verbal reasoning. Each school varies the combination of these to complete their selection criteria.
- CEM conduct the 11 Plus exams for grammar schools in Birmingham, Cumbria, Dorset, Lancashire, Medway, Northern Ireland and Wiltshire. The CEM 11 Plus exam covers Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning. The Verbal Reasoning takes many elements from the GL English exam, and the Numerical Reasoning takes many elements from the GL Maths exam.
It might be helpful to check out this article by Think Student which provides more information as to what the 11 Plus exam is. For more information about the 11 Plus exam boards, check out this article from ExamPapersPlus.co.uk.
How do you apply for the 11 Plus exam?
In short, parents or carers register the child for the exam, generally online. An online form is typically sent to the school, and there is a time limit on the registration. The specifics for each grammar school’s time limit can be found on their websites.
Firstly, the applicant identifies the grammar school to which they would like to apply for the candidates. To find this out, your local council’s website will have a local list of grammar schools in the area.
When the suitable school is found, it is visited to make sure it is the right place for the candidate. The school authorities should be talked to, in order to evaluate whether the school is right for the applicant.
As soon as a list of suitable schools is decided upon, the applicant should then request them for information on the 11 Plus exams conducted by them. This information will also include when to apply for the 11 Plus exam in 2022 and the application process. For more information about booking the 11 Plus exam, check out this Think Student article.
Is the 11 Plus exam worth it?
One of the things to consider when thinking about registering a candidate for the exam is how scary the experience can be; it can be a lot of pressure. There can be other factors affecting the applicant’s decision. These include their location relative to the school, accessibility issues and the suitability of the school for the candidate.
However, a grammar school can provide students with an enriched learning experience, and there are better facilities in a grammar school than in a normal secondary school. It can broaden the opportunities for the candidate, and open up more pathways for the future, as the education provided is very high-quality. It is important to discuss this with the candidate, and to make sure they also have a say in their future.
Even though the exam may be difficult, it is worthwhile attempting it; the worst that can happen is not passing the exam, and that is the same as not attempting it at all. Yet the best that can happen is the candidate passing and getting into a school with better resources than most secondary schools.
What is a grammar school?
Grammar schools are state-funded schools that focus on academic achievement. The candidates for Year 7 are selected through an examination process known as the 11 Plus exam. A small number of grammar schools also have “12 Plus” and “13 Plus” exams, for students transferring to Year 8 and 9, respectively. These schools do not charge fees, as they are state-funded. To read a more detailed article on what grammar schools are, check out this Think Student article.
Grammar schools generally have better resources than normal secondary schools and offer a bigger range of GCSEs and A-Levels for their students, as pupils have higher academic standards. Grammar schools allow students to explore their options more and push their academic prowess.
It isn’t necessary to live close to a grammar school to get the candidate enrolled; as a few grammar schools enrol pupils from outside their area, and some offer boarding facilities. However, many grammar schools prefer to enrol pupils within their area.