The Eleven plus is a test given to pupils in their final year of primary school which in Ireland is Y7 and in England is in Y6. The test is used primarily to determine whether or not the pupil is suited to the academic demands of education in a grammar school. In simple terms, it is how schools decide whether to offer a given student a place.
Since the 1970s, large parts of the UK have chosen not to use the 11+ test and have instead favoured the comprehensive, non-selective, system. However, a notable number of Local Authorities, independent schools, foundation schools and private schools do still require pupils to take the eleven plus selection exam and arrange admissions based on their results. This is usually taken at age 11 although this can vary. Most Local authorities and schools use 11+ papers prepared by NFER. The 11+ exam is used by a number of schools in Bristol and it’s a good idea to get a head start on preparing for the test and being clear on what to expect.
What Sort of Test Will My Child Need to Take?
The type of test will vary between different local authorities and individual schools. However, the 11+ papers will be based on either all or some of the following types of questions. Sometimes it may even involve taking two or three different 11+ tests. Sometimes the tests will cover two different kinds of assessment ie verbal reasoning and non verbal reasoning. In other cases the tests will be the same, for example including two verbal reasoning tests.
Types of questions;
- Mathematics tests
- English tests
- Science tests
- Verbal Reasoning test
- Non-verbal reasoning tests
What is a Verbal Reasoning Test?
Verbal reasoning tests require the child to think about text, words and also requires the solving of problems and sequences. It also requires the pupil to demonstrate a strong grasp of English grammar and an extensive vocabulary. The majority of schools and local authorities will set at least one verbal reasoning test.
What is a Non Verbal Reasoning Test?
Many Local authorities and schools will also require pupils to take a non-verbal reasoning test. This requires the child to think about diagrams and pictures and to solve problems based on these items. In addition, it will assess the child’s mathematical capabilities. In contrast, it makes less of a demand on the pupil’s English language skills.
These tests are used by a number of schools and Local Authorities but tend to be used less extensively than the verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests. Where they are used, however, the requirements tend to be quite high.
Learning Together provides some suitable practice material in all these subject areas.
Who sets the 11+ exam?
Many of the 11+ tests used by schools and Las are produced by NFER and you can find extensive information on their website. The 11+ papers come in two different formats;
- Traditional format
In this format, the pupil must write answers in allocated spaces on the 11+ test paper.
- Multiple choice format
In this type of test, the pupil marks their answer on a separate score sheet by putting a line against the answer of their choice. This can be a difficult task in itself and this type of answer format is to enable marking using a computer optical reading machine.
The schools or Local Authorities tend to carry out the 11+ administrations themselves. You can contact usually them directly to request advice on practice materials and resources.
How Can a Tutor in Bristol Help?
Much of the 11+ preparation material is available free online or in the Bonds 11+ guides. Sometime students can successfully self-study or do this with input from parents. Occasionally they can benefit from some extra tuition to help with specific areas. If you feel this may be the case, you can contact Bristol Tutors to see how we may be able to help.
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