Back to blog

Mock tests and the 11 Plus


What is the 11 plus?

The 11 plus (also known as the grammar school test or 11+ test) is a selective entrance examination usually taken in September or October of year six. It is used as an entrance exam for both selective independent schools and grammar schools across England.

What will the exam involve?

The 11 plus can differ slightly between different schools and different regions so it is vital that parents identify which 11 plus exam board their child’s target school uses. While the GL Assessment tests English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, the CEM tests Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning.

What's changed?

The advice for preparing for the 11 plus has changed slightly in the last year as a result of COVID-19. Rather than being a written test as in previous years, the 11 plus exams have moved online. Fortunately, online learning platforms such as Atom Nucleus can help prepare students for this change!

Why is practicing with mock tests vital for 11 plus exam preparation?

1. Familiarity with the new online exam format Since the 11 plus exam this September will be online, in order to ace their exam, children need to be familiar with the new format. For the majority of children, this will be their first experience of an online exam, as well as the first time they are expected to type for extended periods of time. Atom Nucleus is recommended for both familiarisation purposes and for boosting children’s computer literacy.

2. Enhanced academic performance - practice makes perfect! Preparation for the 11 plus should revolve around mocks. Practicing with past papers ensures children know what to expect; they will recognise familiar language, understand how to manage their time effectively and understand mark allocation. Parents can find free GL and CEM 11 plus papers online. However, Atom Nucleus is recommended for parents who want to be able to access an unlimited number of mock tests and avoid repeated questions.

With an Atom Nucleus subscription, parents also have the advantage of being able to create their own custom practice tests which can explicitly target problem areas for their child. This individualised practice enhances efficiency and ensures students are targeting problem areas - not topics we know they’ve aced!

3. Increased confidence! Preparing for exams can be anxiety-inducing for many children. By familiarising children with their exam through mock tests, parents can reduce the anxiety that their child may feel when they sit down to do the real thing.

Of course, many children will still find this experience stressful and it’s important to make sure your child knows they are supported regardless of whether they make it to their target school.

Key dates

  • 11 plus exam takes place: September/October of year six

  • October of year six: Parents receive their child's exam results and must complete the Common Application Form. For children who pass their eleven plus, parents can list their chosen grammar schools in order of preference. For children who do not pass, parents can produce an order of preference from non-selective schools, or select grammar schools for the appeal process in March.

  • March: Parents informed whether their child has been offered a place at their first-choice school. Unsuccessful parents will be given information regarding the appeals process.

We can help

If you are interested in accessing unlimited online 11 plus mock tests, helpsheets and custom practice tests, start your 5-day free trial of Atom Nucleus today.



Follow Atom Learning

Atom Learning Ltd. is registered and incorporated in England and Wales. Company Registration Number: 10867907 VAT number: 316903508 Copyright Atom Learning Ltd. All rights reserved.