About the 11+ Common Entrance Exam

The 11+ Common Entrance exam is used by senior schools as part of the process for assessing candidates for entry into their schools. Pupils will sit exams in three subjects in either the Spring or the Autumn term during Year 6.

At 11+, pupils will sit exams in:
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
Unlike the 13+ Common Entrance where there are different levels of exam according to candidates’ abilities or length of time spent studying the subject, there is only one level for 11+ Common Entrance. 

Details of the Exam by Subject

English
Candidates will be tested on their reading and writing skills with two separate 11+ English exam papers:

Reading paper:

  • Candidates are given a fiction or non-fiction passage and are required to answer several questions about it to test their comprehension

Writing paper:

  • Candidates are asked to write an essay about one of a choice of titles to show that they can convey their ideas effectively. Topic areas: imaginative/story writing, factual/personal description, writing involving discussion/opinion, a book review and/or picture stimulus

Maths
A high level of competence is expected for the 11+ Maths exam. Your child will sit one exam that is 60 minutes long. Candidates should understand:
 

  • Number - the manipulation of numbers in different forms, including:
    • fractions, decimals, percentages, minus numbers and integers
  • Measure - the counting or measurement of different quantities and conversion between different units, such as:
    • perimeter, area, volume, length, density, speed and time
  • Algebra - the use of letters to represent numbers or quantities that can change (variables), so as to be able to express mathematical relationships between them. Your child will need to use:
    • expressions, equations and formulae
  • Shape and Space - the properties of shapes and some 3D objects, involving:
    • calculating area and volume, using co-ordinates and nets
  • Data - the use of sets of quantities to deduce mathematical expressions or to demonstrate them visually, such as:
    • statistics, probability, chance, averages and drawing graphs

Science
Candidates will take one Science paper for the 11+ exam that combines questions from Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Pupils should have a good understanding of:

  • Energy, movement and forces
  • Material behaviour
  • Life and living things
  • The environment, Earth and the solar system

Syllabuses
Further details of what is required for the 11+ exams for English, Maths and Science are available on the ISEB website.

How can you help?

Preparing for 11+ exams can seem quite daunting; however, there is no need to panic. You can make a real difference to your child’s likelihood of success by making sure that they know what they will be tested on and ensuring that they feel confident about answering the questions.

Past Exam Papers
The best way to start is to take a look at some past exam papers. Past 11+ Common Entrance exam papers are available to purchase from Galore Park and will help you and your child to see what is expected in the exam. From there, you will be able to determine any areas that your child needs to work on, to improve his or her exam technique.

Textbooks
If you notice that your child is struggling with a particular topic, the best thing to do is to revisit that topic with a textbook. Galore Park’s Junior books are ideal, because they provide clear and detailed explanations along with questions so you can be sure that your child has understood what he or she has learned.

Junior books for 11+ exam preparation are available for the following subjects:

Revision Guides
A revision guide is ideal for checking that your child has learnt everything that’s required for the exam. Galore Park’s 11+ English Revision Guide and 11+ Mathematics Revision Guide take your child through all the basic skills he or she needs for the exams.
These revision guides also provide strategies, exercises and games to help your child progress, as well as ‘Top Tips’ to help with improving exam technique. For Science, the ISEB Revision Guide (which also contains the material for 13+) is the ideal revision tool for your child.

Revision Guides are available as follows:

Practice Exercises
As they say, practice makes perfect! English Practice Exercises 11+ and Mathematics Questions at 11+ provide complete practice for pupils working towards the 11+ English and Maths exam. Practice Exercise books are available as follows:

 Return to ISEB.