Eleven Plus Independent School Guidance

Every year, Year 6 pupils all across the country will need to make the all important decision as to which secondary school they wish to continue their education at.

Choosing the right secondary school for your child, whether it’s a comprehensive, grammar, independent, or private school will make a huge impact on the rest of their academic life, and therefore this choice needs to be the correct one for your child.

The first step you and your child will need to consider is whether or not they wish to attend a grammar school. If you do wish to apply for a grammar school placement, then there are a few things that you are going to be aware of.

This FREE resource will guide you through the process of applying and preparing for the 11+, specifically focusing on the independent and private grammar school exams.

On this page we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the independent 11+, in the hope to make the transition from primary to grammar school much, much easier.

Don’t forget to download your Free Independent School Practice Papers (with answers) below.

Free Independent School 11+ Practice Papers and Answers Download
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Secondary School Entrance Test Information

What is the independent 11 plus?

If your child wishes to apply to attend an independent or private grammar school, then they will be required to sit the 11+ independent school entry test.

The 11+ assessment is taken by pupils in their final year of primary school (in the UK, Scotland and Wales), to gain a placement into a grammar school. The independent 11 plus assessment will vary from school to school, but are loosely based on GL and CEM style exams.

This exam is only used for schools which are classified as private or independent; public grammar schools will use a different form of 11+ assessment, and therefore for the content of the examination will also vary.

The independent 11 plus is an examination used to filter through students who show the aptitude and qualities desired by private and independent grammar schools.

By using an entry exam, this allows these schools to implement a thorough selection process, and decipher which students meet the standard requirements of a grammar school pupil.


  • Assess pupils’ regarding literary techniques;
  • Assess pupils through English comprehension;
  • Using vocabulary to enhance pupils’ knowledge in English
  • Assess pupils’ numerical ability using basic mathematical calculations;
  • Assess pupils ability regarding basic equations and formulas;
  • Assess how well a pupil is able to recognise patterns in data.


  • Assess pupil’s ability to spot errors and patterns in written work;
  • Determine how well a pupil is able to analyse written information;
  • Assess the relationship between words,letters and sentence.
  • Assess pupil’s ability to spot patterns in shapes and sequences;
  • Determine how well a pupil is able to visualise patterns and similarities;
  • Assess the relationship between shapes and objects.

The exam is made up of the following assessments:





Foremost, this assessment is used to:

  • Provide pupils with equal opportunities of passing the entry test;
  • Assess pupil’s knowledge in regards to English, Maths, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning; including a written exercise to examine their communication and creative writing skills;
  • Determine which primary school pupils show the required skills which are favoured by grammar school placements;
  • Utilise the skills and knowledge gained in primary school and demonstrate this knowledge in pressurised situations.

The tests are all multiple-choice and will assess different skills and qualities for each area of the assessment.

If your child passes the independent 11+ exam, the school that your child has applied for will consider their application.

However, we cannot stress this enough – just because your child passes the test, does not automatically guarantee them a place at this specific private school.

You should consider the following when applying to any independent grammar school:

  • How close you live to the school (catchment area);
  • What the school’s admission requirements are;
  • Do any of their siblings attend the same school?
How do I register for the 11 plus exam?

Registering for the eleven plus for an independent school will vary from institute to institute. However, a great place to start is visiting the schools website that you wish your child to apply for. You should be able to obtain a clear indication of how they conduct admissions, including how/when to register, and the minimum entry requirements for their school.

The 11+ entry exam is definitely not to be underestimated. Of course, the perceived complexity of the assessment will depend on a number of things:

  • Has your child prepared for each part of the test?
  • How does your child feel about the exam? Are they confident/anxious?
  • Do you know what to expect before, during and after the independent grammar school selection test?

As with any exam, there is a great deal of pressure to do well. The 11+ test is designed to assess whether your child should be awarded a grammar school placement, but also if they are able to manage exam pressure/stress.

There are a lot of cases whereby pupils are only a few marks off from achieving the requirements needed for a particular grammar school placement. If parents have viable reasons, they may be able to appeal.

Here are some reasons which make you viable for grammar school appeals:

  • The child passed the assessment, but the grammar school is full;
  • The child has not passed the assessment, but the grammar school has spaces available.

For details on the process or possibility of appealing your child’s result, visit the relevant school’s website.

You can get instant access to eleven plus independent school practice papers here. We’ve collated 100s of sample questions, answers and explanations to give your child hours of practice material for the independent 11+.

Independent 11 Plus Practice Papers Platinum Pack

To get instant access to FREE independent secondary school practice papers, signup to our newsletter below and you’ll be sent a set of 11+ mock practice papers with answers, which have been developed by us to help your child prepare for the real eleven plus exam.

Free Independent School 11+ Practice Papers and Answers Download


  • 8 English comprehension questions and answers;
  • 1 English writing task and sample response;
  • 40 Maths problems and answers;
  • 25 Non-verbal reasoning questions and answers;
  • 40 Verbal reasoning questions and answers;
  • Exam style answer sheets;
  • Expert advice on how to fully prepare for 11 plus.

By downloading this resource, you are agreeing to How2Become’s Privacy Policy and for How2Become Ltd to contact you with marketing information relating to the 11+ and How2Become’s resources and offers.

Fill out the form above to download a series of mock test papers for your child!

The revision videos below have been created to help your child revise each of the subjects areas that the Independent 11 Plus exam assesses: English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.