CEM 11 Plus

The 11-plus is a competitive test that 10-year old children sit in England during September of year 6 in order to gain a place at state secondary grammar school for entry at the age of 11. Competition is tough as grammar schools are often viewed prestigious and as a free alternative to a private secondary schools, providing the same standard of education.

Grammar schools are highly controversial as they are claimed to be elitist, failing to promote social mobility. They are a magnet for middle-class families, which also complain about a two-tier entry system that gives poorer families an unfair advantage via free preparation, admissions priority and lower scores for entry. No other English examinations system has a two-tier rankings system.

There are 163 state grammar schools out of over a total of over 3000 secondary schools in England. Many grammars are expanding their intake, whilst new state grammar schools are banned, despite being popular with many parents.

11 plus Guide

The 11+ is a selective entrance test children sit in order to study at a grammar school. There were two main test suppliers: GL Assessment and CEM (Centre for Education & Monitoring). CEM withdrew from providing paper based tests in 2023 and only provide online tests using CEM Select.

11 plus Syllabus

There is no official 11+ syllabus, although test suppliers state English and Maths covers Key Stage 2 (KS2).

11 plus Topics

Areas covered by the 11 plus may include:
  • English/Comprehension
  • Maths and Data Proccessing
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-verbal and spatial Reasoning
11 plus Format
There are usually two multiple-choice papers with answers marked on separate answer sheets. Some areas have tests taken on a computer.

11 plus Pass Mark

Technically the 11+ is not a pass or fail test. Some areas have a qualifying score, but this does not guarantee a place. Some areas have a ranking system where the highest scores gain a place. Many areas have a lower qualifying score for Pupil Premium qualified children and a quota system.
11 plus Registration

Children need to be registered for 11 plus exams. Registration usually opens during April/May of year 5 and closed June/July of year 5. Different schools have different dates, so one needs to check exact dates. Registration for the test is not an application to a school. Grammar schools need to be specified on a CAF, send by October of year 6.
11 plus Past Papers

Past 11 plus papers are not released by test suppliers

11 plus Questions

As past papers are not released there are limited actual eleven plus questions. Sample questions are available in the form of familiarisation questions.
11 plus Practice Papers

Some official 11 plus practice papers are available: CEM tests and GL Assessment.

11 plus Mock Papers
Mock papers are available from various third parties, for example from the shop on this website.
11 plus  Preparation Tools

Numerous 11+ preparation tools exist such as WordBuilder for English & Verbal Reasoning preparation and CoolCleverKids for Maths & NVR. Free SATs Maths papers are available from SATsPapers.org.uk.

11 plus Courses

Many third party 11+ courses exist. There is only one course for the CEM test that provides a 100% monet back guarantee: score the qualifying score or your money back. Click here.
11+ Test Information

11+ Exams

There are numerous organisations that create entrance exams for secondary school admission. The main supplier is GL Assessment (GLA)®. CEM® . Cambridge, have pulled out of paper-based 11+ tests leaving the field wide open to GL Assessment. CEM provide online test using CEM Select and are mainly used by private schools. A A few small state schools use these tests.

CEM Centre and GLA

Both sets secondary school entrance assessments (widely referred to as selective entrance or 11+ exams) for various English grammar schools and regions, including Bexley; BirminghamBuckinghamshire; CCHS (Essex); Gloucestershire; Henrietta Barnett & LatymerReadingRedbridgeShropshire; Slough; WalsallWarwickshire; Wolverhampton; Trafford; Bexley; Torbay & DevonKent Shepway, and Medway .

GL Assessment
® (formally National Foundation for Educational Research®) is another supplier. Every year GL Assessment® constructs new, custom-made selection tests for many schools and Local Authorities. Although GL Assessment® is the copyright holder of the tests, it is the property of the commissioning school or Local Authority for the duration of use.

Both tests are easy to prepare for using WordBuilder.co.uk and CoolCleverKids.co.uk.

Purchase Mock Exams from the Shop

Past eleven plus papers set by CEM Centre® Cambridge University are not released and cannot be purchased. Usually, two weeks before the test, applicants receive a sample sheet containing example questions.

The new tests from GL Assessment® are similar in to tests from the University of Durham®  as far as content is concerned. The move is towards a rich vocabulary, curriculum maths (old level 5 and 6, now a score of 105+) and NVR. The difficulty is tailored for GL 11+ (Grade Level 11+).
Children`s Educational Material for the 11+ has constructed seven practice mock exams. These mock test packs consists of two 50-60 minute papers as well as answers and are available from the shop.

These are NOT endorsed or associated with CEM Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring® who do not provide preparation material. They are also suitable for the new GL Assessment® and ISEB selection tests.

Warwickshire and Birmingham Consortium

From 2016, Warwickshire shares Birmingham 11+ Consortium test, so 5000 Birmingham students and 2000 Warwickshire students can pass on content to late Warwickshire sitters. The shared test will now require students to mark answers on a separate answer sheet and no longer write answers in a booklet, increasing the chances of marking answers in the incorrect place as has occurred numerous times in other regions. If a test is shared, with other regions, always tick a box to share results with another areas as a backup plan. You have nothing to lose by doing so, and it could prove useful. You never know what may happen.

In 2013, the Lawrence Sheriff School in Rugby unlawfully withdrew a place of a child days before the end of year 6 despite the local authority refusing to withdraw the place on four occasions. Luckily the child was offered a place at Schools in two different areas (Walsall and Birmingham) as opposed to be left unplaced because of serious failings of this school. Unfortunately, the child displaced other innocent children, through no fault of his own when he moved straight to the top of waiting lists and was offered places. Play safe and share results with other schools and areas even if you have no intention of taking up a place in other areas.


Free Mock Exams

Taking a "free mock" will cost the school money. But one would expect financially astute schools to consider the financial implications of setting an early test date. Common sense dictates an earlier test is likely to be used as a "free mock" and this has been well known to occur for many years.

We recommend all children, where possible, register for the Warwickshire 11+ tests.

Mock tests are the best way to prepare. What better than using a real test as a mock? This is your legal right.

We believe there is no evidence that any 11+ tests are resistant to prepping and practise will simply improve performance


Non-verbal Reasoning

Prepare for different types of NVR questions  using


over 30 different types of NVR question examples
with explanations.

Available to download from the shop.

Advantages of Grammar Schools
Grammar schools are viewed as offering a standard of academic education on par with the private (independent) sector without charge - they are free.

Any child, irrespective of social background can be admitted.

Children who want to study can do so with like-minded children who are focused and want to succeed academically. As a result there is less disruption and bullying - children are not labelled nerds, swots or geeks just because they want to study. The grammar school environment promotes hard work as a positive.

The schools provide opportunities for poorer children to receive a first class education in schools that attract the best teachers, promoting social mobility.

Grammar schools have consistently high exam results and provide excellent opportunities to enter the most prestigious universities.

With children of similar ability, children can be taught at a faster pace then with classes of mixed ability. Children who cannot cope with the pace or complexity what is taught do not hold more able children back. Students are encouraged to self-study.

Brighter students can make greater progress and study a wider number of subjects, providing a greater breadth of education, including subjects such as Latin.

Some selective schools do not have catchment areas, so parents can move to what they believe are the best schools as their children can be admitted on ability alone, much like a university choice.

Grammar schools have a history of producing all-rounded successful people.

Disadvantages of Grammar Schools

Grammar schools are claimed to favour the wealthy and middle-class. Catchment areas result in high property prices and favour the wealthy. Many students gain entry by being prepared for tests from private primary schools. Wealthy parents can pay for private tutors to prepare their children. They favour educated families, who can prepare their children.

The test covers areas, which are not taught at school, despite GCSEs and A levels being curriculum based.

Testing favours children from cultures where education is regarded as paramount: eg Indian, Chinese children.

The testing process favours Jewish and Seven Heaven faith children which can play the system by refusing to sit 11+ tests on a Saturday for dubious religious reasons enabling them to sit the test armed with knowledge of test content from children who have already sat the test as they sit the same test late, instead of early.

The testing system is unfair and allows cheating (one can pretend to be ill on the test date) as the same test is reused for late sitters.

The test discriminates against children whose first language is not English due to weightings of English compared to Maths and NVR, especially first generation English children.

The tests puts too much pressure on young children and ignore that some children mature and bloom academically at an older age and  labels children as "failures" at the age of 10 and creams off the cleverest children who cannot act as role models for less able children.

Grammar schools foster elitism, a class-divide and inequality.

The allocation of places promotes inequality as all children are not provided with an equal opportunity as many schools give priority to pupil premium children, offer them free preparation and admission at lower scores and have catchment areas.

Material Recommended
For 11+ Test Preparation
11+ Selection Tests From
GL Assessments® (NFER®)
  • Practice papers available from GLA
  • Past papers not released
  • 2  x 60 minute multiple choice papers
  • Answers marked on separate sheets
  • Paper 1: English & Maths
  • paper 2: VR & NVR/Spatial Reasoning
  • Wide range of Verbal Reasoning Questions
  • VR includes numerical problems
  • Requires extensive preparation
  • Maths up to KS2, includes part of year 6
  • Same test used for late sitters
11+ Tests From CEM Centre
For Evaluation & Monitoring®


Grammar schools are available in the following areas of England:

North West England

Yorkshire & Humber

South East England

South West England

East Midlands

West Midlands


Telford & Wrekin


Greater London

East of England


Cambridge University have now withdrawn CEM  paper based 11+ tests. Cambridge spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees to refuse to answer basic questions including which schools shared the same tests. They answered such questions to a Caucasian women after refusing to answer the same question posed by an Asian man. They were aware of the ethnicity of both.

11+ Maths and NVR

Cool Clever Kids CCK CEM 11+ The Maths site with NVR (Non-verbal reasoning) for Sats and 11+ preparation. Ideal for primary school education and selective school exams. Maths lesson notes; worksheets; presentations; games, & tests auto marked with explanations.

11+ English & VR

WordBuilder WB CEM 11+Verbal reasoning and English for the 11+, Sats and private/independent school entrance exams as well as primary school. Spellings; definitions; meanings; synonyms; antonyms; cloze passages; jumbled sentences & comprehension.

Sats Papers
Year 2-6 & 11+
SATs Papers

Information relating to Sats Tests. Free downloads of Sats papers covering Year 2 to 6 with no registration. Prepare for Year 6 level 3-5, level 6 & 11+ tests. Download the latest phonics tests.
ATA React
Free Android App
Google Play
Alpha-Tek Associates CEM 11+

Fun FREE Android App to test your thinking and reaction speed. Four fun games: colours; shapes; numbers and next letter. Stores score history. Ideal for Sats & 11+ fun whilst you prepare. Download from Google Play.


Download FREE SATs papers. No registration & no annoying popup adverts.
11+ English (Verbal Reasoning)
online preparation with

Spellings; Vocabulary; Synonyms; Antomyms; Conundrums; Cloze Passages; Comprehension, and Jumbled up sentences. Ideal for 11+ tests set at the CEM Centre, at Durham University®.
11+ Maths (Numerical Reasoning)
and NVR online preparation with

Free maths question generator
Lesson notes; presentations (videos); worksheets; games; Sats style tests from Year 2 to 6 including mental maths audio tests; private school 11+ tests, and CEM style past questions.
Now includes Non-verbal Reasoning.
Ideal for 11+ tests set at the CEM Centre, at Durham University®.

The 11+ information site
Helping children pass the 11+
Free advice and resources with
recommendations for preparation.

Children’s Educational Material 11+
Tel: +44 (0) 24 7641 6970 
Email: cemelevenplus@gmail.com
© 2013-2023. CEM11plus.com group of websites. All rights reserved. Children's Educational Material for the 11+. CEM11plus.com group websites provide information helping children pass the eleven plus. CEM Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring® is an independent not-for-profit research group now owned by Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press® and neither are associated with CEM11plus.com group websites. GL Assessment ® has no connection with CEM11plus.com group websites. The views expressed are those of CEM11plus.com. All trade names and trade marks are acknowledged. This website is secured with a SSL certificate provided to the parent group website, CEM11plus.com, and data is encrypted using 256 bit keys & TLS 1.2.