Grammar school entrance - what to expect


Grammar school entrance exam - gear up for September

If your child is in year 5 (or maybe even year 4) they may be preparing to sit the #11+ (Eleven Plus) or an entrance exam for a state grammar school and you’ll know that this year’s school summer holiday is critical. In our local area – Trafford, Manchester and Lancashire - The 11+/entrance test season starts in the first week of September. (Independent school entrance tests tend to take place after Christmas – we’ll cover them in a post later.)

To take our own region as an example of how Eleven Plus (11+) / entrance exam timings tend to work, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and Altrincham Grammar School for Boys usually kick-off an entrance test season that continues through to mid October/November. At 1-2-1 Home Tutors we have many students that sign up for last minute, summer holiday tuition and ‘cramming’. We advise that those planning to sit the early September/October entrance exams (for example the Trafford Grammar schools tests) work to a regular timetable of study. Even half an hour per day can make a crucial difference.

Young minds can very easily forget things they have learned, and with a summer holiday that can be anything from 5-10 weeks, keeping numeracy, literacy and reasoning skills fine-tuned is essential. Competition for the state grammar schools in the Trafford area is very intense, especially in the current economic climate. Pass marks over 80% have become the norm.


So what can you and your child expect of ‘your’ entrance tests, and what can you do to prepare?

Well, if your son or daughter is gearing up to sit an Eleven Plus (11+) or similar entrance exam, you have probably already found out from your prospective school or schools roughly what the contents of the test will be. Local entrance tests always have Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning components, and some also add an English component:

  • Maths – usually based on core skills learned during KS2 but at the demanding end of the spectrum. Children should be aiming towards a level 5 standard.
  • Verbal reasoning – typically, these are logic problems, involving both number and word type puzzles. A rapid ability to ‘frame’ the problem (i.e., understand and conceptualise it) is very important. For children not in Trafford primary schools verbal (and no-verbal) reasoning will be new to them as it’s not likely to be covered in school.
  • Non-verbal reasoning – logic problems based on shapes, sequences or patterns. They often take the form of ‘odd one out’ or ‘what comes next’ questions.
  • English – Some schools use comprehension-type tests, others test fluency and accuracy of writing by requiring candidates to write a short essay or story. Spelling, vocabulary and punctuation, use of language and handwriting are some key skills the schools are looking for.

In our next post we will give some tips on how, as a parent, you can help your child prepare for their entrance exam

If you’re in the Greater Manchester, Stockport or Cheshire area and you’d like some extra help, get in touch with 1-21- Home Tutors. We have expert tutors that can help with preparation for the Eleven plus (11+) and entrance exams in Ashton, Baguley, Burnage, Bramhall, Cheadle, Didsbury, Marple, Romiley, Sale, Stretford, Stockport, Trafford, Timperley and to help your child prepare for entrance into schools such as Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Loretto Grammar School, Sale Grammar School, Stretford Grammar School & Urmston Grammar School, amongst others, Withington, Wilmslow, Urmston & surrounding areas. Our tutors are very experienced at supporting children in the run up to the Eleven Plus (11+) and entrance tests, and will help you give your child the best possible help and support at this stressful and exciting time!.