The 11 Plus (also called the 11+ or Eleven Plus) is an examination taken by some school pupils in their last year of primary school to get into a grammar school of their choice. In reality most children will only be 10 years old when they take the test – the term “11 Plus” refers to the fact that the test selects for schools with an entry point for children aged 11 or over.

There are now 164 Grammar Schools remaining in England. The 11 plus test was officially discontinued in Northern Ireland in 2008, although many of the “ex-Grammar Schools” are continuing to use testing to select children by ability, a move that has created considerable political controversy.

The qualification rate for the 11 plus test varies considerably around the country. Some schools attract several thousand applicants for as few as 180 places – the four grammar schools in Kingston and Sutton are an example of such over-subscription, with a pass rate of perhaps 3 percent. In areas where the grammar system has been retained in full the pass rate is considerably higher – in Buckinghamshire it is around 30 percent each year.

There can be up to four different “disciplines” used for the 11 Plus tests – Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Maths and English. The combination of test papers varies considerably around the country. Further information about the type of tests used in each area can be found in our 11 Plus Schools section of this site.

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