11 Plus Practice Materials
Whilst in most selective schools the exam remains paper based, usually multiple choice format, there is a variety of mediums available for preparation of the exams.
Essentially, having determined the subjects your child will be tested on at the school(s) of your choice, as a parent you want to:
- Initially find material as close to the exams as possible to assess the suitability for your child;
- Find suitable Method and Techniques books to be able to assist your child;
- Find suitable and relevant practice material addressing any weaknesses
This is the most common type of practice material used for home study and most established tuition centres for the preparation of the 11plus exams. At last count there were over 500 publications providing age specific practice material, a guide for parents and pupils and guidance on appeals. Fortunately you do not need all of them!
The usual approach is to start with the purchase of the official familiarisation papers, which in most UK regions would be Granada Learning Assessments Practice Papers (also known as GL-Assessment and GLA-NFER or plain NFER). You cannot buy past papers by this examining body since they re-use the questions and hence only familiarisation papers are available. NFER, the National Foundation for Educational Research, was the body that wrote the entrance examinations for decades and was recently acquired by Granada Learning hence the name change.
These GL-Assessment practice packs currently contain four papers in each subject and there is no difference in the questions between the multiple choice packs and the standard (i.e. non-multiple choice) packs other than the way the question is answered.
Parents need to purchase GL-Assessment practice papers in the relevant subjects based on what the local schools test prospective students on and review the papers carefully. It is worth asking your child to attempt one or two papers just to gauge the suitability of the exams and to also use this as a benchmark going forward.
Note that GL-Assessment is not the only examining body, other common bodies include University of Durham Centre for Evaluating and Monitoring (CEM), University of Edinburgh Moray House. Furthermore the 11plus exams have many regional nuances where by exams can be set by consortiums of schools (where each school takes turns to write papers) or papers may be set by the schools themselves. In some areas such as Essex some subjects are set by GLA-NFER whilst others are written by the consortium schools.
The next purchases almost inevitably are books on method and techniques. As a general rule the “How to do 11+ …” series by Bond Assessment is a good starting point in all the subjects with the exception of Verbal Reasoning which tends to be region specific and in the majority of cases the IPS’s Method and Technique in Verbal Reasoning and related publications would be the preferred choice. We are also reliably informed that the GL-Assessment themselves are bringing out 11plus explained series.
Finally parents look to purchase practice question sets or practice papers.
Within the regions section of the website there is are guidelines of recommended practice material and within the bookshop there are best seller lists for further guidance.
E- Papers are very convenient practice papers in Word or Adobe PDF format which can be downloaded over the internet and printed locally for instant practice. Usually these are papers that are not available in the shops.
E-Papers for 11plus were first introduced by ElevenPlusExams in 2004 and today there are now over 160 papers covering all four subjects (verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, maths and English).
We are very particular about the authors we invite to create these e-Papers to ensure high quality. Typically our authors are teaching graduates with at least more than a decade of primary school teaching experience, a decade of tutoring 11plus. Some of them are already established authors in the 11 plus field.
The obvious advantages of e-Papers are that they are instant available, and many contain previously unseen practice material, not available in the shops, written by experts in the field.