This information was provided by our 11+ Forum Moderator KenR, and we are grateful to him for his input.

Quite a lot of information on the historical content of the Birmingham KE Foundation grammar 11+ exams has been posted by parents on the Birmingham section of our 11+ forum. To give parents an idea of what their child may expect in future Birmingham KE 11+ exams, the information has been collated by our Forum Moderator and set out below.

Parents should be warned that many children find the comprehension content, which usually comes first, very hard, so it’s best that they are prepared to expect this and try not to let this affect their approach to the following sections.

Disclaimer: The University of Durham CEM, who prepare the tests, do not give advance notice of the content. They are always looking for new ways to test children. There is no guarantee that any or all of the content of previous tests will be included in future Foundation tests.

King Edward & Consortium Exam Sept 2015

Paper 1 (45 Mins)


(candidates were unclear if this or the Cloze was in paper 1 or 2- no firm timings or number of questions but based on previous years this has typically been about 15 minutes with about 25 questions. [including time to read text])
A Story about a girl who was told if she cleaned her room she could go to a concert. Candidate commented that unlike Bond books – often the answer couldn’t be found in just one little section of the text, it was more general – so you had to have read and understood the whole text. A few questions on the meaning of words in certain lines.

Another candidate said it was a standard comprehension that they found comfortable on time. They thought most questions were testing on factual stuff rather than inferential. Commented that they found it easier than tutors work and the mocks.


About 6 minutes for 25 questions.
Words included aristocrat and dam.
(One candidate found this OK on time and mentioned that they had learnt most of the words already through the tutors vocab sheets provided – except for the above 2)
Another said they were kind of mixed. Some were a hard word with 4 or 5 easy options for synonym – but there were some where the word was easy and the answers were difficult.

Non Verbal Reasoning

Timing and number of questions unclear
Explained by 1 candidate as sequences of shapes and there would be 2nd to last shape or 2nd shape missing and you had to identify the missing shape from a selection of perhaps 6 choices. There was only one gap per sequence for this paper.
Further explained by another candidate as being 9 shapes in a box and they had to work missing one.


Unclear how many questions or timings but both papers had a maths section.
In both cases these comprised individual questions rather than the more usual problem solving with sub-sections.
Maths in paper 1 was mainly percentages & numeric calculations (some slightly algebraic) – there was a particular long question about a field of animals. You were given the total number of all animals and the relative proportion of different types of animals were described (i.e. twice as many zebras as lions, 10 more lions than giraffes) and you had to work out the actual number of different animals. There were shorter, more straightforward questions as well.
There was only one bit with a tricky maths section in the first paper where you had to mark tens/ units like the sample paper instructions sent to all candidates. The other maths section – you had a multiple choice of possible answers.

Possible tiny amount of data handling in this paper, although there may have been in both papers
Questions across both papers included:-
1. John could run at a speed of 8km per second while Ben could run at a speed of 6km per second. After 12 seconds, how far behind was Ben?

2. A cake was split equally between three friends, Bob, John and Mary. Bob had half of his share, John had 1/3 of his share and Mary had 2/3 of her share. How much of the cake did they have altogether?

3. What is 3/4 + 1/2?

4. Three friends participated in a jumping competition. Mary jumped 3cm lower than Ben, who jumped 16cm below John, who jumped 12cm below Adam. Adam jumped 143cm high. How high did Mary jump?

5. Mary swam every other day. John swam every 3 days. The first day they swam together was on the 2nd September. When was the next time they swam together?

6. John built a tent. The front face of it was triangular. If one of the angles was 86 degrees and the other two angles were equal, how much does each angle measure?

7. It takes an hour to walk 13 km and another hour to walk up hill for 6km. If you walked for 4 hours then another 4 hours uphill how far will you have travelled?


Possibly on Paper 2 – candidates were unclear
Mixed words to make a sentence section was there. Series of words to put in order and one did not belong. You had to indicate which one didn’t belong, but didn’t have to write the sentence.


Paper 2 (45 Mins)


About 6 minutes for 25 questions


Unclear how many questions or timings but both papers had a maths section)
Second Maths paper was similar to first but maybe a bit more geometry (areas/ perimeter) and some algebra. There were some money questions. Unfortunately, candidate couldn’t remember anything specific – other than in general they were short or medium questions – i.e. not long bit of text/ table to study and then answer a series of questions.

(see above questions)


Timing and number of questions unclear or whether this or the Comprehension was in paper 1 or 2)
There were four small Cloze sections with word bank at the top. One candidate found it pretty easy on time and content. The only word they could remember was “materialised”. Again, found it easier than tutors work and the mocks.
Another candidate said you were given a list of words to choose from to fill in the blanks in a paragraph – each paragraph had a separate list. Candidate thought there were about 6 of these paragraphs. There were more words to choose from than blanks. Subjects included a paragraph about a dog playing with a person and there was one about a school science project with soda volcanoes, but candidate couldn’t remember much else.


Timing and number of questions unclear
One candidate said that the 2nd NVR was pretty much the same, but with 2 missing shapes. These were pretty similar to your usual bond matrices. One candidate commented that this was the only section where they struggled a little on time. They managed to get through everything apart from 1 last question, that they randomly guessed. (Parent commented that going by experience the child wasn’t the fastest on NVR so other kids might have found the time comfortable. Again, candidate found the content easier that previous mocks and what they had covered with tutor.)


Possibly on Paper 1 – candidates were unclear
Mixed words to make a sentence section was there. Series of words to put in order and one did not belong. You had to indicate which one didn’t belong, but didn’t have to write the sentence.

Further Notes and comments:-

The test was mainly multiple choice and the answer sheet was separate to the test book. You could write in the test book – which was useful for maths.
One parent commented that Camp Hill was very nice – it was calm and relaxed and you were guided through the school by students who were all polite and friendly. It was organised and surprisingly pleasant.

King Edward & Consortium Exam Sept 2013

Paper 1 (45 Mins)


15 minutes with about 25 questions. (including time to read text)
A story about Charlie (a boy who read Sherlock Holmes stories), who was on the train and began to think that a man sitting opposite was a foreign spy, although the man turns out to be an estate agent.
The story was about 1 1/3 pages long.
Questions included: ‘What did Charlie like to do in his spare time?’ (Read detective stories) and ‘What does Charlie think that the evil spies will look like?’ (Sunglasses and a locked briefcase).


6 minutes for about 15-20 of each.
Words included Feign
(Some found this hard, some easy – one child finished about 25 of the 30)


10mins for about 20 questions
Sets of 5 pictures with a space for a 6th. You had to choose from 6 options which would be the next in the sequence.
Something new. A sequence of five images with two blanks that you need to fill in.


Leftover words 7-8mins for about 12-15 questions
As previous exams – jumbled sentences with an extra word thrown in – you have to identify the spare word.
( one child thinks they did 8 and guessed at last 4 due to time.)
One child explained this as “you were given 8 words and had to work out which 7 made the sentence and which word didn’t fit” (Thought there were about 15 questions and thinks there was around 8 minutes to do this one. Completed 12 of the 15.)

Interestingly in terms of English – there were no grammar or punctuation questions.


Paper 2 (45 Mins)


30 minutes, unclear how many questions, but 4 main sections with subquestions, each attracting 1 or 2 marks each:
Sue’s animals: questions about scales of model figures
Sally’s hats: Sally needs to make 100 hats. If she makes 8 a day starting on 5th October, when will she finish? She hires an assistant Louise, who can make 4 hats a day. How many days would it take for them both to make 100 hats? The hats cost £45 for 5 or £9.15 each. Mrs Thomas wants to buy 50 for her shop. How much would it cost?
Hannah’s train schedule: Hannah want to travel from Durham to York and back – find the cheapest way.
Perimeter and area – 3 squares on top of one another. The smallest has an area of 400cm2 and a perimeter of 80cm. Had to find the sizes of the other squares.
Several multiple part questions – things covered included area (trapezium apparently), perimeter, percentages, data handling (tables/ charts of information). Also several ‘word problems’ – where you were given information about something and then had to answer based on that information/ working out difference. For example – there was a problem where you had a table of ticket prices and had to work out which option was cheaper – family ticket or individual tickets.

Also included questions on scales, animal sizes eg if ——- is 1cm which is 1m in real life, how big are the animals pictured below (then drawings of animals)

Notably, no algebra type questions and no sequences (10 18 26….) style questions.
(One child where Maths was the strongest subject did manage to finish this section in the time and had time to check answers.)


Section 6-7 mins about 20-25 Questions
Story about the Olympics – whether we should have fun school events like tug of war and what we should have in future Olympics.
“Hang-man” style clues where you had to guess the missing letters. Started out easily and got progressively harder.
(One child guessed 20 – 25 – but didn’t finish the last 3 or 4.)


About 9 mins
A 9×9 grid with one space missing. You had to work out from bottom two lines of three how the missing space would look. ie Grid of 9 squares and you guess the missing square.
(one child said they were either adding or subtracting shapes.)
Also something new. A sequence of five images with two blanks that you need to fill in.

General Comments and quotes from Children & Parents about the Sept 2013 exam

Thought harder than Walsall

King Edward & Consortium Exam Sept 2012

Paper 1 (45 Mins)


Multiple Choice about 25 questions in about 10-15 Mins
About a family that went to buy a pet dog from a rescue home. They came home with two dogs, one large dog and one small dog.
Multiple Choice – What type of dog did each family member want? Why was the small dog in the office instead of outside?

One child thought this the easiest part of the test with plenty of time and only a couple of difficult questions. They had enough time left to go through and check the answers.
Another child thought this was easy/medium


6-8 big questions with around 4 sub questions on each (circa 32-40 questions in total) in about 30-35 mins.
Data table on children and their pets, how many pets did certain people have?
Ingredients for one cake, how much would you need to bake 12 cakes? How much would it cost?
T shaped tiles, fitting together in a pattern, one child couldn’t remember what the full question was even though they managed to answer it OK.
There was a flight times section, animal count section, pentagon shape problem, ratios etc.

Last question was the most difficult and was about a bus route with a number of buses joining the route at various stops. How long would a journey take and what was the average time/speed? What distance did they travel? What buses stopped here?

One child said that time was tight to complete this question so rushed at the end and missed a few answers out.

Another child said a couple of the maths questions were very difficult and they just guessed answers rather than waste time, (parent wondered whether there was a deliberate time consuming one put in that they were supposed to move on from rather than complete?) child rated maths 4 out of 5 in terms of difficulty, ok in terms of time.
A further child thought this section was hard


Paper 2 (45 Mins)


Approx. 25 -35 multiple choice questions in about 8 minutes (see examples words below)
e.g tempestuous, conceited, volatile, inconspicuous, foe, submissive.


Type-1 missing letters from words. One where the word was given with missing letters in the passage and you had to fill these missing letters. This is similar to one given in the sample KE paper this year. About 25 words in 10 minutes.
Subject was about Volcano Rabbits – rabbits that lived on volcanoes and used other animals’ abandoned homes to live in.
One child thought this was a reasonably hard cloze test, managed a fair amount of words (e.g. Abode, demolished, habitat, dwelling) but also guessed some and left out a few too.
Another child found this very difficult, unable to complete.


Type-2 full word. Choice of 1 word in 4 – approx. 25-36 questions in 8-10 mins
Select a word from 4 options that best fits the sentence. The subject was ‘learning how to sail’. Both easy and hard words, but one child felt it was a difficult subject matter that included some sailing terminology that was hard to follow.
(Note: there is some debate whether the Cloze type 1 passage was about Volcano rabbits or Sailing!)


Now confirmed NVR was in paper-2– there were originally conflicting reports. – approx. 20 questions – about 6-10 mins
• Sequences
• 3×3 grids with a missing square and patterns
• No questions on rotation

General Comments and quotes from Children & Parents about the Sept 2012 exam:

Non-Verbal was OK, just about managed to answer them all in the time allocated. Comprehension was interesting and no problems answering in the time given. Verbal Reasoning & Cloze had some easy and some impossible words and even with enough time to check, she left a few unanswered. Maths was OK until last question about buses, and she ran out of time on this question.

A lot of friends children (who have been tutored for 1 to 2 years versus my DS being a last minute) were telling their parents that none of the exam had been covered by their tutor. I quizzed DS on this and he said that he could understand this as the format of it looked like nothing he had ever seen before BUT that the fundamentals were the same.

He said it was easier than he expected (not that it was easy), we had primed him for it to be horrific though!

About Cloze Type-1: . He didn’t know 10 of the missing letter cloze words in the KE test.

About NVR: was fine- type was 3×3 Grids with a missing square.

About Cloze: As far as I can gather there were two type of Cloze exercises. One where the word was given with missing letters in the passage and you had to fill these missing letters. The other one being a choice of 4 words and you had to pick the most appropriate to go in the passage. This is similar to one given in the sample KE paper this year.

No synonyms this year, there were antonyms and there was an odd word out (had to choose 1 word from 4 that was the odd one).

Maths was just several large questions. One definitely included tiles and area that DS said was very hard.