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What Is The 11 Plus Exam Pass Mark In 2023?

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The 11 Plus exam is a type of selective entrance exam. Grammar schools and private schools use it to select the students with the highest academic ability. As a secondary school entrance exam, it will normally be taken by a Year 6 student.

If your child is preparing to sit for the 11 plus exam, the first thing to note is the 11 plus pass mark. This will help you gauge your child’s level of preparedness and guide him/her on how best to approach the exam. Keep reading to find out more on 11 plus exam.

What Is The 11 Plus Exam?

The 11 Plus exam (also known as the 11 Plus or transfer test) is a test taken by some pupils in England.

The entrance exam determines a child’s suitability for grammar schools or other academically selective institutions from Year 7 onwards.

When ready to move to secondary school, children can take this test to widen their options.

Children are tested on 4 areas over different papers. These are:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-verbal Reasoning

What Does The 11 Plus Exam Assess?

The 11 Plus exam tests a range of skills. This is because the aim of creating the exam is to find the most academic students. 

One feature the exam assesses is English. They can assess this in different ways. For example, you may have to write to persuade, explain, or describe. It can also be assessed using comprehension questions. This usually entails the use of multiple-choice questions.

The 11 Plus exam also assesses a pupil’s mathematics ability. The type of maths assessed will be the concepts learned in primary school. However, they will also contain some topics the student will most likely not have been taught yet.

Finally, the 11 Plus exam also assesses verbal and non-verbal reasoning. These are not taught in the primary school curriculum either. This means they are hard to prepare for. Therefore, using practice papers is essential for you to pass.

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What Is The 11 Plus Pass Mark For 2023?

The pass mark for the 11 Plus exams varies heavily depending on the region, school, and even the year. Unfortunately, there is no generalized standard pass mark for the 11 Plus. Each school’s pass mark changes yearly, depending on many factors, including the average marks scored and the number of spaces available.

There is no guarantee that the 2021 or 2022 pass mark at your chosen school will be the same for the 2023 exams.

Is There An Average Pass Mark For The 11 Plus?

The average pass mark for an 11 Plus exam is around 80%. However, this is just an estimate. The school and exam board decide each year’s pass mark, depending on many factors. Previous years’ pass marks are often found on each school’s website.

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How Will The 2023 11 Plus Exam’s Pass Mark Be Calculated?

Raw marks go through a standardization process. This is to maintain the integrity of the 11-plus assessment process. Also, ensure the process is fair to all grammar school applicants.

This standardized score is then used to determine:

  • All 11 plus pupils results in rank order
  • 11 plus Pass marks for each grammar school, including 11 plus pass mark adjustments for that 11 plus school year.

A standardization table is then used to calculate the score. The raw data is the student’s actual score. However, a standardized score can be calculated after comparing this to their age. The pass rate is then set, and only students who get this will be allowed in the grammar school of their choice. Generally, this pass score is 121. This doesn’t mean the total marks were out of 121; it is a standardized score calculated from the raw data.

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When Is The 11 Plus Exam 2023?

The 11+ exam dates in 2023 depend upon the grammar school county you apply to. It is not a nationally coordinated set of exams like GCSEs or A-Levels.

11 plus exam registration opens each year in April/May. With a June/July entry deadline, parents can register their child for the 11+ exam.

The 11 plus exam occurs in most grammar schools’ first two weeks of September.

What Is The 11 Plus Exam Out Of?

The number of marks and questions in 11 Plus exams varies yearly, and each school may have different amounts.  Some grammar schools only give you one paper to sit on, while others give you multiple papers to test each skill. For example, Maths and English papers can be assessed individually, or some exam boards integrate the two subjects into one paper.

This also depends on the exam board that has made the paper. For example, the exam board GL normally creates papers with 45 questions assessing maths and 50 questions assessing English. In comparison, the CEM exam board changes its style of papers frequently. For example, four papers may be individually assessing the different skills. There could also be two 45-minute papers.

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Is It Difficult To Pass The 11 Plus Exam?

The 11 Plus exam is seen as quite hard to pass because some of the questions you will be asked are not taught in the curriculum. This is because grammar schools are trying to find naturally gifted students who are more likely to succeed.

You must understand vocabulary well to pass the verbal reasoning paper and get a good mark. This is an extremely hard section based on your innate problem-solving ability. This can be challenging for students who don’t naturally grasp concepts.

Similarly, the 11 Plus exam is also hard because of the non-verbal reasoning section. The types of questions used in this paper won’t be like anything Year 6 students have seen before and can be overwhelming. Therefore, obtaining a good mark also depends on being naturally gifted. Non-verbal reasoning papers measure if you can think logically and quickly identify patterns that may be hard to spot.

How Can I Prepare For The 11 Plus Exam?

Now you have found out what the pass mark is and what the exam entails. However, to pass, you need to know how to prepare! This is the most important part: the better your preparation, the more likely you will pass the exam.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for the 11 plus exam:

Understand the Exam Format

Familiarize yourself with the structure and content of the 11 Plus exam. It typically includes Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics, and English sections. Understand the types of questions that will be asked in each section and the time allocated for each.

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Create a Study Schedule

Develop a well-organized study plan that allocates sufficient time to each subject and section. Consistency is key, so set aside dedicated study periods each day or week. Make sure to include breaks to avoid burnout. Tailor your schedule to your strengths and weaknesses, spending more time on areas where you need improvement.

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Practice Regularly

Practice is essential for success in the 11 Plus exam. Work through practice papers and sample questions to become familiar with the questions you’ll encounter. This will help you improve your speed, accuracy, and problem-solving skills. Gradually increase the difficulty level as you progress.

Use Reliable Resources

Invest in high-quality study materials, practice books, and online resources for the 11 Plus exam. These resources will provide you with accurate content and realistic practice questions. Additionally, consider enrolling in reputable 11 Plus preparation courses or hiring a tutor if you need extra guidance.

Mock Exams and Time Management

Take mock exams under timed conditions to simulate the actual test day experience. This will help you get accustomed to the time pressure and build your time management skills. Review your performance after each mock exam to identify areas that need improvement and adjust your study plan accordingly.

Consider getting a tutor

If your child struggles with their 11 Plus preparation, you might want to try a private tutor. One of the main benefits of tutoring is that your child will have the undivided attention of someone who knows what they’re talking about for at least an hour.

However, 11 plus tutors can be hard to come by, so you should start your search for one early, as many are booked up months in advance.

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Revision and Review

As the exam date approaches, focus on revision and review. Review your notes, practice papers, and any areas you’ve struggled with. Consolidate your understanding of key concepts and strategies. Avoid cramming the night before the exam, and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

FAQs On 11 Plus Exam

What is the 11 Plus exam?

The 11 Plus exam, also known as the 11+ exam, is an entrance examination taken by students in the United Kingdom for admission to selective secondary schools, usually grammar schools or academically oriented schools. Students around the age of 11 typically take it.

What subjects are included in the 11 Plus exam?

The subjects included in the 11 Plus exam can vary depending on the region and the school. However, the exam usually covers subjects like Mathematics, English, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

What is Verbal Reasoning in the 11 Plus exam all about?

Verbal Reasoning assesses students’ ability to understand and manipulate language. It includes identifying word patterns, analogies, synonyms, and antonyms.

Are there 11 Plus tutors available?

Yes, tutors specializing in preparing students for the 11 Plus exam are available. Tutors can provide personalized guidance, practice materials, and strategies to improve a student’s performance.


Preparation is key if you must pass the 11 Plus exam. Therefore, start early, stay focused, and maintain a positive attitude throughout preparation. It’s also important to take care of your overall well-being by getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities you enjoy to help manage stress.


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