As a parent – would you be able to pass the 11 Plus exam if you took it?

We challenged parents to try out some example questions that thousands of children across the country face in entrance exams, and the results showed that grammar was a particular sticking point…

Truly understanding the types of questions your child will face in their upcoming 11 Plus exam will definitely help you to communicate and support your child in their preparations.

We have compiled examples of 11 Plus style questions in our online quiz. When parents took on this mock test, their average score was just 61%. The questions cover grammar, verbal reasoningnon-verbal reasoning and mathematical reasoning to give you a taster of what primary school children undertake.

What do parents find tricky to explain to their children?

Relative clauses tend to be the biggest puzzle for parents, with more than half (59%) of parents getting this question wrong:

Identify the part of the sentence that contains a relative clause:

On Saturday the car broke down, which distressed Viktor as he was late for the match.

Relative clauses start with a relative pronoun such as who, that, which, whose, where or when.

Pronouns also proved a stumbling block, as 53% of parents couldn’t identify the pronoun in the following sentence:

‘Do you like strawberry and vanilla ice cream?’ enquired Katie.

Does it all add up to you?

When it came to maths, a similar number of parents struggled to correctly identify angles in a shape. Just under half (49%) got this question wrong:

What is the size of angle x in the triangle below?

11 Plus Question 2






Moreover, only 66% of parents were able to solve this maths problem:

Cara is saving her paper round earnings to buy a new bicycle. She earns £6, seven days a week. The bicycle costs £462, how many weeks will it take her to save enough money to buy the bike?

Let’s hear from an 11 Plus expert

Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning, says: “The curriculum has changed so much since parents were at school and some of these terms and questions that parents are now up against will be entirely new concepts. Even if the concepts are not new, if parents haven’t actively used these skills since school, they can be hard to remember.

This is why we have open sessions with parents to give guidance on how to support children with their exams and show them how to help with 11 Plus tuition at home”

Now you know what it’s like – how can you support your child with their revision?

Celebrate the effort

One of the main worries children can have is that they will let you down. This can become a serious distraction for children, which can have a negative impact on their performance.

A good way of avoiding this kind of worry is by focusing on the effort and practice that your child is doing. Celebrate the successes they achieve during their focused revision and remind them if they can’t do something – “they just can’t do it yet”.

Let them know how proud you are of the progress they are making. This encourages children to work as hard as they can in preparation, but doesn’t overwhelm them with talk of the end results. Exams are a chance for children to show off how much they know, and often talking about it in that way can ease some of the pressure they may be feeling.

Find 11 Plus resources here!

Avoid clashing!

Often, with a child under pressure and a parent wanting the absolute best for them, tempers can flare and arguments can happen! If you feel your child isn’t doing enough, it’s often because they feel lost and don’t know where to start. Help them to break everything into small tasks so they can start seeing small successes and boost confidence.

Avoid using accusatory, overly-critical language like, “If you don’t work harder, you are going to fail”. Try approaching with questions to encourage your child to see the problem by themselves.

“How is your revision going?”

“What are your tricky spots?”

“If you have 30 minutes to look at something today, what do you think would make the most difference?”

– these are all good questions to ask.

Could you score better than 61%? Take our quiz to try out real questions from past papers – it’s a great way to get a feel for what’s expected of children when it comes to sitting the exam.

Practice questions