The 11 plus exam, which is used for admissions to UK grammar schools, assesses a range of skills that are important for success.

Which 11 plus skills are THE KEY to passing?

While no single set of skills can guarantee success, there are several key skills that are often considered crucial for performing well in the 11 plus exam. Keep in mind that the specific skills tested can vary depending on the exam format and the subjects being assessed. Here are some key skills that are often emphasized in the 11 plus exam:

11+ Verbal Reasoning skills

THE BEST 11+ verbal reasoning test practice

This 11+ section assesses your ability to understand and manipulate language. Key skills include:

    • Vocabulary: Strong vocabulary skills help you understand and interpret text effectively.
    • Analogies: The ability to identify relationships between words and apply them to new pairs of words.
    • Code-breaking: Identifying patterns, substitutions, or transformations in letter sequences or words.

11 plus Non-Verbal Reasoning skills

This 11+ section evaluates your spatial awareness, logical thinking, and pattern recognition skills. Key skills include:

    • Spatial Reasoning: The ability to mentally manipulate shapes, visualize transformations, and understand spatial relationships.
    • Pattern Recognition: Identifying and predicting patterns in sequences, shapes, and images.

Learning 11+ Maths skills 

The maths 11+ section assesses your numeracy, problem-solving, and mathematical reasoning skills. Key skills include:

    • Arithmetic: Solid understanding of basic mathematical operations, fractions, decimals, percentages, and ratios.
    • Problem Solving: Ability to analyze and solve math-related problems using logical thinking.
    • Mathematical Reasoning: Applying mathematical concepts to real-world scenarios and drawing conclusions.

11+ English Comprehension skills

This 11 plus section evaluates your reading comprehension and analysis skills. Key skills include:

    • Reading Comprehension: Understanding written passages, identifying main ideas, details, and inferences.
    • Critical Analysis: Evaluating the author’s intent, tone, and argument, and supporting answers with evidence from the text.

11 plus writing skills

Some 11 plus exams include a writing component. Key skills include:

    • Grammar and Spelling: Strong command of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
    • Creative Writing: The ability to craft engaging narratives or essays with clear structure and effective use of language.

THE MOST IMPORTANT 11 plus skills to pass

We recommend that your child follows these 11+ exam revision steps to achieve their 11 plus test potential.

  • To learn the most efficient 11+ exam techniques.
  • Then review sample 11+ exam papers.
  • Next to purchase a 11+ practice test bundle.
  • To then confidently analyse your 11+ exam successes and failures in terms of the different 11+ exam question types.
  • Keep using 11 plus practice tests at least once a week for several weeks.
  • And then once you’re ready you should attempt your first 11 plus mock test.

SIX STEPS to maximise your child’s 11+ Skills

  1. Encourage your child to practice with one of our top 11+ test prep resources every weekend.
  2. If you also track each week’s 11 plus entry exam progress then you will quickly learn which 11+ test techniques work best for them.
  3. Conduct 11+ pass / 11+ fail reviews to establish which 11 plus test sections your child finds the most challenging. Both in terms of 11+ exam time taken and getting that type of 11+ question correct.
  4. This allows the 11+ parent or 11+ tutor to focus in the later 11 plus assessment study periods on  on those.
  5. Don’t automatically follow what other test prep sites suggest you should do. This is because your child needs to adopt the most efficient 11+ passing strategies which work for them.
  6. Then to practice these in their 11+ revision sessions.

Use School Entrance Tests’ FREE 11+ practice papers to ensure 11+ entry exam success

other important entry exam skills

  • Time Management: Time is often limited in the 11 plus exam. Effective time management skills allow you to allocate appropriate time to each section and question.
  • Test-Taking Strategies: Familiarity with various question types and strategies, such as process of elimination, educated guessing, and tackling easier questions first.
  • Practice and Preparation: Regular practice and familiarity with the exam format, types of questions, and timing are essential to build confidence and improve performance.
  • Stress Management: Being able to manage test-related stress and anxiety can help you perform your best on exam day.