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General 11+ FAQs
Who provides the 11+ exam?
For Year 7 entry in 2022, the 11+ exam for Grammar Schools in Berkshire is currently written by CEM, the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at the University of Durham. The 11+ exam for Grammar Schools in Buckinghamshire have been written by Granada Learning assessment (GLA).
This year, Reading Boys School changed their requirements and will be including creative writing as part of the examination. The school will be writing the papers independently from CEM & GL. Our Teachitright course has been adapted to include creative writing and to remove NVR as per the information provided on the Reading Boys website.
Teachitright will notify families in the event that the examining boards change.
What will the 11+ exams consist of?
At Teachitright, we provide tuition to support students taking the Berkshire CEM 11+ exams. The definition of verbal ability is wide and includes comprehension and reading skills. Our sessions teach the main strategies and techniques across all subjects (Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning and English comprehension), building confidence and ensuring pupils are familiar with the different question types. The CEM exam papers are multiple choice and are administered using an audio CD. The children will sit two papers of approximately 45-50 minutes duration. Each paper will contain a variety of questions which will test verbal, numerical and non-verbal ability. The papers are weighted, 50% of the marks are based on Verbal Reasoning and English, 30% on Numerical Reasoning and 20% is based on Non-verbal Reasoning.
At Teachitright, we support students for the Buckinghamshire GL assessment 11+ exam. The exam comprises of two separate test booklets. One will contain questions to test verbal skills and English and the other contains questions to test non-verbal (25%) and numerical skills (25%). The tests are multiple choice. Our students are taught the main strategies and techniques to ensure they can answer the questions efficiently and accurately. We recognise that 50% of the exam involves verbal, English and spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG), so vocabulary is important to develop throughout the TIR course.
This year, Reading Boys School changed their requirements and will be including creative writing as part of the examination. The school will be writing the papers independently from CEM & GL. Maths, English and creative writing is included. Our Teachitright course has been adapted to include creative writing and to remove NVR as per the information provided on the Reading Boys website.
We will provide ample exam practice and help students develop their time management skills throughout the course.
Will the classes cover both CEM and GL Assessment?
The Year 4 classes are aimed at building up the foundation skills for both CEM and GL Assessment which includes building up vocabulary and developing numeracy skills.
Each Year 5 class focuses on one syllabus, and it is important that you have given consideration to the schools that you are preparing for when you choose your tuition centre.
Teachitright will be offering extension sessions to ensure parents who wish their child to study for both the 11+ exam in Berkshire (CEM) and Buckinghamshire (GL Assessment) have covered both syllabuses. It is important to recognise that there is a huge overlap between the subjects e.g. mathematics, non-verbal reasoning and English comprehension. However, there are variations which need to be taught for the different authorities. One of the main differences is the verbal reasoning question types and the introduction of SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar questions) for the GL assessment examination.
These 90 minute sessions are in addition to the weekly lessons will be run in blocks of 6 lessons and will cost £195.00 per block. We are planning to run these sessions during blocks 3 and 5 and will confirm the sign up and lesson arrangements including timings in due course.
How can parents help their children to prepare for the tests?
There are a number of things that parents can do to help their children. They can ensure that they have experience of working quietly on their own, uninterrupted by noise or distractions. They can ensure that they do any homework that is set. Parents can help their children to read with understanding, for example by asking them what certain words mean and what is happening in the passage or book that they are reading. They can encourage them to solve problems by themselves or to look up things for themselves.
Teachitright provides free Parent Workshops which are aimed to help parents support their children in their 11+ studies.
How is the test scored?
A child’s score on the two tests will be added together and that total score will then be age-standardised. This will give an overall view of the child’s abilities. In 2020, the standardised score of 111 was the pass mark for Berkshire (121 for Upton Court), and the standardised score of 121 was the requirement for Buckinghamshire. Children scoring at the pass mark or above will be eligible for consideration by the Grammar Schools. Please note that these scores are subject to change.
Are there practice papers available?
CEM do not provide any commercially available practice materials, nor do they recommend any other commercially available materials. Children will receive a leaflet to familiarise themselves with the testing procedure, providing them with some test taking advice and giving them a few example questions. However, Teachitright will provide authentic exam papers to enable children to familiarise themselves with the actual exam which is taken in the September when students are in Year 6. GL assessment material is more widely available and Teachitright have co-authored the 11+ Explained series with GL assessment.
Teachitright have built up a vast knowledge of the type of questions that may be introduced in the tests and therefore will provide pupils with all the resources that are required to prepare for the tests.
We run mock exams during the Easter and Summer Holidays and these are as authentic as possible to the real exam.
How will the tests be administered?
Each child will have a question booklet and a separate answer sheet. The question booklet will contain all of the necessary instructions about taking the test and all the test questions. The invigilators will use a CD to take the children through the initial example questions, to play the instructions about starting and finishing the test, and to time any sub-sections of the test.
When will parents find out the results?
The School Admissions Code requires the outcomes of selection tests to be made available to parents before the deadline for the submission of the Common Application Form.
How many children are in each class?
We have a maximum of 10 students in each class and this allows us the opportunity to identify each child’s areas for development.
Will I have to re-enrol for every block?
As the course is a year in length, we assume that your child is staying for the whole academic year and so there is no need to re-enrol for each block.
Will my child be expected to complete any homework?
Students are expected to complete homework, which reinforces what they have learnt during their weekly lessons. We are fully aware that schools set different amounts of homework, and we want to set realistic expectations to ensure a balance between schoolwork and Teachitright work is achieved. The homework is split into “you must” tasks and additional “you could” tasks. Every student must complete the “you must” task on a weekly basis and usually our Teachitright markers would mark all of these exercises. If government restrictions change again due to Covid we may ask parents and students to mark homework using the online homework videos that we have producing.
For those students (or parents) who would like further homework on top of the compulsory activities, additional “you could” activities will be set and we would ask parents to check these tasks at home against the mark schemes.
During week 6 lessons, we will be reviewing all homework tasks and ensuring students fully understand the different concepts taught.
How will I know how well my child is progressing?
Each child will be assessed towards the end of each block of 6 lessons, and tutors will feedback to parents via a written report. We also hold parent meetings 3 times a year either face to face or online to discuss performance and answer any questions you may have.
It is important that parents get involved in their child’s homework and we have devised a traffic light system which helps parents track their child’s homework progress. Each student’s books will be issued with a coloured sticker which denotes their progress and understanding.
We also hold a weekly online homework club on a Monday evening where your child can ask any relevant questions on the homework for that week.
How can I help my child if they have struggled with their homework?
There are a couple of ways you can help your child. Firstly, we would suggest that your child attends the weekly homework club where they can ask our fully qualified tutor for help. Please highlight it to their own weekly tutor who can support further during class or at another convenient time. We also often have homework videos available which are useful to review as they break down the method of answering the questions.
How can I keep in contact with my child’s tutor?
We will provide you with the email address of your tutor when you start and if you have any questions, they will be very happy to help you. If you have any administrative questions please contact the office directly at email@example.com.
What should my child bring to their lesson?
Teachitright will provide you with all books and materials and it is important that you bring these to every lesson. Please could all students remember to bring their pencil case with them and we also recommend that you bring along with you a small pocket dictionary. Students are welcome to bring a drink and a small (nut free) snack to keep them going.
How does Teachitright keep in touch with parents?
There are many ways we keep in touch with our parents and the main method of communication is by email. Please ensure that we have an up-to-date email address that you check regularly. We are happy to have more than one email contact on our database.
Also, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we regularly post messages and useful hints and tips about the 11+.
How can I support my child in their 11+ preparation?
We run regular free Parent Workshops throughout the year which are designed to help you support your child with their studies. We encourage as many parents as possible to come along to these workshops as we are sure you will find them very helpful with lots of additional hints and tips.
As the Teachitright lessons run during the term time, do you provide any additional lessons during the school holidays?
Teachitright runs a comprehensive revision programme during the Easter and Summer holidays. We run three-day revision camps and also mock exams which aim to recreate a similar environment to the actual 11+ exam day.
If my child misplaces their books, will we receive replacements?
Students are given a set of books at the start of every block of lessons, and this is included in the course fees. If any books are misplaced, then we will replace them at a cost of £5.00 per book, plus postage if required.
What happens if my child misses a lesson?
It is important that your child attends every lesson, but of course we do understand that sometimes children fall ill or you may have an important or urgent commitment that cannot be changed.
We have a student portal which is designed to support both students and parents at home. The portal is only available for Teachitright students and your login details will be given to you after you start the course. You will find resources such as reading lists, word lists, homework overviews and other worksheets. If you miss a lesson you will be able to look up the lesson objectives and key activities that can be completed at home.
If my child misses a lesson, can they attend an alternative class elsewhere?
For the foreseeable future, we will be unable to authorise any lesson swaps as we are unable to mix “bubbles”. This may be something we can reintroduce back later in the year as and when guidelines are relaxed but this would be in line with the conditions below.
It is important to us that the children see the same tutor every week as this will help to improve the consistency in their learning and that all elements of the syllabus have been covered with them. We do try to accommodate parents and students who ask for a lesson swap but we would ask that requests are only made if absolutely necessary. If swapping lessons, please note that we will be unable to authorise a lesson swap during weeks 1, 5 and 6 due to the distribution of new books for the new block during week 1, student assessments during week 5 and student/parental feedback during week 6.
Keeping our class sizes to a maximum of 10 students is extremely important to Teachitright and in addition to the above, we can only authorise a lesson swap to a class that is not at full capacity.
How much notice will I have to give if I decide to withdraw my child from the course?
In the unlikely event that you decide to withdraw your child from the course at the end of a block, you will be required to give notice. This must be no later than three working days before the payment date on your invoice.
What methods of payment does Teachitright accept?
Teachitright collects lesson fees through a company called Go Cardless, you will receive an email asking you to set up a direct debit mandate. Please note that the collection of bank details is completely secure, and Teachitright will not have access to your account numbers and sort codes.
Teachitright will not be able to accept payments over the phone or accept cash or cheque payments. Teachitright will email an invoice to you to advise you when your payment will be deducted from your bank account.
Teachitright also accepts childcare vouchers from some of the larger providers (see below).
Does Teachitright accept childcare vouchers?
We will accept payment through the Government Tax-Free Childcare Scheme and we also accept childcare vouchers from a limited number of private providers, and these are Edenred, Sodexo, Care-4, Computershare, Enjoy Benefits, Kiddivouchers, Fideliti and Busy.
If you would like to pay using this method, then please notify the Teachitright office immediately.
CEM Board FAQs
What is the CEM Assessment?
Developed by the Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring at the University of Durham, the CEM 11+ exam was created in response to fears from some grammar schools that the existing 11+ exam system had become too transparent. The exam was designed to address concerns over ‘teaching to the test’.
What does it cover?
CEM covers verbal, non-verbal and numerical reasoning. Verbal reasoning includes many of the skills covered in a GL Assessment English test and numerical reasoning covers the main maths skills that would be tested in a GL maths exam.
What is the exam format?
CEM exam papers do not separate subjects by paper. Commonly one paper tests English and verbal reasoning skills, whilst the other tests maths and non-verbal reasoning skills. Exam papers are broken into sections which may, for example, move from short maths to non-verbal questions to worded problems. Questions can be either standard, or more commonly, multiple choice, with answers being written in a separate answer book.
What is the exam timings?
CEM exams consist of two 45-minute papers. A short break is normally given between the two papers. Each paper has a mix of topics covering English, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and maths (numerical reasoning). The papers are spilt into sections, with varying numbers of questions and timings. Often more questions are provided than are likely to be answered. Children are only given a set amount of time to answer a section and cannot move forward until told to proceed.
When will I get the results?
Results will be available online during October time for the common application form by 31st October. As papers are externally marked, a specific date cannot be given for publication of the results.
What is the pass mark?
The 11+ entrance exam is designed to identify pupils who would be suited to a grammar school education and as such does not refer to a ‘pass’ mark. A score of 111 or greater means that a pupil is eligible to be considered for a place in a grammar school if they applied.
GL Board FAQs
Do GL assessments provide any familiarisation materials?
Yes, familiarisation materials for the Buckinghamshire test will continue to be made available to parents in the summer term of Year 5. In addition to this GL assessment provides free familiarisation materials on its website: http://www.glassessment.co.uk/free-familiarisation.
Will there be a practice test in Buckinghamshire?
Yes, they will continue to provide a practice test. The practice test will have two short papers, each approximately 35 minutes in length (about 50 minutes, including all instructions). Its purpose is to enable children to experience listening to the test instructions and also to become familiar with the look and format of the Secondary Transfer Test so that they know what to expect on the test day. This paper is not marked.
How many GL assessment papers do the students take in the 11+ exam?
As with the current arrangements, the Secondary Transfer Test will have two test papers, each approximately 45 minutes in length (about an hour, including all instructions). Both papers will be taken on the same day with a short gap in between.
What is the percentage weighting of the different 11+ subject areas?
Probably the biggest change is that the papers are no longer completely mixed; now the first paper will assess verbal skills only, incorporating VR, comprehension and SPAG (this has 50% weighting in the final marks) and the second paper will assess mathematical and non-verbal skills only (these are now weighted at 25% each).
What is the standardised scoring for the Buckinghamshire 11+?
Children will continue to need to achieve a standardised score of 121 or above in order to automatically qualify for consideration for entry to a Buckinghamshire grammar school. Grammar school places are then offered according to the individual school’s admission policy. For more information about standardisation visit: https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/advice/standardised-scores-an-explanation.