Parents who are interested in the top independent schools for girls that are part of the London 11 Plus Consortium need to ensure that their child is well prepared for the entrance exam the Consortium uses.
In the article below, Keystone’s expert tutors have compiled a list of extensive answers to the key questions most parents ask about the Consortium and the exam itself, as well as their top tips for preparing effectively and achieving the best possible results.
What is the London 11 Plus Consortium?
The London 11 Plus Consortium, formerly known as the North London Girls’ Consortium, is a group of girls’ day schools. The consortium was originally founded to reduce the number of examinations girls would be required to sit as a part of the 11 plus entrance process. To that end, the London 11 Plus Consortium developed an application process whereby only one test would have to be taken, no matter how many schools within the Consortium the student has applied to. They have recently reviewed their application processes over the pandemic period, which had ‘necessitated a variety of assessment approaches in 2020 and adoption of the ISEB Common Pre-Test in 2021.’
Following this review, the London 11 Plus Consortium have decided to replace their current examination with one bespoke 100-minute online assessment for all schools, which is made by Atom Learning.
At present the London 11 Plus Consortium is made up of the following schools:
- Channing School
- Francis Holland School (Regent’s Park)
- Francis Holland School (Sloane Square)
- Godolphin & Latymer
- More House School
- Northwood College for Girls
- Notting Hill & Ealing High School
- Queen’s College School
- Queen’s Gate School
- South Hampstead High School
- St Augustine’s Priory
- St Helen’s School London
- St James Senior Girl’s School
- St Margaret’s School
What does the London Consortium Exam Involve?
For entry in September 2023 onwards, the 100-minute exam consists of five separate components, which will be completed in the order specified in the table below.
The new examination will be conducted online, with a mixture of adaptive and non-adaptive testing (see the table above). Adaptive testing means the test’s difficulty will adapt to the performance of the child, whereas Non-Adaptive testing have fixed questions for all candidates on that testing day. Please note the content of non-adaptive sections will be different on different testing days, so there will be no advantage or disadvantage to students based on their chosen date of testing.
All children sit the test on one of three selected dates, at either at their current school, or one of the schools they are intending to apply to if their current school is unable to conduct the examinations. The test will typically be taken in early December of Year 6.
Preparation Tips for the London Consortium Exam
The London 11 Plus Consortium exam assesses students in English and Maths. Thus, as with preparation for any 11 Plus assessment, it would be useful for students to have a strong foundational understanding of the 11+ curriculum in both English and Maths. The syllabuses can be found on the Independent Schools Examination Board website. However, please be aware that some of the mathematics content may not be covered (see below).
In addition, it is important that students are exposed to and comfortable answering the full range of verbal and non-verbal reasoning question types. Over and above the content, students should be comfortable working under time pressure and be able to tackle multiple choice questions, an assessment method which tends not to be all that common in day-to-day schooling.
Preparation for the Maths Section
The student should ensure they have a core understanding of the national curriculum for Maths up to the end of Year 5. No content introduced in the Year 6 curriculum will be tested. This section of the exam will be multiple choice and vary in terms of difficulty. Some questions may include diagrams or charts. This section is adaptive.
Core topics that may be assessed include:
- Mental arithmetic
- Four operations
- Factions, Decimals & Percentages
- Measures & Statistics (an ability to read graphs and tables)
Preparation for the Non-verbal Reasoning Section
This section will include multiple choice 2D Non-Verbal Reasoning and Spatial Reasoning questions. This section may seem a bit alien from the students’ perspective as it is unlikely they will have encountered it regularly in school, if at all. Thus, familiarisation is key! Students need to be exposed to the different types of non-verbal reasoning questions to ensure they understand what is being asked of them and the best method for working out the answer. The latter is an important point to focus on; initially exposing students to a range of non-verbal reasoning question types will help to identify their strengths and areas for development. Students should then ensure they are comfortable with how to tackle those questions types they initially struggled with.
Topics that could be assessed include:
2D Non-Verbal Reasoning:
- Block Counting
- Combining Shapes
- Fold & Punch
- Folding Cubes
- Hidden Shapes
- Shape Completion
- Spinning Shapes
Preparation for the English Comprehension and Verbal Reasoning Section
A strong vocabulary is key! As with all verbal reasoning it seems vocabulary related questions form the cornerstone of this section in the London 11 Plus Consortium test. Reading is important preparation, as there is no doubt that students who read widely tend to find this type of reasoning less challenging. Beyond regular reading, students should focus on vocabulary development. This means identifying, learning, and adding new words to their usable canon. Crucially, it is not just a case of being able to recognise a word, but students should be able to use words in the correct context and therefore fully understand their meaning. Ideally, students should have a strong age-appropriate vocabulary and an ability to tackle words and texts beyond their years.
Another important feature of this section of the London 11 Plus consortium test is the addition of comprehension. It would be a mistake to simply concentrate solely on standard verbal reasoning question types – developing comprehension skills is key.
Question types might include:
- Vocabulary: synonyms, antonyms, hidden words, word completion, word in words, word relation, odd words out, words with dual meanings.
- Reading Comprehension: The comprehension texts can be fiction or non-fiction and they have also been known to include poetry. Both literal and inference questions are asked.
Preparation for the Problem-solving and Analysis Sections
The sections within the second part of the paper are the major new additions with this new exam format, and are both non-adaptive. As these are so new, take a look at the familiarisation materials for reference.
The problem-solving section will require students to use words and numbers to solve multi-step problems. It will include a number of interactive puzzles or diagrams, some of which seem quite similar to those found on GeoGebra. Judging on these sample materials, students should be careful when interacting with the puzzles and diagrams within the exam, as the interface may be slightly tricky to get used to.
The Analysis component requires students to use information provided for them in a range of different sources to answer questions. This may include using multiple different sources simultaneously to answer one question. The sources will appear in a scrollable box on the left-hand side of the screen, with the question on the right of the screen.
Students may find it useful to familiarise themselves with the different source types, which may include:
Past Papers for the London Consortium 11 Plus
As mentioned above, while the London 11 Plus Consortium does not provide past papers, they do share familiarisation materials on their website which provides sample questions in each section of the test, alongside the answers. It is also possible to purchase practice exam papers from Prestest Plus or Exam Papers Plus, which try to emulate the question types and styles. Atom Learning, the makers of the test, also offer students and parents a platform through which they can become familiar with online testing in English, Maths and Reasoning.
London Consortium Interview Questions
In addition to sitting the 100-minute reasoning test students may be called for interview as a part of the admissions process. Not all schools in the consortium automatically interview all applicants; Francis Holland School (Regent’s Park), Godolphin and Latymer and South Hampstead High School invite candidates for interview based on their tests scores and school reference.
The interview experience varies significantly across all of the schools; in some instances, interviews can be quite traditional, lasting between 15- and 30-minutes asking questions about a student’s academic, extracurricular and wider interests, whilst in others students are required to respond to stimuli (such as pictures or objects), interviewed in a group and/or take part in a range of activities as a part of fuller assessment day.
Interviews tend to cover questions on a range of the following topics including:
- Favourite Subject
- Extracurricular Interests
- Character Strength/Weakness
- School Choice
Tutors for London 11 Plus Consortium Preparation
Each year Keystone supports many students preparing for the London 11 Plus Consortium exam. The tutors we represent are experienced in the intricacies of the 11 Plus exams and how they differ between schools' assessments. We would normally recommend that preparation begins around 12 – 18 months before the exams. Tutors will devise a programme tailored to the specific circumstances of the student.