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. Historically, schools were split into two groups, each with their own set of examinations. This meant that girls could sit one set of entrance papers no matter how many schools she may have applied to in that group. Whilst the two sets of exams sat by each group were different the format was similar; girls sat an English and Maths examination. English consisted of both a comprehension and a piece of writing and Maths required students to have a strong understanding of all the topics up to the end of Year 5 in Key Stage 2 of The National Curriculum.
In 2019 the entire London 11 Plus Consortium decided to replace their subject examinations with a single 70-minute reasoning assessment for all schools. 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?
As of 2019, the exam consists of:
“A bespoke cognitive ability test of 70 minutes, incorporating mathematics, verbal and non-verbal questions. The questions will be mainly multiple choice.”
Unlike many of the cognitive ability tests used by independent schools it is paper based, and is not an electronic, adaptive test – students are provided with paper answer booklets in which they need to indicate their chosen answer. All children sit the same test on the same day at one of the schools they are intending to apply to. The test is typically taken in early January of Year 6 and there is a break at the midway point for 30 minutes.
Despite being called a reasoning test, we know that the London 11 Plus Consortium exam assesses students in English and Maths. Thus, as with preparation for any 11 Plus assessment, it is important that students 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.
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.
How to Prepare for the 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 Maths Section
Ensuring a student has a core understanding of the 11+ Maths curriculum is key to success in this part of the London 11 Plus Consortium test. In addition to being comfortable with the core topics students need to be able to problem solve and capable of tackling the more challenging word problems. Questions can be multi-staged and students are required to show their working! An ability to work quickly and accurately is also important throughout assessments of this kind, but especially so in the numerical section as both a student’s working and answer is on show.
Topics commonly 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
Non-Verbal Reasoning is the most abstract of the three sections 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 commonly assessed include:
- 3D shapes
Past Papers for the London Consortium 11 Plus
Unfortunately, there are no past papers, but the London 11 Plus Consortium does share a familiarisation booklet on their website which provides sample questions in each section of the test.
London Consortium Interview questions
In addition to sitting the 70-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 on the basis of 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.