When I started tutoring almost ten years ago, one of the first things I did was search the Internet for information on the examinations I was preparing students for. The 11+ left me bamboozled. The 11+ is a loaded term, which means different things to different people. The frustration for Keystone parents and students is that much of the public 11+ information and material is not written with them in mind. This post tries to clear up some of the muddle.
The phrase “11+” is usually used in the following cases:
- Year 7 Entrance Exams. Most girls’ schools (and some London co-educational schools) start in Year 7. The overwhelming majority of these schools set “11+” Exams in January of Year 6 (the year that the student turns 11). Keystone has a great track record preparing students for these exams.
- “Pre-Tests.” Since 2005, due to an increase in applicants, some of the most competitive schools (especially those with a 13+ entrance exam) have decided to set a ‘screening’ or ‘pre-assessment’ exam. These exams are often in Year 6, though many are in Year 7 and some in Year 8. Therefore, they too are often referred to as “11+”. Keystone prepares many students for these exams too.
- Grammar School Admissions. The United Kingdom’s 164 Grammar Schools still have competitive entrance exams. Grammar Schools are publicly-funded academically competitive schools. Despite producing impressive academic results, the schools stand accused of being demographically unrepresentative. Their political unpopularity in the second half of the twentieth century mean that it is currently illegal to found a new grammar school! For an example, you might want to have a look at one of the most famous in London, Tiffin Girls School. Keystone does not tend to prepare students for Grammar school exams.
If you visit London, and wander into a bookshop, you’ll find a row of educational materials dedicated to the “11+”. I hope you can now see why it is very important to check what the publishers mean when they use this term. If you are still scratching your head, do give us a call.