Nature of the 11 Plus in Devon.

As there’s no overall governing body the test is different for most schools.  Below you’ll find elements for each part of the exam.  Just look at those elements which apply to your school.  See page on 11 Plus exam format in Devon to see which elements apply to the school you are trying for.  


CEM – Torquay Girls, Torquay Boys, Churston Ferrers and Westlands.  The first four also have a Stage 2 school written Maths and English paper.

They all use the use the CEM 11 Plus exam format for Stage 1.  This test consists of two papers each will be 45 minutes long.

Within these two papers pupils will find a mix of individually timed topics.  

These will cover Non-Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning (Maths calculation questions and worded problems) and VR (these include a mix of vocabulary, comprehension and traditional VR questions).

The papers tend to be heavily weighted towards literacy and particularly reward students with very good core Maths and English skills, particularly a wide vocabulary.

CEM tests are designed to be less coachable than previous tests because past papers are not made available, questions are not known in advance and while some prediction is possible they can change without notice.  

CEM test general reward those pupils with a very strong understanding of the KS2 syllabus and who have gone through a long and slow  preparation rather than hothousing.


GL – Devonport High for Boys, Plymouth High for Girls and Devonport High for Girls.  The first two also have a Stage 2 school written creative writing paper with Devonport High for Girls having a Stage 2 school written Maths and English paper.  

These schools use the GL 11 Plus exam format with papers in Maths and English for Stage 1.

GL Maths.

These papers are straightforward and use a mix of calculation based shorter questions and longer worded questions or questions about graphs, data or angles. Children will be asked to work quickly and so for this reason there is a real focus on having absolutely rock solid core skills. Children who have forged too far ahead and who are working on topics beyond KS2 risk having done so at the expense of not having the core skills required. There’s absolutely no point in going beyond KS2 during the preparation phase. The difference between the good and the excellent in this test tends to be marked by an ability to work both quickly and accurately, a faultless grasp of tables and the four operations is essential. To find out more about the GL Maths test go to our page covering it in more detail.

GL English

English papers set by GL contain a number of different sections. These include comprehension, spelling, grammar and punctuation. The comprehension is not normally a difficult classic text but children may find unfamiliar vocabulary within it. The comprehension will be about 1000-1500 words long and children will then have answer 20-30 questions. These are classic comprehension questions that ask the children factual questions where the answer is in the text and inference questions where children will need to apply logic. The Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation elements do not go beyond KS2 and any child doing well at primary school and predicted a high level 5 should be able to cope well.


FSCE – Colyton School

At Colyton School the exam is written by FSCE (Future Schools Community Enterprise). The exam covers the following topics:
• English
• Maths
• Creative Writing



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