Developing English Skills

Use our steps below to ensure that your child manages to develop their English skills to their full extent and also that their skills in other areas of the 11+ are also strengthened.

1/ Make sure to develop your other skills

While it may seem strange that this is the first step in our list of developing English skills, it is first because it is the most important as numerous parents try and focus on one area for the exam and neglect others which quite simply doesn’t work.

Working on English alone with your child has very little benefit as strong knowledge across all the areas of the 11 plus is needed in order to stand a chance of getting into your chosen school. To review the books that we suggest you use during your preparation, then try some of these links:

2/ Use our free 11+ English papers

While they should not be the only resources used, completing English papers are a great way to test knowledge and work out weak areas and mistakes. We have the largest collection of free 11+ English papers available anywhere on the internet with past papers from both Grammar Schools and Independent Schools. Click on the link below to be taken to our 11+ English papers page where you can download them.

Free 11 Plus English Exam Papers

3/ Make sure you know about the type of paper your child is sitting

11 Plus English Papers for Grammar School Entry

The following papers are more focussed on the 11 Plus test for grammar school entry- although equally, they will still be useful for Independent School entry preparation. The tests are particularly useful for children sitting GL written tests but will also be useful where children face school written tests (Essex) or where they face CEM exams. The comprehension tests in these papers are not markedly different from the comprehension tests children will face in CEM tests and the vocabulary will be useful to cover.

School Written English Papers for Grammar School Entry

These papers may be similar to the papers produced by providers such as CEM and GL, but are produced by the school and released either as sample papers or past papers.

4/ Make sure you understand how to use the papers

Question format of the Free 11 Plus English exam papers

These papers are all standard format, not multiple choice. Children develop well when they do standard format papers because they need to develop their own opinions rather than choose options. Children who have trained using standard format typically do better at multiple choice than those who have exclusively used multiple choice. Particularly they tend to perform better on those multiple choice questions where there are four options which are all correct but children need to find the best match.

What score should children be looking for in these free 11 Plus English exam papers?

Children generally should be looking to score over 75% when doing these papers at the end of year 5, they will then improve further over the summer. Some children who haven’t been exposed to classic texts might find them particularly difficult. Children trying for more competitive grammar school entries or for scholarships or bursaries should aim for over 85%.