10% DISCOUNT ON ORDERS ABOVE £60. ENTER CODE AT CHECKOUT: EPPDISCOUNT

The 11 Plus Exam Boards

When preparing your child for the 11 Plus exam, the first thing you need to know is what exam board will administer the test. There are two main 11 Plus exam boards and although their exam formats are similar, there are differences that will affect how your child prepares for the test.

 

In this post, we look at each exam board in more detail and explore the Differences Between CEM and GL tests.

 

The 11 Plus GL Exam Board

Aerial photo of a school examination

The GL Assessment replaced the NFER exam board in 2001

 

GL stands for Granada Learning, the body that administers the test for most 11 Plus exams. Previously known as the National Education Foundation for Education Research (NFER), the exam board was bought by Granada Learning in 2001. NFER still exists as a research company today.

 

Subjects Covered

 

As of 2016, the GL exam board can cover up to five subjects at 11 Plus level: English, Maths, Spatial reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Grammar schools can choose which combination of these subjects will be tested for entry.

 

The Exam Format

 

Most GL exams last around 45 minutes and questions are normally in multiple choice format though some authorities use a written answer format for verbal and maths tests. Questions are drawn from a large question bank but there are a set number of question types and styles.

 

The 11 Plus CEM Exam Board

A school table and chair in an exam hall

The CEM exam was introduced as a response to coaching for the 11 Plus

 

The CEM exam was created by the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring. The test was introduced in 1999 in response to concerns over coaching for the GL Assessment. The new exam board was developed with the aim of reducing the transparency of 11 Plus questions and creating a fairer assessment. The CEM website states:

 

‘Children can best prepare for our 11+ selection assessments by learning to work quietly on their own, completing homework set by their school, and by reading and trying to understand all the words in any books they read.’

 

Subjects Covered

 

The CEM test covers numerical reasoning, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. They claim that the types of questions asked in the exam have more in common with the National Curriculum at KS2 level. The CEM definition of verbal reasoning is broader than that of GL and incorporates things like Comprehension.

 

The Exam Format

 

CEM tests could incorporate standard or multiple-choice formats, or both. There are usually two test papers consisting of shorter timed sections that integrate the different subjects in a mixed order.

The exact weighting of subjects isn’t known beforehand but there is a strong emphasis on vocabulary, problem solving and speed.

 

11 Plus Exam Board Regions

 

Whether a pupil will sit the GL Assessment or the CEM depends on the region of the grammar school. As of 2016, the following regions use the GL Assessment:

 

  • Dorset
  • Kent
  • Lancashire & Cumbria
  • Lincolnshire
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wiltshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Plymouth

 

And the following regions use the CEM:

 

  • Berkshire
  • Bexley
  • Birmingham
  • Gloucestershire
  • Shropshire
  • Walsall
  • Warwickshire
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton
  • Medway

 

And these regions use a combination of the GL Assessment and the CEM:

 

  • Devon
  • Essex
  • Hertfordshire
  • Trafford
  • Yorkshire

 

Currently, grammar schools in Surrey write their own test papers, using the Selective Eligibility Test (SET).

 

As a side note, you may also be interested in our List of 11 Plus Grammar Schools in London and our 13 Plus Late Transfer Exam Guide.

 

We hope this post helps explain the difference between the GL and CEM 11 Plus exam boards. If you found this article useful, please share it on social media using the buttons below:

 

You might also want to check out our post on helping your child revise and how to pass the 11 Plus exam.

 

We produce specialist practice papers that will help your child prepare for both the CEM and GL exams. You can see our full 11+ range here.

 

Image sources:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/albertogp123/5843577306/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kennysarmy/8721165482/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bitjungle/4646471157/

By Exam Papers Plus

CONTRIBUTE & SHARE

If there is a topic you would like to have covered, or if you have some information that you would like to share, please get in touch and we can make it happen!

Made with love at Beard Design