Downe House School 11 Plus (11+) Entrance Exam Information – Key Details





Downe House School is a selective independent girls’ day and boarding school in Cold Ash, a village near Newbury, Berkshire.


According to the Good Schools Guide, Downe House is an “archetypal traditional girls’ full boarding school turning out delightful, principled, courteous and able girls who go on to make a significant contribution to the world”.


Girls study English, French, Latin, mathematics, science, history, geography, art and ceramics, RS, drama, music, IT, PE, design and technology and PSHE.


Compassion, collaboration, resilience, creativity, aspiration and effective communication skills are developed in girls through the many co-curricular activities. They comprise a film club, a drama club, the choir, horse-riding, astronomy and current affairs, coupled with the Art and Crafts club, the Caledonian Society club, charity activities and the Christian Union.


The school’s objective is to ensure that pupils feel secure and valued, whilst the provision of a sporting, cultural, academic, charitable and adventurous education enables all pupils to maximise their potential.



11 Plus (11+) Information for Downe House School



Address: Downe House Cold Ash, Thatcham Berkshire RG18 9JJ

County: Berkshire

Admissions info: or 01635 204701

School Type: Independent day and boarding school for girls

Number of Students: 560 (approx.)

11+ Open Day: March, April, June

11+ Exam Date: January of Year 6

11+ Exam Type / Board: School’s own and CEM Select



Open Events for Downe House School 11 plus (11+) Entry



Downe House School hosts open days twice each term. To secure a spot, reach out to the Admissions team or fill in this form.


You can also schedule an individual visit, during which you will be shown around the school by a member of the staff and meet the Headmistress. To arrange a tour, contact the Registrar, Miss Angela Nutt.



Downe House School 11 Plus (11+) Admissions



Downe House School is a family-friendly boarding school characterised by both traditional and forward-thinking values. The Admissions team is ready to listen to every query, answer every question and help you as you navigate the journey of finding the right school for your daughter.  


After visiting, the next step is to register your daughter by completing the online registration form and paying the registration fee. Once your daughter is registered, she will receive an invitation to attend an Assessment Day which takes place in the Autumn Term. A current-school report will be requested prior to the assessment. 


During the Assessment Day, your daughter will sit an academic assessment, but also take part in a variety of activities, from drama and design technology to team building workshops. 


The academic assessment takes the form of the online CEM Select Pretest. Please see below for recommendations on how to prepare for this assessment.


Your daughter will also be interviewed by the Headmistress and have a tour of the school, followed by lunch with some of the current girls. This will give her the chance to experience life on campus.


Following the Assessment Day, depending on your daughter’s performance, offers of places are made, conditional on performance in the Common Entrance or Scholarship exam.


Potential Scholars are also identified after the Assessment Day. Following a successful Assessment Day in September, girls are invited to sit for either an Academic Scholarship or Common Entrance (in January). 


Approximately 55 girls enter Downe House each year in Year 7. The Common Entrance for 11+ entry assesses English, mathematics and science skills.


Scholarships are awarded based on girls’ academic ability, as well as their skills in art, sport, music and drama. As a Scholar or Exhibitioner, your daughter will have access to the Scholarship programme which comprises a range of specialist enrichment activities and a mentor to guide and encourage her on her journey, as well as important leadership opportunities.


Bursaries vary in size based on your circumstances. The school offers financial assistance as high as 100% plus an allowance towards school extras. Bursaries also take into account academic entry requirements and your daughter’s capacity to progress academically and benefit the school’s community.



Downe House School 11 Plus (11+) Exam Format



The Stage 1 academic test, which takes place at the Assessment Day,  consists of the online CEM Select pretest, which assesses Verbal, Non-Verbal and Numerical Ability in short, timed sections.


The Stage 2 academic test consists of three Common Entrance papers::


  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science


The English paper examines comprehension and writing skills, whilst the maths paper tests problem-solving abilities and arithmetic skills.


Please see below for further details and recommendations on how to prepare for Downe House School 11+ entrance examinations.



How to Prepare for the Downe House School 11 Plus (11+) Exam



To successfully prepare your daughter for the Downe House School 11+ entrance exam, we suggest that you make use of our targeted resources. Our practice tests enable familiarisation with the types of questions and the format of the actual exam, which will help your daughter gain confidence in the lead up to the big day.


With the use of our practice tests, you will be able to precisely identify your daughter’s strengths and weaknesses, which will guide you in devising a carefully thought-out revision plan that focuses on studying ‘little and often’.


Moreover, our practice tests will help your daughter get used to answering questions quickly and under time pressure. 


Our thoroughly researched and up to date resources enable a structured approach towards exam preparation that results in a significant advantage over other candidates. Due to their practicality and effectiveness, our practice tests are used successfully by tens of thousands of students every year. 


Please see below our recommended packs to help you prepare your child for the Downe House School 11 plus entrance examinations.



Downe House School 11 Plus (11+) Exam Practice Tests


Recommendations for each part of the Downe House 11+ exam can be found below:


CEM Select Pretest


To prepare for the computer-based assessment, which is supplied by CEM (the Centre for Evaluating and Monitoring), we highly recommend using the following full practice and skill practice online tests, which will familiarise your daughter with the specific question formats that appear in such tests and provide focused practice to help develop the necessary skills:


Full Practice Tests


CEM Select Practice Test 1


CEM Select Practice Test 2


CEM Select Practice Test 3


CEM Select Practice Test 4


CEM Select Practice Test 5


Skill Practice


CEM Select – Missing Words



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The following practice papers are highly recommended for successful preparation for the Downe House School 11+ English paper. They will help improve your child’s comprehension and writing skills, including spelling, vocabulary and inference:




11+ English Pack 1


11+ English Pack 2


11+ English Pack 3


11+ English Pack 4


11+ English Pack 5


11+ Inference Skills


11+ Complete Comprehension Guide


11+ Reading Workbook




11+ Complete Writing Guide


11+ Writing Prompts


11+ Spelling Pack 1


11+ Spelling Pack 2




We highly recommend the use of the following packs to help develop your child’s problem-solving skills within the examination context of the Downe House School’s 11+ maths test:


Full Practice Tests


11+ Mathematics Pack 1


11+ Mathematics Pack 2


11+ Mathematics Pack 3


11+ Mathematics Pack 4


Skill Specific Practice


11+ Problem Solving


11+ Mental Arithmetic 


11+ Algebra


11+ Angles & Degrees




11+ Estimation & Place Value


11+ Factors & Multiples


11+ Fractions, Decimals & Percentages


11+ Measurements


11+ Operations


11+ Perimeter, Area & Volume


11+ Position & Direction


11+ Probability


11+ Properties of Shapes


11+ Ratio & Proportion


11+ Reflection, Rotation & Symmetry


11+ Sequences


11+ Special Numbers


11+ Speed, Distance & Time


11+ Statistics




To develop your child’s skills in science, we highly recommend that you make use of the following papers:


11+ Science Pack 1


11+ Science Pack 2




11+ Interviews – The Complete Guide



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Our practice tests aim to show what sort of questions were included in Downe House School 11+ exam past papers. The information provided about Downe House School was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of future changes. We advise you to contact the school directly if you are unsure of anything. School contact details are provided within the post.


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