Handsworth Grammar School for Boys 11 Plus (11+) Exam Information



Handsworth Grammar School (HGS) was founded in 1862 and today is a selective grammar school for boys aged 11-18. Located in Handsworth, just outside of Birmingham city centre, HGS is the oldest surviving selective school in the area.


Since 1997, girls have been permitted to attend the school’s sixth form and in total, the school teaches over 900 pupils. The school puts significant emphasis on teaching a well-rounded curriculum, one that accounts for pupils’ cultural and academic development. In Year 7, for example, pupils are required to complete ‘The Opening Minds Project’, covering subjects such as Citizenship.


For an insight into academic life at Handsworth Grammar School, watch this short promotional video:



11 Plus Exam Information for Handsworth Grammar School


Address: Handsworth Grammar School, Grove Lane, Handsworth, Birmingham B21 9ET

County: West Midlands

Admissions Info: 0121 554 2794

School Type: Boys’ Grammar

Number of pupils: 936 (approx.)

Number of Places in Year 7: 150

Open Day Date: June / September

Exam Date: September

Exam Board Type: CEM 11 Plus (Cambridge Assessment)


Handsworth Grammar School 11 Plus Admissions


In Birmingham, all eight grammar schools follow the admission criteria of ‘The Grammar Schools of Birmingham Consortium’. Only pupils who reach the required standard via an entrance exam will be considered for entry to Handsworth Grammar School.


The Consortium requires that students are selected for admission based on their combined, age-standardised score in the 11 Plus exam. To be eligible for admission, pupils must attain the minimum ‘qualifying score’ in the exam. Parents should note however, that attainment of the qualifying score doesn’t necessarily guarantee students a place at Handsworth.


Applicants are ranked according to their test score and if test scores are equal, priority is given to:


  • Looked after children and previously looked after children.
  • Children who live closest to the school.


More information about the admission policy at Handsworth Grammar School can be found on the school’s website.


How to Apply for 11 Plus Entry to Handsworth Grammar School


To apply for a Year 7 place at Handsworth Grammar School, parents need to register their child by completing an online application form. Additionally, parents must complete a Local Authority Preference form. In order to complete the full application, parents must also provide a recent passport sized-photograph of their child, which can be emailed alongside the required forms.


Parents will receive their son’s 11 Plus test results in October, although place allocations will not be known until the following March.


Handsworth Grammar School Catchment Area


Does Handsworth Grammar School have a catchment area?


Yes, they do. For Handsworth Grammar School for Boys, priority catchment area is defined by home addresses that are within the following electoral wards:


  • Birmingham : Birchfield, Edgbaston, Handsworth, Handsworth Wood, Holyhead, Kingstanding, Ladywood, Lozells, Newtown, North Edgbaston, Oscott, Perry Barr, Soho & Jewellery Quarter.


  • Sandwell: Smethwick, Soho & Victoria, St Paul’s, West Bromwich Central.


Handsworth Grammar School 11 Plus Exam Format


The Handsworth Grammar School exam consists of two test papers, each lasting approximately 50 minutes, with additional time for instructions. The papers are split into individually-timed sections that cover:



Most of the questions across the two papers are multiple-choice and children will be required to answer on a separate sheet.


How to Prepare for the Handsworth Grammar School 11 Plus Exam?


Many children are at first anxious about sitting the 11 Plus exam, but with thorough and regular revision, you can ensure that your child takes exam day in their stride.


Practice exam papers are an invaluable part of your son’s Handsworth Grammar School 11+ preparation. Doing these papers under timed conditions are a long-standing, proven method of effective revision. Not only do they give your child a clearer idea of the structure of the exam, they are also shown to improve a child’s time management – something that’s vital with the relatively quick-paced CEM 11 Plus exam.


Practice Papers for the Handsworth Grammar School 11 Plus Exam


We have a bundle of specific 11 Plus practice papers that can help your child prepare effectively for the Handsworth Grammar School exam. We would recommend:


Mathematics (Numerical Reasoning) Section


11+ Short Numerical Reasoning (CEM)

This pack contains 10 tests, each consisting of 20 questions. It focuses on time-pressured problem solving with question styles that are known to have been previously used by CEM.


11+ Long Numerical Reasoning (CEM)

This pack contains 10 tests, each consisting of 5 sections, with 5 questions in each section. It focuses on a specific type of question that comes up in CEM exams. These questions are based on some form of chart or diagram that the student must use to work out the answers. The answers must be recorded on a separate sheet in a specific manner. This pack includes separate answer sheets so students can get used to recording their responses in this way, just like they will need to do in the 11+ Handsworth exam.


11+ MC Numerical Reasoning (CEM)

This pack contains 20 tests, each with 10 questions. It focuses on a different CEM question type in which there are multiple possible answer choices provided and the student must pick the correct one for each question. Separate answer sheets are provided so students can get used to recording their responses in this manner.


11+ Mental Arithmetic

This pack contains 15 tests, each with 15 questions. It focuses on fundamental arithmetic skills, developing a strong basis that allows students to work through maths questions efficiently and with confidence.


Verbal Reasoning Section


Verbal Reasoning, as defined by CEM, is quite different to how it may be traditionally understood. It includes a number of question types that focus on vocabulary and comprehension as well as some more unusual formats. Each of the packs below focuses on a different skill that is assessed in the Verbal Reasoning section of the CEM 11+ Handsworth exam.


11+ Verbal Reasoning (CEM)

This pack contains plenty of practice for various question types that crop up frequently in CEM exams. These include questions  that assess a student’s grasp of synonyms and antonyms as well as other formats such as shuffled sentences and contextual cloze.


11+ Verbal Reasoning – Synonyms and Antonyms (CEM) Pack 1

11+ Verbal Reasoning – Synonyms and Antonyms (CEM) Pack 2

These packs contains plenty of vocabulary practice, specifically designed to match the style used in CEM exams in the ‘Word Choice’ section. There are 24 practice tests in each pack, each with 29 questions. We recommend beginning with Pack 1. Pack 2 is designed to be more challenging.


11+ Verbal Reasoning – Shuffled Sentences (CEM) Pack 1

This pack focuses on a specific CEM Verbal Reasoning question type that comes up frequently. It’s relatively unusual and, in our experience, students can find it difficult to get to grips with. There are 20 tests included, all designed to match the exact format and style used in the actual exam. Answer sheets and answers are included.


11+ Verbal Reasoning – Word Associations (CEM)

This pack focuses on another common CEM Verbal Reasoning question type. It doesn’t feature in that many 11+ resources so your child may not be too familiar with the format. It assesses the depth of a student’s vocabulary, as well as their understanding of phrases and idioms. There are 24 timed tests included, all designed to match the exact format and style used in the actual exam. Answer sheets and answers are included.


11+ Verbal Reasoning – Adjectives (CEM)

This pack focuses on a CEM question type that targets a student’s knowledge and understanding of adjectives. To do well in this question type, students need to have a broad vocabulary as well as a solid understanding of common phrases and idioms. Furthermore, when there are two or more seemingly possible answers, they need to be able to discern which is the ‘best’, given the context. There are 24 timed tests included, all designed to match the exact format and style used in the actual exam. Answer sheets and answers are included.


11+ Verbal Reasoning – Word Definitions (CEM)

This pack focuses on a CEM question type that tests the depth of a student’s vocabulary. These questions can be quite tricky. For example, the superfluous definitions are designed to pose challenges, perhaps defining a homophone of one of the target words. To do well in this question type, students must be confident in their choice of words and their meanings. There are 24 timed tests included, all designed to match the exact format and style used in the actual exam. Answer sheets and answers are included.


11+ Comprehension (CEM) Pack 1 – Fiction

11+ Comprehension (CEM) Pack 2 – Non-Fiction

11+ Comprehension (CEM) Pack 3 – Poetry

These packs focus on multiple-choice comprehension, which will feature in the CEM 11+ Handsworth exam. There are 15 comprehension tests included in each pack. Pack 1 focuses on classical fiction, Pack 2 focuses on non-fiction and Pack 3 focuses on poetry.


11+ Inference Skills

This pack focuses on improving inference skills via a series of creative and unusual exercises. Inference skills will be tested in the comprehension section of the CEM 11+ exam.


11+ Cloze (CEM) Pack 1 – Words

11+ Cloze (CEM) Pack 2 – Sentences

These packs focus on cloze questions that are used in almost all CEM 11+ exams. Pack 1 focuses on missing words and Pack 2 focuses on missing sentences.


11+ Spelling Pack 1 (CEM)

11+ Spelling Pack 2 (CEM)

CEM 11+ exams, such as the 11 plus Handsworth test, focus heavily on assessing a child’s vocabulary. These packs each introduce 200 words within context, helping students to improve both their vocabulary and spelling. This will prove useful for the Verbal Reasoning section of the exam. Pack 2 is designed to be more challenging than Pack 1.


Non-Verbal Reasoning Section


11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning (CEM) Pack 1

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning (CEM) Pack 2

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning (CEM) Pack 3

11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning (CEM) Pack 4

These packs cover the key question types that could come up in CEM 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning sections. Each pack contains 180 questions split across 12 practice tests, using the format, layout and timings of the actual exam. These packs represent the most effective way to prepare for 11 Plus CEM Non-Verbal Reasoning.


Full Practice Tests


11+ CEM Practice Test 1

11+ CEM Practice Test 2

11+ CEM Practice Test 3

11+ CEM Practice Test 4

11+ CEM Practice Test 5

11+ CEM Practice Test 6

11+ CEM Practice Test 7

11+ CEM Practice Test 8

These packs each contain two test papers covering all three topics: Verbal, Non-Verbal and Numerical Reasoning. Using the official familiarisation material and our deep knowledge of CEM question styles and formats, we’ve created accurate and up to date CEM practice papers that pay attention to all elements including question types, timings, structure, format, question wordings, fonts and design. Answers and Answer Sheets are included so your child can get used to marking their answers as they will need to do in the actual exam.



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Our practice tests aim to show what sort of questions were included in Handsworth Grammar School 11+ past papers. The information provided about Handsworth Grammar 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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