11+: the Kent Test explained

Kent 11+ parents' guide
Kent is the largest grammar school area in the UK, with 35 selective schools to choose from. We have the facts about the 11+ test in this region.

Which schools require an 11+ pass?

Children looking to move up to a grammar school in Kent are spoilt for choice. It's the biggest grammar school area in the country, with a massive 35 wholly selective schools. These are:

What do the tests involve?

The Kent Test was revised and updated for the September 2014 tests and more emphasis was placed on English and maths skills rather than reasoning. The test is made up of two separate papers:

Paper 1

  • One hour
  • Multiple choice English and maths questions
  • Each section comprises a five-minute practice exercise, followed by a 25-minute test
  • The English section tests reading comprehension and literacy skills

Paper 2

  • One hour
  • Multiple choice, verbal and non-verbal reasoning
  • The non-verbal reasoning section is split into four parts, administered and timed individually

Children also have to complete a 40-minute writing task, with 10 minutes of planning. This will only be marked in borderline cases, where it will be used along with your child's current schoolwork and information about their achievement to decide whether they are of grammar-school ability.

What version of the test is used?

To be considered for entrance to any of the 35 grammar schools in the Kent County Council area, children have to take the Kent Test, which is written by GL Assessment especially for the area. The test varies from year to year, with the aim of making it harder to predict what will be involved. This helps to make it a test of ability rather than preparation. Previously, children who passed the Kent Test could also apply for grammar schools in the neighbouring borough of Bexley, and vice versa, but this is no longer the case, so if you want to apply to schools in both areas your child will have to take both tests.

How do you arrange for your child to take the test?

You have to register your child to take the test by visiting www.kent.gov.uk or calling 03000 412121. The closing date is usually the beginning of July, with the test in September. If you register online, your child's results will be sent by email rather than post, so you'll get them sooner.

If you move to Kent after the Kent Test has taken place and you’d like your child to attend one of the area's grammar schools, your child will still need to be assessed. This can be arranged through the grammar school you are applying for. Until the end of the first term in the school year, all grammar schools will use the Kent Test to admit new starters.

Where are the tests held?

Your child will take the test in Year 6 either at their own primary school or a designated test centre. 

What is the pass mark?

The pass mark in Kent is different every year, depending on the range of children’s results. Marks are standardised (adjusted slightly to take account of your child's exact age on testing day).

In 2016, children needed to get a total score of at least 320, with no individual paper scoring less than 106, out of a maximum 423  to be eligible for a grammar school place. The lowest possible score on each test was 69 and the highest possible was 141. If your child achieves above the pass mark, their application will be considered by the grammar schools, but if the school is oversubscribed, they are not guaranteed to get a place.

How can I help prepare my child?

You can download a Kent Test familiarisation booklet to help prepare your child; this details the different parts of the test and gives advice on how to approach the types of questions asked. GL Assessment also publishes a range of revision titles, support books and practice papers; these are not specific to the Kent Test, but will give your child a good idea of the sort of questions they'll need to tackle.