The Medway 11+ test explained

Medway 11+ guide for parents
With six grammar schools and one bilateral, we have the facts you need to know about the 11+ test in the Medway area.

Which schools require an 11+ pass?

Medway has six selective (grammar) schools:

There is also one bilateral school – The Howard School – which allocates 25 per cent of its places based on the results of the 11+ and places these children in a separate grammar stream.

Admissions criteria vary between the schools, so it’s important to check admissions policies for each school before you make any decisions.

The Medway area operates the 'testing before preference' system, where you'll receive your child's 11+ result before you have to choose which schools to apply for so you can make the most informed decision.

What do the tests involve?

The Medway Test consists of three separate papers:

  • An extended writing exercise: usually writing an essay about a given title
  • A mathematics paper: multiple choice
  • A verbal reasoning paper: multiple choice

Twenty per cent of the marks are allocated for the verbal reasoning paper, 40 per cent for mathematics and 40 per cent for the writing task. The tests are designed to identify 23 per cent of children as suitable for grammar school education, with approximately a further two per cent selected through a review process, where their work from their current primary school will be taken into account. 

What version of the test is used?

Children have to take the Medway Test (written by CEM from 2017), which is used for Medway grammar schools only. In previous years, children who passed the Medway test could apply for a grammar school place in Kent, and vice versa, but now your child will have to take both the Medway and Kent test if you want to apply for schools in both areas. The tasks are designed to minimise the effects of coaching so that all children have an equal opportunity.

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

Registration for the Medway test usually takes place from early June to early July, with tests taking place mid-September. Admissions can be made via the local authority website at www.medway.gov.uk/onlineadmissions or you can complete a registration form and return it to your child’s primary school (if you live in Medway) or to the Student Services Admissions Team, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR. You can contact admissions by email at admissions@medway.gov.uk or by phone on  01634 331110. 

Where are the tests held?

Your child's test venue will depend on which primary school they currently attend. Each Medway primary school decides where and when to undertake the testing for their children and the vast majority choose to administer the test in their own school setting. Children from outside the area will take the 11+ at an independent test centre.

What is the pass mark?

Each paper is marked based on the number of correct answers for maths and verbal reasoning, and against specific criteria for the writing paper. The scores are then standardised – in other words, your child’s age at the time of the test is taken into account. There is no definitive pass mark, as the minimum selective score set differs each year dependant on the size of the year group and the number of children taking the test. Overall, the maximum standardised score is 700; successful children scored 513 and above for 2017 admissions.

If your child is not successful in the Medway test, you have two choices – you can either apply for a review of your child’s case where their English, maths and science work from their primary school will also be looked at by a panel, or you can make an appeal. All the information you need to do this will be included with your child’s assessment decision letter.

How can I help prepare my child?

Your child's school should be able to give you advice on preparing for the test, including guidance on whether they feel your child is of grammar school ability.