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The Essex 11+ test uncovered

Essex 11+ guide for parents
With 11 schools to choose from, Essex is one of the largest grammar school areas in the country. We explain the testing process.

There are also two other schools in the area which are not part of the Consortium, and adminster their own tests:

What do the tests involve?

Children who want to apply for a place at one of the Consortium schools will take two tests, each of which is worth 60 marks:

  • English: one hour plus 10 minutes' additional reading time, covering comprehension, applied reasoning (puzzle solving) and continuous writing. Some of the questions are multiple-choice.
  • Maths: one hour, with answers written on the question sheet provided. 

If your child would like to apply for a place at Chelmsford County High School for Girls or the King John School, you should contact the school directly about its testing requirements.

What version of the test is used?

The Consortium writes its own test papers and some others use CEM. 

CEM will no longer be providing 11+ tests from September 2023. Further information will be added to this page in due course. We recommend contacting individual schools for more information about their new test provider. 

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

In order for your child to sit the test, you need to register online and complete the CSSE’s Supplementary Information Form (SIF) via the Consortium website. You can complete this online or as a paper copy. You only need to register once, even if you would like your child to be considered for more than one of the Consortium schools. For the non-Consortium schools, you should check their websites for their registration process.

Where are the tests held?

Your child will generally take the test at the selective school you nominate as your preferred test centre as part of your registration form. Be aware that boys' schools will only test boys, and girls' schools will only test girls. The tests are all taken on the same day.

What is the pass mark?

For most of the schools in the Consortium, the minimum pass mark is 303. However, many of the schools are oversubscribed, in which case they will use their own admissions criteria to allocate places. For example, over the past four years, a mark of 303 has been sufficient to gain a place at Southend High and Westcliff High, whereas at King Edward VI, no child has been admitted in the past four years with a score of less than 339. You can find out more detailed information about pass marks and the likelihood of your child getting a place.

How can I help prepare my child?

Free familiarisation papers and past papers are available from the CSSE website. Other practice material can be bought from the CSSE office. However, the Consortium head teachers do not advocate extensive coaching and think it may in fact jeopardise a child’s ability to cope with the demands of a grammar school education. Instead, they advise that children prepare by familiarising themselves with the skills and knowledge required under the KS2 English and KS2 maths curriculum, reading widely and responding to texts, and developing a sound knowedge of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Please note that while every effort is made to provide accurate information about individual schools, admissions for Year 7 entry change regularly and it is essential to check for the most up-to-date advice on schools' websites.

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