THE BEST CEM 11 plus test practice papers for independent school entry

Welcome to our 11 plus CEM Select practice test papers. 

11 plus CEM Select practice test papers

There are no official CEM Select past papers or full sample CEM papers. Any CEM 11+ samples you find online will be based on exit interviews with children. These CEM 11 plus practice tests are recommended by School Entrance Tests for several key reasons:

This increasingly popular selective school assessment test battery was created for schools by the Centre of Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM).

CEM, who are part of Cambridge Assessment’s empire, wanted to create a transparent and tutor-proof 11 plus exam.

The CEM 11 plus test is comprised of these three 11 plus papers: Verbal Reasoning 11 plus, CEM Non-Verbal Reasoning 11 plus and CEM Numerical Reasoning 11 plus.

The Slough Grammar Schools Consortium’s 11+ Exam Date is September 2023


  1. There are off-line CEM and online CEM Select Entrance Assessments.
  2. Both CEM versions assess Verbal, Non-Verbal and Numerical Ability.


2023 CEM Verbal Ability 11 plus content

Comprehension – 10 minutes – 15 questions

Related Words (or other Verbal question type) – 6 minutes – 27 questions

Missing Words – 8 minutes – 44 words

Numerical Ability CEM 11 plus content

Arithmetic – 5 minutes – 23 questions

Data Problems – 10 minutes – 16 questions

CEM 11 plus Non-Verbal Ability content

Pictures – 7 minutes – 24 questions

Which UK Schools Use the CEMs 11 plus exams?

The CEM and online CEM Select version are most preferred by independent schools for their 11+ and 13+ admission process.

Many private schools (independent) have been using this test for many years for determining the right students to allow the admission in their schools.

What is the CEM Select version?

Now, in 2022, there are some grammar schools which have adopted their own customized version of this test as per the requirements of the school.

Each grammar school region has different types of questions and even different subjects. Most 11-Plus exams incorporate verbal reasoning (word puzzles), Maths and English (comprehension and/or creative writing).

  • also include non-verbal reasoning (picture puzzles) and Science.
  • are multiple-choice, others require candidates to write the answers.

2022 CEM Grammar schools

There are the three biggest independent school entry test publishers:

GL 11 plus practice tests; or

ISEB 11 plus practice papers; or

CEM 11 plus practice papers.

We hope you access some of our other FREE independent school entry test resources:

Why not try our FREE 11 plus practice papers?

11 Plus English Sample (Emanuel School) 2020

Maths Paper 1 Sample (Emanuel School) 2020

11 Plus Maths Paper2 Sample (Emanuel School) 2020

Maths Sample (Forest School) 2020

11 Plus English Sample (Trinity School) 2021

Maths Sample (Trinity School) 2021

11 Plus Maths Sample (Trinity School) 2021 Answers

Plus Maths Sample (Aldenham School) 2020

11+ English (City of London School for Boys) 2020 Sample

Plus Maths (City of London School for Boys) 2020 Sample

11+ English Sample (Sevenoaks School) 2020

Plus English Sample (Sevenoaks School) 2021

11+ Maths Sample (Sevenoaks School) 2020

Plus Maths Sample (Sevenoaks School) 2021

11+ Maths Sample (Sevenoaks School) 2019

Plus English Sample (Sevenoaks School) 2019

Why are these the best 11+ CEM Select practice exams?

  1. All of the unusual CEM Select verbal reasoning, maths and non-verbal reasoning question formats are included.Thereby, ensuring your child has exposure to all of the 11 plus question type possibilities that appear in each CEM Select exam paper.
  2. Hence these CEM Select practice test packs are, in our opinion, the most accurate CEM Select Practice Tests you will find anywhere online.
  3. Your child will feel more confident about their CEM Select exam day once they know exactly what type of 11 plus questions to expect. Plus, they will have learnt how to approach each of the numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning modules.
  4. There will be no surprises on exam day which could put a pass into question!

How different is CEM Select 11 exam?

The different types of 11 Plus school entrance exams can be very confusing at first glance. GL Assessment and CEM set most 11+ exams across the UK. Thus, each 11+ provider sets several regional 11 Plus exams.

Check individual grammar school websites so that you can confirm whether your child is to sit the CEM 11 Plus, the GL 11 Plus, or some combination of both 11 Plus test formats

For the full blog on this much-discussed topic, read more at Types of 11 plus tests.

What’s the 11 plus CEM Select pass mark?

In summary, the above premium CEM Select practice tests offer a distinct advantage compared to their peers who have not come across these formats before.

We also recommend aiming for 60-70%+ in each of the CEM Select modules. This will ensure that you are aiming for a ‘safe CEM Select pass’.

That said, the key point is to focus on gaining exposure to as many of the different types of CEM Select verbal reasoning, CEM Select maths and CEM Select non-verbal reasoning questions as possible.


Best CEM Select 11 plus revision

  1. School Entrance Tests recommends familiarising yourself with the various questions formats for each CEM Select numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning type.
  2. This is because the first key consideration in any any CEM Select 11 plus exam is time. It is unlike ISEB’s alternative selective school tests in the number of questions you’re expected to answer within the time available. The CEM Select requires you to work as efficiently and accurately as possible. Aim to average approximately 15-20 seconds per CEM Select question.
  3. The second key consideration is accuracy. Certainly, if your child is not already used to checking their answers, they need to start doing this when practising for their CEM Select exam 2022. Even double checking their answers!
  4. The best school entry exams to use in your practice school entrance sessions should be close as possible to the challenges of your actual CEM Select exam.
  5. School Entrance Tests also recommend taking multiple practice tests. Since this CEM Select preparation then incorporates learnings from your previous CEM Select practice papers.
  6. As with most selective school entry tests, there are a range of different verbal reasoning question formats. Firstly, use our recommended CEM Select practice tests. The following free verbal reasoning papers will also be useful practice. Above all it is your child’s vocabulary which is being tested here. So, also read widely and at as advanced a level as possible.

CEM 11 Plus Key facts

The CEM 11 Plus consists of these six 11 plus papers: Comprehension; Literacy; Verbal Reasoning; Numeracy; Numerical Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

  • Firstly, each consists of two papers; divided into separately timed sections.
  • The mixed paper format combines two of these into one test. Thus, the CEM English and the CEM verbal reasoning tests are combined. Secondly, the CEM maths test and the CEM non-verbal reasoning test are combined.
  • CEM 11 plus timings are given per section.
  • Never leave a question blank.
  • Try to eliminate one or two answer options even if you don’t know the actual correct answer. When you guess it’s better to have a 1 in 3 than a 1 in 4 or a 1 in 5 chance.

What’s the difference between the CEM Select and the CEM 11 plus exams?

The first CEM 11 plus exams were in the traditional paper and pencil format.

Whereas the later CEM Select is an online 11 plus exam.


So, which schools use CEM Select?

The initial intent was for this to be a replacement grammar school 11 plus entry assessment. However it’s popularity has meant that an increasing number of private schools, from around the U.K., have also adopted the CEM Select 11 plus.

Check individual school websites to check if your child will take either of the CEM school entry exams:

the offline CEM or the online CEM SELECT. Or the more recent ISEB pre-tests item bank.

11 plus CEM Select Key Facts

What does CEM Select test?

Principally KS2 and the National Curriculum. For English and for Maths.

CEM Select paper 1 is English and verbal reasoning.

Paper 2 is maths and non- verbal reasoning.

1. The CEM Select online assessment battery is Primarily used for entry into independent schools (both private and grammar schools at:

  • 11+ which is Year 7 entry,
  • 12+ which is Year 8 entry) and
  • 13+ which is Year 9 entry.Cambridge Assessment’s 11+ assessment of maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

2. CEM Select assesses the three skills of Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning skills.

There are 5-6 short CEM Select modules

3. A CEM Select assessment takes approx. 60 mins.

  • Three or four of the modules will cover Verbal Ability is assessed by 3-4 modules in the CEM Select assessment battery of tests.
  • Numerical reasoning skills are assessed by 3-4 CEM Select modules.
  • Non-Verbal Ability is assessed by a single non-verbal reasoning module in the CEM Select assessment battery of tests.

4. CEM Selects core Verbal Reasoning modules are Comprehension and Missing Words

Other possible CEM Select verbal reasoning modules are known by CEM Select as:

  • Shuffled Sentences,
  • Anagrams,
  •  Multiple Meanings,
  •  Selected Letters,
  •  Letter Connections and
  •  Related


4. CEM Selects Numerical Reasoning modules can consist of either 1 or 2 numerical reasoning modulesmodules.
So, when it’s one, then this is called General Maths by CEM Select.

If it’s two numerical reasoning modules in your particular CEM Select bespoke assessment then these are split into an Arithmetic module and a Data Problems module.


5. The Non-Verbal Ability section has one module called Pictures.

In previous years, this has focused exclusively on Matrices questions in the CEM style.


6. The CEM Select exam is extremely time pressured.

For example, the Pictures section could have 25 questions to answer in 7 minutes. This is just 16.8 seconds per question!

However, it’s really important you let your child know that, according to CEM, they are not expected to complete the sections and you can skip plenty of questions and still do very well.

Once your child understands this, they can approach the test with confidence and won’t get stressed out if they run out of time.


7. You can skip questions and come back to them later.

However, in reality, since the test is so time pressured, it’s unlikely they will have time to come back to questions.


8. there is no negative CEM Select marking.

so, we recommend advising your child to make an intelligent guess for every question rather than skipping it. There’s no downside to this approach and significant potential upside in terms of extra marks gained.

The key to doing well in CEM Select is to pick up as many marks as possible. Therefore, you never want to spend too long on any one question.
This is especially important if your child is a perfectionist and wants to work through every question.

Even if they know they can get to the correct answer, if it’s going to take too long, it’s better to make an intelligent guess and move on as the opportunity cost is too great.

The questions don’t get harder as you progress through the test so picking up one mark but taking two minutes to do so is an ill advised approach if it means you miss out on many more marks on easier questions down the line.

This approach is counterintuitive to what children are often taught


8. The online CEM Select test, is quite differs considerably from the paper and pencil CEM 11+ which many grammar schools also use.

CEM Select contains unusual question formats that cannot be found elsewhere. These include drag and drop and word auto completes, where you only need to type the first two letters of a word.


11 plus CEM practice papers

CEM 11+ grammars

What are the CEM and CEM Select pre-Tests?

It’s an online test created by the Centre of Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM).

It assesses Verbal, Non-Verbal and Numerical Ability. The test contains a number of unique features and question types, such as drag and drop, auto-completes and more. It is also highly time pressured.

  • Made up of two papers.
  • Each of the two CEM 11+ papers has a mixture of separately timed sections.
  • Resistant to coaching. This makes the CEM 11+ exams fairer.
  • Made-up of questions linked to Key Stage 2 content. In particular, vocabulary and speed.


The off-line CEM and online CEM Select Entrance Assessments

Both CEM versions assess Verbal, Non-Verbal and Numerical Ability.

These pre- tests contain a number of unique features and question types, such as drag and drop, auto-completes and more

Whereas, the CEM 11+ exams are:

  • Made up of two papers.
  • Each of the two CEM 11+ papers has a mixture of separately timed sections.
  • Resistant to coaching. This makes the CEM 11+ exams fairer.
  • Made-up of questions linked to Key Stage 2 content. In particular, vocabulary and speed.

Key 11 Plus Exam Papers’ Questions Differences

CEM and GL are two different exam boards that are the exam boards in virtually all regions where the 11+ is still used. Although the CEM and GL exams cover roughly the same 11+ topics, there are differences in how they work.

CSSE 11 plus exams are however for those that want to apply for one of the 10 Grammar schools in the consortium of selective schools in Essex.

We expect this feature will help you to earn more about the 11 plus exam paper questions differences.

11 plus exam differences

CEM and GL assessment 11 plus test publishers

The two predominant 11 Plus examiners are:

  • GL Assessment, formerly known as NFER.
  • CEM exams were developed by the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring.
  • They do not publish CEM 11 plus practice materials.
  • CEM also change the format of examinations to minimise ‘teaching to the test’.
  • Hence there is an increasing number of switches to using CEM examinations.

CEM Select exam prep

What are the main CEM Select challenges?

Well, the test contains a number of unique features and question types, such as drag and drop, auto-completes and more. It is also highly time pressured.

CEM Select practice

How can parents learn best about the Maths CEM SELECT paper?

A goos question. Well, here’s the Maths CEM 11 plus familiarisation materials:


How to quickly learn what’s in the non-verbal reasoning CEM SELECT paper?

Here are the Non-Verbal Reasoning CEM 11 plus familiarisation materials:


How can parents learn best what the Verbal Reasoning CEM SELECT paper looks like?

Here are the Verbal Reasoning CEM 11 plus familiarisation materials:


How can I quickly learn about the CEM SELECT English paper?

Here are the English CEM 11 plus familiarisation materials:

Key CEM Select Background Facts

Firstly, CEM is the 11 Plus examination board for several regional 11 Plus grammar school entrance papers. The CEM Select tests Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal reasoning skills.

How to pass the CEM 11+ Test

At such a young age, children should not, in an ideal world, ever feel stressed about things like exams, and as such the more relaxed your child feels about his or her 11 plus tuition, the better. A sad reality of the 11 plus is that every year over-stressed children come out of the exam in floods of tears, and nothing will make your child more panicky on the day than a stressful couple of weeks leading up to the test.

We would recommend that you begin light preparations for your child while they are in year 4.

No more than a couple of hours a week should be necessary in the early days, and no more than four or five hours each week even as it gets closer to the actual test. Burdening your child with too much work too soon will simply put them off the process all together. If you are finding that you need to spend huge amounts of time tutoring your child, perhaps it would be wise to question if grammar school is the best environment for them.


Background Reading for the CEM 2022

Reading allows your child to expand his or her vocabulary beyond the typical range of topics; as the old adage goes, reading truly does broaden the mind.


CEM Maths Tips

With regards to the CEM 11 plus maths 2022, it’s best to ensure that your child is confident with everything on the KS2 maths syllabus. Reports from your child’s school should give an indication of whether your child has any major gaps in his/her knowledge. Use Key Stage 2 maths revision resources to fill any of these gaps, and be sure to revisit material that your child struggles on regularly.

Schools often take a modular approach to maths, which means that, if they cover fractions in September of Year 4, they may not cover them again until September of Year 5, by which time they’ve completely forgotten how to do them! Try to resist the temptation to ‘overrule’ your child when examining different methods with which to tackle the basic operations in maths.

The most important thing is to ensure that your child is confident with the basics in the following areas:

The CEM exam topic-by-topic

  1. CEM Maths

Place value, square and cube numbers and roots, prime numbers, factors. Fractions – finding fractions of amounts, equivalent fractions, simplifying fractions, proper fractions, improper fractions, mixed numbers, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions.

  • Time: Analogue, digital, 12 hour, 24 hour, world time zones.
  • Decimals, fractions and percentages. Rounding to a given number of decimal places.
  • Money, our coinage system, currency conversion.
  • Measurement, metric units of length, mass and capacity.
  • Area and perimeter including compound shapes. Surface area and volume.
  • Mean, median, mode and range.
  • Percentages.
  • Ratio and probability, scale.
  • Angles, shapes, compass points, symmetry


CEM English Comprehension

  • Cloze passages with missing words, again make up your own on subjects that you know will interest your child. You know best what interests your child!
  • Lots of practice at shuffled sentences is the key to success at this particular element of the CEM test.
  • I find that children improve dramatically with lots of exposure to these question types.


Pre-test CEM Non-Verbal Reasoning exam paper

  • Be sure to test your child’s ability in the Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) component as early as possible.
  • Many girls perform very well in this section, and equally some boys will struggle.
  • The best way to improve at NVR is simply practice, practice and more practice.


CEM Mock Exam Practice

Talk to the mock providers – the best ones are the tuition companies that are completely transparent and allow you as parents to see the papers and give a relative score for the cohort.


CEM 11+ Schools

Grammar schools use the:

  1. GL Assessment grammar school entrance exam.
  2. CEM grammar school entrance exam.
  3. Variation or mix of the above.
  4. Their own unique county 11 plus exam.

What are Berkshire grammar school entrance exams?

  • Berkshire has 6 grammar schools and one bilateral (a school that takes learners of all abilities as well as running a separate grammar school stream). 4 of these schools are in Slough, forming part of the Slough Consortium schools, while 3 (including the bilateral) are in Reading. All the selective grammar schools use CEM assessment, while the bilateral school in Reading makes use of the GL Assessments.

Devon grammar schools’ entrance exams

  • Devon’s grammar school entrance involves three separate Local Authorities. These include Devon County Council, Plymouth and Torbay. There are a total of 6 exclusive grammar schools and one bilateral school (a school that takes learners of all abilities as well as running a separate grammar school stream) in Devon. The Torbay and Colyton Grammar Schools make use of CEM assessment. Although the Plymouth schools use GL Assessment they also set some of the papers themselves.

What are Manchester’s grammar school entry exams?

  • Trafford’s familiarization guide lists 7 grammar schools. Each of them has their own entrance exam. Only one, Sale Grammar School (Mixed) use the CEM while the other 6 make use of GL Assessment and their own internal tests in some cases.
  • Wiltshire has only 2 grammar schools. The one, Bishop Wordsworth’s (Boys) uses CEM and the other, South Wilts Grammar School (Girls) GL assessments.

What are Yorkshire grammar schools’ entry exams?

  • Yorkshire has 6 grammar schools spread out across 3 local authorities.  Heckmondwike Grammar School (Kirklees; mixed) is the only one using the CEM, the others all use GL Assessment.


Recommended free CEM Select resources

CEM Select Practice



What is CEM select pretest?

CEM select is an online platform for conducting tests and is monitored by the Centre of Evaluation and monitoring, hence the name CEM. It is supposed to determine the verbal and non-verbal skills of participants and also assess the numerical ability. The test is said to contain a number of variable question types which include drag and drop, auto completes and many more. The main trick of cracking the test is to answer everything within a stipulated time. This time pressured method is supposed to prepare a student for the competitive academic requirements lying ahead. The pupils are usually registered by the school (senior) in which they are looking forward to getting an admission in.

Which schools conduct this kind of tests?

CEM is most preferred by independent schools for their 11+ and 13+ admission process. Non-private schools refrain from conducting these kinds of tests. Many private schools (independent) have been using this test for many years for determining the right students to allow the admission in their schools.

There are some schools which conduct a customized version of this test as per the requirements of the school. There are many other tests similar to CEM, which are used for determining the credibility of a student during the admission process and some the schools following such a program are Eltham College and Cheadle Hulme School in Great Britain.

How will these practice tests benefit a child?

There are a number of practice tests that can prepare a child for the CEM examination. The practice tests are just there to familiarize the applicant to study the online format and have a basic understanding of how the test is going to be. There is a certain style and content of the actual examination, so one needs to visualize it first, understand how the marking works and know the question patterns and possible negative marking scenarios before sitting for the actual examination. There are a number of online platforms available that provide sample practice tests for the CEM examination, so you should choose wisely the one that works for you. The practice test contains the six modules that are timed as per the same way they are going to be on the actual exam. These modules are to be completed individually and once the module is complete the portion will be marked automatically. The applicant is supposed to the review the answers and the explanations that has been provided against each question.

Students will now be able to understand the marking procedure that is followed in CEM answer checking and it is the average of the scores of other students who have taken the test. The average of the other applicants is provided in the practice test environment, so the student will have an understanding by now how the whole process of examination will be. Usually, there is no additional extra time provided to the students, however, there have been scenarios where students have taken 25% extra time for completing the test.

How does the CEM test look like?

The CEM test has six individual examinations and all of them are supposed to be complete in a single sitting. They can be taken separately in different orders, however. Each of the assessments have an individual time limit and the remaining time is always visible on the top of the screen. The progress bar also shows how many questions have been answered and how many are still left. He time limit that shows on the practice as well as the actual online test excludes the time taken to log in to the portal and start the test, however, the time taken by the candidate for reading the instructions is included in the test. It is important that everyone makes themselves familiar with the test in advance, so that any unwanted confusion can be avoided in the last moment. A choice of 5 different answers is provided to the applicant for each question, which fulfils the rule of the MCQ based examination. Since the whole examination is conducted online, it is important that students are very well aware of the answers they are selecting. They must click on the chosen answer and then click next, which will open up the new question for them. It has to be noted that once they have selected the ‘next’ option, they won’t be able to go back and visit the previous question. The test will always be conducted under the standard examination conditions, where candidates will be required to complete the test without causing too much noise. It has to be ensured that the test is being completed corrected and it is the responsibility to teachers to make sure that the students are not getting any kind of assistance while answering the questions.

Test structure:

The first part of the test will contain a comprehension, where the candidates will be allowed a time limit of 12 minutes and 50 seconds, in which they will have to read the passage, which will on the left side of the screen and then answer the answers, which will be on the right side. Students will have the opportunity to select a different answer before clicking ‘next’ or ‘proceed’ option. Once selected, they will not be able to head back to the other option. If a student finishes all the questions before time, then it is important to go back and revise the answers already provided.

The comprehension will be followed by anagram, missing words and shuffled sentences, where students will be allotted a time limit of 10 minutes, 3 minutes 15 seconds and 8 minutes respectively. The rest of the requirements other than the time limit is the same as that of the comprehension.

Is CEM important in the current scenario?

CEM is slowly growing to be one of the most important tests in terms of admitting candidates in the 11+ and 13+ category. The test is highly competitive in nature and the independent schools find the criterions almost similar to their own admission test requirements.

Other School Entrance Tests independent School test practice guides

Firstly, independent school practice tests (ISEB, CEM and GL).

Secondly, independent school entry 16+ test practice papers.

Thirdly, top CEM test practice papers.

And then next free private school schemes.

Plus, the best ISEB test practice for independent schools.

Finally, London independent schools Guide.

Top FREE PRACTICE 11 plus past papers

We are very proud of School Entrance Tests’ popular City Kids magazine 11 Plus non-verbal reasoning tips article.


CEM SELECT practice