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TOP FSCE 11 plus exam tips
How is the FSCE 11 plus exam marked?
Papers 1 and 2 (English and maths) are marked electronically. OMR (Optical Mark Readers) scan the answer sheets and detect the marks your child has made in the boxes. Answer sheets are printed with a unique barcode for each candidate.
Your child’s raw scores from the English and maths papers will be age-standardised. This is a statistical process that takes into account your child’s age at the time of taking the test, and the number of correct marks. The standardised age score (SAS) is the final score which schools use to rank candidates.
Children who have achieved an eligible score have their creative writing paper marked by examiners. The eligible score is usually set by the school itself – more details will be included in your target school’s admissions policy.
FSCE 11 plus exam format
The FSCE 11 plus exam is taken on paper. Your child will receive one question booklet and one answer sheet for each subject. For all three subjects, answers must be written on the provided answer sheet – any work written in the question booklet will not be seen or marked.
The instructions are read out via a voice recording. At the start of each section, the voice recording will tell children:
which page number they must turn to
the section number and name
instructions for how to answer the questions
an example question (also printed in the question booklet, so they can follow along)
how much time they have to complete the section
when they can start answering the questions
how much time they have left before the end of the section.
At least one invigilator will be present in the room to help your child if they need any support.
Your child’s details, such as their name, primary school, and date of birth, plus the date and time of the test, will be pre-written on each of their answer sheets. At the start of each test, your child will be asked to check that this information is correct. If any information is incorrect, they can raise their hand and an invigilator will help.
What subjects does the 11+ FSCE assess?
The FSCE 11 plus tests English, maths and creative writing.
FSCE English 11 plus tips
The English paper assesses reading comprehension, vocabulary, and spelling. It’s split into three shorter and individually timed sections:
FSCE Reading comprehension 11 plus test practice
For the comprehension section, children will need to read a short passage of text. The following questions will assess how well they understand what they have read, and their ability to analyse and interpret the text. The text could be a piece of fiction or non-fiction.
The questions are multiple-choice. Your child will have a separate answer sheet to complete and will need to select the best answer by shading the matching oval (A, B, C or D) on their answer sheet. Horizontal or vertical lines, drawn through the oval, are not accepted.
There is only one correct answer for each question, so your child should only shade one oval.
11+ Vocabulary tips
This section tests the words your child currently knows and how well they understand their meaning.
They will see a series of question boxes on their answer sheet.
Each question box contains one word and five options (A–E). They will need to identify the word from the choice of options that is an exact or close match (synonym) of the main word in the question.
The answers follow the same style as the reading comprehension section.
Your child should shade in the oval (A, B, C, D or E) which corresponds with the correct word in their question booklet. Again, there is only one correct answer, so your child should only shade one oval.
The vocabulary questions and answers below are examples from the FSCE familiarisation guide.
How to pass the 11 plus exam
FCSE 11+ Missing letters test tips
Spelling is assessed through a section on missing letters. In each question, children will see a word with some letters removed. They will need to identify the full word in the context of the sentence and complete the word so that it is spelt correctly.
To complete the missing letters, your child will need to write each letter in a marked box on the answer sheet. They should write in capital letters with one letter per box. The number of empty boxes corresponds to the number of missing letters in the word.
There is only one correct answer for each question. The words will be different lengths, so the number of missing letters will vary for each question.
Have a look at some example ‘missing letters’ questions below.
Maths FCSE 11+ test tips
The FSCE 11 plus maths paper will test your child’s knowledge from Year 5 of the Key Stage 2 maths curriculum.
Number and place value: round numbers, negative numbers, and Roman numerals
Calculations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, plus factors and prime, square and cube numbers
Fractions, decimals and percentages: comparing and ordering, adding and subtracting, multiplying and rounding, and beginning to understand percentages
Measurement: units, perimeter, area and volume
Geometry: 2D shapes, 3D shapes, angles, reflection and translation
Statistics: tables and line graphs
Your child will be able to use the available space in the question booklet to work out their answers. However, answers must be recorded on the answer sheet provided. No marks will be awarded for working out.
The maths questions may be multiple-choice or free-response.
Multiple-choice questions are similar to those in the English paper; your child will need to shade the oval for the letter (A, B, C, D, or E) that corresponds with the correct answer.
Free-response answers will have marked square boxes. Your child should write one digit per box – for example, if an answer has two digits (20), then they should write 2 in one box and 0 in the box next to it.
If the answer has a unit attached (e.g. degrees, £, metres etc.), this will be pre-written on the answer sheet. Your child should pay attention to this and make sure their answer is relevant to the unit provided. Answers written in the wrong format will not receive any marks.
See the sorts of maths questions your child might be asked in the following examples from the FSCE familiarisation guide.
Passing grammar school entry exam 11 plus
FGSE Creative writing 11+ tips
- The third paper in the FSCE 11 plus exam is a creative writing task.
- This enables schools to assess children from a more holistic angle.
- Your child will see a prompt, which they will use as the title for a piece of original writing.
- Time will be built into the test for your child to plan their answer before they are told to start writing.
- Space will be provided in the question booklet for your child to plan their creative writing piece.
- This will not be marked, but they should use this time to structure their ideas and organise their thoughts.
- They may wish to write notes, plot out the steps in their story, or draw a spider diagram.
- They will not be able to write on the answer sheet during the planning time.
Creative Writing FGSE 11+ test practice
Your child will be told when the planning time has finished, and when to start writing on the answer sheet. Any work written in the question booklet will not be marked.
Examiners will be looking for children who can demonstrate:
creativity and imagination
good structure and pace
correct and effective use of spelling, punctuation and grammar
an extensive and interesting vocabulary
varied sentence structures
How to pass the grammar school entry exam 11 plus