A parents guide to the 11 plus CEM Select exam including THE BEST CEM Select 11+ practice tests

Welcome to our CEM Select 11+ practice tests, which also explains the key differences between this and other 11 plus exam formats.

Search the ISC independent schools list to find more info on your specific school’s entry requirements.

Recommended CEM Select test practice

 

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

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. So, your child will feel more confident about their CEM Select exam day once they know exactly what type of 11 plus questions to expect. So, there will be no surprises on 11+ exam day.

 

Where’s the latest TOP private school entry prep from 5+ 6+… 11+ 13+ to 16 plus? 

Ask ROB, our resident 13+ test design expert , your questions by emailing passedpapers@gmail.com

Rob Williams

 

An Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Rob Williams is a Chartered Psychologist with over 25 years of experience working and designing tests. Rob has worked for all three of the main school entrance test publishers: GL Assessment; ISEB, Hodder Education and CEM Select.

Recommended private School entrance test practice

CEM / ISEB 11+ entry past papers and MATHS 11+ and ENGLISH 11+ test prep

13 Plus test practice and recommended 13+ prep private school entry.

16 Plus Test Practice and our top 16+ private school entrance past papers.

 

 

What is included in the CEM Select exam?

The CEM Select is an online test created by theCentre of Evaluation and Monitoring. It’s used for school entry assessments into both grammar and private schools at:

  • 11+ (Year 7 entry),
  • 12+ (Year 8 entry) and
  • 13+ (Year 9 entry).

The CEM Select:

  • Covers three key main subject areas: Verbal Ability, Non-Verbal Ability and Numerical Ability.
  • Splits up into five or six short modules
  • Takes around 1 hour to complete in total: 3-4 CEM Verbal Ability modules; 1-2 CEM numerical reasoning modules; and a non-verbal reasoning CEM module.

 

What is in each CEM test module?

  • The key Verbal Ability modules are Comprehension andMissing Words. Other possible CEM verbal reasoning modules: CEM Shuffled Sentences, CEM Anagrams, CEM Multiple Meanings, CEM Selected Letters, CEM Letter Connections and CEM Related Words.
  • CEM’s main nnumerical reasoning module is called General Maths. Other important CEM numerical reasoning called Arithmetic and Data Problems
  • The key non-verbal reasoning CEM modules are called Pictures and Matrices. The CEM Select Matrices questions are in a different style to GL’s traditional non-verbal reasoning question style.

 

 

How do 11+ exams differ?

A: Since each 11+ provider sets several regional 11 Plus exams. so parents must 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.

The most common 11 plus exam formats are GL, CEM, CSSE, SET, ISEB and Private School written format. All these different types of 11+ school entrance exams can be very confusing at first glance.

 

Which types of school use the online CEM Select? 

Grammar schools, independent schools and other schools using customised 11 plus versions of CEM online tests, or online 11+ tests very similar to the CEM Select 11+.

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.

 

1) Independent school use of the 11+ CEM Select 

A growing number of independent schools use the online CEM Select as part of their 11+ (and 13+) admissions process.

13+ which is Year 9 entry.

12+ which is Year 8 entry

11+ which is Year 7 entry. This is Cambridge Assessment’s 11+ assessment of maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

 

2) Grammar school use of the CEM 11 plus exam

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.

 

What is the 11 CEM Select exam?

The CEM Select 11+ exam:

  • Covers the same subject areas (Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning) as the GL Assessment tests. They also have the same standardized pass-mark (121). However, it…
  • Is divided into separately timed sections.
  • Groups the Verbal Reasoning 11+ and the English 11+ tests together.

It’s therefore important that children learn how to manage their time correctly as it’s not possible to return to sections once completed.

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.

 

Top 11 plus tips

  • 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 any 11+ question.
  • There is no negative 11+ CEM Select marking. Make an intelligent guess for the most challenging, 11+ time- consuming 11 plus questions for you. DO NOT skip it. There’s no downside to this approach and significant potential upside in terms of extra marks gained.
  • DO NOT spend too long on ANY 11+ 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, ask yourself, Will this 11+ approach take too long? So it really is better to make an intelligent guess and move on as the opportunity cost is too great.
  • 11 plus 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. The 11+ test-taker miss out on many more marks on much easier 11+ questions.

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.

 

Key CEM Select exam differences from other 11 plus exams

  • CEM Select 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.
  • The CEM Select is not an adaptive test. That means the questions don’t get harder as you answer them correctly and there is no negative marking.
  • It also means your child 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.
  • Therefore, since there is no negative marking, 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.
  • CEM Select, the online test, is quite different in many ways from the paper based format of the CEM 11+ Exam that is used by many grammar schools across the country.