The examination papers are written in the style of national end of Key Stage papers, with spaces left on the paper for working out answers. The questions on the 11+ paper are in two sections: Section A is a mixture of questions predominantly at National Curriculum level 5 that cover a whole range of topics. Section B is made up of extension questions which are more difficult and allow candidates to show their mathematical flair and precision.
The majority of candidates should expect to complete most or all of the questions in Section A, and score well. Both sections are non-calculator and cover a range of topics from the National Curriculum strands of numbers, algebra, shape, space, reasoning and handling data. Questions may be set on topics that will not be familiar to the candidates. In such circumstances, there will be sufficient information provided to allow candidates to progress under their own initiative since we are hoping to predict future potential rather than to test present knowledge.
We are aware that topics are covered in different orders in different schools and do not expect every candidate to be familiar with all the content of her entrance paper
Candidates at 11+ will be expected to have reached level 5, or beyond, in the National Curriculum attainment targets by the end of the academic year.
They should, therefore, demonstrate an ability to read and comprehend a range of passages, which may include both literary and non-literary material. This ability is to be examined through the candidates’ responses to questions set on such texts. The questions will test candidates’ literal comprehension, interpretive ability, and their ability to use details from the texts to support their ideas. Candidates may be asked about the effects of certain words or phrases used by an author.
Candidates should also be able to express themselves clearly in writing by using Standard English at a level appropriate to level 5 and beyond. This will be tested partly through their written responses to the comprehension paper and partly through their extended response to one of a choice of specific written tasks. Candidates should be able to produce a variety of sentences and should be able to use varied vocabulary. They should also be able to use basic punctuation accurately and to organise ideas through the use of paragraphs and the way in which they sequence their ideas and information.
The tasks will not always be identical from year to year, nor will the nature of the passages. However, there will always be a comprehension paper of some kind and a task involving some writing of extended prose. Please note, in our experience, girls rarely do well on essay topics which they have prepared beforehand.
The general papers are used to obtain an indication of a girl’s IQ level. Although the English and Mathematics papers indicate levels of ability, candidates are also required to sit two general papers. These test candidates’ powers of verbal and non-verbal reasoning and are used for additional information, for instance when there is an unusually large discrepancy between a candidate’s performance in the English and Mathematics papers.