There are currently 163 grammar schools throughout England and they all use some kind of admissions test, including the seven in Gloucestershire. The test for the seven grammar schools in Gloucestershire changed in 2016 from a purely verbal reasoning test to a new 'CEM' test based on four areas: English comprehension, mathematics, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The reasoning behind this change was to try to make the test more 'tutor-proof' as evidence suggested that using question types more familiar to primary school children would make private tuition less advantageous. However, it is debatable whether the new tests really are 'tutor-proof', although at least any additional tuition will now be more relevant to students in their everyday lessons.
Children take the test at their 'preferred' grammar school on a Saturday in the middle of September when they are in year 6. The test is administered by giving the children two test papers, separated by a short break in a classroom with other children.
Each paper consists of a number of sections of different question types. Most of the questions are multiple choice, but some of the mathematics ones require a numerical answer. Each section is strictly timed and once completed the children cannot return later to answer and missed questions, so it is important they work quickly and accurately on all sections.
Results are released a few weeks later at the start of October in the form of a ranking from each school. This rank can help parents decide on whether their child is likely to be offered a place and therefore whether it is worth applying for grammar school when applications forms for secondary school are submitted by the end of October.
You might like to consider entering your child for a Mock Test to give them some practice of the examination conditions and questions. If you want to learn more about the test and how to apply you may like to come to Cotswold Education's Grammar Entrance Information morning with opportunities to ask questions.