Why are Eleven Plus test questions so hard?

January 17, 2019

Every so often newspapers like to publish 'typical' eleven plus questions to demonstrate how difficult they are.  It's hard to resist having a go to see how well we can do, but are these mini tests very representative of the real thing?


The short answer is probably no.  The article is going to be a lot more interesting if it shows how 'impossible' some of the test questions can be, but the reality is quite different. There would be no point in having a test with questions no-one could answer, so the real test is a mixture of easier and harder questions. Yes, some of the questions might be difficult but they might rely more on depth of vocabulary or ability to solve mathematical or logic problems.  There will be a number of much easier tasks but these are rarely reported by the press.


The real test requires a lot of questions relating to a range of tasks which helps give a reliable indication on the ability of the children taking the test. Ultimately the score itself isn't important, it is the rank compared to other children that matters. If a question is too hard, all the children will get it wrong and it effectively doesn't contribute anything useful to the testing process. So don't worry too much about the eleven plus being too hard. It isn't designed to be easy but it's not impossible either. Why not have a closer look at other representative questions instead and make up your own mind?


Cotswold Education runs a


to help you be more informed about the eleven plus, the type of questions asked and tips and tricks on how to tackle them. If you are applying for a grammar school place in Gloucester why not give it a go?


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