Buckinghamshire Eleven Plus Site

Preparation for the Buckinghamshire 11+ Test.

“When anyone takes the test it is important that they understand exactly what they have to do. If some people are more used to taking tests than others, this could lead to differences in performance. For example, people with more experience might be more relaxed about taking the test, need to spend less time reading the instructions, and have more time to think about what answers to give.”
©NFER-Nelson 1999 from familiarization booklet for 2002 allocation.

In School:

Year 6 children attending primary schools in Buckinghamshire will work on the materials in the familiarization pack in class. Schools should allow 5 lessons for children to work on practice questions. The teacher will help to explain the techniques involved in each type of question.

From this year participating children will then undertake THREE complete practice papers lasting 50 minutes and comprised of 80 questions. These should be administered by the school under examination conditions.

Private schools are provided with a Bucks’ familiarization pack for each participating child. They will administer familiarization practice sessions and tests in the same way as state schools.

We are aware, however, that some private schools also use some of the commercially available materials and have regular verbal reasoning lessons and tests in class. This is not “encouraged” in state schools.

Other Entrants::

Entrants attending schools outside the county will receive a familiarization pack from the county through the post or through their local school. They will need to work through the familiarization process themselves.

Types of Question:

We regard the types of questions in the Buckinghamshire 11+ test as falling into three broad categories:

Those that require vocabulary skills.
Those that require mental maths skills.
Those that require a child to identify, copy and complete patterns/codes.

The technique for the last category can be taught and practised close to the examination, but the level of vocabulary and mental maths skills required for the other two types needs to be built up over a much greater period of time regardless of time spent practising technique.

Practice papers:

Many parents will buy practice papers for their children to work through at home.
For more information please look at the page about practice papers.

CD Roms:

Once again, a growth industry. Remember that your child is going to be sitting an exam in a hall or classroom with a piece of paper and a pencil … NOT a computer keyboard, screen and mouse!


Many parents are now using the services of private tutors or extra summer classes to make sure that their children attain their highest potential.

Sadly, we seem to be at the stage when many of those children who haven’t had extra tuition or practice at home will stand little chance of getting through the selection procedure and entering a grammar school.

Over the past year we have become aware of many tutors and group classes who don’t seem to know much about the 11+ in Bucks. They “teach” using materials that are not really suitable for the Bucks 11 Plus. Others teach using standard format papers and materials. There are different techniques that can be applied to MULTIPLE CHOICE papers. If the tutor or group class is worth their money they should be explaining these as well.

If you want to see what type of questions your child will get in the exam we suggest that you look at the IPS papers which cover ALL the question types used in the Bucks exam.

There are some tutors out there who will claim very high success rates. Some of these people will often vet the children they tutor, choosing only the ones who have very high potential, then charge an absolute fortune ( because of their high success rate! ) and actually do very little except baby-sit whilst your child does some papers.

There are some excellent, caring professionals out there who do a great job in maximizing a child’s potential, but take your time in selecting a tutor. Go on personal recommendation if you can and monitor what is going on in the lessons.

Tutoring is a growth business, and as with many businesses there are those who are out to make lots of money for little work. Check what the tutors will be teaching before you sign up, ask what practice papers will be used, etc. Keep monitoring the situation. Expect to pay for copies of good materials, Beware of those who buy a few books in Smiths and photocopy the pages time and time again. If they can screw the publishers and writers they will have no qualms in screwing you!

We are sure that we do not have to remind you about employing someone who has not had a police check carried out. Serving teachers are automatically checked by the local authority.

On-line Tutors:

Remember that these sites often try to cater for clients in all parts of the country, not just Bucks.

We have seen some outrageous prices asked for “on-line” services. Before signing up make sure you know what you are going to get. Look at examples, ask for references and endorsements. Ring up and speak to satisfied customers. CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. Make sure that the tutors know about the Bucks 11+ exam. Ask what materials they will be using. Several of these sites don’t even have examples, or have so few that you cannot judge the content of the course. Make sure that you know the policy about getting your money back if you are not satisfied within the first few weeks. Once again we have heard a couple of horror stories about people who have signed up, paid a substantial sum, found that the course was not up to scratch, and been told that they cannot get their money back.

Some people will offer a “service” whereby you do some papers and they tell you what to work on. We are sure that if you buy a few papers yourself you will be able to see where the child is going wrong - not rocket science. Buy a good tutorial or method and technique book and save money.