Current Date:May 27, 2024

Decoding GL Assessment 11+ Exams: All You Need to Know

Decoding GL Assessment 11+ Exams: All You Need to Know

The GL Assessment 11+ exams represent a pivotal moment in the educational journey of many children in the UK. Understanding the intricacies of these exams can seem daunting at first, but with the right information and preparation, navigating this process can be made significantly easier. This comprehensive GL 11 plus guide is designed to demystify the GL Assessment 11+ Exams, providing you with everything you need to know about the admission process, exam pattern, and how to best prepare your child for success.

Introduction to GL Assessment

GL Assessment, formerly known as Granada Learning, is a leading provider of educational assessments in the UK. With over 35 years of experience, GL Assessment has been at the forefront of developing and administering exams that help educators understand the abilities and potential of their students. The 11+ exams created by GL Assessment are used by selective schools as part of their admissions process for Year 7 entry.

Understanding the GL Assessment 11+ Exams

A man and woman sit at a table with a notebook and pencils, discussing Understanding the GL Assessment 11+ Exams

The GL Assessment 11+ exams are designed to assess a child’s academic abilities and determine their suitability for selective secondary education. These exams cover a range of subjects, including Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics, and English. The exact subjects and format of the test can vary depending on the school or region, making it essential to verify the specific requirements of your desired school.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning tests a child’s ability to understand and reason using words. It assesses a wide range of skills, including vocabulary, comprehension, and logical deduction.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

Non-Verbal Reasoning evaluates a child’s ability to understand and analyse visual information. This section tests spatial awareness, pattern recognition, and logical reasoning skills, all without the need for written or spoken language.


The Mathematics section is designed to test a child’s numerical abilities. Questions cover a broad range of topics from the Key Stage 2 curriculum, including arithmetic, problem-solving, and data handling.


The English section assesses a child’s proficiency in reading and writing. It includes comprehension exercises, where students must read passages and answer questions, as well as writing tasks that may involve composing essays or storeys.

The Admission Process

Admission to selective schools via the GL Assessment 11+ exams is highly competitive, and the process can vary significantly from school to school. Generally, the process includes registration for the exam, preparation, sitting the exam, and waiting for the results. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Research: Begin by researching the selective schools you are interested in. Each school may have its own set of requirements and deadlines for the 11+ exams.
  • Registration: Register your child for the 11+ exams through the school or consortium of schools. Be mindful of registration deadlines, which can be several months before the exam date.
  • Preparation: Start preparing your child for the exam. This can include working through practise papers, reading widely, and potentially seeking additional tuition if necessary.
  • Sitting the Exam: Ensure your child is well-rested and prepared on the day of the exam. The exams are typically held in September of Year 6.
  • Results: Results are usually sent out in October, and they will indicate whether your child has been offered a place, put on a waiting list, or not offered a place.

Preparing for the GL Assessment 11+ Exams

A focused girl prepares for the GL Assessment 11+ Exams, diligently writing in a notebook at a table

Preparation is key to success in the GL Assessment 11+ exams. Here are some tips to help your child prepare effectively:

  • Start Early: Begin preparation at least a year in advance to ensure ample time to cover all topics.
  • Use Practise Papers: GL Assessment publishes official practise papers. These are invaluable for familiarising your child with the exam format and types of questions.
  • Read Widely: Encourage regular reading to improve vocabulary and comprehension skills, which are crucial for both the Verbal Reasoning and English sections.
  • Engage in Logical and Spatial Reasoning Activities: Puzzles and games that promote logical and spatial reasoning can be fun ways to prepare for the Non-Verbal Reasoning section.
  • Seek Support: Consider our Mock Exam Centre services to practise Mock Exams just like the original paper, if your child needs additional support.

The Admission Process

The process for applying to take the GL Assessment 11+ exams varies by region and school. Typically, parents need to register their child for the exam directly with their chosen schools or through the local authority. It is important to research the specific requirements and deadlines for each school of interest.

Exam Timing and Results

The GL Assessment 11+ exams are usually taken at the beginning of Year 6, around September or October. Results are often released before the end of the same term, providing families with the necessary information to make informed secondary school applications. Each school has its own criteria for interpreting exam scores, and it’s crucial to understand these to assess your child’s chances of admission.

After the Exam: What’s Next?

A girl sits at a table with books and a question mark, pondering what lies ahead after the exam

Post-exam, the results are standardised and sent to the schools to which the student has applied. Each school has its own criteria for admission, often involving a combination score of the GL Assessment exams and other factors such as interviews or school-specific tests.

The Role of GL Assessment in the Broader Context of 11+ Exams

While GL Assessment is one of the primary providers of 11+ examination materials, it’s important to recognise that it operates within a broader ecosystem of selective school admissions. Understanding the role of GL Assessment alongside other examination boards can help parents navigate the complexities of preparing for the 11+ exams. 

Unlike some other boards that might focus more heavily on specific subjects or types of reasoning, GL Assessment’s approach is comprehensive, testing a wide range of skills across verbal and non-verbal reasoning, English, and Mathematics. This comprehensive approach ensures a well-rounded assessment of a child’s capabilities.

The Importance of a Balanced Preparation Strategy

In preparing for the GL Assessment 11+ exams, a balanced approach cannot be overstressed. While academic preparation is crucial, it’s equally important to ensure that your child is not overwhelmed. Incorporating leisure activities, physical exercise, and sufficient rest into the preparation period can significantly impact your child’s performance and well-being. Balance helps mitigate the stress associated with high-stakes testing and promotes a healthier, more positive attitude towards learning.

Tailoring Preparation to Your Child’s Needs

Each child is unique, with their strengths and areas for improvement. A one-size-fits-all approach to preparation might not be the most effective. For instance, if your child excels in Mathematics but finds Verbal Reasoning challenging, allocate more time to develop verbal reasoning skills. Additionally, consider the learning style of your child; some may benefit more from visual aids and practical exercises, while others might prefer reading and writing activities. Tailoring the preparation strategy to fit your child’s needs can make the learning process more effective and enjoyable.

The Psychological Aspect of Preparing for the 11+ Exams

The 11+ exams can be a source of anxiety and pressure for children. It’s crucial to address the psychological aspect of exam preparation, encouraging a positive mindset and resilience. Teach your child to see challenges as opportunities for growth and to approach problems with a can-do attitude. Techniques such as mindfulness and positive visualisation can also help reduce anxiety and boost confidence.

Leveraging Technology in Preparation

In today’s digital age, a multitude of resources and tools are available to aid in 11+ exam preparation. Educational apps, online tutoring, and interactive games can make learning more engaging and accessible. These tools can supplement traditional study methods, providing varied and interactive ways to learn and practise. However, it’s important to use technology wisely, ensuring that screen time is balanced with other forms of learning and activities.

Community and Forum Support

Joining online forums or local community groups focused on the 11+ exams can provide additional support. These platforms allow parents to share experiences, advice, and resources. Hearing from others who are going through or have gone through the same process can be reassuring and informative. It’s also a great way to discover new study materials and get recommendations for tutors or preparatory programmes.


Successfully navigating the GL Assessment 11+ exams requires a multifaceted approach, blending academic preparation with psychological readiness and the effective use of technology and community resources. By understanding the comprehensive nature of the exams, tailoring preparation to your child’s individual needs, and fostering a supportive and balanced approach to learning, you can help your child face the 11+ exams with confidence and resilience. Ultimately, the goal is not just to prepare for an exam but to cultivate a lifelong love of learning and a robust foundation for future academic pursuits.

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