11+ Tutoring

What’s In The CEM 11+ Test?

English & Verbal Reasoning

English: Comprehension skills needs to be excellent and most children don’t enjoy comprehensions because at school, they will typically be exposed to the type of comprehensions where they will have to answer the questions with complete sentences. CEM comprehensions are multiple-choice so impress upon your child that at least they won’t have to write much!

The key to success in comprehension is to find a subject that your child might find interesting, try making up your own comprehensions, maybe if you have a football mad son, copy and adapt a match report from a newspaper and think up some questions yourself!

Cloze passages with missing words, again make up your own on subjects that you know will interest your child. You know best what interests your child!

Lots of practice at shuffled sentences is the key to success at this particular element of the CEM test. We find that children improve dramatically with lots of exposure to these question types.

Activities that are less directly related to the 11 Plus, such as word games played on the school run will help build up English skills as will trying to talk ‘just above’ your child’s vocabulary level at home, thereby having to explain the meanings.

Again we cannot stress highly enough that children need to read widely, there is truly no better way to improve vocabulary than to have a love of reading and to explore the meanings of unfamiliar words.


Verbal Reasoning includes reading comprehension, cloze passages and vocabulary sections. Reading comprehension tests a child’s ability to make inferences, understand vocabulary and extract accurate interpretations of the text. Cloze tests are passages which contain missing words.
They also assess an overall understanding of the passage, but require closer attention to the grammatical and syntactic elements of written language than in the comprehension test.
The verbal reasoning vocabulary section involves the manipulation of verbal representations and the solving of verbally presented problems. A rich vocabulary is essential as well as an understanding of synonyms and antonyms.


Numerical Reasoning includes longer maths, shorter maths and data processing sections. These sections will assess your child’s ability in mental arithmetic as well as problem solving within a multi part question format.

MATHS: We use Use Key Stage 2 maths revision resources to fill any of the gaps identified during testing, and be sure to revisit material that your child struggles on regularly.

The most important thing is to ensure that your child is confident with the basics in the following areas and then move up to more complex worded problems in each area.

Place value, square and cube numbers and roots, prime numbers, factors. Fractions – finding fractions of amounts, equivalent fractions, simplifying fractions, proper fractions, improper fractions, mixed numbers, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions.

Time: Analogue, digital, 12 hour, 24 hour, world time zones.
Decimals, fractions and percentages. Rounding to a given number of decimal places.
Money, our coinage system, currency conversion.
Measurement, metric units of length, mass and capacity.
Area and perimeter including compound shapes. Surface area and volume.
Mean, median, mode and range.
Ratio and probability, scale.
Angles, shapes, compass points, symmetry


Non-Verbal Reasoning assesses intelligence through the manipulation of shapes using rotation, reflection, symmetry, shape, positions number, size, and shading. It is meant to eliminate cultural bias in testing and possible bias against any child who may have difficulty with verbal elements.

Non-Verbal Reasoning:
Be sure to test your child’s ability in the Non Verbal Reasoning (NVR) component as early as possible. Whilst it is generally the case that a mathematical brain will be able to process NVR easily, we have found that this is not always the case and therefore any weaknesses should be addressed earlier rather than later.

Many girls perform very well in this section, and equally some boys will struggle. As such, you may find that you need to devote very little time to NVR if your child has a natural aptitude for it. If you do need to spend more time on this area, it is good to discover this as early as possible.