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To help you get the most out of Bond Online and the Bond 11+ website, we’ve created a Bond Customer Support site to help you answer any questions you might have. Visit the support site for any questions you might have around setting up your Bond Online subscription, using the Bond shop or resetting your password

11+ Exam Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about the 11+ exam, take a look at our 11+ exam Frequently Asked Questions:


General Eleven Plus Queries

Where can I find out about the 11 Plus exams?

It can be difficult to find any detailed information about the 11 Plus exam system. With no published curriculum and many schools preferring not to publish the content of their exams, the 11 Plus has an air of mystery about it. Different Local Authorities and senior schools set different combinations of tests, making it hard to choose 11 Plus resources to meet everyone's needs.

For some Local Authorities, the 11 Plus is available to all Year 6 children and taken in class. In other parts of the country, the 11 Plus is organised and hosted by the senior school and taken after school or during a weekend.

The 11 Plus is a way of testing children from an academic perspective and has no bearing on their SATs or GCSEs.

Bond offers an essential and invaluable manual that takes you through the whole 11 Plus process in a clear, practical, step-by-step manner: The Parents' Guide to the 11+.

How can I explain an answer to my child when I can't work out the question myself?

If you subscribe to Bond Online, feedback is given for each question to explain to your child why they got them right or wrong.

All Bond 11+ Assessment Papers designed for ages 9-13 years now include a simple cross-referencing system that refers directly to the related section in the relevant How To Do 11+… tutorial guide, and each pack of Test Papers provides a detailed explanation for every answer as well as links to the relevant tutorial guide. The Free Resources section of the website also provides extended explanations for questions from across the range of books.

How can my child's scores for the 11 Plus be improved?

Specific advice and guidance on improving 11 plus scores can now be found in:

  • the preliminary notes and the 'Next Steps Planner' in each Bond 11+ Assessment Papers title
  • the introductory sections and parent tips found throughout each of the four How To Do 11+… tutorial guides
  • 'The secrets of 11+ success' booklet included with each pack of 11+ Test Papers.

How do I know how well my child is doing?

If you subscribe to Bond Online, you will be able to track your child's progress, see their marks for each test, identify strengths and weaknesses and see where and how much they are improving.

All Bond Assessment Papers and Bond 10 Minute Tests contain a progress chart that enables a child to record their score for each paper tracking their progress and identifying strengths and weaknesses. In addition, each of the four How To Do 11+… tutorial guides includes a full-length practice paper that can be set as a 'before and after' test to check a child's progress.

Detailed parental advice on checking general ability, as well as specific subject skills, is included in the four subject tutorial guides and throughout The Parents' Guide to the 11+.

How can Bond Online help my child improve?

As your child builds up a score profile for each question type, it will become clear which questions they are struggling with and which ones they excel at. It's important to have had quite a few goes at each question type so that a clear picture emerges. It’s then easy to target practice on the types of question your child finds more tricky.

What is the difference between the questions in the Bond books and the Bond Online tests?

Bond Online provides a very different way of preparing for the 11+, allowing for different learning styles and a change of approach to keep things interesting! Although Bond Online focuses on the same subjects and question types, continuing to reflect the way that the 11+ is tested, it is organised into randomised tests of 10 questions, ensuring that each testing experience is unique. The tests are auto-marked and feedback is given, so the child can work through independently, learning from their mistakes.

Who has written the questions for Bond Online?

The questions have all been written by experienced tutors and teachers. It is the same team which has contributed to many of the Bond books. As well as J. M. Bond herself, the authors are Michellejoy Hughes, Jane Bayliss, David Clemson, Frances Down, Sarah Lindsay, Nicola Morgan, Alison Primrose and Malcolm Thomas.

What's the best way to motivate my child?

Subscribing to Bond Online means that your child gets easy access to questions and instant feedback on their answers. Being able to try out different answers, do the same test again and again and see their score immediately can be highly motivating.

Bond books also offer practical ideas and tips that should help your child stay motivated during practice sessions for the 11 Plus. In particular, look out for:

  • the 'Bond motivational planner' system inside The Parents' Guide to the 11+
  • the puzzle pages in each 10 Minute Tests titles for English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning
  • ideas for games and tutors' top tips for parents throughout the four How To Do 11+… tutorial guides.

How can I help my child with comprehension and writing tasks for the 11+?

The Bond range of How To Do 11+… tutorial guides includes two titles that deal specifically with the knowledge and skills required to successfully tackle these aspects of English: Focus on Comprehension and Focus on Writing.

In addition comprehension practice can be found within:

  • Bond Online
  • each practice paper across the range of Bond English Assessment Papers
  • the English range of bite-sized 10 Minute Tests
  • each mock test in the packs of 11+ English Test Papers
  • specific writing practice is provided by the writing tasks in each pack of 11+ English Test Papers.

How is the 11+ different to other school exams?

National exams such as SATs are part of the government framework for education. GCSEs are a cornerstone of secondary school learning and although not compulsory, they are internationally recognised qualifications that are offered in most schools. The 11+ exam is part of the secondary school selection process for schools that select by academic ability.

How fierce is competition for the 11+?

There are always more pupils applying for grammar schools than there are places available, sometimes as many as 10 pupils for every one place and so competition is fierce. When a school has an admissions policy based on the 11+ results only, those with the highest results take the places.

Why is it so hard to find out information about the 11+?

Since the 1970s there has been a political move away from selective school processes to state school comprehensive systems. For this reason, fewer schools and Local Authorities (LAs) are using the 11+ selection system. Many schools within 11+ LAs are reluctant to prepare for the 11+ and in some cases they would prefer to give the minimum amount of information to parents.

Can past papers be bought for practice?

The LAs, who commission an exam board to write the 11+ paper, do not usually make exam papers available. General example papers written by those exam boards (e.g. GL Assessment), can be bought from bookshops and online. Familiarisation tests are available on some school and LA websites to give an idea of what the test looks like. Schools that set their own papers will often send out copies of past papers, as will schools that sit the Common Entrance Exam.

My child is bright at many subjects but struggles at maths/English – what can I do to help them?

The Bond Placement test will help to identify where the problem areas are and will suggest which books your child needs to strengthen any areas they struggle with. Each book in the Assessment Papers series is carefully graded to ensure steady progress is made and the answer booklets make it easy for parents to check for accuracy.The How To Do 11+… books give useful advice on how to approach different question types if your child is struggling to understand what the question is seeking.

My child is bright and capable but they are very slow to work questions out. Does this mean they are going to fail the 11+?

The Bond system uses timed papers and following the books will ensure your child becomes used to working within a time frame. See the Bond How To Do 11+… range for ideas on how to improve the techniques your child uses and then gradually shorten the length of time given to each paper.

My child is top of the year but it is not an academic school. How can I tell how bright my child is compared to pupils in other schools?

The Bond Placement Tests will help you to assess your child against a standard and to find out where your child is in terms of the 11+ needs and requirements. However this does vary year on year and school to school.

If I am undecided about entering my child for the 11+ exam is there any other benefit to following the Bond system or is it purely geared towards the 11+ exam?

The Bond 11+ system covers English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning/spatial awareness. All Bond English and maths books are matched to the National Curriculum and practicing reasoning questions develops transferable skills that can be used across the curriculum, widening the core skills of any pupil. Many parents, therefore, choose to use them as rigorous, general home support for their children as they progress through school. Preparing your child for secondary school is a very sensible use of time and money and the Bond system provides a cost-effective and systematic way of doing so. Additionally, for more focused preparation for the SATs assessment, which all state school attending primary school children will sit, Bond now also offers a SATs-specific range - Bond SATs Skills – that mirrors the question approach and difficulty levels used in these tests. Bond SATs Skills books provide ideal preparation and support for SATs and can be used in parallel with 11+ preparation material.

If my child fails the 11+ can they retake it?

No. Sorry, but it is the one and only opportunity, although some schools will recognise the 12+ exam. This is similar to the 11+ but is taken a year later. It is ideal for pupils who are in the Middle School system or pupils who wish to enter the selective secondary school beyond Year 7, but who have not sat the 11+ exam. Of course those of you living in a LA that does not use the 11+ will have the opportunity of sitting an 11+ style entrance exam for as many schools as you are applying for.

Will my child need to sit an interview as well as completing the 11+ exam?

For many grammar and private schools there are no interviews. Parents are notified when the results are through, if their child has a place. There are other schools that invite just the child along for an interview and schools where both the child and the parent/s are interviewed. If your child is invited for an interview, they will often be asked to bring along schoolbooks and sometimes certificates or awards from ‘out of school’ activities. This needs to be selective so do include your child’s latest music, dance, sporting award or newspaper cuttings of events your child has taken part in, but don’t take along every piece of art work your child has created, or certificates older than a couple of years. Check with the school’s website to confirm if your child will need to sit an interview.

How should my child prepare for an interview?

Make sure your child is confident about the activities they have done and explain how these might help them in secondary school. For example, ‘Playing in the primary school football team has helped me to be focused and to work well with others,’ or ‘Playing the flute in the orchestra has helped me to be more confident’. The interviewer is looking for pupils who will best suit the school environment. Read the school prospectus to see what they value. Do they mention sports schemes, travel opportunities, debating societies, music activities, drama groups, reading schemes or church events? What has your child done that links with this or demonstrates a transferable skill?

Can my child sit the 11+ for private and grammar schools?

Yes. Your child can sit the 11+ exam in their primary school if you are in an 11+ LA and then the 11+ in private schools. If your child’s primary school is not in an 11+ LA you could sit several 11+ exams in selective schools.

Is it possible to pass the 11+ without having a private tutor?

Yes. Some pupils will pass the 11+ without ever having taken any 11+ tuition or having seen practice papers. Other pupils will work through a couple of practice papers, some will have private tutors. As with most things, if you are prepared for something you can usually deal better with it. It is important to remember that every child is different and what might suit one child won’t suit another. Whatever system you choose, don’t be afraid to change if it isn’t working effectively for your child.

Why is Bond preferable to other 11+ systems?

Bond offers a complete package of books and test papers that make up a tried and tested route through the 11+ exam. The Bond Placement Tests in the Parents’ Guide are a vital key to assessing your child and they work in harmony with the rest of the series. Bond doesn’t have full-colour quiz books with stickers, games and gimmicks because that isn’t what the 11+ exam is like. Instead it offers a cost-effective, thorough and concise action plan that, used in conjunction with the Parents’ Guide, will offer all of the support and information you and your child need.