What is a ‘good’ score for the 11+ exam?

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It is an age-old question. What is a good score on the 11+ exam? How can we measure a good score? And my personal favourite: what they are achieving now is that a good score? These are to a degree, unanswerable questions. The 11+ exam is standardised, which means that whatever score your child gets, this is adjusted based on their age and the difficulty level of the paper.

For example: If your child is born early in October, and they are old for their year, they will need to score roughly 5% higher in the exam. 

However, do not fear, some schools publish the standardised results and others only rank the score.

Completely understandably, standardisation stirs fear within parents. Mainly, I would argue, due to the myths surrounding the process.

Wait, what myths?

Firstly, people have claimed that older children get points deducted due to their age.

This is categorically untrue.

The second is that boys’ scores are standardised differently as they develop at a slower rate than girls.

Now not only would this one go against the Sex Discrimination Act, but we would all see a massive spike in boys getting into Grammar School compared to girls. Which has not occurred.

To bring this back to basics, standardisation is a method to make the test fair. A child born in October, compared to a child in August will have had much more exposure to vocabulary and practice papers. The only way to even this out and make it a good evaluation of a child’s ability is to standardise.

How much does the school you are applying to affect what counts as a good score?

Fantastic question because this is huge! Some schools have over 2000 students applying for 120 positions. If the school is overcrowded with applications, this can affect what counts as a good score in the 11+ exam.

There are also some areas with very high results that explode any medium results due to the area’s high standard.

This could mean that your child achieves a whopping 141 on his test but cannot get in because in the area the school’s minimum is 210.

So, what is a good score on the 11+ exam?

If your child achieves between 75% and 85% on practice papers, questions and materials, they are heading in the right direction for a good score on the 11+ exam. On the day percentages may be lower due to the pressures surrounding the exam, however, to aim to answer between 75% and 85% of the questions correctly will put your child in a strong position.

It is also really important to note that those children who have highly developed core skills do better than those who have sat every practice paper known to man.

Understanding is key, practice is beneficial.


Is your child looking to do the 11+ exam? Not sure how they are getting on? Give us a call today and we can set up a FREE INITIAL ASSESSMENT and help you understand your child’s needs.