Experts in 11+ and SATs Tuition On Demand

What Are the 11+ and SATs exams?

About 11+ and SATs

Yes, entrance into the UK’s most prestigious grammar or independent schools is highly selective and based on the 11+ grades achieved.

Yes, generally secondary state schools use two criteria; first – “catchment” area and second – scholarships for outstanding children in a particular field, one of them being academic achievement. SAT grades in the first term of secondary schools are also used to “set” or “stream” children into classes. It is therefore important to achieve the best grades and Examflicks modules are excellent resource to prepare for the SAT exams.

Simply put, “catchment” area is usually an area within a specific radius/distance of the school. Often, this is determined by your home postcode. The size of the catchment area is determined by the number of students the school can take each year.

Setting or streaming means grouping children into classes based on ability and SAT results are often used as an indicator.

The 11+ is an exam taken by many children in their final year of primary school to gain entry into grammar and independent schools.

There is no standard national 11+ exam, and each school, whether grammar or independent, will set its own exam, and each will vary in style. However, the content generally stays the same in the 4 key areas: Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. It is important to note that if a school states the requirement is Maths and English, they usually incorporate Verbal Reasoning in the English paper and Non-Verbal Reasoning in the Maths paper. At Examflicks our modules cover all of these areas in depth and students’ knowledge is reinforced by regular testing and our mock exam program.

The 11+ exams can only be taken once. There is no provision for re-sitting tests if the results are disappointing. It is truly a ‘once only’ opportunity.

The 11+ entrance exam is different from what is known as the “Common Entrance Exam” which is usually taken at the age of 13 for independent schools.

Anyone can apply for Grammar Schools for as long as you live within the catchment criteria and you pass the 11+ exam. Exams for Grammar Schools are free of charge. Please note that London Grammar Schools tend to be the most subscribed in the country with often more than 2,500 children competing for less than 200 places. 

For Independent Schools anyone can apply no matter where they live as long as they pass the 11+ exam and can afford to pay the fees.

Grammar schools

These are government funded and cost nothing to attend. Students of all backgrounds are welcome, and they are home to some of the country’s brightest students. There are grammar schools in London and all over the UK. They are, however, very oversubscribed.

Independent schools

These schools are funded by fee-paying students and typically cost upwards of £20,000 per year. They often refer to the 11+ simply as their entrance exam. While these schools are funded independently of the government, they must still teach the national curriculum which is the same for every school in the UK. However, they can afford to have smaller classes than government funded schools.

Despite the high price tag hese schools are still very competitive and not easier to get into than grammar schools. Therefore, independent schools are also very oversubscribed. Academic excellence is a given, but as many of these schools are relatively wealthy, they tend to boast a wide range of extracurricular pursuits such as fencing, rowing and rugby, as well as on site swimming pools, gyms and professional level music facilities and theatres. For the top independent schools expect to see around 2000 students vying for less than 200 places. Successful candidates are notified by post or email.

In every 11+ exam there will be an element of English language, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning as well as spatial reasoning questions. These are word and shape puzzles designed to test cognitive ability. Schools often change their exact exam format to keep everyone on their toes but below is what’s typical.


All schools will have a comprehension test. Some will also have general grammar and verbal reasoning questions, and many will want to see some form of creative writing. By Year 6 most children will have covered all this as part of their regular schoolwork. However, the standard required for these exams is well beyond anything your child will have encountered at school.


Again, the kind of Maths required to do well in the 11+ bears no resemblance to the Maths a child in Year 6 has seen. Typically, they will need to be very comfortable with topics such as algebra, geometry, ratios, probability and be able to use their knowledge of these to solve complex questions requiring the use of several topics combined.

Many schools will throw some Non-Verbal reasoning questions in their Maths paper just for fun!

Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR)

Non-Verbal Reasoning questions are symbol and picture-based. They test a child’s ability to understand and remember a visual sequence, interpret the meaning of the visual presentation, find the ‘odd one out’, solve codes and missing sequence patterns.

At Primary School, your child will have been taught how to deal with words and numbers but dealing with pictures is very different and your child will need to develop a new set of skills. Rather like musical ability, you may find your child is very good at ‘academic’ subjects but struggles initially with visual skills. Our teaching encourages these skills to develop but, just as with musical skills, you cannot expect these abilities to develop overnight – they grow over time. Practice and perseverance are needed to succeed and at Examflicks we support your child during this journey.

Verbal Reasoning (VR)

Verbal Reasoning is largely language-based problem-solving and your child will need a broad vocabulary and good grasp of English grammar to be successful in these ultra-competitive exams. Although our tuition covers this area, it is very important that your child is reading a wide variety of books at home. We do provide a reading list but the most important thing is simply to read and read and read!

Although a verbal test would logically be entirely about words you will find that the 11+ Verbal Reasoning test also includes questions requiring basic numeracy skills. It is therefore important that your child is comfortable with simple mental arithmetic – know their  ‘times tables’ and can add, subtract, multiply and divide in their head quickly and easily. The test itself often includes questions involving simple algebra and number sequences. Our teaching covers these specific areas but, as with vocabulary, the importance of your contribution, as parents, cannot be over-emphasised.

Typically, grammar schools will have a two-part test. The first-round test will be multiple choice questions in all 4 subjects and will be machine marked. The second stage will include an English comprehension, some creative writing and the Maths is generally longer style detailed questions with several steps.

Once the first stage papers are marked, the children with the highest scores are invited to the second-round tests. The number of children invited back varies from school to school but if there are, for instance, 160 places up for grabs, they might invite the top 350 -400 scoring children back for round two a few weeks later. The second-round test will also involve a more advanced English comprehension and creative writing as well as a tougher Maths test. Examflicks study programme covers both the foundation and advanced levels

Based on those results, selections will be made, and students are informed by post if they have won a place.

Independent schools may again have one exam of English and Maths (Often VR and NVR are incorporated) or they may have two and simply shortlist for the second stage like  the grammar schools. The top scorers are also then often invited back for a face-to-face interview.

Students invited to interview can expect to be given English or Maths questions to do ‘live’ in front of an examiner or may be asked to discuss current affairs or world issues. They want to know a student is aware and knowledgeable of the world around them and is an eloquent and articulate speaker.

Yes! As stated above these exams have become so competitive that they require knowledge and abilities way beyond anything your child will encounter in primary school and there are some topics which are covered in the 11+ but not in the National Curriculum. We know exactly what your chosen school requires and we will be able to give you realistic feedback on your child’s progress.

Most importantly, a course will cover and guide you and your child through the core topics needed to prepare for the 11+ exam. It will also allow your child to practice answering questions in a format which is typical to the 11+. They will learn sophisticated vocabulary, focus, discipline, exam and time management all valuable skills which are key to success in these exams. Within the course there are regular mock test papers which allow children to test their knowledge and become accustomed to the format of exam papers, the way questions are expressed and the time limits. Following an 11+ course helps you prepare for these skills which are vital for secondary school.

Students can start at the beginning of year 5 but we recommend they start preparation in year 4. The earlier they start to form learning habits the better. In year 4 the course introduces many of the topics needed so that by the time they reach year 5 they can hit the ground running and be ready to take things up several notches in preparation for the real exams.

For Grammar and State school you need to be academically astute, pass the 11+ exam and live in a catchment area if there is one for your school.

For Independent schools you need to get the required grade to be considered.

The steps are therefore straight forward

  1. Identify the school/s you want your child to attend. If the school is either a state or grammar school, you need to check the academic requirements and whether you live within the catchment area, if there is one. If it is an independent school, then again check the academic admission criteria and check if you can attend as day schooler or board.

  2. Ensure your child achieves the grades required to be considered for admission. This is the most important step. Without the required grades there is no chance the school will consider admission. Grammar and independent schools insist on the 11+ exams and for top tier state schools it is SATs. This is where Examflicks study programme will Book a consultation if you need to discuss further.

SATs exams are taken in May of Year 6, when children are ages 10 or 11. The exams test children’s understanding of what they have learned during Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 (ages 7–11).

Year 6 SAT is compulsory at state primary schools and are designed to assess your child’s knowledge of the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. Private prep schools can choose whether pupils take SATs or 11+.

SATs results are used to measure each child’s progress and achievements in English (spelling, punctuation, reading and comprehension), Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

Examflicks is a complete study programme for age 9-11 to help secure admission to leading state secondary, grammar and independent schools in the UK. The coursework has been tried and tested over 12 years and focusses on SATs and 11+ entrance exam requirements delivering superb success rate.

English will test English Language skills such punctuation, vocabulary, grammar, spelling and comprehension.

Maths will test a range of arithmetic and mathematical calculations such as number value, addition, subtractions, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percentages, geometry and much more.


Verbal Reasoning will cover problem-solving and logic questions using words and not numbers. They are intended to test a child’s ability to understand and reason using words, and are a test of critical thinking skills, rather than of learned knowledge.

Non-Verbal Reasoning is problem-solving using pictures and diagrams. It tests the ability to analyse visual information and solve problems based on visual diagrams and tests properties of shapes, direction, sequence, odd one out etc.

It is important to note that children must be practiced in all 4 subjects to be well prepared and exam ready but often they are given 2 papers English and Maths. The English paper incorporates some verbal reasoning topics, and the Maths paper incorporates non-verbal questions.

SATs test results are used to measure both the school and each child’s progress and achievements in maths, English, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Most secondary schools look at year 6 SATs results as part of the decision process when grouping students into sets or streams.

SATs grades are good indicator in predicting a child’s GCSE results. Statistics show there is a positive correlation – those with good SATs scores are more likely to get better GCSE grades which will generally lead on to higher A level results resulting in a place at a higher-grade university.

Often the most challenging questions presented in the SATs are within the English comprehension. Some of the questions involves simply hunting the text for the answers which are clear but there will also be inference and deduction questions which require more skill. Inference questions require a child to “work out” the meaning which is not obviously stated. Deduction requires bringing meaning beyond the text by arriving at a fact or logical conclusion by reasoning. 

Doing well at exams is all about knowledge, familiarity, and confidence. Exposure, repetition, and practice are all important components of building a strong foundation. It is important at this level that children do not just learn by rote but there is real understanding of each topic.

Most children start preparing for SATs and 11+ in Year 5. However, some children may benefit from an earlier start to progress more gradually to build a solid foundation and confidence at their own pace.

SATs score is a good indicator of a child’s ability and is generally used when grouping students into sets or streams at secondary school. In addition, statistics show students achieving good SATs scores are more likely to get better GCSE and A level grades resulting in a place at a higher-grade university.

Ideally start preparing for SATs a year in advance. This gives you plenty of time to accommodate everything your child needs to know without putting them (or you) under too much pressure.

The exams are timed, and time management is very important. However, initially the focus needs to be on knowledge and accuracy. There’s no point in rushing to finish a paper if you’ve got half the questions wrong. Once a child’s ability has grown to the point where they are confident in their answers, it then becomes time to build speed through practice. 

The best test-taking strategy we recommend is to be prepared. Regular and consistent practice is key. Exams have their own specific vocabulary. Doing lots of past exam paper practice helps students to recognise and get used to exactly what is being asked of them and offers them the confidence that they’re not about to encounter any types of questions they haven’t come across before.

Firstly, 11+ and SATs have very specific topics that a child is examined on. It is important that parents have full understanding / knowledge of the syllabus to ensure all topics that can appear in the exam paper are covered. 

In addition, parent should focus on the weakest subjects and ensure that they take additional support from experts to mitigate the weakest areas. Lastly, an absolute must is practise; no matter how well your child is prepared, it is essential they are well practised attempting past papers to build speed and confidence.

To really excel in the year 6 SAT exam, start your prep early (at least 12 months ahead), work regularly and consistently over time rather than ‘swotting’ or learning by rote. Ensure there is a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding of each topic as the expectation is to go beyond repeating from memory and to be able to infer, deduce and comprehend at a deeper level.

About Examflicks Study Programme

We believe the key to success lies not just in being tutored but in the quality of the tuition materials. Our coursework is unique as its written by our in-house experienced writers having carefully analysed various entrance exams over the past 12 years and developing a successful formula for getting the best results for our students. All our tutors are Oxford and Cambridge educated and we can boast an enviable track record of success with over 90% of children achieving a place in one of their top three chosen schools.

Examflicks is a COMPLETE, well-structured study programme for all 11+ entrance exams (including SATs) and an excellent preparation for secondary schools that stream based on core subject ability. The coursework is designed specifically to supplement classroom syllabus and cover gaps in the national curriculum. It has been tried and tested over 12 years with excellent success rate ensuring that your child has the best chance of achieving the grades required for entry into one of the top tier secondary, grammar or independent school of your choice.

It is an excellent alternative to “scheduled” classroom style learning optimised for the student 

Yes! Once the modules are completed, it is essential that your child practices mock exam papers. Mocks are not just a test of ability but also identify areas where your child may require further support. Our Oxbridge tutors work through a complete set of exam papers demonstrating exam techniques, time management and model answers to build confidence and get your child exam ready.

The programme is structured and each to follow, with short, engaging tutorials and regular progress online tests. Generally, children are taught with a video tool they are accustomed to so it’s entirely up to you. Generally, parents prefer to start the children off and then monitor the progress scores regularly, however the beauty of our programme is it’s your choice, you can decide how involved you would like to be. The test scores are monitored like a traffic light system, green indicates good understanding and well done, keep it up, amber means average but needs improvement and red indicates poor understanding so needs to be reviewed again.

Yes, we prepare for all the major boards such as UKiset, GL Assessment, ISEB and CEM.

Yes, it is essential that your child practices mock exam papers. Mocks are not just a test of ability but also identify areas where your child may require further support. Our Oxbridge tutors work through a complete set of exam papers demonstrating exam techniques, time management and model answers to build confidence and get your child exam ready.

If you cannot see a paper for your chosen school, do not worry, drop us a line with your chosen school and our expert school’s team will guide you with which papers are closest to your schools and how best you should prepare.

There is deliberately NO entrance test because this is a self-paced course and you are studying on a 1-2-1 basis. You are in control and determine the pace you follow, and the time you take to complete each session. The tutorials can be watched once, twice or however many times you need to fully understand the topics. Theend of topic tests reveal your child’s understanding and knowledge. Our recommendation is that if your child is scoring less than 65% in a test then you study the tutorials again and then repeat the tests until you are exceling above average. We highly recommend to have the best chance of getting into the school of your choice you must complete the whole course of the 3 modules, 1, 2 and 3.

If you have the time, it is advisable to go through the complete package of Modules 1, 2 and 3 to have the best chance of getting into the school of your choice. Modules 1 and 2 are the teaching tutorials covering the syllabus and Module 3 is the revision modules for re-cap and timed online tests to build momentum to build up exam practice and time management.

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