Are you as smart as an eleven year old? That’s the question Explore Learning has been asking Families readers across the country. The leading extra tuition provider quizzed more than 5,600 parents to see how they fared with the types of questions that thousands of primary school pupils face every year in their 11 Plus exams. Just over one in ten (16%) parents scored a confident 100% whilst a quarter (25%) of parents failed to achieve even 50% – a testament to the level of ability and skill that is required to pass the challenging entrance exams.

11 Plus style exams cover a range of styles of questioning including verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and literacy skills. There are various formats across the country including CEM, The Kent Test, GL, Bond and the Essex Consortium. 

Numerical reasoning was by far the most challenging topic for the quizzed parents with 68% failing to identify an illustrated angle.  All other questions were answered correctly at least 75% of the time, however less than a third (32%) of parents answered this problem correctly. Shapes were the next biggest failure, whilst a higher 67% were able to solve a cuboid challenge this was still a significantly lower success rate than all the other problems.

Carey Ann Dodah, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “These results show that picking up some of the 11 Plus style questions requires practice and that parents may need support in understanding what comes up in these exams – particularly the numerical reasoning questions! Preparing children for the 11 Plus can be a tricky time for parents who are unsure about where to turn to for help. We have open sessions with parents to give guidance on how to support children with the exams and show them what they can do at home. With maths we often find with a little guidance on method parents as well as members are much more confident! ”

Explore Learning run a comprehensive 11 Plus and Entrance Exam course for children.  Sessions that take place once a week focus on improving verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills as well as numeracy and literacy that comes as standard in all Explore Learning classes. Tutors take a relaxed approach where each lesson includes activities to boost confidence and eliminate anxiety.  More than 2,500 children aged 9 to 11 attend each week and between May 2015  and May 2016 there was a 23% increase in children attending.

Explore Learning courses in 11 Plus and Entrance Exam preparation give children the opportunity to become confident in a range of verbal, non-verbal reasoning, maths and English methods.  For more information visit Explore Learning.


About The Research


The Explore Learning 11 Plus quiz was conducted in partnership with Families Families Online 5,646 parents completed the quiz in January 2017 via the publication’s website.


About Explore Learning


  • Explore Learning provides maths and English tuition to children aged five to 14
  • Over 35,000 children attend Explore Learning each week.  They have 124 centres across the UK
  • All courses are aligned to the National Curriculum and the Curriculum for Excellence and Explore Learning tutors select appropriate resources for each child to ensure they cover  combination of courses, enabling them to reach their potential in all areas
  • All Explore Learning centres are located in areas that are convenient for families to attend, for example within shopping centres such as Westfield London, Lakeside, Bristol Cabot Circus and a number of Sainsbury’s supermarkets
  • Explore Learning were named the best Private Tuition Centre Operator in the Education Investor Awards 2014, 2015 and 2016, the 57th best company to work for by The Sunday Times 2016, a One to Watch in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, a finalist in the European Business Awards and were recently named the 14th Best Place to Work For by GlassDoor.

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