July 26, 2021

11 Plus GL Syllabus Explained

Pupils typically take the 11 Plus GL exams at the age of eleven and the end of their sixth year in school - these pupils are looking to get into a Grammar school. The 11 Plus GL syllabus consists of four subjects: Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning, Maths, and English. Down below, you’ll find some detailed information regarding the 11 Plus syllabus, what it entails as well as what you can expect from the exams.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is a type of problem-solving that is centred around language and words. This means students will need to consider language, utilizing given instructions to come to a solution, spotting letter sequences, and cracking codes based on letter- and numerical codes. Tests on verbal reasoning are set out to test a student’s ability to use logic and words to reason and is a test that focuses more on skill than knowledge. The 11 Plus GL Verbal Reasoning exam typically consists of twenty-one different verbal reasoning questions, plus odd questions. The most important thing to focus on when preparing for these exams is vocabulary, seeing as over 50% of mistakes made by students were made with the vocabulary questions.

Non-verbal Reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning requires students to utilize their ability to use visual minds and spot and understand visual questions and solve the problem stated therein. Topics covered by non-verbal reasoning include identifying relationships between information, differences, and similarities in patterns, shapes, and memory tests when given visual sequences. One of the most frequently used tests by schools is the GL non-verbal reasoning exam, so preparing for the test adequately and practicing one’s memory and perception skills can be of great benefit. There are commonly ten various types of questions associated with the GL non-verbal reasoning test but thankfully are not very complicated to understand. By spending time and focus on familiarisation as well as tests that are set to help the student understand the topic from start to finish, high levels of success have been reported. After a clear comprehension has been established, students can focus more on their speed when completing tests and their accuracy, rather than staying on the topic too long. 


Students have been found to be much more comfortable with this subject because they find it familiar. The 11 Plus GL Maths Syllabus typically contains algebra, decimals, uncomplicated ratios, and fractions. Students who do well with Maths in school have been found to understand the 11 Plus GL Maths syllabus easy to understand, seeing as the tests used are well-known and have been used for many years. As mentioned with non-verbal reasoning, accuracy and speed are a must for students when taking the 11 Plus GL Maths test and in-depth knowledge of the subject and the content. Other topics covered in the syllabus also include the following:

  • Radius
  • Factors
  • Times tables
  • Square numbers
  • Tally charts
  • Diameters
  • Parameters
  • Prime numbers
  • Long division

Mistakes mostly made involve leaving learning too soon in order to focus on testing - a student cannot be adequately tested before having a clear comprehension of the topics and so should be thoroughly tutored on the subject before testing is initiated. One topic that loads of time should be spent on would be times tables and four operations - students should be fluent in these areas before beginning testing exercises. 


The 11 Plus GL English exam mainly contains compound words, full stops, spotting odd words in sentences, writing essays, using capital letters when writing, reading through a comprehension passage, and answering questions thereon afterward. The student’s vocabulary should also be focused on before taking the test, as vocabulary is one of the pillars on which the test is set upon. The comprehension test mentioned earlier will mainly consist of about ten questions that are solely based on the text and what happened therein, followed by a few questions that have to do with vocabulary. 11 Plus GL English tests are typically fifty minutes long, giving students ample time to answer every question diligently. But, students should also not see the time as an opportunity to slow down their pace because some areas in the test can take longer to answer than others. Topics covered in the 11 Plus GL English Syllabus include the following:

  • Suffixes
  • Prefixes
  • Determiners
  • Adjectives
  • Similes
  • Time Connectives
  • Prepositions
  • Relative Clauses
  • Metaphors
  • Subordinate Clauses
  • Powerful Verbs
  • Personification

Reading is also a vital skill to have in one’s artillery when writing 11 Plus GL English Exams. Students who read with greater speed and fluency have been found to fare much better in their tests than others. 


Spelling is essential when writing an 11 Plus GL English Exam. Students should spend enough time practicing words they know they especially have trouble with when spelling them correctly. Commonly misspelled words in the 11 Plus GL English Syllabus include the following:

  • Loneliness
  • Guarantee
  • Persevere
  • Receive
  • Scissors
  • Weird
  • Yacht
  • Nuisance
  • Phenomenon
  • Fluorescent
  • Exhilarate
  • Surprise
  • Business

An exercise that has been found to be effective is having your child make lists like the one above with words you have noticed they struggle to spell correctly - revisiting this list ever so often and rewriting it has been found to improve students spelling immensely and help them get rid of bad habits when spelling.


Helping your child with creative writing by using effective techniques can give them the boost they need in order to write excellent essays. Topics can differ from each test, but giving your child common topics to practice with can help them improve their vocabulary and the ability to describe situations properly. 

Even though the 11 Plus GL Syllabus is vast and covers a wide variety of topics, allowing your child to work through everything diligently should equip them with the skills to ace every test and understand the work thoroughly. Practice is also crucial when it comes to the syllabus, so be sure to set enough time aside for your child to practice everything they’ve learned, thereby solidifying their knowledge of each subject.


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