If your child is preparing for secondary school entrance exams, you may have heard conflicting information about whether there will be a creative writing task. Read on to find out exactly:
What to expect from 11 plus creative writing exams
How to help your child prepare
Which schools will require your child to do a creative writing test
11 plus applicants may need to complete a creative writing task as part of the exam. The task could be to write an original short story or continue a story from a given text.
The main 11 plus exam boards (GL, CEM and ISEB) do not include creative writing tasks in their tests. If a grammar school entrance exam includes a creative writing element, it has likely been set by the school itself. Most grammar schools will only assess the creative writing task in 'borderline cases' (such as when deciding between two candidates who achieved the same score in the main exam papers).
When it comes to independent senior schools, most will require candidates to write an essay or creative writing piece as part of their entrance exams.
The 11 plus creative writing task will need to be completed in a short time frame. Pupils will need to draft, write and review their work in well under an hour (dependent on the school's exam format).
In most creative writing exams, your child will be given an imaginary scenario and 30–45 minutes to write about it. Here are some examples of creative writing topics your child might be asked to write about in the exam:
The natural world, e.g. Imagine you are on a desert island
Activities, e.g. Describe a hobby you like doing
Animals, e.g. What animal are you frightened of and why? or What animal would you most like to be?
Emotions, e.g. Imagine you are lost in a forest or Imagine you just got the best news ever
Practice using the framework to write about some of the topics from the list.
In this article, we share the story-writing framework that will support your child to confidently complete the creative writing paper in an exam.
Your child will learn:
How to write brilliant beginnings
How to create captivating characters
How to write excellent endings
Techniques for planning and structuring their story within the time constraints of the exam
Features of fiction the examiners will be looking out for
These skills will be useful for writing exams or simply writing for fun! Your child will learn how to:
Withhold information from the reader to build tension
Use effective descriptions to lengthen the moment
Make the climax of the story as momentous as possible
Join Atom's email list and get a free set of fun fiction and non-fiction writing prompts which you can use to help your child hone their creative writing skills. Download your 11 plus creative writing pdf here:
Great readers make great writers! Getting familiar with the features of prose fiction across a range of genres, time periods and settings will help inspire your child when it comes to writing their own pieces.
Here are Atom’s top picks:
Check out five ways to engage your child with reading here.
Speaking of brilliant beginnings, if you’re looking for inspiration, try this quiz with your child and see if you can match the first line to the book. We've mixed up the first lines from nine classic novels. Watch out – one of the books is a decoy!
If you have an Atom Nucleus subscription, you have access to lots of fun and interactive lessons for your child on a range of 11 plus creative writing techniques! Check them out in your Lesson Library today.
If you haven't yet subscribed, you can get a free taster selection of six creative writing and comprehension lessons! Simply join Atom's mailing list to unlock your free lessons.
11+ Past Paper
See our complete guide to grammar schools in Essex
For children applying to the 11 plus in Essex, they will need to show that they can use literary features for effect. They will need to write 6–7 sentences about two given topics. Both writing pieces share a mark out of 15.
See our complete guide to grammar schools in Kent
The creative writing task in the Kent Test is 40 minutes, including ten minutes for planning. This test is not formally marked but it may be used by local headteachers in borderline cases or appeals.
See our complete guide to grammar schools in Barnet
The Henrietta Barnett School includes a 'Round 2' 11 plus test, written by the school, where pupils are assessed on their English and maths skills. This test will include an element of creative or extended writing.
See our complete guide to grammar schools in Bromley
St Olave's Grammar School includes a 'Round 2' 11 plus test, written by the school. In the English test, candidates will have a creative writing task. They will need to write between two paragraphs and one side of A4 paper.
See our complete guide to grammar schools in Kingston-upon-Thames
The grammar schools in Kingston-upon-Thames have 'longer writing' tasks as part of their 'Stage 2' 11 plus tests. These are set and marked by the individual schools.
Tiffin Boys' School
Tiffin Girls' School
See our complete guide to grammar schools in Sutton
The following grammar schools in Sutton share a 'Selective Eligibility Test'. This is a second stage 11 plus test, set by the schools. It includes an extended writing task that will be between 40 minutes and one hour (school-dependent).
Nonsuch High School (girls)
See our complete guide to grammar schools in Medway
The 11 plus exam for the Medway grammar schools includes an extended writing section. Children will have an extract and a writing prompt. They must showcase their knowledge of the writing features expected from a Year 6 pupil.
Chatham Grammar School (girls)
Fort Pitt Grammar School (girls)
Holcombe Grammar School (boys)
Rainham Mark Grammar School (mixed)
Rochester Grammar School (girls)
St Anselm's College includes a 30-minute writing task as part of its 11 plus exam. The task includes prompts and five to ten minutes for planning.
If you have any questions about preparing for grammar or independent school entrance exams, our team of Education Experts is here to help you!
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