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Cheltenham Ladies' College: 11 plus entry guide

By Atom | Nov 28, 2023, 3:14 PM

Cheltenham Ladies' College, Gloucestershire

Considering Cheltenham Ladies’ College for your child? We’ve collated everything you need to know about 11+ entry. Find out how to apply, what’s on the exam, and get top tips to help your child prepare.

About Cheltenham Ladies’ College

Cheltenham Ladies' College (CLC) is an independent school in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It provides day and boarding education for girls aged 11–18. The school has been at the forefront of girls' education for nearly 170 years.

Around 80% of students board at the school, benefitting from a vibrant and diverse community. Boarding houses offer comfortable living and are designed to be a home-from-home. Students enjoy an impressive sports and co-curricular programme, with 160 activities on offer.

Students at CLC achieve outstanding exam results and go on to study at the world's top universities. In 2022, CLC was named the top boarding school in the country for the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB). It was also ranked first out of all schools in the southwest.

  • Address: Bayshill Road, Cheltenham, GL50 3EP

  • County: Gloucestershire

  • Type of school: independent boarding

  • Age range and gender: 11–18, girls only

  • Number of pupils: 870

  • Admissions contact: [email protected]

  • 11+ registration deadline: 1st August before Year 6

  • 11+ assessment date: October in Year 6

Cheltenham Ladies’ College admissions

Cheltenham Ladies’ College welcomes new students at 11+, 13+ and 16+ entry. 11+ entry to Year 7 is the main intake, with 160 new girls joining each year. 80% of children board at the school, with the remaining 20% attending as day students.

Cheltenham Ladies’ College is a selective school, so children need to pass entrance assessments to be offered a place. The school values children who can demonstrate potential and who have a positive attitude to learning.

Cheltenham Ladies’ College bursaries and scholarships

Bursaries and scholarships are available at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Bursaries, known at the school as Beale Awards, are means-tested and offer fully or partially-funded boarding or day places. Beale Award families also receive support with the costs of uniform and co-curricular activities.

Children applying for 11+, 13+ or 16+ entry can apply for a scholarship. Scholarships recognise talent in a particular subject and do not carry financial value. CLC offers academic, art, music, organ, and sport scholarships.

Cheltenham Ladies’ College 11+ exam

The Cheltenham Ladies’ College 11+ exam takes place in October when your daughter is in Year 6. The assessment day includes group discussions, activities, and written and online tests.

Take a look at the format of the exam below. Subject guides and extra resources are included at the end of this article.


The English exam is a written paper with a time limit of 1 hour and 15 minutes. The first 10 minutes should be spent reading the paper carefully.

There are two sections in the paper:

  • Section A: a reading comprehension task. Children will be provided with a piece of text which they will need to read and answer questions to demonstrate their understanding.

  • Section B: a creative writing task with at least two prompts to choose from. Marks will be awarded for creativity and structure, and the accuracy of spelling, punctuation and grammar.


The maths test is non-calculator. Your child will be tested on their understanding of Key Stage 2 maths. They should be confident with the following terms: sum, difference, product, multiple, factor, prime, square, even, and odd.

There will also be a timed mental maths section at the beginning of the exam.

Verbal reasoning

Your child will also have an online verbal reasoning test from Atom Assessments. This is an adaptive test, so the questions will become more difficult depending on how your child is performing.

Verbal reasoning assesses how well your child can think, communicate, and solve problems using written information. They will need to apply logic to solve problems. Verbal reasoning isn't taught on the school curriculum, so most children will be unfamiliar with these types of questions.

Atom Assessments

Verbal reasoning practice test

Have a go at some example questions from an Atom Assessments 11+ verbal reasoning test.

Let's go!
Atom Assessments

How to prepare for the 11+

Cheltenham Ladies' College is a high-performing school, and entry is competitive. Here are our top tips for how to help your child prepare for 11 plus entry.

Build foundational knowledge

It can be tempting to jump straight into practice papers to prepare for school exams. However, this is not an effective way to learn and can cause children to feel demotivated.

Your child should have a good understanding of the Key Stage 2 curriculum before using practice papers. It's important to learn using a 'little and often' approach by setting regular bitesize practice sessions. This is the most successful way for our brains to encode new information. As a guide, experts recommend that study sessions for ages 10–11 shouldn't exceed 30 minutes.

Read widely

Reading is an important skill for life. It also helps improve lots of skills tested in 11+ exams, such as comprehension, analysis, inference, imagination and vocabulary.

Encourage your child to read regularly and widely. Reading books from different genres and by a diverse range of authors will help them understand different styles, tones and purposes. It can also be useful to keep a vocabulary log. As your child reads, they should add new words and their meanings to their log to help expand their vocabulary and improve their spelling.

Looking for reading inspiration? Check out our Key Stage 2 reading list.

Refine exam technique

When your child feels confident with the topics they’ve learnt in Year 5, they’ll be ready to put their knowledge to the test. We recommend starting with one mock test per month in Year 5. They can build up to two per month over the course of the year, and one per week in the months before the exam.

Mock tests help your child build confidence working under test conditions. With practice, they’ll be able to work through questions quickly and efficiently. They’re also a great way to consolidate learning and highlight knowledge gaps for improvement.

Celebrate progress

Celebrating your child’s progress – no matter how big or small – will help keep their motivation high.

It’s also important to help your child develop a growth mindset. This means making sure to celebrate effort, as well as achievement. When they make mistakes or struggle to understand a particular topic, help them understand that they have the ability to improve through practice. Regular praise will help them build resilience for tackling new and challenging topics.

Encourage curiosity

Studies show that the most curious children tend to perform better in academic tests. You can support your child’s broader learning by encouraging them to ask questions and show an interest in the wider world.

Have open conversations with your child and ask them for their viewpoints. Help inspire an interest in current affairs with child-friendly journalism, such as Newsround and The Week Junior. It’s also a good idea to make sure your child is benefitting from a rich variety of experiences, such as visiting museums, exhibitions and galleries.

11+ exam resources

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