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Essex CSSE 11 plus: 2024 entry guide

By Atom | Jun 29, 2023, 9:09 AM

The 11 plus in Essex

The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE) 11 plus exam is used to decide whether a child will be granted admission to one of ten grammar schools in Essex.

Do you have questions about the Essex 11 plus process for entry in September 2024? In this article you will find:

  • Accurate, up-to-date breakdown of the test content

  • Frequently asked questions, answered

  • Expert guidance on how best to prepare your child

We have everything you need to know here in one place to ensure you and your child are fully prepared!

Key information about the CSSE 11 plus

  • Registration opens: Tuesday 16th May 2023

  • Registration closes: 30th June 2023

  • Exam date: Saturday 23rd September 2023

  • Out-of-borough exam date: usually within a week of the initial test date

  • Exam board type: CSSE own papers

  • Results posted: 16th October 2023

  • Local Authority Common Application Form (CAF) deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

  • Admissions information: Essex Council, 0845 603 2200, [email protected]

  • Consortium information: [email protected], 01245 348257

  • Appeals: undertaken by an independent appeal panel established for that school

What is covered in the CSSE 11 plus?

The CSSE 11 plus test is a paper-based exam taken by pupils in Year 6 who wish to attend one of the ten grammar schools in Essex listed above.

Children take two written papers, both of which are created by the CSSE Consortium. The papers are designed to assess Key Stage 2 English and maths skills and challenge the depth and security of pupils' knowledge.

English test

The English paper consists of two sections. In the first section, children will be given 10 minutes to read an extract of text (this could be fiction, non-fiction or poetry), after which they will answer questions to demonstrate their understanding. Past tests have also included a selection of verbal reasoning questions, such as identifying synonyms and antonyms or rearranging jumbled sentences.

The second section is a continuous writing task (commonly known as 'creative writing') based on a prompt. Children will be assessed on the originality of their ideas, the accuracy of their vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and grammar, and the use of appropriately varied structure.

The English test has a total time limit of one hour.

CSSE practice test on Atom Nucleus

Maths test

The maths paper covers the national curriculum content for Key Stage 2 maths and consists of a mixture of questions to test arithmetic, reasoning and problem-solving skills. The key topics covered in the test are number and place value, operations, fractions (including decimals and percentages), ratio and proportions, measurement, geometry and simple statistics.

The maths test also has a total time limit of one hour. Children are not allowed to use calculators.

What is the pass mark for the CSSE 11 plus?

The scores for each paper are standardised and 'weighted' (each paper is worth 50% of the total marks). The results of all candidates are then analysed by date of birth to work out if an age-adjustment is required.

The pass mark may vary each year depending on the success rate of the previous cohort. If a year group finds the questions exceptionally challenging, the pass mark may be lower than it was the previous year. The test is designed to be academically challenging; there has previously been a minimum score of 303 for entry into all 10 grammar schools in Essex. The suggested average standardised score for both papers is 300, which highlights the need to exceed the ‘average’ score.

However, it's worth checking the admissions policy for your child's target school. Many schools are more likely to give a place to a pupil with a lower score within their priority zone or catchment area than a child with a slightly higher score who lives beyond the priority zone.

When should I begin preparing my child for the CSSE 11 plus?

To give your child enough time to securely master all the content needed for the 11 plus, a good time to begin preparing is the summer term of Year 4 or in the autumn term of Year 5. This will allow your child to become confident and familiar with the testing process and styles of questions they will encounter.

The CSSE 11 plus is designed to be academically challenging for children who are working above age-related expectations. If your child is not yet exceeding age-related expectations, it is helpful to start earlier and build their understanding of the Key Stage 2 core curriculum, before progressing onto exam preparation.

How can I help my child prepare for the CSSE 11 plus?

No surprises: make sure your child is familiar with all styles of questions they will experience in the test. This reduces the potential for panic on the day and will give them the confidence to answer the questions to the best of their ability.

You will also be able to download familiarisation papers from the CSSE website from Easter 2023.

Develop their vocabulary: the English paper will test your child's depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge, which may include the names of unusual objects or descriptions. Reading for pleasure is a great way to support your child's development in these areas.

Tailor their learning journey: setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help your child progress efficiently. With Atom Nucleus, you'll get data-driven insights into your child’s progress. Our adaptive algorithm tailors their learning journey and makes it easy to see where they need to focus next.

See how Atom Nucleus works

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All-in-one platform for 11 plus prep

Atom Nucleus

Wondering how to make sure your child covers the depth and breadth of the entire 11 plus curriculum, stays on track with their progress, and gets help when they're stuck? Online learning is a particularly efficient, cost-effective (and fun) way to do this!

Atom Nucleus is an online learning platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for the 11 plus exam.

Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Teacher-created helpsheets and videos help them discover new concepts and consolidate their learning.

Atom's algorithm keeps children on their ideal learning path, tailored to their unique learning style and pace to keep them challenged and motivated.

CSSE 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers tailored to the CSSE 11 plus test. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of real 11 plus questions, so your child will go into the exam knowing exactly what to expect.

And what's more, everything is automatically marked for you.

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Get personalised support with 11 plus entry

We know how keen you are for your child to do well in the 11 plus, to give them every chance of securing a place at their school of choice. Our dedicated team of Education Experts are on hand to support you and your family every step of the way:

Get in touch

Confused about applying to grammar schools, and not sure what you or your child needs to do? Atom’s friendly and informative Education Experts are on hand to support you and your child every step of the way. Drop us an email with any questions you have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to a grammar school.

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