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The Medway Test (11+) guide

By Atom | Feb 7, 2024, 4:10 PM

Medway Grammar Schools 11 plus

Are you considering a grammar school in Medway for your child? We’ve collated everything you need to know about admissions in 2024–2025. Keep reading to:

  • Find out more about grammar schools in Medway

  • Learn about the Medway Test – the local 11 plus exam

  • Discover which subjects your child will be tested on

  • Plus, get exclusive resources to help your child prepare!

Which schools use the Medway Test?

Chatham Grammar School, Fort Pitt Grammar School and Holcombe Grammar School are currently single-sex. They may become mixed from September 2025 onwards under plans put forward by Medway Council. The proposed changes would result in a more equal split of boys' and girls' grammar school places in the area. This process is still in consultation.

Dates for your diary

  • Monday 20th May 2024: test registration opens on the Medway Council website

  • Friday 14th June 2024: test registration closes

  • Monday 2nd September 2024: Medway Council opens secondary school applications at 9am

  • Tuesday 17th–Wednesday 18th September 2024: Medway Test takes place at Medway primary/junior schools

  • Saturday 21st–Sunday 22nd September 2024: Medway Test takes place at test centres

  • Tuesday 8th October 2024: Medway Test results released to parents

  • Thursday 31st October 2024: secondary school applications close at 5pm

  • Monday 3rd March 2025: secondary school national offers day

  • Friday 28th March 2025: closing date for appeal requests

Dates can vary, so always check with your target schools!

What is the Medway Test?

The Medway Test is an 11 plus exam used by grammar schools in the Medway area of Kent. All six grammar schools within the Medway Council authority area use the Medway Test. This means that your child will only need to take the test once, regardless of how many grammar schools in Medway they're applying to.

The Medway Test takes place in September in Year 6. If your child goes to a Medway primary school, they will likely take the test at their own school on a school day. Alternatively, your child will be allocated a test centre, which will be a local school in Medway, and they will take the exam at the weekend.

Note that if your child is applying for a grammar school within the Kent authority area, Bexley or Bromley, they will take a separate exam. Find out more information about these exams:

What's on the Medway Test?

The Medway Test has been changed for children taking the exam for entry to a grammar school in 2025. The test, which will take place in September 2024, will consist of three papers:

  • English

  • Maths

  • Reasoning

This replaces the previous exam, which consisted of a writing test, a maths and non-verbal reasoning test, and a verbal reasoning test. These changes have been designed following a review of testing by Medway Council in cooperation with the grammar schools, and to create a fairer assessment of children's abilities.


11 plus English exams assess the knowledge and skills children have learnt following the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. Most 11 plus exams include a reading comprehension exercise, where children need to show their understanding of a passage of text. Many tests also include questions which assess vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Children who read regularly and widely tend to perform well in 11 plus English exams. Engaging with a wide range of reading material helps improve skills in analysis, vocabulary, inference, comprehension, and imagination.


11 plus maths exams test the content your child will have learned in their Key Stage 2 maths lessons. Your child should be comfortable with their times tables, and have an age-appropriate knowledge of:

  • the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)

  • fractions and decimals

  • percentages and ratio

  • geometry, including area, perimeter and measurements

The questions might be more difficult than your child is used to. This is so that they can demonstrate the skills they have already learned to solve different kinds of problems.


Reasoning is usually divided into two different types: verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

Both types of reasoning involve analysing information and using logic to solve problems. Verbal reasoning focuses on written information – such as letters, words, numbers and symbols. Non-verbal reasoning involves using visual information, like shapes, pictures and diagrams.

Verbal and non-verbal reasoning aren't taught on the primary school curriculum. Lots of grammar schools include reasoning tests in their 11 plus exam to look at potential, rather than learned knowledge.

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11 plus maths practice paper

How is the Medway Test scored?

First, each paper is marked to provide a 'raw' score. This is the sum of your child's marks for correct answers.

Next, each raw score is age-standardised based on your child's age in years and months at the time of taking the test. This is to ensure that younger children aren't disadvantaged. There will be three standardised scores: one for the English test, one for the maths test, and one for the reasoning test.

Finally, these age-standardised scores are converted into a total 'weighted' score. The formula for creating this weighted score is:

Standardised English score x 2, plus the standardised maths score x 2, plus the standardised reasoning score x 1.

What's the pass mark for the Medway Test?

The pass mark can only be calculated once the tests have been marked and the weighted scores ranked. It varies each year depending on the size and performance of the year group.

In previous years, the pass mark was set at the 23rd percentile. This means that after all the weighted scores were ranked in order, the children within the top 23% of weighted scores were eligible for a place at a Medway grammar school. Up to a further 2% (i.e. to the 25th percentile) could be selected through a review process.

For Year 7 entry in 2025 and beyond, the minimum score will be set at the 25th percentile (e.g. the children whose weighted scores place them within the top 25% of the cohort). However, if Chatham Grammar, Fort Pitt Grammar School and Holcombe Grammar School become co-educational (mixed gender) for September 2025 entry, the minimum score will be set at the 26th percentile.

These were the lowest scores at which a child was considered for a Medway grammar school place in recent years:

Lowest total weighted score: 488

Achieving the minimum score doesn't guarantee a place at the school of your choice. Grammar schools are a popular choice for parents and are often oversubscribed with children who meet the minimum score. We recommend looking at the admissions policies for your target school to see exactly how the process works.

How to apply to Medway grammar schools

If you're considering a Medway grammar school for your child, it's a good idea to speak to your child's teacher first. Grammar schools are academically-selective and select children working towards the top of their year group. Your child's teacher will be able to indicate whether they think your child will be able to keep up with the pace in a grammar school.

1. Register for the Medway Test

Registration for the Medway Test opens on the Medway Council website on Monday 20th May 2024 and closes on Friday 14th June 2024.

After you've registered your child, you'll receive a test invitation. This will tell you where and when your child is due to sit the test. This will either be at their primary school or at a testing centre.

Children taking the Medway Test at their primary school will sit the test on Tuesday 17th September or Wednesday 18th September 2024. If your child is allocated a place at a testing centre, they will take the test on either Saturday 21st or Sunday 22nd September 2024. The testing centres are:

  • Chatham Grammar School

  • Fort Pitt Grammar School

  • Holcombe Grammar School

  • Leigh Academy Rainham

  • Parkwood Primary School

  • Rainham Mark Grammar School

  • Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School

  • The Hundred of Hoo Academy

  • The Rochester Grammar School

If you are considering grammar schools outside Medway, remember to register for their exams too.

2. Apply for school places

You will be sent your child's results on Tuesday 8th October 2024.

You can use the results to decide which schools to include on your secondary school common application form. Before listing a school on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 5pm on Tuesday 31st October 2024.

3. National school offer day

On 3rd March 2025, you will find out which school your child has been allocated a place at. They will be allocated a place at your highest-preferred school for which they meet the entry criteria and which has places available.

If no places are available at your preferred schools, they will be offered a place at another school in your area. You can appeal the decision via an independent panel.

How can I help my child prepare for the Medway Test?

The Medway Test is designed to be challenging. Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the exam in September 2024.

Bitesize learning

It’s important to build a good knowledge base before the 11 plus. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when learning is key – our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. For children aged 10–11, child psychologists recommend regular study sessions of 20–30 minutes.

Atom Home makes learning a more enjoyable process for your child. They'll explore exciting worlds full of interactive questions, earning coins to spend in the Atom shop. Atom adapts to your child, showing them questions at just the right level of difficulty to keep them motivated.

A maths learning journey on Atom Home

Read widely

11 plus exams test your child’s ability to analyse and interpret written information. Regular reading is a great way to help your child build these skills.

Encourage them to read books from different genres and by a diverse range of authors. Increasing the variety of your child’s reading will help them understand different styles, tones and purposes. Meanwhile, reading a little every day will help widen their vocabulary, sharpen their analytical thinking, and enhance their imagination.

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.

Practice tests can help your child develop problem-solving skills and build confidence working under test conditions. They’re also a great way to consolidate learning and highlight knowledge gaps for further improvement.

With Atom Home, you'll unlock online mock tests and printable practice papers. Enjoy automatic marking and progress tracking with the online tests, and help your child get familiar with the real exam experience with printable practice papers.

A Medway Test reasoning question on an Atom Home mock test

Celebrate progress

Setting regular, achievable goals and celebrating your child’s progress – no matter how big or small – will help keep their motivation high.

Make sure to encourage a growth mindset. This means celebrating effort, as well as achievement! When your child makes mistakes or struggles to understand a particular topic, help them understand that they’ll improve through practice. Regular praise will help your child improve their resilience when tackling new and challenging topics.

Tailored preparation for the Medway Test

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the Medway Test? You can. Atom Home has everything you need to get prepared, in one package.

You don't need a tutor to get into your top-choice grammar school. You just need Atom. We’ll create a tailored plan for your child and support them along their fun revision journey.

  • Online and printable 11 plus practice papers

  • 90,000+ adaptive questions

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Navigate the Medway Test with confidence.

Start your free trial today. Our local admissions specialists will get to work on your child’s plan. Relax, Medway Test prep is sorted.

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Georgie's weekly exam prep plan on Atom Home

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