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The Kent Test (11 plus): a parents' guide for 2023

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The Kent Test: a parents' guide for 2023

Contents

Looking for clarity on the 2023 Kent Test and admissions process?

Keep reading to find out more about:

  • Which grammar schools use the Kent Test for admission

  • The format of the Kent Test, and the subjects your child will be assessed on

  • Expert guidance on how to help your child prepare

The 2023 Kent Test at a glance

  • Registration opens: June 2023

  • Registration closes: July 2023

  • Exam date: September 2023

  • Exam board type: GL Assessment

  • Results: mid-October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

  • Admissions information: Kent County Council

  • Appeals: Kent Appeals

What is the Kent Test?

The Kent Test is the 11 plus exam for entry to a grammar school in Kent. The exam board is GL Assessment, one of the biggest providers of 11 plus exams in the country. All of the grammar schools in Kent use the same 11 plus test, so your child will only need to take the test once.

If your child is applying for a grammar school within the local authority of Medway, they will need to take a separate test. Find out more information about the Medway 11 plus test here.

The test is designed to be challenging; grammar schools use it to select children working in the top 25% of the ability range in the year group.

What does the Kent Test assess?

Children taking the Kent Test will be assessed in English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

They will take two test papers. Both papers consist of multiple-choice questions; children will note their answers on a separate sheet, which are then marked electronically.

Paper 1: English and maths

Paper 1 has a time limit of one hour. There are two sections – English and maths – which each have a time limit of 30 minutes. This includes 5 minutes at the beginning of each section for practice questions, which are not marked.

  • English: the English section will involve a comprehension exercise to assess your child's reading ability. There will also be some questions designed to assess literacy skills like grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. Question types vary, but may include choosing the best words to complete a sentence, finding synonyms and antonyms, and spotting mistakes in sentences.

  • Maths: the maths test consists of a series of multiple-choice questions covering a variety of topics taught in most schools up to the start of Year 6. It's important that your child knows their times tables and has a working knowledge of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), as well as fractions, decimals, percentage, ratio, area, perimeter, and measurements. They should also be familiar with worded maths problems.

Paper 2: Reasoning

The second test also has a time limit of one hour, including practice questions and assessed questions. While both the verbal and non-verbal reasoning sections are about the same length, the non-verbal reasoning section will be split into smaller sections, which are administered and timed individually.

  • Verbal reasoning: your child will be tested on their ability to reason and solve problems with written information. Verbal reasoning covers five key areas: vocabulary, finding words, building words, codes, and sequence logic.

  • Non-verbal reasoning: this type of reasoning involves analysing visual information and solving problems using shapes, diagrams and pictures, rather than words (as you would find in verbal reasoning). Non-verbal reasoning questions fall into two main categories: interpreting shapes and manipulating shapes.

Unlike English and maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning are not taught on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. 11 plus tests often include reasoning questions to assess a child's potential.


There is a useful familiarisation booklet on the Kent council website, which gives examples of the types of questions in each exam. It also shows what the answer sheet looks like.

Writing exercise

In addition to Paper 1 and Paper 2, children taking the Kent Test will have a creative writing exercise. This isn’t formally marked and doesn’t form part of the total scores, but it may be used by a local headteacher panel in borderline cases or in an appeal. 40 minutes will be allowed for the writing task, including 10 minutes of planning time.

What is the Kent Test pass mark?

If you registered online, your child’s result will be emailed to you in the third week of October. If you did not register online, it will be sent by first class post. Your child’s primary school will also be notified of the result on this day, so you can check with them if you do not receive the letter.

Your child will get three standardised scores: one for English, one for maths and one for reasoning, as well as a total score. Grammar schools are looking for a total score of 332 or more, with no individual score lower than 109. The highest possible total score is 423.


How to register your child for the Kent Test

Applications open in the June of the year before you wish to start school, so if you want your child to start in September 2024, you will need to register in June 2023. You can name up to four secondary school preferences on your application form. Find out more about key dates and application information.

How can I help my child to prepare?

Here are some top tips on how to best prepare your child for the 2023 Kent Test.

Preparation is key: familiarisation with the question formats and known styles ahead of the exam is essential. Access to quality, unlimited practice material and mock tests ensures confidence when tackling the exam.

Vocabulary confidence: the reading comprehension element of the Kent Test will be above age-related reading level, so it is important that your child is familiar with a range of genres, authors, and purpose texts. Get free resources for engaging your child with reading.

Achieve mastery quickly: the 11 plus test assesses a huge amount of content. Atom's adaptive algorithm creates your child's personalised learning journey specific to your target schools, with over 90,000 expert, teacher-created resources to support your child to fully master each topic.

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Access to instant support: learners need clarification to address any misconceptions and become truly secure in their understanding of a topic. Access to videos, help sheets and engaging examples for each question builds confidence and competence in all areas covered in the exam.

Engage with their progress: celebrate their improvements in their areas of challenge together! An accurate, ongoing assessment of your child’s strengths and development areas is instrumental for preparing efficiently. Atom's Parent Portal gives you data-driven insights into your child’s areas of strength and development.

All-in-one platform for 11 plus prep

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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 grammar school exams.

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.

Online Kent Test Practice Papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers tailored to the Kent 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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Begin your child's journey to a Kent grammar school today. Use the full features of Atom Nucleus free for 5 days – cancel anytime.

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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:

Book a call with an Education Expert

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. Book a call to discuss any questions you have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to a grammar school.

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Join our WhatsApp groups

Why not join over 2,000 parents already using our Atom Learning community WhatsApp groups? You’ll get access to free resources and advice, while our Education Experts will be on hand to provide instant answers to any questions you have about the school admissions process and your child’s exams.

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