Back to blog

The Kent Test (11+) guide

By Atom | Feb 15, 2024, 4:28 PM

The Kent Test (11 plus)

Are you considering a grammar school in Kent 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 Kent

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

  • Discover which subjects your child will be tested on

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

In the video below, Hannah from Atom Learning gives a walkthrough of the Kent Test.

Dates for your diary

  • Monday 3rd June 2024: Kent Test registration opens

  • Monday 1st July 2024: Kent Test registration closes

  • Monday 2nd September 2024: Kent County Council opens secondary school applications

  • Thursday 12th September 2024: Kent Test date for children in Kent primary schools

  • Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th September 2024: Kent Test date for children not in Kent primary schools

  • Thursday 17th October 2024: Kent Test results sent to parents

  • Thursday 31st October 2024: secondary school common application deadline

  • Monday 3rd March 2025: national school offers day

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

What is the Kent Test?

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

The test papers are provided by GL Assessment. The test is designed to be challenging; grammar schools use it to select children working in the top 25% of their year group. In 2023, more than 17,000 children sat the Kent Test for 5,801 available places.

The Kent Test takes place in September in Year 6. If your child goes to a Kent primary school, they will likely take the test at their own school on a school day. If your child goes to a primary school outside of Kent, they might be invited to take the test at a Kent grammar school at the weekend.

Note that if your child is applying for a grammar school in Medway or the London Boroughs of Bexley and Bromley, they will take a separate exam. Find out more information about these exams:

What's on the Kent Test?

The Kent Test consists of two multiple-choice papers, each with a one-hour time limit. Children mark their answers on separate answer sheets, which are marked electronically.

Your child will also have a short writing task.

Paper 1: English and maths

Paper 1 is split into a 30-minute English section and a 30-minute maths section. Each section starts with a 5-minute practice exercise. This isn't marked, but is used to help your child get familiar with the types of questions. The practice exercise is then followed by a 25-minute test.

The English section consists of a reading comprehension exercise. There are also some questions which assess skills such as grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. Question types vary, but might include things like:

  • choosing the best words to complete a sentence

  • finding synonyms and antonyms

  • spotting mistakes in sentences

In the maths section, your child will be tested on the topics they have learnt in school up to the start of Year 6. 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.

Paper 2: Reasoning

Paper 2 tests verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and spatial reasoning. These subjects are not taught at primary school. Many 11+ exams include these types of questions to assess a child's potential, rather than learned knowledge.

  • Verbal reasoning is a test of how well you can think and solve problems using written information. This includes letters, words, symbols and numbers. For example, your child might need to look at the relationship between numbers to predict the next number in a sequence.

  • Non-verbal reasoning tests how well you can think and solve problems using visual information, such as shapes, diagrams and pictures. Your child will need to look at the similarities and differences of shapes, and identify changes between shapes in a sequence.

  • Spatial reasoning is similar to non-verbal reasoning. However, this measures how well you can manipulate shapes and space in your head.

The verbal reasoning section lasts 30 minutes. This includes a 10-minute unmarked practice exercise and a 20-minute test.

The non-verbal reasoning and spatial reasoning section lasts 30 minutes. However, this is divided into shorter individually-timed tests. Each one starts with an untimed practice session, which your child will go through with the invigilator. Each of the smaller sections then takes 4–5 minutes to complete.

Writing exercise

All children who take the Kent Test will also have a creative writing exercise. This is only marked if a headteacher panel needs to use it for a borderline case or an appeal.

The creative writing exercise lasts 40 minutes. This includes 10 minutes of planning time.

Free Kent Test prep

Kent Test master course

Help your child prepare for the Kent Test with a free 3-week course!

Get three Kent Test practice papers, marking guidance, and video lessons emailed straight to your inbox.

Start Week 1 today!
Verbal reasoning paper

What is the Kent Test pass mark?

The results of the Kent Test are released to parents and guardians in mid-October in Year 6, usually just before half-term.

If you registered online, your child's result will be emailed to you. If you registered on paper, your child's result will be sent by first-class post. Your child's primary school will also receive your child's result, so you can check with them if you do not receive the letter.

On results day, you'll get 3 standardised scores: one for English, one for maths, and one for reasoning. You'll also get a total (aggregate) score.

To pass the exam, your child will need a total score of 332 or more and no single score lower than 107. The test scores range from 69 to 141. The highest possible total score is 423.

Remember – if your child receives a qualifying score in the Kent Test, this does not guarantee them a place at a Kent grammar school. It means that they can be considered for any Kent grammar school you name on the Common Application Form (CAF).

How to register your child for the Kent Test

If you would like your child to be considered for a place at a Kent grammar school, you will need to register them to take the Kent Test.

The application window for the 2024 exam opens on Monday 3rd June 2024 and closes on Monday 1st July 2024. More information about registering your child is available on the Kent County Council website.

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

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

Build foundational knowledge

It can be tempting to jump straight into practice papers to prepare for 11+ 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 Year 6 content before testing their knowledge with practice papers. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when recapping content is key, as our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. Experts recommend study sessions should last no longer than 30 minutes for children aged 10–11.

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's adaptive algorithm fits 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

In the English and verbal reasoning sections, your child will need to analyse and interpret written information. Regular reading at home is a great way to help your child build these skills.

Encourage your child 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.

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.

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 Kent Test reasoning mock test question on Atom home

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 have the ability to improve through practice. Regular praise will help your child improve their resilience when tackling new and challenging topics.

Watch the video below to see how Dana and her daughter, Ana, used Atom Home to prepare for success in the Kent Test.

Tailored preparation for the Kent Test

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the Kent 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 Kent Test practice papers

  • 90,000+ practice questions

  • 500+ hours of on-demand video lessons

  • Automatic marking and instant progress data

Navigate the Kent Test with confidence

In 2024, 91% of Atom Home users got offered a place at their top-choice school!

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

Try Atom for free
Atom Home

Atom Learning Ltd. is registered and incorporated in England and Wales. Company Registration Number: 10867907 VAT number: 316903508 Copyright Atom Learning Ltd. All rights reserved.