Schools with Their Own Tests

A Beginner’s Guide To The 11 Plus – Kent, Medway and Gravesend Edition


Chapter 5: Schools with Their Own Tests

In addition to the state grammar school 11 plus tests, some grammar schools have their own testing procedures. These may be a combination of 11 plus tests and more rigorous entrance exams.



Mayfield is a selective grammar school for girls based in Gravesend that offers 180 places each year. It uses the Kent Test for admissions, but also offers the Mayfield procedure as an additional entry method. For female students, this means that you can still get into Mayfield if you fail the Kent Test but then pass the Mayfield test. This Mayfield test is optional so you don’t have to sit it to get into the school.

Registration for the Mayfield Tests opens at the same time as registration for the Kent Test, with applications closing at the end of June – or the middle of July in exceptional circumstances.

The Mayfield Tests are taken on a Saturday at the beginning of September and are made up of two tests:

  • a computer-based test that assesses your daughter’s verbal abilities, non-verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning;
  • an English paper, designed to test writing ability.


Independent Schools

Independent grammar schools work on a different principle to state (or selective) grammar schools. Instead of the 11+ tests, independent (public) schools use their own entrance exams as well as an interview process to control admissions.

Some schools use the Common Entrance Exam, which is written by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB). The mark required to pass is determined by the school.

Entrance tests for independent schools can be taken at 11+ or 13+ stages (i.e. in Year 6 or Year 8). Children who attend private primary schools (or preparatory schools) are given coaching in the subjects covered in the entrance exams – which puts them at an advantage over children attending state primary schools.

Like the 11+ tests, entrance tests for independent schools who write their own tests tend to include questions on verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, maths and English. The exact combination of subjects depends on the school, and often you can find the details of the entrance exam subjects on the school website.

For independent schools using the Common Entrance Exam, the tests will cover Maths, English and Science. Subjects such as German, Spanish, French, History, Religious Studies and Geography may also be included. More subjects tend to be tested if the 13+ option is taken instead of the 11+ version.