The 11+ GL Exam: How to Pass with Flying Colours


  1. What does GL 11+ mean?
  2. How long is the 11 plus GL exam?
  3. How to prepare your child for the 11+ GL exam
  4. How do you register for GL exam?


If you want your child to get into an independent school or grammar school, they will need to take an 11 plus exam, usually delivered by GL or CEM. We’re going to share what you need to know about the 11+ GL exam including how to apply for the GL exam.

boy taking exam at desk


What does GL 11+ mean?


The GL 11+ refers to one of the main exam boards in England that sets the 11+ exam. GL stands for Granada Learning which is also known as GL Education. The 11+ exam is used by grammar and independent schools to help select which students to accept based on academic merit (among other criteria).  


How long is the 11 plus GL exam?


The length of the GL exam can vary from school to school. The 11+ GL exams cover English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Your child may not have to sit all of them because schools can choose which of the subjects to include.

The exams change every year but below are some typical guidelines. ✔️

How long is the GL 11 plus English exam?

The English 11+ GL exam is typically 50 minutes long. It assesses comprehension of a given text and also has questions testing spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

How long is the GL 11 plus Maths exam?

The Maths 11+ GL exam is typically 50 minutes long. It assesses various topics including geometry, measurement, and statistics. 

How long is the GL 11 plus Verbal Reasoning exam?

The Verbal Reasoning 11+ GL exam is typically 40-50 minutes long. It assesses reasoning with words so a strong foundation in English is needed. 

How long is the GL 11 plus Non Verbal reasoning exam?

The Non-Verbal Reasoning 11+ GL exam is typically 40-50 minutes long. It assesses reasoning processes that draw on maths and science concepts.

How many questions are there in the GL 11+ exam papers?

While this can vary year to year, here are the approximate number of questions typically found on each of the 11+ GL exams:

  • English - 50 questions
  • Maths - 50 questions
  • Verbal Reasoning - 80 questions
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning - 80 questions


How to prepare your child for the 11+ GL exam


Your child may feel pressure in the lead up to the 11+ GL exam so it’s important to familiarise them with the exam style and questions as much as possible. This will help them feel calmer on the day and also give them the best chance of getting great grades. Here are some useful preparation techniques to ensure their success. 👍

Make the most of practice papers

Practice papers are going to be one of the most valuable tools in preparing your child. Since they can’t revise set material as they normally would for a class, getting a feel for past questions and what is expected will be paramount. 

You can find practice 11+ GL exams on their website that equates to approximately 10 hours of familiarisation content. This is the place to start and then you will need to find more samples and/or past 11+ papers for extra practice. If you find this challenging, using a dedicated 11+ GL exam tutor will help because they will already have a collection.

You can also access our free practice questions for parts of the exam. 

Free 11+ maths practice papers 

Free 11+ English practice papers 

Free 11+ Downloadable vocabulary list 

Just download them and start practising! 

Hire an 11+ GL exam tutor early on

Hiring an 11+ GL exam tutor will be of great benefit to your child because it will save them time studying. That’s because these specialised tutors will be able to provide guidance on what to learn and cover for the right school and also focus on any weaker areas. 

At GoStudent, we have expert 11+ GL exam tutors who know what it takes to get good grades. They make learning fun and put your kid’s mind at ease that they are on the right track. We will help match the perfect tutor to your child and they will create a tailored learning plan for your kid so they know exactly what they need to do. 


How do you register for the GL exam?


To register for the 11+ GL exam you usually have around four months to do so over the summer period but this does vary by region and school so be sure to check the dates in advance. You don’t actually register with GL but with the school itself.

If you’re applying for more than one school on behalf of your child you’ll most likely need to register separately for each exam they will be taking. You will also need to complete any forms that a school specifies e.g. faith schools often require a Supplementary Information Form to prove your faith.

Then you just need to wait for the 11+ GL exam day. In the meantime, encourage your kid to practise as many past papers as possible and find additional exercises for each of the subjects they will need to study for.

As we mentioned, an 11+ GL exam tutor is a great way to build your kid’s confidence and make sure they are on the right path with their study plan. At GoStudent, we have friendly, professional tutors ready to help your little one. If you’d like to try a session, we offer the first session for free. We’d like to wish your child the best of luck and we know they can do it. 😊