What you need to know


As of September 2016. students no longer sit the traditional Wirral 11+. This has changed to exam papers that  follow the Durham CEM style.​ The initial 11+ was originally classed as a Verbal Reasoning paper before these recent changes. In its newer format, the 11+ CEM will include a more rigorous mathematics section, a stronger focus on vocabulary and a non-verbal reasoning section too.

These types of reasoning tests are designed to see how your child uses critical thinking and logic to solve problems. This then gives a picture of your child’s potential and intelligence, alongside their other skills. The test will consist of two multiple choice papers, both of which to be completed in the same day under exam conditions. 

We understand that Year 5 is therefore the most important year for 11+ preparation. Since the tests are taken in the autumn term on the Wirral, this gives you at least 11 months to prepare your child, if you start with us at the beginning of the Year 5 academic year. This allows us to get to know how your child learns best through the use of a range of techniques in teaching, and also because of the sheer volume of material and practice needed to cover the exam and multiple topics.


Over the year out 11+ tutoring provides clear learning objectives through structured lessons against a timetable, developed from years of professional teaching.  This approach means that we are able to teach a range of topics successfully whilst keeping your child engaged in learning.

In addition to the learning that takes place in the weekly sessions, we also provide a structured homework plan that is designed to encourage independent learning and test understanding of a subject.  Combine this with our online portal, recommended reading list from our own ELC library and  specially designed quizzes, we have more than enough to keep them busy, engaged, having fun and most of all, growing in confidence and ability.

Our aim with our 11+ tutoring is to encourage students to develop the skills necessary for success in all aspects of the CEM exam, which will also have a direct benefit to their general progress in school. Due to the greater range of skills required by the Wirral 11+ and emphasis on literacy and numeracy, we now get requests to enrol Year 4 on to courses towards the end of that year before they start Year 5 to assist students as much as possible in their overall preparation before taking the CEM exam in Year 6.

We even have a structured system of sessions to help your child fend off 'brain drain' during the holidays with our additional Booster classes. These unique, educational and fun events allow us to relax, engage a little more with our students throughout the longer sessions, cover many different challenges and activities and keep their revision on track, which enables them to return to school full of confidence.

Feedback from our students and parents show that these events are really popular, a lot of fun and extremely beneficial to continue preparing them for their chosen exam. These sessions are available for Year 4 and Year 5 children and will generally also contain a mock exam. The sessions run from 10am until 3pm on specific days. Sessions are always advertised well in advance and you are advertised to book on earlier so check out our Events page and also keep up to date by following us on Twitter at @elctutoring.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or wish to try a booster session. As well as the Booster sessions we also hold regular mock exams in our academic year, starting in March, once all of the topics needed have been covered and practiced. These papers are structured and written by our very own tutors specifically for each mock session so that your child will not have seen these previously. The exams are designed to cover a mixture of literacy, numeracy, verbal and non-verbal reasoning used in the different exams.

The exam sessions two hours long and reflect either the Wirral 11+ CEM, Upton Hall or St. Anselm's structure depending on which you choose for your child to complete. Each mock test will last for 55 minutes and you will receive the results along with full feedback about your child’s performance. We also hold a couple of short booster learning activities  prior to the exam to ensure students are ready to work to their full potential and flex those brains.

Our mock events are very popular and students who have sat previous mock tests have spoken about how they felt more confident after attempting the exam in a timed and realistic environment. This also helped them to independently identify areas they needed to develop and revise. Mock exam days are available to both current ELC students and non-ELC students who may attend other tutoring services.


Why does the Wirral still use the 11+ system? We hear so much rumour about the Wirral 11+ exam that we thought it would be beneficial to put down our own ideas.  We hope that our years of 11+ tutoring experience (and success) will mean that this information proves useful.

Four years ago the exam was a verbal reasoning multiple choice paper which looked at code breaking etc.  Fortunately this has now changed to a paper that looks more effectively at all round literacy and numeracy ability.

Now let's deal with the first rumour which has people saying 'only the most intelligent students can pass it.'  This simply isn't true.  The exam is looking for strength in literacy and numeracy and these can be developed via participation in our 11+ course.  Ultimately the exam is simply assessing literacy and numeracy skills for Year 5 in preparation for them to make the step up to secondary level at the end of Year 6.  (There is also a non-verbal reasoning section on the 11+ that is there to assess problem solving skills when the answer is not immediately apparent in the information that has been provided.)​ The 11+ tutoring that we provide is fully structured so that students will be able to approach the exam with confidence.  We do not simply teach from textbooks but rather design each lesson weekly in response to student progress.

We often hear that 11+ tutoring is just 'teaching to the exam'.  However, the work we do with students will see them make rapid strides of progress at school with numeracy and literacy skills growing increasingly strong. Through feedback from our lessons we know that our students grow in confidence and develop a love of learning and an understanding that perseverance with their education will being great rewards. 

One big area that we push with students is reading for pleasure as that is the key for the comprehension section of the 11+ tests. A key skills for success in the 11+ exam given the literacy involved comes down to encouraging regular reading (15 minutes a night is a great start point).  To support this we have a range of initiatives to help students develop routines where reading becomes a regular hobby and something that they look forward to.

School Children
Engineering Robot Car
Girl at School
Raising Hands
Woman Tutoring Child
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Science and Technology Class
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