How to get into a Grammar School in Birmingham

January 28, 2016

In a world where competition within education is becoming increasingly fierce, it is of paramount importance that students are given the best possible chance to succeed. Therefore both parents and students are keen to gain a place at a Grammar School and spend a significant proportion of their time preparing for the Eleven Plus Entrance Exam. Very often, tutors in Birmingham are called upon to help support the prep and admissions process. For schools situated in close proximity to Birmingham, students should concentrate specifically on the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) test papers. Scoring a high enough mark, students will be accepted and will later join the school of their choice, starting year seven.

Why Should My Child Apply to a Grammar School?

Why apply to a grammar school, what are the benefits? As mentioned above to gain entrance to a grammar school the student must past a CEM test. The test is designed to allow students to demonstrate their academic potential, therefore the school is selecting the best and brightest students. The benefit of this for students is: atmosphere; social groups and the speed of lessons. Though the exam boards and content delivered is the same, grammar schools have the luxury of spending time on more difficult topics and in addition to this can focus on preparing students for higher education, in particular working towards Oxbridge and other important applications. Typically grammar schools have a higher pass rates and higher percentages of students achieving top grades and attending a grammar school will add to their credibility as an academic.

What Schools Can I Apply To And Which Is The Best?

Based on the two websites below students from Birmingham can apply to the following schools:

  • Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School
  • King Edward VI Aston School
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls
  • King Edward VI Five Ways School
  • King Edward VI Handsworth School
  • Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls
  • Handsworth Grammar School
  • Wolverhampton High School for Girls
  • Queen Mary’s High School
  • Queen Mary’s Grammar School

With fierce competition, entry to any of the schools is a great achievement. From engaging with parents and other research, I personally recommend Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls, King Edwards VI Camp Hill School for Girls, King Edwards VI Camp Hill School for Boys and King Edwards VI Five Ways School.

Please note that Queen Mary’s High and Grammar School are both affiliated with the Wolverhampton and Wrekin area.

What Are The Exams Like?

Unlike any exam your child has sat and most likely will sit for a long while. The CEM exams comprise of four different sections: Maths; English; Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. The Mathematics and English are designed to test the child’s ability to retain and apply information that they have learned at school and through extra study. The Non-Verbal Reasoning is designed to test the child’s ability to think in an abstract manner whereas the Verbal reasoning tests the child’s ability to manipulate information presented to them.

Some of the examinable content is in the link below:

Currently, if you choose to sit the test for schools in the Birmingham and Walsall area, then your exam will take place in September whilst the student is in year six. The test is split into two 45 minute exams. Most questions are multiple choice. Some King Edward Schools ask students to complete a creative writing section in addition to the normal reading comprehension and literacy sections. Please check the site below for a sample of both the Maths and English Papers:

If you choose to sit the test for schools in the Wolverhampton and Wrekin area, then your exam will take place in July, whilst the student is in year five. Again most questions are multiple choice and so far we have not seen a creative writing section.
I recommend that the student sits both!

How Do I Apply?

Easy! The registration forms need to be completed before June for Wolverhampton and Wrekin and July for Birmingham and Walsall. The forms can be found online very easily.

If you would like to find out more about the content of the exams please click here.

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