What does CEM stand for? is the focus of this blog article. We hope you find it useful.


*   *    CONTENT updated April 2021    *   *

CEM 11 Plus Tests

The CEM stands for the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring. It is an independent research centre based at Durham University that provides a learning assessment for children of all ages. Since 1999, it has been creating 11-plus selection exams.

CEM 11-plus exams typically cover numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract (or non-verbal) reasoning. They may be multiple choice or standard format – or a mixture of the two. Usually made up of two papers, CEM exams have a mixture of separately timed numerical, verbal and abstract sections. They claim to be “tutor proof” in order to ensure fairness. Their exams aim to identify academic potential without favouring children who can afford coaching. CEM exams assess a child’s vocabulary, speed and problem-solving. The questions on CEM exams are similar to those a child will have encountered in KS2.


Who uses the 11 plus CEM test?

About a third of the UK’s grammar schools use CEM tests to select for entrance.

The following regions use CEM 11-plus tests:

  • Berkshire
  • Bexley
  • Birmingham
  • Chelmsford
  • Devon
  • Gloucestershire
  • Shropshire
  • Walsall
  • Warwickshire
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton

Each region has different types of questions and even different subjects. Most 11-Plus exams incorporate verbal reasoning (word puzzles), Maths and English (comprehension and/or creative writing). Some also include non-verbal reasoning (picture puzzles) and Science. Some are multiple choice, others require candidates to write the answers.

CEM 11 Plus Tests


What are the CEM 11 Plus Tests?… Different types of 11-Plus test

There are several companies which provide 11-Plus exam papers. However, the main two are GL Assessment and Durham’s CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring). Although GL Assessment still remains the biggest supplier of 11-Plus papers for schools and local authorities, Durham CEM’s papers are gaining in popularity because they claim to be more ‘tutor-proof’. According to its website “CEM aims to reduce any disadvantage created between children who are tutored for tests and those who are not.” It continues: “Our assessments are designed to enable all children to demonstrate their academic potential without the need for excessive preparation.”

In addition to these two companies, 10 grammar schools in the Essex area have their own 11-Plus exam. In Northern Ireland, candidates take a separate exam called the Northern Ireland Transfer Test.

A list of grammar schools using the CEM Entrance Test

Here’s a list of grammar schools using the GL Assessment test.

Differences between CEM and GL Assessment tests

CEM exams group the Verbal Reasoning 11+ and the English 11+ tests together. CEM exams are also divided into separately timed sections. It’s therefore important that children learn how to manage their time correctly as it’s not possible to return to sections once completed. Nevertheless, the CEM entrance tests cover the same subject areas (Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning) as the GL Assessment tests. They also have the same standardized pass-mark (121).

CSSE test is used in Essex

The CSSE test in Essex is a little different comprising only English (including creative writing) and Maths papers. The English paper is 60 minutes + 10 minutes reading time, and the Maths paper is 60 minutes in total. Further information on the CSSE test.

Familiarisation booklets and practice questions for some of the regions:

CEM 11 Plus Tests

Our popular 7 Step Guide to the 11 Plus*

1) Ask yourself, is now the best time to start your 11+ Prep for 2019?

2) If so, here are some useful Grammar School application tips. You need to consider 11 Plus Exam By UK Region.

– If you are considering those grammar schools in Outer London then we have a useful London Grammar school list.

– Otherwise, England’s other grammar schools are accessed from this regional grammar school list.

3) Are the grammar schools of interest CEM 11+ exam Grammar schools. If so focus on School Entrance Tests’ 11 plus practice tests of CEM 11 Plus type.

4) Otherwise it’s likely you are considering Grammars using GL Assessment. Thus you should focus on School Entrance Tests’ 11 plus practice tests of GL 11 Plus type.

* Our 7-Step guide is designed for busy parents!

5) So, select the most relevant 11 plus exams from our comprehensive list of 11 Plus Past Exam Papers.

6) Schedule regular practice with these 11 plus practice papers , our free online 11 plus papers and free 11 plus papers with answers

7) Here’s School Entrance Tests’s own tips for passing the 11 plus and further 11 plus tests:


County 11 plus guides to our free 11 plus Practice Papers

Firstly, Bucks 11 plus practice papers.  Secondly, Devon 11 plus exam papers. Thirdly, Essex 11 plus test papersFourthly, Kent 11 plus practice papers. Next, Gloucestershire 11 plus exam papers . And then,Lincolnshire 11 plus test papers. Also, London 11 plus practice papers. Then, Yorkshire 11 plus exam papers. Also our Slough 11 plus test papers. Then Reading 11 plus practice papers. Next, West Midlands 11 plus exam papers  And so then penultimately we also offer,South-East 11 plus test papers. With our final South-West 11 plus practice tests coming last but, in our opinion, certainly not least!


Our 11 Plus exam papers  

What score do you need for passing the 11+? /Health tips during exams / Getting high exam results /  How to apply for grammar school test / Some last minute 11 Plus Strategies! / How to become an 11 Plus Tests tutor / Top Tips for Successful 11-plus Preparation / 11+ Maths tips  /   11 Plus Non-verbal reasoning test tips  /  11 Plus English Comprehension practice   /   Bespoke 11+ Verbal reasoning tests designed for tutors


Our Brilliant Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests book – also available for download from the Apple Store.

11 plus pass mark 2021

CEM 11 Plus Tests