Chapter 3 : The 7+ exam explained for parents

The 7+ exam is a step up from pre-prep, given that children will know how to read and write by the age of 6. This means the test is far more like a formal exam, where children must complete tasks under timed conditions.


The process is divided up like this:

1) Maths Paper

This will usually be very colourful, with pictures to help with visualising. Usually, candidates will be asked to complete a mixture of the following:

  • Basic word problems
  • Basic sums (adding, subtraction, multiplication, division)
  • Gap fills (one number missing in a sum)
  • Reading charts
  • Coordinates
  • Word problems involving money
  • Reading the clock
  • Basic fractions

Your child will need to be a good reader in order to work quickly and understand the paper.


2) English Paper

This will usually include a mixture of Comprehension, Grammar and Creative Writing. Candidates will be asked to complete tasks along the lines of:

  • Read a short piece and answer questions that involve fact, interpretation & opinion.
  • Identify what words mean and how to use them in context.
  • Add grammar and punctuation to a sentence.
  • Write a short story. Candidates are given a choice of two or three titles and must right a piece, no more than half a page long. The titles are usually very simple: “The Best Day”, “A Trip to the Seaside”


3) Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning

Some 7+ exams require candidates to do this. This is easily practiced with assessment papers online or from a bookshop. It’s all about identifying “the odd one out”, or being able to follow a pattern.

Most children who are good at maths or logical thinkers will be particularly good at non-verbal reasoning, while children who are stronger in English may prefer verbal reasoning.


4) Non-Academic Task

Children may be asked to draw a picture or play in a group of children under observation.

There is no way to prepare for this, as a child who is progressing well at school should be able to do this with no problems.

The 7+ Entrance Exam takes into account that children are still young, so there is no definitive pass or fail mark. Usually, children need to demonstrate potential, and schools will often judge them on how well they think they may perform a few years down the line.