Introduction to the 7 Plus

What is the Seven Plus?

The 7+ entrance exam is administered by an increasing number of top schools, both within and outside London, to help them select students for entry into Year 3.  Students sit the exam between November and January of Year 2, though the exact dates vary depending on the school.

What are students tested on?

The exams test basic literacy and numeracy skills. Many now also feature verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers. The exact content can vary slightly from school to school, but extensive examinations at this age are unusual. The short assessments usually consist of written papers (each of which take no more than 40 minutes) and some verbal tests.

What happens in a Seven Plus exam?

Seven Plus exams are typically held at the school, and while the exact format varies from school to school, typically involve some form of assessment in English, maths and reasoning.  They may also include short interviews (either conducted individually or in a small group). Given the age, this will be little more than a very short chat. Students may be asked why they want to come to the school, or be asked to bring a favourite toy or book to talk about.  Additionally, students may also be asked to carry out a group activity, such as completing a task or playing a game.  This will allow the school to assess how they interact with others and their inter-personal skills.

Is the exam competitive?

With a shortage of school places, the Seven Plus is becoming increasingly competitive.  A recent Seven Plus assessment day in South West London had over 500 children turn up for 38 places. One prep school in west London was rumoured to have tested students on their seven and eight times tables – well above the expected level for the age group.  Another leading school asked students to write a half page composition in response to a passage from Stig of the Dump by Clive King (normally rated as having a reading age of at least 9).

What happens in a typical 7 Plus lesson?

How can I prepare my child for their Seven Plus exam?

The first step should be consulting with the child’s current school about their level and performance.  Generally schools are likely to expect students to be at age-expectations or significantly above them.

Should you decide to use the services of a tutor, think carefully about what you want from the situation. Perhaps more than any other entrance level, 7+ tuition really needs someone qualified to teach at this age range. At Owl Tutors we only employ fully-qualified primary teachers to prepare students for this exam.  If you would like to discuss tuition, please call us on 020 7627 4535 or email

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