CEM 11 Plus
The Durham 11+ was a name associated with eleven plus tests provided by Durham University via their Centre for Education & Monitoring unit. This was also dubbed the CEM 11+.

On 4th May 2018 Durham University issued a statement:
As part of the University Strategy, a review of CEM has been carried out. In order to achieve CEM’s significant potential for further development, particularly around expansion in international markets, the University is currently exploring the sale of CEM to an external partner. Further information will be available over the next few months. In the meantime, please be assured that CEM will operate as normal and we are actively engaging with, and supporting, our colleagues in CEM throughout this process."

On 11th June 2019 it was announced:
"Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press have jointly acquired Durham University’s renowned Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM)."

CEM is now part of Cambridge University and Durham University no longer provides selective tests for the eleven plus.
Why did Durham University really sell CEM?

There were rumours around that Durham University were hiding the fact that their tests were not all they claimed to be, although they deny this.
  • They claimed their tests identified innate ability. There was no proof.
  • They claimed children could not recall content to make a difference to late sitters, to justify reuse of the same test repeatedly for up to two years. Yet, CEM had no evidence to substantiate the claim. They had not even undertaken any research.
  • The High Court ruled a child had recalled content from an 11+ test and this information could compromise testing. Effectively injunctions were required to ensure test integrity.
  • Schools and the government claimed new 11+ test from CEM were tutor-proof. When challenged CEM claimed they had never made such a claim and accepted they had never undertaken any research as to if their tests were tutor-proof. Whenever CEM selective tests were used tuition rocketed.
  • CEM lost their largest client, Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools, when their tests did not live up to the hype. Even fewer poorer children gained places at grammar schoools in Buckinghamshire. CEM did not even re-tender for the contract
  • Schools that used CEM 11+ tests had their admissions policies challenged with the Office for the School Adjudicator (OSA) on the basis that repeated use of the same test was unfair. This cost the OSA almost £80k and cost schools using CEM 11+ tests thousands of pounds.
  • CEM were facing a hearing in the Upper Tier Tribunal regarding refusal to release raw test results. The First Tier Tribunal recorded one of the benefits of CEM 11+ tests was they were "tutor-proof". So, why did CEM state they never made this claim? Was the truth catching up with Durham University? Did they want to distance themselves from a scandal?
11+ Test Information

11+ Exams

There are numerous organisations that create entrance exams for secondary school admission. The main supplier is GL Assessment (GLA)®. CEM® . Cambridge, have pulled out of paper-based 11+ tests leaving the field wide open to GL Assessment. CEM provide online test using CEM Select and are mainly used by private schools. A A few small state schools use these tests.

CEM Centre and GLA

Both sets secondary school entrance assessments (widely referred to as selective entrance or 11+ exams) for various English grammar schools and regions, including Bexley; BirminghamBuckinghamshire; CCHS (Essex); Gloucestershire; Henrietta Barnett & LatymerReadingRedbridgeShropshire; Slough; WalsallWarwickshire; Wolverhampton; Trafford; Bexley; Torbay & DevonKent Shepway, and Medway .

GL Assessment
® (formally National Foundation for Educational Research®) is another supplier. Every year GL Assessment® constructs new, custom-made selection tests for many schools and Local Authorities. Although GL Assessment® is the copyright holder of the tests, it is the property of the commissioning school or Local Authority for the duration of use.

Both tests are easy to prepare for using WordBuilder.co.uk and CoolCleverKids.co.uk.

Purchase Mock Exams from the Shop

Past eleven plus papers set by CEM Centre® Cambridge University are not released and cannot be purchased. Usually, two weeks before the test, applicants receive a sample sheet containing example questions.

The new tests from GL Assessment® are similar in to tests from the University of Durham®  as far as content is concerned. The move is towards a rich vocabulary, curriculum maths (old level 5 and 6, now a score of 105+) and NVR. The difficulty is tailored for GL 11+ (Grade Level 11+).
Children`s Educational Material for the 11+ has constructed seven practice mock exams. These mock test packs consists of two 50-60 minute papers as well as answers and are available from the shop.

These are NOT endorsed or associated with CEM Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring® who do not provide preparation material. They are also suitable for the new GL Assessment® and ISEB selection tests.

Warwickshire and Birmingham Consortium

From 2016, Warwickshire shares Birmingham 11+ Consortium test, so 5000 Birmingham students and 2000 Warwickshire students can pass on content to late Warwickshire sitters. The shared test will now require students to mark answers on a separate answer sheet and no longer write answers in a booklet, increasing the chances of marking answers in the incorrect place as has occurred numerous times in other regions. If a test is shared, with other regions, always tick a box to share results with another areas as a backup plan. You have nothing to lose by doing so, and it could prove useful. You never know what may happen.

In 2013, the Lawrence Sheriff School in Rugby unlawfully withdrew a place of a child days before the end of year 6 despite the local authority refusing to withdraw the place on four occasions. Luckily the child was offered a place at Schools in two different areas (Walsall and Birmingham) as opposed to be left unplaced because of serious failings of this school. Unfortunately, the child displaced other innocent children, through no fault of his own when he moved straight to the top of waiting lists and was offered places. Play safe and share results with other schools and areas even if you have no intention of taking up a place in other areas.


Free Mock Exams

Taking a "free mock" will cost the school money. But one would expect financially astute schools to consider the financial implications of setting an early test date. Common sense dictates an earlier test is likely to be used as a "free mock" and this has been well known to occur for many years.

We recommend all children, where possible, register for the Warwickshire 11+ tests.

Mock tests are the best way to prepare. What better than using a real test as a mock? This is your legal right.

We believe there is no evidence that any 11+ tests are resistant to prepping and practise will simply improve performance


Non-verbal Reasoning

Prepare for different types of NVR questions  using


over 30 different types of NVR question examples
with explanations.

Available to download from the shop.

CEM 11+ Tests Legal Action
A parent complained to Warwickshire County that reuse of the same test is unfair as late sitters know what is on the test. WCC and CEM claim children do not recall content to make a difference to late sitters.

In 2013 the parent publishes what a single child recalled from the Warwickshire test.

WCC applied for an ex-parte High Court super-injunction using a false statement of truth to remove the content, even though CEM and WCC claim children do not recall content to make a difference to late sitters.

CEM told WCC the test was compromised, and then claimed it was not. They failed to provide evidence in Court. The Court agreed that an injunction was required to maintain test integrity.

Two years later the UK's largest 11+ website published content of the Warwickshire 11+ test whilst it could be used. The parent asked if he could republish what they had published. He was told by Kate Hiller this would be breach of the injunction, which did not forbid publishing incorrect information. This could only mean what the other website published was content and WCC did not ask them to remove it or seek an injunction. This appeared discrimination.

The parent then asked parents to report what their child recalled from tests and sent it to WCC and CEM to prove children could recall content. WCC then applied for another injunction to prevent this.

Kate Hiller then told the court that what the other website had published, was not content. So, why did Kate Hiller claim republication would breach an injunction? Why does WCC target just one person?

How can a test be reused repeatedly if children can recall content and pass it on to others and an UK-wide injunction is not in operation?
CEM 11+ tests and the Information Commissioner
CEM claimed to have a Unique Selling Point (USP): the provision of selective tests “more resistant to coaching influences.”  They claimed revealing how they process the raw test results to calculate at the ‘standardised’ scores would prejudice their commercial interests.

In October 2014, James Coombes asked Durham University for the raw and “standardised” test marks for tests. When they refused he lodged with the Information Commissioner.

In March 2016, the case was heard ‘on the papers’. Judge Hamilton thought the case was “compelling” and “provided evidence that the claimed USP of tutorproofing was highly questionable and that the public interest warranted close examination of this claim which could only be achieved through the disclosure of the disputed material." He was in the minority, so the case was lost.

In September 2016 Durham University stated they did not claim to have tutor-proof tests. They had previously a
sserted that their USP is threefold, the structure of their tests are not known it might be said to be a black box -they maintain this by not publishing past papers, by a proprietary approach to marking/standardising and they assert that by maintaining this degree of secrecy they have an increased ability to provide a testing regime which is more tutor-proof and hence fairer to the pupils.

In Nov 2018 an Upper Tribunal granted permission to appeal to the higher court which was upheld and remitted back to the lower court.

In June 2019, Durham University were due to give their final response, but a few says before the deadline, they announced that they had sold CEM to Cambridge University.

CEM 11+ ® Tests: CEM Centre
for Evaluation & Monitoring®
Fake News Relating to Selective
11+ Tests from CEM
  • Tests are tutor-proof
  • Tests identify innate ability
  • One should not prepare
  • Questions are never repeated
  • Tests are unique
  • Children do not recall content
  • Tutors do not gain content
  • Sitting late has no advantage
  • Websites do not publish content
  • Test content is not sold to late sitters
Predicting the Future of CEM 11+ Tests
under Cambridge University
  • Cambridge provide GCSE & "A" levels
  • Late sitting not allowed for the above
  • CEM may follow for 11+ tests and scrap reuse of the same tests.
  • Cambridge University Press may publish practice material for 11+ tests
  • Migration from paper tests to computer based tests
  • Movement to computer-adaptive assessment tests
Eleven Plus Tourism - using Real CEM 11+ Tests as Free Mocks Exams
CEM object to the use of their selective tests as free mock tests. They claim it compromises the integrity of testing. Why would it? Children sit mock tests for GCSEs and "A" levels, so why not for an 11 plus test?

If children do not recall the content of tests to make a difference to late sitters, why not use the same test every year forever? It is clear that children do recall content, so why on earth do CEM allow the same test to be repeatedly used for late sitters.

Many schools do not have catchment areas. Taking 11+ exams outside catchment areas does not prejudice the fairness or balance of selective testing, as tests are not the same.

We experience practice tests improve performance. Being familiar with testing environments, content and time constraints is critical. Hence it can only help a child if (s)he sits real 11+ tests as mock exams. This is perfectly lawful and cannot be stopped.


Cambridge University have now withdrawn CEM  paper based 11+ tests. Cambridge spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees to refuse to answer basic questions including which schools shared the same tests. They answered such questions to a Caucasian women after refusing to answer the same question posed by an Asian man. They were aware of the ethnicity of both.

11+ Maths and NVR

The Maths site with NVR (Non-verbal reasoning) for Sats and 11+ preparation. Ideal for primary school education and selective school exams. Maths lesson notes; worksheets; presentations; games, & tests auto marked with explanations.

11+ English & VR

Verbal reasoning and English for the 11+, Sats and private/independent school entrance exams as well as primary school. Spellings; definitions; meanings; synonyms; antonyms; cloze passages; jumbled sentences & comprehension.

Sats Papers
Year 2-6 & 11+

Information relating to Sats Tests. Free downloads of Sats papers covering Year 2 to 6 with no registration. Prepare for Year 6 level 3-5, level 6 & 11+ tests. Download the latest phonics tests.
ATA React
Free Android App
Google Play

Fun FREE Android App to test your thinking and reaction speed. Four fun games: colours; shapes; numbers and next letter. Stores score history. Ideal for Sats & 11+ fun whilst you prepare. Download from Google Play.


Download FREE SATs papers. No registration & no annoying popup adverts.
11+ English (Verbal Reasoning)
online preparation with

Spellings; Vocabulary; Synonyms; Antomyms; Conundrums; Cloze Passages; Comprehension, and Jumbled up sentences. Ideal for 11+ tests set at the CEM Centre, at Durham University®.
11+ Maths (Numerical Reasoning)
and NVR online preparation with

Free maths question generator
Lesson notes; presentations (videos); worksheets; games; Sats style tests from Year 2 to 6 including mental maths audio tests; private school 11+ tests, and CEM style past questions.
Now includes Non-verbal Reasoning.
Ideal for 11+ tests set at the CEM Centre, at Durham University®.

The 11+ information site
Helping children pass the 11+
Free advice and resources with
recommendations for preparation.

Children’s Educational Material 11+
Tel: +44 (0) 24 7641 6970 
Email: [email protected]
© 2013-2023. CEM11plus.com group of websites. All rights reserved. Children's Educational Material for the 11+. CEM11plus.com group websites provide information helping children pass the eleven plus. CEM Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring® is an independent not-for-profit research group now owned by Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press® and neither are associated with CEM11plus.com group websites. GL Assessment ® has no connection with CEM11plus.com group websites. The views expressed are those of CEM11plus.com. All trade names and trade marks are acknowledged. This website is secured with a SSL certificate provided to the parent group website, CEM11plus.com, and data is encrypted using 256 bit keys & TLS 1.2.