CEM stands for the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring.

The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring is a research group based at the School for Education, University of Durham. They produce 11 Plus entrance tests for schools and local authorities. Since 2013, many schools and regions have opted to use the CEM 11 Plus entrance test in place of GL Assessment tests, which have previously dominated the market.

CEM exams cover verbal, non-verbal and numerical reasoning. However, a syllabus and full practice papers are not published for these exams. CEM has stated this is a deliberate step in an effort to prevent children from preparing for an exam that should test their innate level of intelligence.

Example CEM 11 Plus question

Example CEM 11 Plus question

Feedback over the last few years shows that the content of CEM exams maps closely to the National Curriculum and topics tested fall into the following areas:

  • Word recognition
  • Word decoding
  • Comprehension
  • Spelling
  • General mathematics
  • Mental arithmetic
  • Non-verbal reasoning

A key feature of the CEM 11 Plus exam is that the exam papers are mixed. One exam combines English and verbal reasoning and the other combines maths and non-verbal reasoning. They also include both multiple-choice and standardised questions.

Timings are allocated to each section and children need to carefully manage the time they spend on each section.

There are typically more questions than are likely to be answered in the time allocated and the weighting of each subject for your child’s final mark is unknown before the exam.

Due to its close alignment to the National Curriculum, the best preparation for these tests is a well-rounded skill development in maths and English, with support on how to effectively tackle tests under time pressure. The Explore Learning programme is the perfect partner to providing children the confidence and self-belief required to tackle the CEM exam.

pass 11 plus stamp

Help your child prepare for exams

Find Out How

Search and compare exams in your area

Confused? Worried? Get advice and help today

Get Started

Ready to get started?

From finding schools in your area, to practising exam questions and discussing 11 Plus tuition, we can help with your next steps.

Over the last 15 years Explore Learning has developed an 11 Plus and Entrance Exam offering that is tailored to suit the schools in the local area. Whether your child is sitting a CEM, GL Assessment, Bond, Avery or local school entrance paper we adapt our tools and advice to prepare for the exam.

Get Started

Find out more

Find out more - Glossary


Read more

Find out more - Practice Questions

Practice questions

Read more

Find out more - GL Exam

What’s the difference between GL & CEM exams?

Read more