7 Plus Exam Guide

March 5, 2022 The Spark Tutoring Team

Every Year 2 students sit for a 7+ exam as they transition into Year 3. Students often sit for the exam in January. However, in some schools, students are expected to sit for the exam before Christmas. You can check the admissions section of the school you intend the child to go to for confirmation of when the child can sit for the 7 Plus exam.

What is a 7+ Exam?

Many schools in London admit pupils at the beginning of year three by conducting a competitive selection exam called the 7+ plus exam. In most cases, the 7+ exam is the first proper exam they will face in their young academic life.

Parents need to learn about the 7 Plus test to help their children prepare for the exam in the best way possible.

What is the Format of the 7+ Exam?

The exact format of the 7+ exam varies between schools. But in general, it involves assessment in English and Maths. In some schools, there is a separate assessment in Reasoning. Most of the 7+ assessments are paper-based and sat in person at the school the child is applying to. Some schools might also have a listening exam and an online assessment as part of their entrance procedure.

The format of the exam might vary depending on the school the student is applying to, but the content of the exam is broken down as follows:


The 7+ exam covers essay and comprehension topics in English. The exams test various aspects of the student’s ability.

  • Essay – In essay, children are tested on how they present their ideas and thoughts regarding the related question. The students are given marks depending on how descriptive, logical and creative their writing is. Grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence construction are keenly scrutinized. Parents can help their children improve their story writing skills by having them write ten lines daily on topics that interest them or topics given by you.
  • Comprehension – Comprehension requires that a child has a good understanding of a passage to answer questions related to it. Encouraging daily reading at a level above the national average will help students develop a solid technique and improve their vocabulary.

Most of the questions in the 7+ exams are related to simple fact recollection. Some questions can be more challenging, but with adequate preparation, students can tackle them.

What are the Expectations for 7+ English Exam?

The 7+ expectations for Year 2 students is that they should be familiar with the whole of the KS1 curriculum. In some schools, even beyond. The children should read fluently and answer comprehension questions in full sentences.

The students should also have the capacity to write a story at least half an A4 long with a clear beginning, middle and end of the story. Students should also exhibit the ability to use simple punctuation and descriptive vocabulary. They should also comprehend spelling patterns up to the end of the KS1 spelling lists and beyond.


The 7+ exam also tests various aspects of maths, including mental arithmetic, fundamentals of mathematics like addition, multiplication, subtraction and division, timetables, and word problems.

The topics are covered in written or verbal form. Some competitive schools even go beyond the average national level in Year 2. Regular and consistent practice is necessary to give your child the best chance of success.

What are the Expectations for the 7+ Maths Exam?

Students sitting for the 7+ Maths exam should be familiar with the entire KS1 maths curriculum. Some schools will also test on subjects beyond this level.

The exam lasts for about 40 minutes and requires that children be familiar with mental and written calculation methods for the four number operations and have a good working knowledge of timetables.

Students should also have experience with word problems and ample exposure to typical mathematical vocabulary.

Some schools set out a detailed Maths syllabus upon which their 7+ exam is set. This makes it easier for students to prepare for the exams.


Most schools will include Reasoning in their tests. Parents should familiarize themselves with the skills tested in the 7+ exam. Some schools will also include verbal and non-verbal reasoning exams. The exams can be separate or a mix of the two. How you approach the situation depends on whether these topics have been covered in your child’s previous school. You should encourage your child to practice reasoning questions in verbal and non-verbal settings.

What are the Expectations for 7+ Reasoning?

The majority of schools don’t assess Reasoning separately at the 7+ level. But some schools do. In most cases, schools the reasoning questions are included in the English and Maths papers in the following forms;


  • Verbal reasoning features in most English 7 Plus papers.
  • Students should understand age-appropriate vocabulary and even beyond in some cases.
  • Students should understand and be able to decode words in context.


Non-verbal Reasoning appears in 7+ Maths papers in various forms of questions requiring students to do any of the following;

  • Identify patterns and complete a series
  • Identify codes and complete a series
  • Spot similarities
  • Spot the odd ones out
  • Complete basic matrices

It’s important to note that non-verbal Reasoning will be a new skill to most 7+ applicants. Therefore, parents should work tirelessly to familiarize the students with the questions they are likely to counter.

What Can You Do to Prepare Your Child for Their 7+ Exam?

Every parent wants the best for their children. Passing the 7+ exams is a good place to start. You can help your child prepare for the exams by;

  • Encouraging reading to help build vocabulary and reading confidence and comprehension
  • Playing word games at home
  • Setting word related challenges like word searches and spelling lists

Besides your effort as a parent, you can also have a professional tutor with more qualified credentials to work with your child on the more challenging aspects. Tutors have experience working in some of these schools. They understand what most schools test for and can help ensure your child is better prepared for the exams.