If you’re aiming for a spot in one of Essex’s selective grammar schools, the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE) Examination, commonly known as the 11+ exam, is something you need to know about.

Since 1993, Essex’s top grammar schools have come together to develop a solitary, uniform entrance examination. Clearing this exam opens doors to some of the top universities for you.


Schools have curated this exam, so you don’t have to juggle preparing multiple exams for different schools. Not only does this save student’s time, but it also keeps things fair and challenging for them. Let’s get an overview of this exam so that you know how to prepare for it in the most efficient way.


Key components of the CSSE Exam

Core Subjects:

CSSE exam tests your knowledge of two core subjects –


  • Mathematics:



  • Objective: This section evaluates a student’s numerical and arithmetic skills.
  • Skills Assessed: You will find many topics from the Key Stage 2 curriculum, including basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), fractions, percentages, and problem-solving.
  • Importance: The mathematics portion is vital for assessing a student’s ability to handle numerical data, perform calculations, and apply mathematical concepts to solve problems. 
  • English:


  • Objective: This part tests your English language proficiency.
  • Skills Assessed: Skills tested in this subject are reading comprehension, grammar, punctuation, and sometimes creative writing.
  • Importance: English is a key subject as it evaluates comprehension skills and the ability to express ideas clearly and effectively.

In short, these subjects in the CSSE exam are chosen to assess a broad spectrum of cognitive abilities. These range from linguistic prowess to logical reasoning and numerical aptitude.



How do you prepare for this exam?


If you’re ready to prepare for this exam, here’s how you can do this-


  • Understand the exam format and syllabus:  

Your first task-in-hand should be to understand the format of this exam. Although we have covered the core subjects – mathematics and English, it is best to go through past year’s question papers to understand the level of questions asked in the exam.

Make sure to understand the format of the exam properly because this will help you get a good idea about the syllabus and the types of questions that would come.


  • Strengthen core subjects: 

After you have analyzed the format, you can work on the core subjects. We recommend you start solving the previous year’s paper and see your performance. This exercise will help you determine your rank along with your strong and weak areas.


 However, overall, you have to work on the following –

Mathematics: basic operations, fractions, and problem-solving.

English: grammar, comprehension, and writing skills.


  • Regular practice: 

The CSSE exam requires a lot of practice, as there is a time constraint. Solve as many questions as you can before your examination. You can check CSSE past papers to get an idea about the questions that appear in the previous examinations. However, don’t keep your preparation too narrow or too focused.

You should solve exercises that improve both verbal and nonverbal reasoning skills. These include puzzles, logical games, and activities in your preparations. These exercises are very useful in improving pattern recognition and problem-solving skills. 


  • Online resources and tutoring: 

Taking their own time, all students learn differently. While some are quick learners, others may take time to follow up. And if your child is not performing well, provide them with resources.

Numerous learning resources are available through e-education solutions, like apps and other LMS, to support your child’s educational journey.


  •  Reading widely: 

Since English is the main component of this exam, you should read extensively, from articles to books to newspapers. Extensive reading will aid in improving your vocabulary, comprehension, and general knowledge.


  • Time management:  

The challenge with the CSSE examination is solving the questions within the allotted time. There is no other way to get better than through practice and time management. And mock tests.  Give plenty of mock tests to improve speed and accuracy under exam conditions. Include solving as many sectional and full-length papers in your preparation strategy.


  • Healthy lifestyle:  

Preparing for competition exams takes time, and often, students feel discouraged because results could take time to show up. To overcome negative thoughts, maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting adequate sleep, proper nutrition and a habit of regular exercise.


Final Words


The CSSE exam, a critical assessment for admission into Essex’s selective grammar schools, is a gateway for young learners to access top-tier education. To excel in this exam, you should grasp the format and core subjects – mathematics and English.






By Swati