11+ Exams | Pass-marks & Percentages

When children sit our mocks, we often get asked questions regarding pass marks and the percentage they receive. So this quick post is to clarify a few points that you might find useful when looking at your child’s results:


  • How we mark and run our 11+ mocks is EXACTLY the same way that it is run in the 11+.
  • The 11+ pass-mark at the Torbay grammar schools is not based on a pass-mark percentage and never will be.
  • Your child’s age is always considered and there will always be a standardised score produced and scores rank-ordered from top to bottom. There is a 1 in 3 chance of success in Torbay, so the schools will draw the “pass-mark” line in those ranked standardised scores where the school places would be filled with the highest scores.
  • These standardised pass-mark change and vary year to year. For example, in 2022 the standardised score was 97, whereas in 2021 it was 95. This was due to an influx of children applying from around the country to sit their 11+ in Torbay. They come as far as London to try and get a space at the Torbay grammars as they have no catchment area. Spires is the only grammar stream that takes local children, who have passed first.
  • There is no percentage that we are aiming for and sadly, we are using the mocks to see how they are competing against their peers – this is the nature of the beast that is the 11+!


Our post-exam reports, show a peer comparison table at the bottom  – this will help to see how far away their individual standardised score is from where the standardised pass-mark was drawn this month.


We always think this approach is very much like a general election: first past the post. They must cross that pass-mark line. There is no golden percentage that they are all aiming for. There are a limited number of places at the school, so taking the brightest from the highest score down, will always be the way they work out where the pass mark sits.

Our concern is how they are competing against their peers and the children they will be up against for a place in September.

Some children are very focused on their percentage. This may be a result of listening to other children in their class who attend other mocks with providers that do not standardise the scores with age like the grammar schools do and therefore can only go by a percentage as a guide.  Please ignore all that white noise. There is no such thing as a percentage pass-mark and this is not what we want them to focus on or worry about.


We want our children to focus on their ranking and how far aware from the pass mark they are.

We want our kids to keep their eye on the prize! 😊

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