7+ 8+ English round up


7+ 8+ exam update.

London Home Tutors is a teachers’ collective and we seek to share and foster expert knowledge across our tutor base.

Amongst our tutors we have deep 7+ exam expertise and this is more relevant than ever as London parents seek to move their child early to avoid the stresses of the dreaded 11+.

Here is our round up of what came up on the 7+ English papers this season. We hope this will help parents aiming for 2018 entry.

The information is relevant to a number of schools, including:

  • St Paul’s Junior School
  • Westminster Under School
  • King’s Wimbledon
  • Latymer Prep
  • City of London School for Girls
  • Bute House
  • South Hampstead High School
  • North London Collegiate School
  • Highgate
  • Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ and Girls’ Junior Schools
  • Wetherby
  • Sussex House
  • Dulwich Prep London
  • Dulwich College Junior School
  • Bancroft’s School



In terms of English, animals featured heavily at 7+ this year, providing visual prompts for creative writing as well as comprehension subjects and story starters. One school’s story picture prompt was of a crying rabbit looking longingly at a plate of carrots, and its comprehension included answering questions about a picture of an elephant and a written piece on a zebra.

An extract from Moomin Papa came up at one school, with an opening question asking candidates to answer in their own words. This was a long comprehension paper and many did not manage to finish it. The story was a continuation piece in the first person.

Other story writing tasks included writing a story entitled ‘The Magic Box’ and writing a story about ‘Bob the dog’. An 8+ composition task at another school gave candidates the choice of writing about ‘your hands’ or ‘the school’. The shortest story time this year was 15 minutes and the candidates were asked to write based on a picture prompt of a boy, a girl and a strange creature.

Poetry featured prominently in a number of 8+ comprehension exams.

One school always includes a recorded listening task, which includes assessment of reasoning, close listening skills and comprehension. True to form, an animal was featured; the children were asked to ‘underline the hippo with the three spots’ and ‘underline the hippo whose toenails weren’t painted’. Many other schools also now incorporate tasks in their assessment that require children to listen carefully and follow verbal instructions. The best way to prepare for these types of questions is to make sure that your child is attentive, listens to others and learns to follow instructions with care and diligence. Dictation practice can help to build listening skills.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that not all comprehension tasks include a prose piece. This came up in one school’s literacy section:

  • Two comprehensions: one was a standard written piece about a cat going hunting at night, but the other was of a picture of a family preparing to go on holiday. With the latter, candidates were asked questions about the picture: Eg What two things might be dangerous in this picture? What two things suggest they might be going on holiday? Who in this picture would not be able to drive the car?


Please call us to find out more about our 7+ and 8+ teachers and resources on 020 8883 2519. Maths debrief to follow shortly.

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