Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools

(Also other GL Based Exams)


Bucks Grammar Schools are a group of state-funded schools in Buckinghamshire that offer a high-quality education to academically gifted children. They select their pupils based on their performance in the 11-plus exam, which tests their skills in English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Bucks Grammar Schools have a diverse range of gender compositions, with some being mixed-gender, some being boys-only, and some being girls-only. Bucks Grammar Schools have outstanding academic results, with some of them receiving offers from Oxbridge and other prestigious universities.

Key Facts:

  • Highest grammar school density area in the country
  • A legacy of learning with some schools that have a 600-year history
  • Option of mixed-gender, boys-only and girls-only schools
  • Exam provider: GL Assessment
  • 33% of students who appear for the 11Plus exam pass the same

Websites for all 13 Bucks Grammar Schools can be found at the link below:


League Table rankings:

1. Good School Guide (Two Bucks Schools in top 10)

2. Parent Power Best UK School Guide (Dr Challoner's - top rated grammar school in Bucks)

3. BBC League Tables (Beaconsfield High School - top rated grammar school in Bucks)

Click on above links to go to the comparison source.

GL Bucks Exam Pattern:

Exam pattern:

The GL Bucks Exam consists of two papers: 

    Paper 1: English and VR (45mins)

    • English (25mins): 25 Questions 
    • VR (20mins): 36 Questions

    Paper 2: Maths and NVR (45mins)

    • Maths (25mins): 25 Questions
    • NVR (20mins): 40 Questions

        Key Admission Dates

        • 5th May 2023: Registration opens
        • 16th June 2023: Registration closes 
        • 12th September 2023: Practice test
        • 14th September 2023: Secondary Transfer Test
        • 13th October 2023: Secondary Transfer Test Results
        • 31st October 2023: Deadline for secondary school applications
        • 1st March 2024: National Offer Day

        Note: 2024 dates will be updated when information is released by the council.

        Join our 11+ WhatsApp Group

        • Regular updates & Key dates
        • Free resources 
        • Regular updates & reminders
        • Free resources
        • Supportive parent community

        How to prepare for GL 11Plus Exam?

        At Oxbridge we offer a number of resources, courses and mocks to help with your 11Plus Prep.
        Ideal for students who are self-preparing or Home-preparing, our resources are custom made for success in GL, London Grammar and Private School Exams.
        We recommend the following resources:

        1.   Subject-wise courses:

        We offer subject-specific camps: English Camp, Maths Camp, NVR Camp and VR Camp. The camp are designed as one-week intensive courses focusing on key topics relevant to the 11Plus exam. These camps provide an excellent opportunity to refresh knowledge, enhance understanding, and boost confidence.
        Key features: 

        • Practice essential question types for each subject
        • Timed Quizzes
        • Access our partner resources
        • Practice over 400 questions

        2.    Online Practice Books:
        Our brand new 'online test books’ help students develop: Stamina, Speed and Accuracy. It is comprised of 3 bundles of tests for each subject (English, Maths) :
        •    10-minute tests (Beginner)
        •    15-minute tests (Intermediate)
        •    20-minute tests (Advanced)
        Progression along the test series helps children develop effective time management and tackle increasingly difficult questions. Each test covers a wide range of topics, contains detailed solutions and shows ‘score analytics’ to benchmark performance.

        3.    Mock Exams
        Mock exams are a great way to prepare for the real exams. They can help you to:

        • Start revising early and avoid time wastage.
        • Improve your knowledge.
        • Familiarise yourself with the exam conditions and pressure.
        • Identify your strengths and weaknesses.

        We offer a mix of Online, In-Person and At-Home Mock exams to guide your preparation. We highly recommend starting with mock exams six months prior to your main exam to ease into the test process.

        4.    Special Courses
        Special courses on vocabulary and courses to improve your accuracy and time-management.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        1. How competitive is entry into Bucks Grammar Schools?

        Buckinghamshire is one of the highest desity areas for number of Grammar Schools. There are 2230 Grammar School places every year, meaning Bucks offers one the best selection rates, with one in every three students clearing the 11Plus exam. This compared with many London Grammar Schools which have a application to selection ratio as high as 1:12, seems very favourable.

        That being said, Grammar School selection remains competitive and requires considerable dedication and hard work.

        2. Are there any Grammar schools in Bucks which do not have catchment area?

        All Bucks Grammar Schools require a 121+ Standardised score in the common 11Plus Exam and then seats are allocated to special categories first (Siblings, Free School Meals, Looked after children ....) and following that any remaining seats are allocated based on distance (Score criteria of 121+ remains). There are no purely merit based seats as such which do not depend on distance.

        3. What are standardised scores?

        Most of us understand scoring systems like those used in our schools, ‘7 out of 10’ or percentage scores, e.g. 70%. Such scores, known as raw scores, are easily understandable and helpful in indicating ‘how many you got right’. However, these scores are less useful in enabling teachers to compare pupils’ performance meaningfully between one test and another and monitor progress over time. This is because raw scores do not account for factors such as: Varying the difficultly of tests from year to year. Varying the aptitude and number of students taking the test each year. These factors can make the average scores (and hence selection scores) subject to significant variations year on year. To overcome these challenges, standardised scores are used instead of raw scores as they help balance children's overall performance between years and tests. The process of standard score calculation is relatively complex. We will try and discuss the basics for interested parents and students, but the detailed mechanism is not necessary for succeeding in the exam– it all comes down to attempting questions in a considered, accurate manner and keeping pace with the speed of the test.

        4. What are age-standardised scores?

        This basically means that some of the standardised scores are increased slightly to give a small additional score to children who are younger within the year group. Such adjustments are used because in extreme circumstances there can be up to a year of difference between the ages of the children taking the test and older children naturally:

        • Can concentrate harder and longer
        • Have a wider vocabulary than younger class-mates
        • Display greater comprehension ability
        • Are able to work quicker and with greater accuracy
        • Deal better with exam stress
        Although this may be concerning for some parents and children (and equally euphoric for others), it is worth remembering that the factor is very small and the most important parameter remains test performance by far.

        5. Is it possible to self-prep for GL Bucks Exam ?

        Hundreds of students self-prep (or Home prep) for the GL Bucks Exam every year. At Oxbridge Institute we aim to provide courses, online resources and mock exams to take your learning in your own hands and achieve 11Plus success. Self (Or home) prep requires tremendous commitment but is the most rewarding journey for intelligent and dedicated students who choose to take this challenge.

        6. How do I know which school is the right choice for my family?

        Only your family can choose which school is right for your child. The competition both to get in and to stay among the top pupils in class is bound to be high but can be very rewarding in the end. We suggest attending the open day at the school (July) and going through the various sources of information available on this page and on the school website before deciding if this is the right school for your child. Here are a few things that you might need to consider: 

        • Academic Ranking
        • Commute
        • Mixed or Single Sex School 
        • School Demographics 
        • School Infrastructure 
        • School Speciality

        7. How to self-prepare for the GL Bucks Exam with support from Oxbridge?

        We have a support plan for students who want to gain admission into one of the best Grammar Schools in the country.

        • Join our Weekly Test Series: Weekly English and Maths theory videos and weekly practice tests on the topic of the week. Additional resources shared on weekly basis.
        • Get our Online Books: Segregated as 10-minute (Beginner), 15-Minute (Intermediate) and 20-Minute (Advanced) Tests. Perfect practice for GL and similar exams.
        • Regular Mock Exams: Starting Dec 2023, we have a monthly schedule of Online and Physical Mocks. We also have At-Home Mocks for practice of past mock exams.
        • Special Courses & Revision Camps: Special courses in Vocabulary, Grammar, Maths, English and Accuracy & Time Management, NVR Camp and VR Camp