Difference between CEM and GL

Difference between CEM and GL


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GL and CEM are the boards that conduct 11+ Entrance Exams to get into Grammar and Independent Schools in the UK. All 11+ Exams have almost the same exam pattern consisting of 11+ Maths, 11+ English, 11+ Verbal Reasoning and 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning. But there are significant differences between the tests conducted by these two boards. Knowing these differences helps your child in 11+ Exam Preparation.

Here is a deep insight regarding the differences between these two boards.

Historical Significance:


GL stands for Granada Learning, the leading independent body conducting 11+ Exams and provides formative assessments to the top UK schools. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), earlier called NFER-Nelson's, formally became part of the Granada Learning Group in 2000.

Grammar schools mainly conduct 11+ Exams with the aid of this board.


CEM stands for The Center of Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University. It is designed for selective independent schools, selective state schools, and over-subscribed non-selective state schools. It has been designed to conduct a fair exam and reduce the predictability of content in the assessment.

CEM provides tutor proof exam papers. They do not publish any past papers so that no tutor could have access to its format.

Exam Format:

GL Assessment:

11+ Exam conducted by GL assessment generally lasts up to an hour or less and not more than that. The length of time changes regularly.

 Rather than covering a wide range of topics, these exams will cover specific parts of subjects and also target individual subjects.

A typical question paper contains 40 questions that should be answered within 45 minutes.

The questions are framed in 2 formats:

  • Standard format.
  • Multiple-choice format.

Generally, the multiple-choice format is widely used. But in 11+ verbal and 11+ Math tests written answer scheme is used.

This 11+ Exam is not time-critical. Your child will be able to answer all the questions within the given time. The difficulty level of this exam is not in the high range.

Check out our article regarding the 11 Plus GL Assessment Exam to know more about it:



The CEM exam format is unknown and changes every year. CEM provides tutor proof exam papers. They do not publish any CEM past papers so that no tutor could have access to its format. This tutor proof exam papers helps children to attend the exam without any preparation.

Your child’s school may release information regarding the structure and format of the test, so it is worth calling your child’s headteacher and asking about the exam’s format in advance.

CEM exams tend to be more content-heavy and time-critical. It is very tough for the student to complete the paper in the given time.

The CEM paper encompasses two parts with a combination of subjects:

Part 1: 11+ Non-verbal reasoning and 11+ maths.

Part 2:11+ Verbal reasoning and 11+ English.

The exam may have a multiple-choice approach, a standard open-answer format or a mix of the two depending on how the school operates. Sometimes the two formats are combined.

Each section is labelled with clear time recommendations to ensure that students spend adequate time on each test part.

Go through our article regarding the 11 Plus CEM Exam to know more about it:


Subjects covered:


 The subjects covered by GL Assessment are:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-verbal reasoning (spatial reasoning)

While testing, schools typically use a combination of the above to ensemble their policies.


CEM test encompasses 11+ Numerical reasoning,11+  Non-verbal reasoning, 11+ Verbal reasoning.

Your child needs to acquire excellent skills and abilities to answer verbal reasoning and maths to crack GL Assessment Exams.

We have loads of 11 Plus Online Tests helping your child get into their desired schools following 11+ CEM, 11+ GL Assessment patterns, Independent Schools, and other 11 Plus entrance examinations in the UK. Check out the below links to have access to 11 Plus GL Assessments and CEM Practice Papers:



11 Plus Online Tests can be availed at one’s convenience and are assessed immediately after giving the 11+ Test, and results are displayed. Quick analysis and proper explanation are provided for each question.  Here is an example of a clear explanation of a problem related to the 11+ exam :

11 Plus GL Assessment Practice Tests

You can get all information about the Top 100 Independent Schools here:


You can get all information about Grammar Schools here:


Detailed Insight into Syllabus:


  • KS2 and KS3 appropriate Maths topics are covered in 11+ Maths paper.
  • Topics covered in the 11+ English section:
  • Reading Comprehension.
  • Spellings.
  • Grammar.
  • Punctuations.
  • Topics covered in11+ Verbal Reasoning: There are 21 question types included in the GL Assessment, which are listed below:
  • CodeBreaking.
  • Inserting a letter to form a new word
  • Related words
  • Similar meaning.
  • Hidden words.
  • Missing words.
  • Letter and numbers.
  • Rearranging letter.
  • Letter sequences.
  • Connecting word.
  • Number Sequences.
  • Compound words.
  • Making a Word
  • Letter connections.
  • Logical problem-solving.
  • Opposite words.
  • Similar words.
  • Word Completion.
  • Topics covered in 11+ Non-verbal reasoning:
  • Odd one out.
  • Rotations.
  • Codebreaking.
  • Like shapes identification.
  • Missing sequences.
  • Missing squares.
  • Most Like.
  • Nets.
  • Spatial Recognition.

Difference between CEM Exam and GL Assessment



CEM uses many similar concepts from the Key Stage 2 curriculum. It’s the school choice to decide which subjects they want to test in their 11+ exam.

  • Topics covered in 11+ maths are Numerical ability (Mathematical Reasoning), Short Maths.
  • 11+ Verbal Reasoning contains Reading, Comprehensions, Word Choice (Synonyms, Antonyms), Cloze Passages.
  • 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Test contains various topics like:
  • Rotations.
  • Codebreaking.
  • Like shapes identification.
  • Missing sequences.
  • Missing squares.
  • Most Like.
  • Nets.
  • Spatial Recognition.

Go through the link below to check out our article regarding "11+ Exam Boards." 


Do check out our article regarding the 11 Plus CSSE board to get deep insights:



The CEM assessment has a lot of resemblance with the KS2 curriculum and requires a wider range of vocabulary.

CEM tests focus mainly on Verbal ability skills. Your child needs to have good skills in the following: Excellent English, Reading and Comprehension, Vocabulary (Synonyms/Antonyms/Clozes), Spellings.

GL Assessment:

GL assessment covers more verbal reasoning topics than the CEM exam.

Regions using these boards:

 Schools in different regions have different preferences when it comes to selecting the board to conduct the 11+ test. Some schools opt for GL or CEM or a combination of both GL and CEM. So to know about the board, consult your child’s school.

An important note is that all schools in the same region do not conduct  11+ exams on the same type of board.

Regions using CEM :

Bexley, Berkshire, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral, Wolverhampton.

Regions using GL :

Kent, Dorset, Lancashire & Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Medway, Northern Ireland, Wiltshire.

Regions covering both CEM and GL are Devon, Essex, Hertfordshire, Trafford, Yorkshire.

Check out the link below to know more about 11 Plus Regions:


11 Plus FREE GL Assessment Online Papers:


You can access 11 plus mock exams at 11Plusehelp.co.uk by visiting the below links:




Are you preparing for 11+ Exams?

If your child is preparing for the 11+ Exam conducted by any board, you should have a clear idea about the board, paper pattern, Syllabus, and many more.

Due diligence:

As you came to know that every region follows a different board to conduct the 11+ exam. So you need to consult your child’s school to know about the board and information regarding paper pattern etc.

Mustering resources:

You need to muster the resources to kickstart your child’s preparation.11PluseHelp.co.uk provides the best resources to crack 11+ Exams. We have 11+ Practice Papers, 11+ Past Papers and a lot more.

Surf through our website to avail of these resources.  We also provide free resources like free 11+ Test Papers etc.

You can also get all information about CSSE Exam here:


You can get all information about CEM Exam here:


Built vocabulary:

The CEM test is known to test more on your child’s vocabulary. So please take it as a primary concern, make your child learn vocabulary. Your child can build vocabulary by reading novels, going through resources available on our website, testing different strategies on your child etc.

11 Plus Vocabulary learning is made easy with all-new Vocabulary My Flash Cards at 11plusehelp.co.uk. Go through the article below to check out 11 Plus Vocabulary :


Time Management:

GL and CEM boards conduct exams within a time limit. So your child should prepare so that he should be able to answer all questions by allocating time to each and every section. To manage the time, your child should regularly practice tests with a time limit.

Our website contains loads of 11+ tests available in self-correction mode, practice mode, exam mode under time constraints.

To access Virtual Mock Exams, please visit:  https://11plus-mockexams.co.uk/

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