Essex CSSE 11+ Entrance Exams

About Paper 1

English & Writing

Mock Papers

About Paper 2

The Basics

The Essex CSSE is the entrance exam for all 11+ selective places covering 9 key schools in Essex. The exam consists of 2 papers, one measuring Maths and one measuring English, each paper has an equal weighting of 50% in the final score.

Unusually for 11+ entrance exams, the CSSE papers are almost entirely open answer, as opposed to multiple choice. The vast majority of 11+ exams in the UK are multiple choice, so it's really important to focus your revision time and mock experience on open answer, time-weighted questions.

Schools using the CSSE entrance  exam include:

  • Colchester County High School for Girls

  • Colchester Royal Grammar School

  • King Edward VI Grammar School

  • Shoeburyness High School

  • Southend High School for Boys

  • Southend High School for Girls

  • St. Bernard’s High School for Girls

  • St. Thomas More High School for Boys

  • Westcliff High School for Boys

  • Westcliff High School for Girls

Student Writing

Paper 1 - English Continuous Writing & English

There are two separate papers in the CSSE for English, one that assesses continuous writing and one that measures technical proficiency. The continuous writing papers usually request one or two long pieces of creative or structured writing. The technical papers measure the expected KS2 English language questions, including vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and literary devices. 

As these papers are both open answer rather than multiple choice, it is important to practise timed open answer mock papers in preparation, rather than traditional multiple choice 11+ format papers.

Grab a sample paper

Mock English Sample.png

English, Open Answer

Things to remember


Pen & paper wins every time

There are no online tests for any of these schools.


Don't get distracted with apps and other digital solutions. Focus your time on getting used to printed, exam-style mock papers that help familiarise with the real thing.

The closer you can get to the experience of the day itself, the better prepared your child will be when their moment arrives.

Get used to watching the clock

Timing is crucial, always have a clock in the room.

Although most CSSE questions carry the same amount of points, it is easy to lose track of time. A good rule of thumb is 1-minute per question. Keep an analogue clock in the room you hold your home-mocks and help your superstar get used to keeping one eye on the time.

If it's worth doing once...

Always check your answers.

It sounds obvious, but the difference between a pass and fail is just as likely to be exam technique as it is raw knowledge. Checking every answer needs to be as much part of your revision as answering the question first time. Some people check as they go, others run through when complete - try both and see what works for you.

Adult Students


Essex CSSE Paper 1 Mock Papers

Click below to download timed, open answer mock papers suitable for Essex CSSE home mock practice. 

English & Grammar: Open Answer English & Grammar mock papers with comprehension, continuous writing and technical language questions.

Adult Students

Essex CSSE Paper 2 Mock Papers

Click below to download open answer Maths & Numeracy mock papers suitable for Essex CSSE entrance exams.

Maths & Numeracy: Timed, open answer papers that look and feel like the real thing.

For when you need just that little bit extra...

Maths Bitesize: Short, timed papers that focus exclusively on selected mathematical topics