Common Entrance

Common Entrance is the name for a set of examinations taken by boys and girls for entrance to senior independent schools (private schools), at 11+ or 13+.

The syllabuses and papers are devised and set by examiners appointed by the Board. The candidates’ answers are marked by the senior school for which a candidate is entered.

The examinations are usually taken in the candidate's current school. 11+ candidates sit examinations in English, Mathematics and Science. Candidates take the examinations when they are in Year 6, usually for girls' schools. 13+ candidates also sit examinations in these core subjects, alongside papers selected from a wide range of humanities, languages and classical subjects.

The 11+ examinations are usually taken in the spring term of Year 6 prior to entry to senior school the following September. The 13+ examinations are usually taken in the spring or summer term of Year 8, again prior to entry to senior school the following September. Senior schools decide at which stage in the year the examinations are to be taken.

Common Pre-Tests

The Common Pre-Tests are age-standardised tests used to assess pupils' attainment and potential when they are in Year 6 or Year 7, prior to entry to their senior schools. If your son or daughter is offered a place after completing these tests, he or she will normally still be required to sit the Common Entrance examinations.

The tests are taken online, usually in the child's current school, and include multiple-choice tests in Mathematics, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Senior schools will inform parents if their son or daughter needs to be entered for the tests.

No special preparation is needed for the tests and no past papers are available. Examples and practice questions are provided during the testing period so that candidates understand what they have to do.

The Independent Schools Examinations Board

ISEB provides Common Entrance examinations at 11+ and 13+ and the Common Pre-Tests. These may be used by senior schools as part of their entrance procedures (please check with individual senior schools for their entrance requirements). For further information about the examinations offered by ISEB, please visit the Parents section of the ISEB website.