Everything you need to know about Common Entrance in one place

For students who are hoping to gain entrance into an Independent School (either fee paying private schools or free grammar schools) they will take entrance exams known as Common Entrance. The majority of students will take these exams in year 6, known as the 11 plus. Others will opt for later entrance in year 8, what is known as the 13 plus.

The best schools are very often over-subscribed and so doing well in these assessments is essential to gaining entry.

Click on one of the pictures below to navigate to a section depending on your need. Or if you have a specific question about a specific school, get in contact, and we'll give you free tailored advice specific to your needs.


If you are interested in getting tuition but want to see what type of tutor would best suit your circumstances, head to our Cost of Tuition page.

To get a better idea of what a London Academy tutorial looks like, head to our blog.

Everything you need to know about Common Entrance in one place

Click on one of the pictures below to learn you need to know about common entrance. Alternatively get in contact with us if you have a specific enquiry. Our dedicated team can help with tuition, consultation, schools advise or anything at all.

If you feel like you want to book tuition but want to assess the different options and prices, head over to our cost of tuition page.


If you want more specific advice related to the 11 plus or 13 plus, have a look at the section of our website that we dedicate to these exams.

If you need some advice that this section doesn't answer, send us a message and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have about the Common Entrance and your specific situation.

HOW TO REVISE

We always recommend starting revision as early possible using 'distributed practice'. We also recommend trying out different methods when revising material. There are lots of options and approaches when revising and you won't know what works best for you until you try them all. Remember -- the easiest won't always be the best! Using a variety of different approaches can also be extremely beneficial for students

Have a look at this BBC article that reveals some commonly held misconceptions about revision. 

And these two vides from ASAPScience give some really excellent ideas to get students feeling positive about revision.

The most important things to remember are:

  1. make a timetable and spread out your revision over as many weeks as you can

  2. find a quite study space with all the resources you need close to hand

  3. set one small goal for every session

  4. make each session about 30minutes long then take a 10 minute break

  5. put away your phone

  6. take some exercise everyday, even if that just means getting up and going for a walk

  7. drink lots of water

  8. don't highlight books with highlighter - it doesn't work!

  9. make your own flashcards and carry them with you and use them regularly

  10. make revision active and say things out loud when your using your cards

  11. make mnemonics to remember sets of things

  12. do as many practice tests as you can

  13. teach fellow students/family members parts of you course

  14. make mind-maps to link ideas together

  15. read and analyse model answers to questions

We've collected some of the best revision videos from across the web and have put them all here for you try:

Or if you are looking for more ideas to super charge your revision, get in touch with our team of revision specialists for some free advice!

 
 

Picking the right school needn't be a hassle

We have built an incredible school selection tool. This takes the stress out of selecting the right school for your child by using your exact requirements to provide a list of the best options for you. This is then delivered to you on an easy to understand document with all options laid out, including entry requirements and individual advice tailored dependent on your needs. Have a look at our example School Selection Document to see what to expect from this service. This service costs £150 and takes between 1-3 days to complete.

For starters, why not read our 4 steps to school selection success to get some tips on how to make the whole process an enjoyable and positive one.

Or if you have a specific question that you'd like to put to one of our team, then Get in Contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.


Can you see into the future?
 
 

1. INVOLVE YOUR CHILD

Wherever possible, involve your child from the very beginning of the school selection process. It is known that attainment at school is linked directly to student happiness and a sure-fire way of encouraging confidence and wellbeing at school is to let students be the authors of their own education. 

Discussing options with students, gives them a voice and a choice in their future and encouraging debate over the benefits of each option is a great learning opportunity in itself. Depending on the student, this might be an easy topic of conversation or could require some teasing out. Have a look at our help sheet for some advice on talking to your child about their future. Also, we recommend reading this great Guardian article that offers advice to parents and children about to move schools.

To order a prospectus for the schools you are interested in applying to, use our database of all schools in the uk to send one email to all schools requesting a prospectus.

2. PUT ALL OPTIONS ON THE TABLE

Have you considered every option? It is easy to miss the obvious option sometimes, and just because 'everyone is talking about how school x is the best school' doesn't mean that it's the best option. In fact, the pressure that is associated with this type of selection mentality does students no good whatsoever.  It's better to have more options on the table at this point, and having up to 8 schools at this point is no bad thing.

After you have started discussing options with your child, it is time to open the net far and wide. Have you considered the local comprehensive? What about a grammar school that is closer to home? Now is the time to list your priorities in order from top to bottom (eg. music activities, friendsgood science departmentexam results, careers advice) and then match these priorities against each school. How does each school do? Try to cut your list down to 3 or 4 schools.

Do get in touch if you need any help with this decision making process.

 
 

 If you need a little help with either of these aspects of selecting a school, use our school selection questionnaire which does the hard work for you.

Dreaming of another school?

Dreaming of another school?

 
 

3. BOOK INTO SOME OPEN DAYS 

Put the prospectus to one side. Now you've got your reduced shortlist it's time to see how each school compares in real life. So much can be gained from having a snoop around your chosen school; from chatting informally to teachers and students; to seeing what kinds of building and resources they have: open days are often the make or break times for school selection. Sometimes the difference can be something that seems almost intangible, like the feel or the ethos of a place. Whatever it is and whatever your child is responding to with cautious excitement should be embraced. You've probably just found the right school!

4. FIND THE ROUTE TO ENTRY

Now you've got your list in order from 1st pick don to 3rd or 4th pick its time to navigate admission. Though there are similarities in admission procedures for a lot of schools, it is worth digging into the website of each individual school as they will all have slightly different criteria and a slightly different entrance procedures and timetables.

Most involve assessments in Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning, and almost all require students to attend a short interview with the headteacher. For more general advice about the 7+11+ and 13+ have a look at our pages devoted to these assessments.

 
 

Need help with something else? Get in contact with our School Selection team to get some free advice on how best to approach this exciting time.

 
 

Everything you need to know about Common Entrance

Common Entrance is the name given to the set of exams that students take before entering into independent school. There are two main routes here, the 11+ and the 13+. Schools use these results to decide which students to take each year and it allows them to make informed decisions about which classes to put them in once students have entered school.

This page has all the information you need to navigate the Common Entrance: 

Who sets the assessment?

  • When do students take the assessment?

  • What will be on the assessment?

  • How do I register?

Your future Headmaster decides on the pass mark.

Your future Headmaster decides on the pass mark.

WHO SETS THE ASSESSMENT?

ISEB (Independent School Examination Board) is the examining body and they are responsible for setting these exams. The papers are then passed onto the child's prospective school to be marked according to their own grade boundaries - so there is no pass mark, rather marks are judged against the schools own standards and the other students who are applying to that school. The most selective schools request scores of 70% and above. Check whether your preferred school will take an average of all marks or whether they require pass marks in all subjects.

Though the majority of schools will use the Common Entrance exam set by ISEB, some prefer to set their own entrance examinations (often Girls and boys co-ed schools), so do double-check with the schools you are applying to. Expect more specific and strenuous exams for students attempting to gain scholarships to their schools.

Most students will take their Common Entrance exams at their current school.


Get ready to fill your calendar... if only it was this empty.

Get ready to fill your calendar... if only it was this empty.


WHEN DO STUDENTS TAKE THE ASSESSMENT?

There are a two main routes that might be taken when entering into an Independent Secondary school.

  • Taking the 11+ (Year 6)  

    • Students will typically take 4 papers at this age, English Comprehension, Creative Writing, Maths and Science.

    • Though these papers are tied to national curriculum and roughly equate to level 4/5, though more challenging questions are often thrown in to stretch more able pupils and in Maths and Science this might equate to lower-and-mid-level GCSE questions.

    • This paper is most often taken during Autumn/Spring term of year 6.


      Taking the 13+ (Year 8)

      • Students will typically take English, Maths, Science (at a higher level than the 11+) History, Geography, Classics, R.E and a Modern Foreign Language (French, Spanish, Mandarin, German).

      • These papers are tied to the national curriculum and roughly equate to level 6/7, though there are more challenging questions to stretch more able pupils.

      • Students will usually take this in June of year 8, just before entrance into new school in September. Although some may take them in November of year 8.

    For a full examination timetable click here

It's  very  hard to revise when there is nothing on the page.

It's very hard to revise when there is nothing on the page.

WHAT WILL BE ON THE ASSESSMENT?

Click on the links below to download the syllabus of each subject. Each file includes details of 11+, 13+ and the CASE.


HOW DO I REGISTER?

Registration is simple enough. Depending on your country of residence it costs between £115 - £185

 

Do you have a question related to a specific school or situation? Get in touch and our small team of Common Entrance experts will help in whatever way they can.

Our School Selection Questionnaire will be available to use very soon!

Add your email to our list and we will contact you as soon as it is ready to use.

Name *
Name
 

Picking the right school needn't be a hassle

We have built an incredible school selection tool. This takes the stress out of selecting the right school for your child by using your exact requirements to provide a list of the best options for you. This is then delivered to you on an easy to understand document with all options laid out, including entry requirements and individual advice tailored dependent on your needs. Have a look at our example School Selection Document to see what to expect from this service. This service costs £150 and takes between 1-3 days to complete.

For starters, why not read our 4 steps to school selection success to get some tips on how to make the whole process an enjoyable and positive one.

Or if you have a specific question that you'd like to put to one of our team, then Get in Contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.


Can you see into the future?

Can you see into the future?

1. INVOLVE YOUR CHILD

Wherever possible, involve your child from the very beginning of the school selection process. It is known that attainment at school is linked directly to student happiness and a sure-fire way of encouraging confidence and wellbeing at school is to let students be the authors of their own education. 

Discussing options with students, gives them a voice and a choice in their future and encouraging debate over the benefits of each option is a great learning opportunity in itself. Depending on the student, this might be an easy topic of conversation or could require some teasing out. Have a look at our help sheet for some advice on talking to your child about their future. Also, we recommend reading this great Guardian article that offers advice to parents and children about to move schools.

To order a prospectus for the schools you are interested in applying to, use our database of all schools in the uk to send one email to all schools requesting a prospectus.

2. PUT ALL OPTIONS ON THE TABLE

Have you considered every option? It is easy to miss the obvious option sometimes, and just because 'everyone is talking about how school x is the best school' doesn't mean that it's the best option. In fact, the pressure that is associated with this type of selection mentality does students no good whatsoever.  It's better to have more options on the table at this point, and having up to 8 schools at this point is no bad thing.

After you have started discussing options with your child, it is time to open the net far and wide. Have you considered the local comprehensive? What about a grammar school that is closer to home? Now is the time to list your priorities in order from top to bottom (eg. music activities, friendsgood science departmentexam results, careers advice) and then match these priorities against each school. How does each school do? Try to cut your list down to 3 or 4 schools.

Do get in touch if you need any help with this decision making process.

 If you need a little help with either of these aspects of selecting a school, use our school selection questionnaire which does the hard work for you.

students-395568_1920.jpg

3. BOOK INTO SOME OPEN DAYS 

Put the prospectus to one side. Now you've got your reduced shortlist it's time to see how each school compares in real life. So much can be gained from having a snoop around your chosen school; from chatting informally to teachers and students; to seeing what kinds of building and resources they have: open days are often the make or break times for school selection. Sometimes the difference can be something that seems almost intangible, like the feel or the ethos of a place. Whatever it is and whatever your child is responding to with cautious excitement should be embraced. You've probably just found the right school!

4. FIND THE ROUTE TO ENTRY

Now you've got your list in order from 1st pick don to 3rd or 4th pick its time to navigate admission. Though there are similarities in admission procedures for a lot of schools, it is worth digging into the website of each individual school as they will all have slightly different criteria and a slightly different entrance procedures and timetables.

Most involve assessments in Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning, and almost all require students to attend a short interview with the headteacher. For more general advice about the 7+11+ and 13+ have a look at our pages devoted to these assessments.

Need help with something else? Get in contact with our School Selection team to get some free advice on how best to approach this exciting time.