Tuition for School Entry Tests
The majority of top UK private schools will require your child to sit entrance tests and be interviewed in order to be considered for admission. As a general rule, virtually all schools in the top 75% of our league tables select children on the basis of their performance in admissions tests. Sometimes these are extremely competitive with only the highest performing students being offered places. In other cases, entrance tests are used to ensure that a child will be able to cope with the curriculum and pace of learning in a particular school. Some schools, mainly those which are academically non-selective, make offers on the basis of references from the previous school and recent school reports plus in some cases an interview, either in person or via Skype.
Entrance tests vary by school and age group. For entry at ages 11 and 13, schools commonly use the Common Entrance Test set by the ISEB. For 11+ entry children sit tests in Maths, English and Science in the November or January of Year 6. For 13+ entry the Common Entrance tests are taken in January of Year 8 in schools outside the UK or in May at UK prep schools. Children sit exams in all the main curriculum subjects, and the tests are marked by the target senior school. Each senior school sets its own pass mark. – the more selective (academically) the higher the required score. A large number of senior schools now pre-test children in Year 6 (age 10) and offer conditional places which are confirmed after the Common Entrance exam results are known. Not all schools use Common Entrance. Some set their own admissions tests but the standard expected will generally be the same or higher.
For 16+ entry into 6th form to study either A Levels or the IB Diploma, there are different requirements. Entrance exams and interviews are usually held in the November of the year preceding entry in the subjects a student is planning to study in the 6th form. International students whose first language is not English will also be required to demonstrate their language proficiency, usually in the form of an IELTS score. A number of boarding schools require students applying from outside the UK to take a standardised UKiset test.
If you are applying for a scholarship, then there will be separate tests or auditions.
Never underestimate the importance or timing of entrance tests. Most will be taken between 6 to 9 months before entry. It is prudent to prepare for them. There are private preparatory schools in the UK which specialise in preparing children to pass the entry exams of chosen senior schools, but even then your child may benefit from additional tuition.
Elite School Preparation
There are a small number of elite schools, where not only is it necessary to apply several years in advance (even up to 5 years ahead), but the pupil may be required to sit “pre-assessment” tests or interviews up to three years before the actual admissions tests. These include schools such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester and Wycombe Abbey. Children supposedly cannot be tutored for these tests BUT preparation and familiarisation is essential. If you are aiming for one of these top schools, you should consider having your child assessed to determine if you are targeting appropriate schools. There is little point in stressing a child who is never going to be suited to a high pressure academic environment, when we can find them a far more suitable school.
We use several different firms of tutors who are experienced in admissions test preparation – ask us for details on +44 (0) 1622 813870 or complete an Enquiry Form.
Education Advisers' Personalised Pupil Assessments
We offer our own diagnostic assessments for students in Maths and English. These personalised pupil assessments allow us to see where an international student sits in comparison to children of the same age who have been educated in a UK private school. The test reports include details on areas that either need to be covered, or need further tuition to prepare for entrance tests. The assessments can be taken up to three years in advance of entry and will provide you with valuable information to help your child push to the next level in their education. Please contact us for further information.
Tel: +44(0) 1622 813870 or +44(0) 1622 812852