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School Entrance Exams

School Entrance and Academic Consultancy

We provide a comprehensive service for seven plus (7+), eleven plus (11+), thirteen plus (13+) and sixteen plus (16+) schools placement and entrance exam preparation including tailored services in Maths, English (Comprehension), Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning subsets. We can also assist with the application procedure as well as school open days and interview advice. An important part of the procedure is not only matching the child to a school where they will thrive academically but moreover to place them where the pupil will be happy and flourish. We can support your preparation with tutors and past papers for the School Entrance Exams.


What are School Entrance Exams?

Entrance exams are commonly used by prep, grammar and independent senior schools to assess candidates who are looking to enter their school. The exams enable schools to see who is performing at a higher academic level, enabling schools to be selective about who they accept. Due to high volumes of applicant and small numbers of spaces available, the Entrance Exams are a highly competitive annual occurrence. The most popular assessors include GL, CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) and ISEB (writers of the majorly used Common Entrance exam for 11+ and 13+).


What age groups have School Entrance Exams?

The most commonly used Entrance Exam age groups cover the 7+, 11+, 13+ and 16+ Entrance examinations. Candidates from these age groups will be applying for independent schools, seeking to gain a place where they can further their education with an accredited school.


7+ Entrance Exams:

The 7+ exam is taken when children are at the end of their Year 2 schooling year, made with the intention of discerning which children have academic strengths and are able to progress onto their intended school. Children that participate in the 7+ exams will be tested on their Mathematics and English knowledge, with a selection of schools also opting to test candidates on their Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Non-verbal Reasoning (NVR) skills. Schools will select candidates based on their scores, with the majority of schools not testing past the National Curriculum age level. This makes revising an important and useful activity to involve your child in, especially during the months approaching their examinations.

7+ Exam content:

The rise in the use of schools using online testing has led to an incline in the application of Adaptive Assessment; a software tool that adjusts the level of difficulty for an individual’s test dependent on whether they are answering the majority of their questions correctly or not. This means that for some subjects, different candidates will end up answering different questions, tailored to their individual learning level.


Your child will be matched with questions at the National Curriculum level for their age, presented with questions that require them to refer back to the knowledge that they have learnt previously over the year. Learners will be tested on their 2,3,4,5 and 10 times tables and will be expected to apply their knowledge to simply and complex worded questions.


The 7+ English exam is divided into Reading and Writing sections, requiring your child to apply their knowledge over a spectrum of questioning. Reading will require your child to annunciate and pronounce their words effectively. The Writing component requires your child to demonstrate their spelling, grammar and punctuation abilities, often asked to write a piece of work that demonstrates effective paragraph and punctuation application.

Conversing: Typically observed during the interview stage, staff will encourage prospective students to engage with group tasks and to discuss a subject that interests your child.

Reasoning: Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning is included by some schools in the testing process, with a rise in mathematical reasoning in the new curriculum.

Pass Mark:

The general pass mark across schools that participate in the 7+ examinations is 70%. If your child is scoring consistently between 70% and 75%, they are likely to do well.

(Additional content can be found on our ’7 Plus / 7+’ page) 


11+ Entrance Exams:

The 11+ examination process is used by state-funded grammar schools and private school’s students leaving Primary education and entering Secondary education. The preparation process normally begins at the end of Year 5/ beginning of Year 6 an is used to assess the learners who are the strongest academically. The 11+ is currently used in counties that have state-funded grammar schools including Berkshire, Bexley, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Cumbria, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Medway, Shropshire, Trafford, Wiltshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wirral, Wolverhampton and Yorkshire.

11+ Exam content:

Candidates entering the 11+ examination will need to be prepared for four main topics: English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR). English and Mathematics content will generally follow the National Curriculum, with Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning containing more abstract content. The two formats of the 11+ examination papers are standard format and multiple-choice format.

Standard format involves students recording their answers directly onto the examination test papers.

Multiple-choice format involves students recording their answers onto the examination test papers, where they are then marked in an answer booklet, separate from the test paper.

The 11+ examination papers are timed, averaging between 45 and 60 minutes in duration.


Candidates that participate in GL’s exams will be tested in Mathematics, spelling, vocabulary and logic. Candidates that participate in CEM’s exams will be challenged on their Mathematics, spelling, vocabulary, comprehension and English skills (often containing less predictable content than GL).

(Additional content can be found on our ’11 Plus / 11+’ page)


13+ Entrance Exams:

The 13+ Common Entrance exams are prepared by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB), for students in Year 8. The structure of the exams can vary across different schools and content is often specific to the school that you are attending, with exams typically lasting between 40 and 90 minutes in duration. The 13+ Common Entrance exam is ultimately a challenge used by independent schools to secure high achieving students to their institution.

13+ Exam Content:

Core subjects which every candidate must participate in include English, Mathematics and Science (the core subjects). Many schools also require learners to sit additional papers in a variety of different subjects including; History, Geography, Religious Studies, French, Spanish, German, Latin, Classical Greek and Mandarin Chinese. Learners can be tested at four levels on their core subject knowledge (English, Mathematics and Science): Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and CASE (Common Academic Scholarship Exam). CASE is used most commonly to identify students with exceptional knowledge and skill in set subjects, with an accompanying opportunity to gain a scholarship and/ or reduced school fees upon an acceptance to the school.

Pass mark:

There is no official pass mark for the 13+ exams, though select schools do offer their own attainment levels, averaging between 55 and 60%. A pass rate mark of above 60% is deemed as selective, with anything above 70% viewed as exceptionally selective.

(Additional content can be found on our ’13 Plus / 13+’ page)


16+ Entrance Exams:

Commonly known as the ‘Sixth Form Entry Exams’, the 16+ exams are taken by students in Year 11, who are seeking to enrol onto a Sixth Form place. A place for students to study for advanced school-level qualifications, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) or A Levels, Sixth Form follows the GCSEs that are taken in Year 11. The 16+ entry involves a collection of data (including predicted GCSE grades, personal statements, a school reference and school reports) to determine whether your child is the right fit for the Sixth Form they have applied for. It is common for a candidate to receive a conditional offer, upon the expectation that students minimum GCSE grades are met according to subject specific criteria.

16+ Exam Content:

The 16+ exam content is subjective to the candidates chosen subject progression route, meaning learners who are looking to study different subjects will have a different selection of papers to sit. The grade requirements will also be dependent on the individuals school choice, but it is standard that candidates will sit an English and Maths papers, alongside two other subjects, or alternatively, will sit a CAT4 (Cognitive Ability Test) test.

Pass Mark:

Pass marks vary from year to year, dependent on the specific school, but conditional offers are dependent on your child securing the GCSE grades that they are predicted to attain.

(Additional content can be found on our ’16 Plus / 16+’ page)


How do Schools Entrance Exams vary?

Listed below are the top 25 Grammar schools in the UK that use a variety of different Entrance Exams at 11+, 13+ and 16+. Prep, Grammar and Independent Private schools use Entrance Exams to determine and select the candidates that have the highest scoring academic results.


List of the highest rating Grammar Schools in the UK by GCSE results:

  • Kendrick School Berkshire, Berkshire
  • The Tiffin Girls’ School, Kingston-Upon-Thames
  • Woodford County High School, Redbridge
  • Wilson’s School, Sutton
  • Dr Challoner’s High School for Girls, Buckinghamshire
  • Dartford Grammar School for Girls, Kent
  • Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, Barnet
  • Wallington High School for Girls, Sutton
  • Nonsuch High School for Girls, Sutton
  • Highworth Grammar School, Kent
  • Reading School, Berkshire
  • Colchester County High School for Girls, Essex
  • Colyton Grammar School, Devon
  • Herschel Grammar School, Berkshire
  • Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School, Kent
  • Sutton Grammar School, Sutton
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, Birmingham
  • Weald of Kent Grammar School, Kent
  • Ripon Grammar School, Yorkshire
  • St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School, Barnet
  • Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Cheshire
  • Parkstone Grammar School, Dorset
  • Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, Lincolnshire
  • The Henrietta Barnett School, Barnet
  • Stroud High School, Gloucestershire


It is worth noting that some grammar schools opt to use alternative 11+ Entrance exams, including the ‘Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test (STT)’ and the Selective Eligibility Test, “SET”.


School Entrance Exams – What schools form the London 11+ Schools Consortium?

–       Channing School, Highgate

–       Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park

–       Francis Holland School, Sloane Square

–       Godolphin and Latymer, Hammersmith

–       More House School, Knightsbridge

–       Northwood College for Girls, Northwood

–       Notting Hill and Ealing High School, Ealing

–       Queen’s College London, Marylebone

–       Queen’s Gate School, South Kensington

–       South Hampstead High School, South Hampstead

–       St Augustine’s Priory, Ealing

–       St Helen’s School London, Northwood

–       St James Senior Girls’ School, Kensington Olympia

–       St Margaret’s School, Hampstead


What are Challenge Examinations?

Challenge Examinations are used for learners that demonstrate exceptional talent. Ability in a given subject. This could mean that a learner is presenting college-level knowledge in a certain subject whilst they are still studying. A challenge Exam is the equivalent to passing an end-of-term, cumulative series of exams, with each subject containing specific content to determine a learner’s level. Some select subjects enter learners into academic area-specific screening procedures to determine whether the learner is an appropriate candidate for the Challenge Exam. Certain schools/ colleges will require candidates to provide a written or verbal description of their experiences, relating to the chosen subject that communicate their skill and knowledge level. This is how the institute can determine whether the candidate is prepared for the challenge. Schools will offer different subject Challenge Exams, some of the subjects include (but are not limited to) Basic/ Intermediate Diagnosis Coding, Learning Strategies for Success in Healthcare Careers, Medical Terminology and Fundamentals of Respiratory Care. The pass rate for Challenge Examinations sits around the 70% marker, with generally no more than 25% of the credits gained from passing the exam contributing towards a degree.


Do schools offer scholarships?

The majority of private schools in the UK offer a form of financial assistance by offering scholarships or bursaries to pupils who either demonstrate the need for financial support or demonstrate a particular aptitude in a certain subject. The majority of Independent Secondary schools also offer scholarships, used a method of gaining talented pupils in a highly competitive market. The title of gaining a scholarship for a subject aptitude is often worth more than its monetary value, carrying a notable status. Scholarships can come with extra educational experiences, including extra coaching, tuition, additional educational trips and one to one mentoring sessions during and external to schooling hours. All of these added benefits promote further knowledge/ skill development, leading to a higher level of education and a distinguished subject experience. Public schools such as Eton, Harrow and Winchester offer particularly competitive scholarship funds, contributing to the production of a long list of successful alumni.


School Entrance Exams – School Specific Scholarships:

Eton College:

Scholarships and bursaries offered at Eton are separate from one another, meaning a scholarship do not offer monetary support, but applying for a bursary can. Eton College does not offer scholarships for sporting or art-based subjects, though talents in these areas can support your application process.

Harrow School:

Harrow School enables their pupils to compete for awards in Academic, Sport, Drama, Music, Art and Design and Technology, carrying the value of 5% of the School fees. The Scholarship award takes into account individual character, academic ability and the individual’s ability to contribute to organisational growth.

Winchester College:

A Scholarship at Winchester College differs from other colleges, in that pupils that are offered a place at the institute are regarded as Scholars. ‘Exhibitions’ enable pupils to be publicly recognised for their academic abilities, offered a place in one of the school’s boarding houses. A Headmaster’s Nomination is an Award offered to a pupil who has not previously been successful in gaining a place at the school, but whose exam results are strong enough to gain them a place at one of the boarding houses.

Rugby School:

Rugby School offers a range of Scholarship Awards at 13+ and 16+. These Scholarships include Art, Computer Science, Design & Technology, Music and Sport. The Scholarship Awards enable pupils that demonstrate exceptional talents to receive opportunities, enrichment activities and extra support programmes, including a fee discount for parents.

Latymer Upper School:

Latymer Upper School offer Scholarships at 11+ in the form of a one-off payment of £1,000. Scholarships are offered across Music, Drama, Sport and Art subjects and are reserved for learners that demonstrate particular strengths within these areas.

City of London School:

Scholarships offered at the City of London School are worth £250 and are awarded to candidates that demonstrate exemplary strengths in Academic, Music and Sporting subjects. Candidates who are awarded an Academic Scholarship are expected to attain exceptional educational grades throughout their career at the school.

St Paul’s School:

St Paul’s School offer Scholarships at 13+ and are worth £60. Candidates who are successful in gaining a place at 13+ are entitled to apply for a Scholarship, will be entered by the Headteacher to complete a series of papers across a selection of subjects. Around 30 Scholarships are awarded annually.

Magdalen College University of Oxford:

The Magdalen College, University of Oxford offer a diverse selection of Scholarships, requiring a series of different criteria. For example, select Scholarships require candidates to have lived in the country for a specific amount of years prior to applying for the Scholarship.

Wimbledon High School:

Wimbledon High School offer a number of Academic Scholarships at 11+, based on the applicants 11+ performance. The Scholarship vary between 5 and 20% of fees and are also available for learners that demonstrate an aptitude for Music.


School Entrance Exams Tutor

Mayfair Consultants offers at-home, one-on-one private tuition in a wide variety of subjects for the school entrance exams to clients living across the London area and online. We will help with understanding content outlined in syllabi, gaining specific skills required to effectively tackle the questions and how to score on the examinations. Our fully-qualified school entrance exam tutors are experienced and skilled specialists, with many holding postgraduate degrees (Master’s and PhD) in specific subjects you want to focus on. They offer clear, concise explanations and stimulating approaches, helping to support the needs of every student.

If you would like to arrange school entrance exam tutoring, schools entrance consultancy or enquire about our schools placement service in England as well as independent schools entrance tests please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.



School Entrance Exams Resources:


London Consortium Schools:


Highest rating Grammar Schools admission links:


Scholarship Links:


Challenge Past Papers: 

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