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What is Common Entrance?

Common Entrance is a set of examinations knows as common entrance exams. These exams are taken by boys and girls for entrance to independent senior schools at the age of 11+ or 13+. The syllabuses are created by the Independent Schools Examinations Board which compromises of Heads from the three Associations which represent the top independent schools in the country: The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, The Girls’ Schools Association and The Independent Association of Prep Schools. These papers are set by examiners who are appointed by the Board. However the answers are marked by the senior school for which a candidate is entered.

Candidates may normally be entered for Common Entrance only if:

  • They have been previously offered a place at a senior school subject to the student passing the examinations


  • They are entered for internal marking, in this case the papers are then marked by the candidate’s junior school

Mostly the common entrance examinations are usually taken within the student’s current school. 11+ candidates sit examinations in English, Mathematics and Science whilst they are in Year 6, usually for girls’ schools. 13+ candidates will also sit their examinations in these core subjects, alongside papers which have been selected from a wide range of humanities, languages and classical subjects.

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



What Parents are Saying

"Our son is home tutored and receiving tuition from HB Tutoring. HB Tutoring deal with the local council and arrange our son to sit exams as an external candidate. This is a great help to us and takes a weight off our minds, thank you."
G. Philips

"Our family recently moved areas. We remained with HB Tutoring and they gave us a new tutor and helped our children’s education carry on smoothly as they liaised with the schools and our tutors both worked with HB Tutoring. This was very helpful as English is not our mother tongue."
K. Lenwovsky


"George is doing so well. His English teachers were both surprised and delighted with his mock results"
S. Cairns



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