When are the Independent School Entrance Exams?

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Independent schools operate outside of government regulations. This sometimes makes it difficult to know the correct application procedures, which varies between schools. However, entrance exams are a core part of all independent school applications. Independent school entrance exams may be taken at different times of the year, depending on the age of the applicant.

Independent School Entrance Exams are usually sat 6 to 9 months before the start of the academic year. The exams take place in January for students in Year 6, and in January or May/June for students in Year 8. Pre-sits, if the school requires them, are sat in November the year prior.

Exact dates vary, and the processes involved in taking entrance exams may still be unclear. Read on to find out more details about what independent school entrance exams are and when they are sat.

When are the Private School Entrance Exams?

The exact dates of the private school entrance exams vary by individual school. To find out exact times, you should check the Admissions pages of the website of your school of choice. However, there are set sessions for entrance exams, in Autumn, Spring and Summer. Read on for further details.

When is the 11 Plus Exam?

The 11 Plus exam has two sessions, in early November and mid-January. The November exam is typically between the 1st – 10th; the January exam is typically between the 15th – 21st. The exact date is dependent on the school of choice, so you should contact the school or check their website. The majority of students sit the January exam.

There are also registration periods for independent school applicants. Applicants for the November exam should register between 2nd July and 1st October. Applicants for the January exam should register between 2nd October and 1st December. These dates are different to the grammar school 11 Plus, which applicants can also sit.

More information on the grammar school 11 Plus application process can be found in this Think Student article.

When is the 13 Plus Exam?

Unlike the 11 Plus exam, the 13 Plus exam has 3 sessions. These are in early to mid-November, late January, and mid-May to early June. The November session is typically between the 4th – 11th; the January session is typically between the 22nd – 31st; the May/June session is typically between 8th – 18th May and 2nd – 9th June.

Like the 11 Plus, there are set registration periods for all applicants, from state or grammar schools. Applicants for the November or January exams follow the same registration periods as the 11 Plus exam. Applicants for the May/June exam should register between 2nd December and 1st March.

The process of application is slightly different for each exam. Continue reading to find out more details about both exams.

What are entrance school exams?

Independent and private schools use entrance exams to test the academic skills of their applicants. Entrance exams determine whether applicants have the necessary academic knowledge for the transition to senior independent school. There are two admissions processes – the 11 Plus entrance exams, and the 13 Plus entrance exams.

If the applicant is in Year 6, they will sit the 11 Plus exam; if the applicant is in Year 8, they will sit the 13 Plus exam. This is true for applicants who previously attended an independent or a state school. However, preparation for the exams is slightly different depending on your academic background.

If the applicants are currently part of an independent school, then the school is expected to prepare applicants for the exams. However, independent school applicants may have previously attended state school. If this is the case, parents of the applicant are expected to prepare the applicant for the entrance exams.

For advice on how to prepare for the 11 Plus and 13 Plus exams, check out this The Tutor Association article.

What is the 13 Plus Exam?

The 13 Plus entrance exam is considered a transition exam, as it is not taken between education tiers but within the same tier. Most independent schools use an exam known as ‘Common Entrance’ for the 13 Plus exam. The Common Entrance assessment is standardised by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB) but can sometimes be written by independent schools if they wish.

The exam itself has 3 compulsory papers: English, Maths, and Science. However, 13 Plus Exam candidates are also expected to attempt other papers from a range of subjects. Subjects include Geography, History, and a range of languages. For more details, you can check out the ISEB website.

Do you have to pay for the 13 Plus Exam?

The Common Entrance 13 Plus entrance exam does have an examination fee. The ISEB examination fee for UK applicants is £140. If 13 Plus Common Entrance applicants are only sitting a single subject, the ISEB examination fee is £30. If you are concerned about examination fees, you should contact the school of choice or ISEB.

What is the 11 Plus Exam?

The 11 Plus entrance exam is taken by both state school and independent school pupils. The 11 Plus exam for state schools is standardised by a group of exam boards; the 11 Plus entrance exam for independent schools is usually written, and marked, by the school itself. Independent school applicants will sit both sets of exams.

For information on the content of the 11 Plus independent school entrance exam, see this Think Student article.

The results for both the November and January exam sessions are usually released in February. You should stay up to date with information you receive from the applicant’s current school and school of choice.

Do you have to pay for the 11 Plus Exam?

While the 11 Plus entrance exam is free, applicants who sit the ISEB 11 Plus ‘Common Entrance’ exam may have to pay examination fees. The ISEB Common Entrance 11 Plus examination fee is £130. The ISEB examination fee for applicants moving from a prep to senior independent school is £50.

The grammar school 11 Plus can also be sat, though this is not required. If you are concerned about whether you have to pay for the grammar school 11 Plus exam, you can read more in this Think Student article.

What is the CASE?

The Common Academic Scholarship Exam (CASE) is an exam sat by a very small number of students who want a scholarship. The CASE can be sat instead of the 13 Plus, but this is only for applicants at the highest academic level. Most applicants will sit the 13 Plus.

The CASE is similar to the 13 Plus in that it covers a wide range of subjects. Some of these subjects may not be taught to applicants in school, so adequate preparation is required. The CASE is generally a lot harder than the 13 Plus exam.

Do you have to pay for the CASE?

CASE examination fees may vary between individual schools, as the CASE is not a standardised exam. It is important that you contact your school of choice to find out information about the CASE examination process. However, the typical examination fee for UK students is £125. The typical examination fee for the CASE in a single subject is £25. Fees may be more or less depending on the school, so make sure to find out through the school on the exact fees. 

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