Common Entrance Exams

What are the Common Entrance exams?

The Common Entrance exams (11+ and 13+) are a set of rigorous exams. These exams are usually sat in January or May each year. They are either part of the standard ISEB assessment or individual schools devise their own internal exams.

The Common Entrance exams are notoriously competitive, they require the development of exam technique, critical thinking and children are assessed in English, Maths, Verbal and non-verbal reasoning.

Common Entrance encourages students to consolidate their knowledge gained from their understanding of the subjects taught under the National Curriculum, whilst also enhancing their critical and analytical skills.

The examinations are challenging in a new way, children will not cover many of the topics that come up in the Common Entrance Exams at school. So a lot of parents seek outside help.

A breakdown of the subjects that are assessed and how the exams are structured:

At the 11 plus stage, children sit the core subjects of English, Maths, and also Verbal and Non-Verbal communications.

English Common Entrance Exams:

For 11 and 13 plus, the English exam is composed of a reading and writing section, in which the child’s understanding of poetry and prose will be examined.

Maths Common Entrance Exams

For Mathematics, children sitting the 11 plus exam will complete a one-hour paper following the guidelines of the National Curriculum, with no calculator.

For the 13 plus, a calculator and non-calculator exam are taken, following a 30-minute mental math test.

13+ Science Common Entrance Exams:

The science exams test not only the students knowledge of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics but the cultural context of such disciplines. The exams follow the outline of the National Curriculum. For the 11 plus, students will complete a one-hour paper worth 80 marks.

For the 13 plus, the paper is also split into two levels. Students achieving higher marks in lessons will sit the one-hour paper, and students in Level 2 will sit a 40-minute paper.

For the 13 plus exam, children could also sit a variety of humanities and any languages they are studying.

Facts about Common Entrance and the British Education system

The British Education system favours depth over breadth. Especially at primary level, therefore there is a focus on numeracy and literacy.

The British Primary system is unique in that a student is able to develop a relationship with a single teacher. This helps the child’s development and social skills, that they proceed to nurture when they enter secondary school

and can encounter a range of teaching personalities and inquisitive minds.

Independent Schools that offer the Common Entrance exam provide children with an education which is outlined in the National Curriculum but offers a range of extracurricular activities, and access to a pedagogical spectrum that exceeds that recommended by the government.

The benefits of studying in the UK

The UK is an epicentre for intellectual and educational growth. Boasting four of the world’s top ten universities (Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and UCL), studying at a top school in the country puts children in good stead for their future development. Not only that, but the U.K has some of the best Independent Schools in the world.

How can you best prepare for the Common Entrance exams?

By using practice papers, you can consolidate your knowledge and refine exam technique. Divide your topics into sizeable chunks, for example by using revision cards, and recite those cards to anyone who will listen!

It’s important to dedicate time to the subjects you are weaker in, and not just those you enjoy the most. Tutor House can always help you with additional Common Entrance support.