Common Entrance Exams
What are the Common Entrance exams?
The Common Entrance exams (11 plus and 13 plus) are a set of rigorous, but not over stretching exams, supported by the majority of the UK’s public schools.
Allowing student for this rigorous study at this age puts them at an advantage in developing exam technique, critical thinking, and their overall intellectual development, that not only allows them to flourish for their GCSE and A-Level exams but puts them in good stead for higher education also.
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 way that encourages the child to develop, in an academic manner, without being overcome.
A breakdown of the subjects that are assessed and how the exams are structured:
At the 11 plus stage, the child sits the core subjects of English, Maths, and Science.
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 will be sat, following a 30-minute mental math test. The Maths exam is split into three levels, according to the student’s’ current ability and test scores in class.
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. There will be no choice of questions so students should aim to complete each question.
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, students will 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 in Primary, therefore there is a focus on numeracy and literacy, which enables students to later flourish in their discovery of other subjects that is of interest to them.
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 4 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.
Hosting the economic hub of the world, London, studying anywhere in the UK allows students easy access to the capital city.
Here, individuals will be inspired by the variety of cultural and professional landmarks, offering students inspiration for their own progression. By gaining qualifications in the UK this will put you in an opportune position to enter a British University.
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.