Common Entrance Examinations: The Facts

Common Entrance Exams: What are they and when are they required?

Common Entrance exams, often referred to as CE exams are required by many independent schools for students to successfully secure their placing. Generally, candidates may only be entered for CE if they have already been offered a place at their chosen school (subject to their CE grade) or if they have been entered for internal marking by their prep school. There are two age groups that are eligible for CE, those in year 6 which are put forward for the 11+ and those in year 8, for the 13+ exams.

Common entrance exams are used by majority of UK independent schools, however some are known to set their own bespoke exams.  The 11+ CE examination is mainly used by girls’ schools and is comprised of the three core subjects of English, maths and science. It is normally taken in either the autumn or spring terms during the candidates 6th school year. The 13+ CE examination is more commonly used by boys and mixed schools. This exam is comprised of 8 key subjects including English, maths, science, modern foreign languages, classics, history and geography and is taken as per the requirements of the senior school, commonly either in November or the first week of June.

The syllabuses of both the 11+ and 13+ are set by the Independent Schools Examinations Board, which is made up of Heads from The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), The Girl’s School Association (GSA) and The Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS). The completed papers are marked by the candidates chosen senior school. There is no fail mark but schools do implement their own marking systems and set their required minimum grade.

If you would like to know any more information, or have something to add please do get in touch. We would be delighted to hear from you.

The Guardian family Network Team.

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