The Common Entrance examinations are used for assessing boys and girls who transfer to senior schools at the ages of 11+ and 13+. The syllabuses are devised and regularly monitored by the Independent Schools Examinations Board, composed of representatives from the The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, the Girls' Schools Association and The Independent Association of Prep Schools. The papers are set by examiners appointed by the Board, but the answers are marked by the senior school for which a candidate is entered. Candidates may normally be entered only if: Where candidates are at schools in membership of the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools and at certain other schools and tutorial centres regularly entering candidates, they are entered by their school online.


Where candidates are at schools which do not normally enter candidates for the examination, parents should complete a registration form which can be printed by clicking on one of the links below.
Individual Registration Form Individual Registration Form Individual Registration Form

Candidates are entered for the examinations according to age at entry to senior school. Examination papers are set for entry at the ages of 11+ or 13+ and candidates should take the papers for their correct age group unless otherwise arranged with the senior school.

It is expected that most candidates will take the examination at their own school in the UK or overseas. Where it is not possible for a candidate to take the examination in his/her present school, it is the responsibility of parents to make an arrangement with a private invigilator. Such a person should be either a head or teacher at a local school or a person of such professional standing as to ensure the integrity of the examination. Sometimes the senior school for which the candidate is entered can provide invigilation.

The 13+ examination may be taken in the autumn, spring or the summer school term. The 11+ examination is taken in the autumn or spring term.

A candidate may be registered at a second senior school. It is important that the parents have previously obtained the agreement of that school to be second choice. If a candidate fails to gain entry to the first-choice senior school, the scripts will be forwarded by that senior school to the second-choice senior school.

All candidates take English, Mathematics and Science.
At 13+ they may offer any of the following:
French, Geography, German, Greek, History, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Religious Studies and Spanish.

Queries about options and levels should be addressed to the senior school for which the candidate is registered.

Examination dates
Papers must be taken on the dates fixed by the Board. See the Dates section of this website.

Head's Report
A head's report is required; it should be sent to the senior school two weeks before the first day of the relevant examination.


The needs of a candidate with any specific learning difficulty should be discussed with the relevant senior school. Computers may be used by candidates certified as having specific learning difficulties. In exceptional cases, a reader or an amanuensis may be used. For visually-impaired candidates, the Board will arrange for enlarged or Braille copies of the examination papers to be printed; a year's notice is required.


Common Entrance candidates whose mother tongue is not English are allowed to use English to mother tongue dictionaries. They are also allowed up to 25% extra time if they have studied in the medium of English for less than two years.


Past papers and a range of revision guides and other support materials are available. Please visit the Resources section of the website.

All enquiries concerning the examination should be addressed to:
Independent Schools Examinations Board
The Pump House
16 Queen's Avenue
BH23 1BZ
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)1202 487538
Facsimile: +44 (0)1202 473728

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