ISEB

Parents

What is Common Entrance?

Common Entrance is the name for a set of examinations taken by boys and girls for entrance to senior independent schools at 11+ or 13+. The syllabuses are devised by the Independent Schools Examinations Board which is composed of Heads from the three Associations which represent the leading independent schools in the country: 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 for Common Entrance only if:

  • they have been offered a place at a senior school subject to their passing the examinations

or

  • they are entered for internal marking, in which case the papers are marked by the candidate's junior school

The examinations are usually taken in the candidate's current school. 11+ candidates sit examinations in English, Mathematics and Science when they are in Year 6, usually for girls' schools. 13+ candidates also sit examinations in these core subjects, alongside papers selected from a wide range of humanities, languages and classical subjects.

The 11+ examinations may be taken in the autumn or spring term of Year 6 prior to entry to senior school the following September. The 13+ examinations are taken in the autumn, spring or summer term of Year 8, again prior to entry to senior school the following September. Senior schools decide at which stage in the year the examinations are to be taken.