General information

Common Entrance at 13+

To register candidates, please click here. For a guide to registering candidates, click here.


Pupils sit the Common Entrance examination at 13+ when they are in Year 8. There are three examination sessions each year, in November, January and May/June.

The core subjects - English, Mathematics and Science - are compulsory. In addition, it is hoped that candidates will attempt papers in a wide range of subjects chosen from French, Geography, German, Classical Greek, History, Latin, TPR and Spanish. Usually senior schools expect the majority of candidates to offer Geography, History, TPR and a language. The Common Entrance examination, however, is flexible enough to allow candidates from schools which do not prepare pupils for the traditional range of Common Entrance subjects to offer a reduced number of papers. Additionally, core subjects, most modern languages, Latin and Classical Greek are offered at more than one level. Weaker candidates are not expected to tackle papers beyond their ability.

If there is any doubt about the choice of level, it is emphasized that prep schools should contact senior schools. Senior schools may, if they wish, state which level they prefer in Mathematics, English and Science. In some circumstances it could be a matter of negotiation between the relevant prep and senior schools.

The current syllabuses can be viewed here.
Senior schools which use Common Entrance at 13+

Dates & timetables

Examination dates 2021-2024
Examination timetable spring 2022
Examination timetable summer 2022
Examination timetable autumn 2022


The Board keeps examination fees as low as possible but must set them at a level which covers the costs of setting, printing, and despatch of papers, and all administration.
Examination fee when taken in the United Kingdom
For candidates taking one subject only
A full breakdown of fees is available here.


Examination regulations
Registration guide for prep schools
Complete documentation is available here.

Entering candidates

Registration for Common Entrance at 13+ is done using the ISEB registration website. Each school has an account number and a password, which should be stored safely for future use.

Dates for registering candidates are:

Session Opening date Closing date
Autumn (November) 2 July 1 October
Spring (January) 2 October 1 December
Summer (May/June) 2 December 1 March

Candidates should be registered by their full name, which will then appear on their final certificate.

The name of the candidate's chosen senior school is selected from a drop-down list; candidates should be entered as 'undecided' until the chosen senior school is known. The list also includes an option to enter a candidate for an 'internal marking' examination to enable a pupil to sit the Common Entrance examination even if is not required by his or her chosen senior school.

Candidates should be entered for the correct subjects and levels using the appropriate code letters. It is important to check that the right codes have been used, and updated after the closing date by email if necessary, so that the correct papers are sent to schools.
Subject codes

Schools can register candidates, delete them and amend any details. This can be done at any time before the examination closing date.

Registration lists can be viewed at any time. Schools are advised to check regularly in order to ensure that their lists are correct and up to date. If schools have changes after the closing date, these should be sent by email to

Please note that all late entries will incur a late fee if received after the published closing date. See the fees section of the website for further information.

SEND and EAL candidates

Schools with SEND candidates should contact the relevant senior school to discuss each candidate's needs. ISEB is aware of JCQ regulations and recommends that they are followed. Prep schools are asked to send senior schools the ISEB SEND report. Computers may be used by candidates who have specific learning difficulties. In particular cases, schools may provide a reader or an amanuensis. For visually-impaired candidates the Board can arrange for copies of the examination papers to be enlarged to A3. If other print amendments are required, please contact the Board at least 1 year in advance of the examination session to obtain a quotation.

Candidates whose first language is not English are allowed to use English to first language dictionaries. They are also allowed up to 10% extra time if they have studied in the medium of English for fewer than three years. This must be agreed in advance with the candidate's first-choice senior school.

SEND report

Actions before the examination

Head's report

A Head's report is required for each candidate. It should be sent to the senior school at least two weeks before the first day of the relevant examination session. The ISEB Head's Report Form is below. Some schools may prefer to use the ICAS Common Transfer Form.
ISEB Head's report form
ICAS common transfer form


Submission dates for fieldwork are 15 October (autumn); 15 January (spring); 15 March (summer)

Fieldwork enquiry assessment
Fieldwork enquiry template

Actions after the examination

Examination centres are reminded that all scripts should be sent to senior schools for marking on the day of the examination. They should be dispatched by a secure method to ensure that they arrive the following morning, by special delivery if necessary. It is essential that senior schools start marking as soon as possible in order to meet the tight deadlines for the publication of results.

Centre declaration form

Heads are asked to complete a declaration form to confirm that all the examination procedures have been followed. A signed copy of this form is to be sent to the relevant senior school(s) at the end of the examination period.

Centre declaration form


Senior schools should assess examination scripts by grades. Where there is a choice of paper or level, a clear indication of which paper has been taken by each candidate should be given, e.g. Paper 1: A; Paper 2: B. Senior schools are asked to let prep schools know the percentage range represented by the grades in each subject.

Results of the 13+ examinations should be available to prep schools:

autumn/spring by the Thursday of the week following the examinations and before parents are informed on the Friday
summer by the Friday of the week following the examinations and before parents are informed by the Monday

Heads of prep schools appreciate it if heads of senior schools contact them by telephone about any concerns by the Tuesday of the week following the examination.

Senior schools are asked to send to prep school heads an overall report on their candidates' performance. Prep school heads appreciate general comments on each subject.

Senior schools are also invited to send copies of their reports to the Chief Executive Officer at the ISEB offices because the setters always appreciate feedback on how candidates tackled questions in the papers.

Feedback to ISEB

Schools are invited to give feedback on the examination papers by completing the Board's online surveys sent out after the summer examination sessions. It is hoped that as many schools as possible will complete the surveys for each subject. The Board welcomes feedback from schools at any time of the year; comments should be sent to