Our trusted Common Entrance (CE) assessment at 13+ has been the transition assessment of choice for Britain’s top independent schools since 1903 and covers a wide set of subjects, providing a clear academic focus as a curriculum, with transition assessment available in over eight different subject areas for pupils in Years 7 and 8.
Pupils are usually entered for the examinations by their prep school. To register candidates, log in to our registration site using your ISEB school account details. For full information about how to register candidates, download our guide to entering candidates for CE assessments.
See which senior schools use CE at 13+ for all or part of their entry procedure.
The CE examination is flexible enough to allow candidates from schools which do not prepare pupils for the traditional range of CE 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. Candidates are not expected to tackle papers beyond their ability.
If there is any doubt about the choice of level, it is emphasised that prep schools should contact senior schools. Senior schools may, if they wish, state which level they prefer in English, mathematics, and science. In some circumstances, it could be a matter of negotiation between the relevant prep and senior schools.
In September 2021, we launched new CE specifications to allow teachers to prepare for the updates exams from Autumn 2022. The new specifications have now been rebranded in line with all other company products, but the content remains largely unchanged. However, in case of minor amendments, we recommend using the rebranded versions below. The specimen papers below are written to the new specifications.
Classics CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
Classics CE at 13+ specimen papers (NEW)
English CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
English CE at 13+ specimen papers (NEW)
French CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
French CE at 13+ specimen papers (NEW)
Geography CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
Geography CE at 13+ specimen paper (NEW)
German CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
German CE at 13+ specimen papers (NEW)
History CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
History CE at 13+ specimen paper (NEW)
Mathematics CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
Mathematics CE at 13+ specimen papers (NEW)
Science CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
Science CE at 13+ specimen papers (NEW)
Spanish CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
Spanish CE at 13+ specimen papers (NEW)
Theology, Philosophy & Religion (TPR) CE at 13+ Specification (NEW)
Theology, Philosophy & Religion (TPR) CE at 13+ specimen paper (NEW)
There are three CE at 13+ examination sessions each year, in November, January and May/June.
CE at 13+ examination dates for 2022-2025
CE at 13+ examination timetable for spring 2023
CE at 13+ examination timetable for summer 2023
CE at 13+ examination timetable for autumn 2022
ISEB keeps examination fees as low as possible – fees cover the costs of the setting, printing and despatch of papers, and associated administration.
CE at 13+ fee for candidates taking the examination in the UK: £140
CE at 13+ fee for candidates taking a single subject only: £30
ISEB does its best to accommodate late entries for its examinations and assessments. However, the costs involved in processing late registrations are high. Therefore, all late entries are subject to a fee of £50 per school if received after the published closing date (1 October for the autumn examination, 1 December for the spring examination, 1 March for the summer examination).
Changes to individual candidate details (e.g. change of school, subject or level) are likely to incur an administrative fee of £5 per candidate if received after the published closing date. For summer CE examinations, in the unlikely event that a change of candidate’s subject or level is required after 30 April, the change will be processed and charged as a single subject CE registration.
If changes to individual candidate details result in additional papers being despatched to schools or other sitting centres, courier and packing charges will be added to the standard administration fee.
An administrative fee of £10 per certificate will be charged if a reprint is required.
Pupils are usually entered for CE at 13+ examinations by their prep school – this section provides important information and documentation relating to the administration of these examinations. Schools should read the Regulations and Instructions to Invigilators document carefully and ensure that they are followed.
Registration for CE at 13+ is done through our registration site. Each school registered with ISEB will have an account number and a password, which provides access to the registration site. Please ensure that these details are stored safely.
The registration periods for entering candidates are:
Autumn session (November)
Opening date: 2 July
Closing date: 1 October
Spring session (January)
Opening date: 2 October
Closing date: 1 December
Summer session (May/June)
Opening date: 2 December
Closing date: 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 first choice 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 CE examination even if it is not required by his or her chosen senior school.
Schools can register candidates, delete them and amend any details. This can be done at any time before the examination closing date.
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.
Registration lists can be viewed at any time by both prep and senior schools. 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 email@example.com.
Please note that all late entries will incur a late fee if received after the published closing date.
For full information about how to register candidates, download our guide to entering candidates for CE assessments.
Schools with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) 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 ISEB can arrange for copies of the examination papers to be enlarged to A3. If other print amendments are required, please contact ISEB at least one 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.
Notification of access arrangements
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
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.
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 CE at 13+ examinations should be available to prep schools by:
Autumn/spring: the Thursday of the week following the examinations and before parents are informed on the Friday.
Summer: the Friday of the week following the examinations and before parents are informed on 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, as the setters always appreciate feedback on how candidates tackled questions in the papers.
A set of important information and documentation relating to the administration of the CE 13+ examinations is provided on this page. Schools should read the Regulations and Instructions to Invigilators document carefully and ensure that they are followed.
Registration guide for prep schools
Centre declaration form
ISEB Head's report form
Notification of access arrangements
Past CE and CASE exam papers are available to buy through the ISEB Online Shop. Schools can buy printed and digital past papers from 2018 to 2022, and can also place Advance Orders through the shop.
In September 2021, we launched new CE and CASE specifications to allow teachers to prepare for the updated exams from autumn 2022. All past papers currently in the ISEB shop follow the syllabus used until June 2022. They remain valid as revision and practice materials, but they may not wholly correlate with papers written to the new specification. Please reassure your young people that revising with these papers remains the best way to prepare for their tests.
Past papers following the new specifications will become available to schools after each live exam session, beginning with the Autumn 2022 session. Parents and tutors are not able to order papers until one year after the exams have taken place, so schools can purchase the most recent papers for practice purposes knowing that pupils will not have seen them.
Schools can place orders for practice papers in advance of the next set of exams. This will ensure that they receive the papers immediately after the live exams have taken place. The Autumn 2022 Advance Order is open now and closes on 23 September 2022 – schools can place their Advance Order through the ISEB online shop.
ISEB School accounts
Your school will need a verified ISEB School account to be able to view and order school-only past paper products, and to place an Advance Order.
Schools that have ordered past papers via our Advance Order or have entered candidates for CE exams via our registration website in the past two years should have had an ISEB Schools account set up for use on the shop – your account administrator/primary user should have received an email with instructions on how to finish setting it up. If you are unsure as to whether or not your school has an account set up already, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with full details of your school and ISEB number (if you have one).
If you have not yet set up an ISEB Schools account, you can do so here: www.iseb.co.uk/register.
Online shop support and guidance
We recommend that you read the guidance information and FAQs on the Support and Guidance for Schools page before you place your first order.
Visit the ISEB Online Shop
Candidates can be registered as 'Undecided' by selecting this option from the drop down list on the ISEB registration site. However, please remember to let us know as soon as the candidate's school is known and at least three weeks before the examinations take place.
Yes, these candidates should be registered as 'internal marking' from the drop-down list. Mark schemes will then be sent to prep schools for use after the examinations have taken place. Prep schools will need to decide their own grade boundaries.
As far as possible, candidates' details should be correct at the time of registration. Schools can access the details and change them right up until the closing date. Once the closing date has passed, any changes should be sent by email to email@example.com. Schools are likely to be charged an administration fee for each change. If changes result in the despatch of additional papers to schools, a charge will be made for packing and despatch.
Please see the SEND information included within the relevant assessment sections of the website.
Prep schools should make these decisions internally, taking into account senior school requirements. If it is felt that it would be in a pupil's best interests to sit a lower tier paper, prep schools should discuss this with the pupil's chosen senior school.
It is up to senior schools to set their own criteria for establishing grade boundaries, both within subjects and between levels. Senior schools are asked to let prep schools know what percentages their grades represent and how they distinguish between levels.
Senior schools are asked to report candidates' results to prep schools using grades. They are also asked to adhere strictly to the results deadline given in the information for schools about the administration of both the 11+ and 13+ CE examinations. Prep schools find it extremely helpful to receive as much information as possible about how their pupils performed in the examinations. Heads of Department welcome written reports or verbal feedback from their senior school colleagues.
The return of individual examination scripts by senior schools is entirely at their discretion.
ISEB always welcomes constructive feedback. This can be provided by completing the surveys which are sent out after the spring and summer examinations, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All feedback is passed on to the relevant setting teams and to ISEB's academic committees.
Schools are invited to give feedback on the examination papers by completing ISEB’s online surveys, which are sent out after the spring examination session. It is hoped that as many schools as possible will complete the surveys for each subject. ISEB welcomes feedback from schools at any time of the year; comments should be sent to email@example.com.