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What are CE assessments?

Our Common Entrance (CE) assessments are taken by children as part of their entrance applications to senior independent schools at 11+ or 13+. Designed and set in 1903 by each of the three major independent school associations and first used in 1904, our trusted and highly-respected CE specifications are developed in partnership with a panel of academic specialists and representatives from our three patron associations; HMC, GSA and IAPS. The papers are set by a panel of examiners appointed by ISEB.

Pupils are usually entered for CE assessments only if they have been offered a place at a senior school that is subject to passing the examinations, which are usually taken in the pupils’ current school.

Pupils at 11+ sit assessments in English, mathematics and science when they are in Year 6, usually for applications to girls schools. At 13+, pupils also sit assessments in these core subjects, alongside papers selected from a wide range of humanities, languages and classical subjects.

Read an introduction to ISEB CE assessments written by Durell Barnes, our former Chair of the Board, and a well-known and highly-respected member of the UK’s independent education community.


How are pupils registered?

If your child currently attends an independent prep school in the UK or overseas which is a regular user of CE, it is most likely that they will be entered for the examinations by their school. If in doubt, please check with your child’s school. If your child currently attends a state school or is at an independent school which does not enter candidates for CE assessments, you can enter them using the registration form below. Please check which subjects and levels your child will be required to enter for directly with the senior school they are applying to.

Registration information

Dates for registering your child:
Examination Session Opening date Closing date
CE 11+/13+ Autumn (November) 2 July 1 October
CE 11+/13+ Spring (January) 2 October 1 December
CE 13+ Summer (May/June) 2 December 1 March


If it is not possible for your child to take the examination at their present school or at an appropriate tutorial centre, you can make an arrangement with a private invigilator. This person should either be a Head or teacher at a local school, or a person of sufficient professional standing to ensure the integrity of the examination. The senior school that your child is applying to may also be able to provide invigilation.


Your child may be registered at a second-choice senior school, but you must have obtained agreement from that school. If your child fails to gain entry to the first-choice senior school, you will need to request that the scripts are forwarded by the first-choice school to the second-choice school.

Read our guide to registering pupils for full information.

Further information

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