13 plus exam

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13 plus exam

If you are considering a UK boarding school education for your child you will find that many schools will use an exam known as ‘Common Entrance Exam’ or ’13 plus’ to help select students for entry into Year 9.

Most schools hold the exams 6-9 months before entry when your child is in year. However, each school will have their own calendar for entrance exams – some hold the first round of entrance exams up to two years prior. Academic Families will be able to advise when entrance exams for your chosen schools will be held.

Schools can choose to set their own 13+ exam or use the Common Entrance paper set by the Independent Schools Examination Body. The exam set by ISEB is on the same dates throughout the UK in November, January and May/June.

For the 13 plus exam, your child will sit papers in Maths, English and Science. Each paper lasts between 40 minutes and 1 hour.  Some schools will also ask your child to sit a paper from a language and/or humanities subject.

If your child is being entered for the 13 plus they will already have been registered at the school. They may have been for an interview too. Many schools will insist on a ‘pre-test’ to help filter down the number of students sitting the 13+. In most cases your child will get a place subject to them passing the 13+.


Many prep schools in the UK work towards the Common Entrance Exam.  Most schools overseas won’t specifically work towards these exams however, there are many past papers online to help your child understand the exam structure. Academic Families can also introduce you to Tutors who can support your child and help with exam technique at the same time building their confidence.

This article appears in the following categories  Courses & Exams, Education Systems, School Admissions

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