City of London School is set within the iconic City landscape, surrounded by instantly recognisable institutions. The buzz of the school exudes enthusiasm for the opportunities that the school provides. One of the school’s main visions is to encourage boys to be the best version of themselves, in order to make progress and flourish in the modern world. The City of London School is one of London's leading academic day schools, with over 950 boys between the ages of 10 and 18.
How to get into City of London School
Entering in Year 9 (13 Plus):
City of London welcomes approximately 25 boys each year into Year 9. The school refers to this year as Third Form. The selection process begins in Year 6. Boys are not permitted to be entered for both 11 Plus and 13 Plus entry points.
13 Plus Entrance Process for City of London School:
As an academically selective school City of London uses entrance exams to select which boys are suitable to gain a place. The school initially examines boys using the ISEB Common Pre-Test and depending on their performance, invite boys to interview.
Stage 1 is the ISEB Common Pre-Test, usually sat in the Autumn term of Year 6, which is a computerised test consisting of English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. This is usually sat at the boy’s current school.
Confidential reports will be required from the Head of the boy’s current school.
Read more about the ISEB Common Pre-Test.
Boys will then have to sit City of London Schools own computerised tests in Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. These computerised assessments take place in the Autumn term.
Stage 2 is for those boys who have performed well in the ISEB Common Pre-Test and City of London's own computerised tests and have a satisfactory report from the Head of their current school. In the Spring Term of Year 6, boys are invited to the School for d a 15-20 minute interview.
Following the above stages, offers are then made to boys based upon exams, interviews, and the Head’s report. Offers are sent out during the Spring Term and followed by an offer holders event.
All offers are conditional on continued hard work, excellent academic progress and good behaviour at the boy's current school to the end of Year 8. City of London will maintain communication with a boy’s current school between the time an offer is made, and he joins the school.
Boys at schools preparing students for the Common Entrance will be expected to sit papers in Maths, English, French and, if chosen as a subject in Year 9, Latin. The school expect that they will be able to achieve a high score (usually above 70%) in each paper.
For boys studying at schools which no longer follow the full Common Entrance curriculum, they will be expected to sit papers at the City of London in early June of Year 8 in Maths, English, French and, if chosen as a subject in Year 9, Latin. The school expect that they will be able to achieve a high score (usually above 70%) in each paper.
Are City of London School’s own tests difficult?
As with all entrance tests, the City of London tests are designed to challenge and stretch applicants. All the tests are computerised and have two parts:
Part 1: online assessment (95 minutes)
Part 2: creative writing (30 minutes)
Candidates should expect to sit both Part 1 and Part 2 on the same day. There will be breaks at various points throughout the assessments, so we expect them to be with us for about 2.5 hours.
Part 1 assessment is online and covers the following subject components:
- Maths 20 minutes
- English 20 minutes
- Non-verbal Reasoning 10 minutes
- Verbal Reasoning 10 minutes
- Puzzles & Problem Solving 15 minutes
- Creative Comprehension 20 minutes
The majority of questions in Part 1 are multiple-choice, with only a few questions requiring a candidate to type one word or number at most.
Candidates will write a short story, based on a prompt, and with an image as inspiration. They will be free to write from any perspective (first person, third person or any other), and may invent something entirely new or base their story on their own or someone else’s experience.
It must be written in paragraphs, and they will be tested on the following criteria:
- Creativity – how interesting, imaginative and descriptive is it?
- Vocabulary – can they use interesting words and techniques for effect?
- Accuracy – can they spell and punctuate accurately?
Candidates are advised to prepare by reading widely and practising creative writing, including describing sensory details and convincing character behaviour, making sure they understand and can use punctuation conventions will also help them write with clarity.
The Part 2 assessment is usually hand-written (unless appropriate access arrangements for typing are in place).
Content for Part 2 will be unrelated to Part 1.
What questions do City of London School ask at interview?
Like many school interviews the City of London interview seeks to explore the following about each student:
- Family (e.g. What do you like to do on the weekend as a family?)
- School (e.g. What do you most enjoy about your current school?)
- Academic Learning (e.g. What is your favourite subject and why?)
- Reading (e.g. Do you enjoy reading?)
- Extracurricular (e.g. What activities do you get involved in at school outside of the classroom?)
- Hobbies (e.g. What do you do in your spare time at outside of school?)
- City of London (e.g. Why would you like to come to City of London?)
Over and above these more ‘standard’ types of interview questions, City of London do routinely incorporate more challenging academic and problem-solving questions for boys to answer on the spot. These could be mathematical, but they may also be a moral or ethical conundrum.
Entering City of London School in Year 12 (Sixth Form Entry):
Around 20 boys join the Sixth Form at City of London each year.
Registration must be complete by the deadline for Sixth Form entry – which is usually in October of Year 11. The selection process will then take place during November of Year 11, i.e. the year proceeding a students proposed entry to the school.
16 Plus Entrance Process:
The 16+ entrance process has two stages, with applicants being selected to move to the next stage based on their relative performance.
The minimum requirement for boys to gain admission into the Sixth Form is six full course (I)GCSE passes at grade A* or 8/9, including their chosen Sixth Form subjects. The minimum requirement for English Language and Maths is (I)GCSE passes at grade A or 9-7 (unless these subjects are to be studied in Sixth Form, as above).
Stage 1: Upon registration, City of London will request a reference from the Head of the boy’s current school. In early November, boys are invited to an assessment day at the school. They are required to sit written assessments in three of their chosen A Level subjects as well as completing the CAT 4 cognitive ability test.
Do read our blog to find out more about the CAT 4 Test.
Guidance on the school’s written assessments can be found in this advice sheet.
Stage 2: Candidates who perform well at Stage 1 will be invited to an interview at the school in late November.
No offer of a place will be made without a school reference and interview. Offers are sent out by the school in early December, with an acceptance deadline later in the month.
Entering City of London School via a Scholarship
Is there a 13 Plus scholarship?
City of London selects boys for Academic Scholarship based upon their performance in Stages 1 and 2 of the entrance process. Those selected are then assessed through a further Scholarship assessment in Year 8. The school expects boys who are awarded the scholarship to maintain excellent academic standards throughout their time at the school.
Is there a 16+ scholarship?
All pupils who join the Sixth Form are automatically considered for a scholarship. This is awarded on the basis (I)GCSE grades. Generally, scholarships are awarded to boys who has achieved a mean grade of 8.75 averaged over their best nine GCSE results taken in Year 11.
Do City of London School offer any other scholarships?
At 13 Plus entry, Music and Sports scholarships can be won. More information can be found here: https://www.cityoflondonschool.org.uk/apply/13-entry
At 16 Plus entry, Music scholarships can be won. More information can be found here: https://www.cityoflondonschool.org.uk/apply/sixthform-entry
Why is City of London School so popular?
City of London has a very strong track record for their students’ achievements in both A Levels and University applications. In 2023, 92.4% of all grades awarded were 9- 7. Similarly, at A Level/Pre-U in 2023, 95% of pupils awarded A* - B, 76.4% awarded A* - A, 40% A*. In 2023, 21 pupils were awarded places at Oxford and Cambridge and 95% of the cohort went to leading Russel Group universities. Consequently, it attracts parents and students with high academic expectations. In our experience, prospective applicants with the following qualities have been competitive candidates in the school’s admissions process:
- an excellent academic record to date
- an enquiring mind and genuine passion for learning
- an ability to think critically about their learning
- an academic confidence and ability to work independently
Is City of London School hard to get into?
Owing to its academic reputation and success City of London attracts a lot of applications and a such the entrance process at 13+ and 16+ are very competitive. Consequently, the school can afford to be highly selective, and we have known of instances where strong applicants do not win places. It is important to go into the entrance process with an open and realistic frame of mind.
Tutors for City of London School Entrance
Keystone has over a decade of experience providing tuition to families who wish to send their children to some of the leading UK independent schools including City of London School.
Read more about our City of London admissions tutors
For more details on how Keystone can help with preparation for entry to City of London school, please call the office for a chat with one of our client managers, or contact us via our request a tutor form.