Founded in 1432, Sevenoaks is one of the leading IB schools in the UK and is also the second oldest non-denominational school in the country. Set in a 100-acre campus on the outskirts of Sevenoaks in Kent, the school boasts 30 buildings, 14 sports pitches and 12 lawns. It has a diverse international intake from 45 different countries with 21 per cent of leavers going to overseas universities. Sevenoaks has three main entry points, at 11 plus, 13 plus and 16 plus.
How to get into Sevenoaks School
Entering in Year 7 (11 Plus):
Sevenoaks accepts 80 pupils each year into Year 7.
Entering in Year 9 (13 Plus):
Sevenoaks accepts 100 pupils each year into Year 9.
11 Plus Entrance Process for Sevenoaks School:
For admission to Year 7 (11 plus) applications should be made one year prior to entry. Admission is by competitive examination in Maths, English and Verbal Reasoning, a group interview, and a report from your child’s previous school.
13 Plus Entrance Process for Sevenoaks School:
The deadline for applications to Year 9 is 1 October almost two years ahead of entry. The entrance assessment takes place in the April of Year 7. All candidates take an English and a Maths Test, a Verbal Reasoning Test, and they take part in a 40-minute group interview. Sevenoaks will also request a reference from your child’s school. Unconditional offers are made in the June of Year 7. Those candidates who have performed particularly well in the entrance tests are invited to take part in academic scholarship exams in the May of Year 8. Those candidates who are at a UK prep school are asked to aim for an average of 70% in their Common Entrance if they are not taking the scholarship exams; the results are used for setting purposes.
Entering in Year 12 (Sixth Form Entry):
Sevenoaks has an intake of 85 pupils into Year 12.
16 Plus Entrance Process:
Applicants are expected to submit an application form including subject choices, a personal statement and various other details. Based on this information, all candidates sit the Sevenoaks entrance tests. The school also asks for a copy of the last school reports and later a reference from the current school. Applicants to the Sixth Form should usually be expecting mostly 8s and 9s in their GCSE/IGCSE exams (or the equivalent for other curricula).
The Sixth Form entrance tests are held in the October before entry. All applicants are strongly encouraged to take the tests at Sevenoaks or at one of their overseas test days.
Their tests are broad and designed to identify aptitude and potential whatever the candidate’s current curriculum, although some knowledge and familiarity with appropriate academic methods is assumed. Registered candidates will be given access to past papers during the summer before the tests, together with guidance and suggestions for test preparation.
All candidates take four examinations, each lasting one hour:
- English Literature: This is taken at Higher Level or at Standard Level depending on the candidate's intended IB subject choices
- Thinking Skills: Candidates answer on one of the following subjects: History, Geography, Philosophy, Economics, Psychology, Languages (assessed through a linguistics task), Theatre or History of Art. This paper assesses candidates’ reasoning skills and ability to make a coherent written argument. The results are weighted according to the candidate’s intended IB subject combination.
- Science: Applicants answer questions on two sciences, from a choice of Biology, Physics and Chemistry. This paper assesses candidates’ understanding of the scientific method. The results are weighted according to the candidate’s intended IB subject combination.
- Mathematics: A multiple choice paper.
All applicants wishing to study Mathematics at Higher Level take an additional 30-minute test. This result is used only to assess suitability for the HL course and for setting purposes on entry to the school. Applicants should sit this test even if they are only considering taking HL Maths: offer holders will not be allowed to opt for HL Maths before joining the school if they have not sat the exam at the time of application.
How to apply for a Scholarship to Sevenoaks
Those performing particularly well in their entrance tests will be invited to attend an assessment day at Sevenoaks in late November, following which Academic scholarships are awarded. Those interested in Music, Art, Drama or Sport scholarships will be asked to indicate your interest on your confirmation forms - there is no need to make a separate application. Short-listed candidates will be assessed in October and November. Sevenoaks offers approximately 55 scholarships to pupils joining at the age of 11, 13 and 16.
Academic Scholarships for Sevenoaks
These are available at all entry points to the school, though not to internal candidates. Year 9 (13 plus) candidates who do not attend a UK prep school will be selected for the Academic scholarship process following their entrance tests. Candidates applying to join at 13+ from a prep school may be put forward for their Academic scholarship exam by their school.
Sevenoaks offers Co-curricular scholarships in Art, Drama, Music and Sport. Candidates can hold a maximum of one Co-curricular scholarship. Music scholarships are available to external candidates at all entry points. Art, Drama and Sport scholarships are available to both internal and external candidates at 13 plus entry, and to external candidates at 16 plus entry.
A pupil may be awarded a maximum of one academic and one co-curricular scholarship.
Is there a 16 plus scholarship?
Scholarships are on offer at 16 plus entry for art, drama, sport and academics.
What questions does Sevenoaks School ask at interview?
Like many school interviews the Sevenoaks School 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?)
- Sevenoaks School (e.g. Why would you like to come to Sevenoaks School?)
Why is Sevenoaks School so popular?
Sevenoaks School is highly regarded for its impressive IB academic results, strong performing arts, lavish sporting facilities and a down-to-earth, all-inclusive approach. In 2023, 86 per cent 9-7 at GCSE and an average diploma score of 39. It receives many offers from highly prestigious unis, – many go on to the US and Canada, few to anything other than Russell Group or top international equivalents. 21 to Oxbridge in 2023, and 37 to US and Canada (including Stanford, Princeton, Caltech, UC Berkley, UChicago, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Columbia, Brown and Dartmouth) and nine to Europe and Asia. Sport has an important role in this academically ambitious school, with many pupils competing at the top level. Music and art are equally excellent. Sevenoaks successfully combines a truly international outlook with an English school atmosphere providing an exhilarating, immersive education that’s ideal for bright and organised children.
Is Sevenoaks School hard to get into?
Owing to its academic reputation as one of the best IB schools in the country, Sevenoaks is highly academically selective, receiving around 1,500 applications for the 240 places that are available across the school every academic year, so parents are advised to plan ahead. Entrance at 11+ and 13+ is very competitive and although there are numerous places available at 16+ entry, the competition is fierce.
Actor Charlie Higson, biographer and academic Sir Jonathan Bate.
Tutors for Sevenoaks 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 Sevenoaks School.
The tutors we work with are experienced in the intricacies of the 13 plus common entrance, preparation for English, Maths and verbal reasoning entrance tests as well as the IB entrance tests for 16 plus entry to Sevenoaks School.
For more details on how Keystone can help with preparation for entry to Sevenoaks School, please call the office for a chat or complete our request a tutor form.