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The 13 Plus Common Entrance Exam is a challenging hurdle to cross in securing a place for your child at your chosen independent school. With a rigorous syllabus covering 11 subjects, preparing for the 13 Plus effectively is vital to give your child the best chance of achieving the results they will need in the face of strong competition from other candidates.
Cheltenham Ladies’ College has been educating girls for 170 years. Its GCSE and A Level results are consistently excellent and the College is regularly named the top boarding school for IB in the country. Cheltenham Ladies’ College emphasises a well-rounded education, where co-curricular pursuits and contribution to the school community are weighed equally with academic achievement. The College admits a mixture of boarders and day pupils and there are three points of entry: 11+, 13+ and 16+.
Founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester (who also founded New College, Oxford), this is one of the oldest schools in the world. The College is situated in the beautiful city of Winchester, and its buildings and grounds are outstanding. Academic standards are extremely high with boys achieving exceptional results.
Westminster School is one of the older independent schools in the UK. It was originally a charity school founded by Benedictine of Westminster Abbey. Its existence ensured its survival during the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540 and his daughter Elizabeth I re-founded the school in 1560. Today, Westminster educates 750 students and has two entrance points, in Year 9 and Year 12.
Rugby school is a historic, well-established, co-educational school that is steeped in tradition and is probably best known as the birthplace of the sports that shares its name. The school has been educating children since 1567 and went fully co-educational in 1992. Rugby has always been at the forefront of innovation in teaching methods. The popular Extended Project Qualification was developed here, and academic facilities are outstanding, in particular for Languages and Sciences.
Eton is one of the United Kingdom’s best known and most prestigious independent schools, founded in 1440 AD by King Henry VI, and famous for having educated many British politicians, scientists, and creative talents. As such, the process of securing a place is highly competitive.Keystone have collated the answers to many commonly asked questions about applying to Eton in the article below, including some first hand insights from Josh Pull, a Keystone Director and former Old Etonian.
St Paul’s is an independent boy’s school set within 45 acres of open space in Barnes, South West London. The school was founded in 1509 by John Colet with the vision to provide an outstanding all-round education to prepare boys for a successful future. The school welcomes all academically eligible students, regardless of either economic or social circumstances.
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.
Wycombe Abbey was founded in 1896 by Dame Frances Dove to create a girls’ education that was every ounce as good as boys’, through pursuit of excellence, development of talents, and an understanding of the needs of others. It has become one of the leading girls’ schools in the UK, renowned for its long-standing academic excellence and outstanding results.
Oundle is one of the largest co-ed boarding schools in the UK with just under 1,120 pupils, around 820 boarders and 310 day pupils, set in a Northamptonshire market town from which it takes its name. Oundle is a true all-round boarding school, with strong academic results, some of the best DT facilities in the country and fantastic sports and music. The school has three main entry points; at 11 plus,13 plus and 16 plus.
[image1h]What is a selective independent school?A selective school chooses its students on the basis of their academic ability, with a view to maintaining its own standard or reputation as an academic establishment. The best selective independent schools consistently top academic performance tables, when it comes to ranking schools according to GCSE and A Level results, and choose students who will not only perform brilliantly but contribute to the academic atmosphere of the place.
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.
Founded in 1553, Tonbridge School is one of the oldest schools in the world. Academic standards are extremely high with boys achieving exceptional results. A full-boarding school, the extra-curricular programme can be demanding but despite this fast pace, Tonbridge is characterised as much by individual needs as by collective endeavour.
Founded in 1619 by Edward Alleyn, Dulwich College is a boys’ selective day and boarding school in London. Dulwich has a strong global brand with 11 outposts in other countries, including China, South Korea and Singapore. While it is certainly a very academically selective school, it also fosters an inclusive educational and social environment, and partners closely with its sister school James Allen’s Girls’ School.
Founded in 1611, Charterhouse is one of the great historic public schools of England. With four centuries of history behind it, the school is committed to being at the forefront of educational progress in the twenty-first century. Charterhouse has recently undergone huge changes, becoming fully co-educational in September 2021. The school now has the ambition to become ‘the best co-ed boarding school in the country’.
Harrow School was founded during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and has a global reputation as an outstanding school. Distinguished writers, politicians from around the world, and Nobel laureates have all studied at Harrow.Securing a place at this highly selective school is a tough challenge, and you will find a number of key topics to do with the admissions process covered below. Keystone’s Founder and Director, Old Harrovian Will Orr-Ewing, also provides his insights into the process.
What is the CAT4 test?Made by GL Assessment, it is one of the world’s most widely use cognitive ability tests. CAT stands for Cognitive Ability Test and it is used in schools to understand developed ability (i.e. where a child is now) and likely academic potential (i.e. where a child could be).The CAT4 is used by some independent schools as a part of their admissions process, assessing a candidate’s verbal, non-verbal, mathematical, and spatial reasoning ability and academic potential.
UK boarding schools boast a long tradition of excellence in education. There are a number of options for boarding including:Weekly boarding: Students will live at school Monday to Friday and spend weekends with their parents.Flexi boarding: Parents can choose how many nights a student spends at school or at home.Full boarding: Students live at school all the time apart from exeat weekends (designated weekends each term where students can leave) and school holidays.
Common Entrance Science Syllabus The Common Entrance (CE) syllabus is determined by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB) and can be found on the ISEB website. At 11+, it is expected that content in the National Curriculum for KS1 has been covered, and the majority of KS2. At 13+, both KS1 and KS2 are assumed prior knowledge.
There are three types of reasoning tested within the UKiset: Verbal Reasoning: language questions and problem solving with words Non-Verbal Reasoning: solving problems using shapes, pictures and logic Mathematical Reasoning: looking at number, value, quantity and sequence concepts.
Students taking the 13 Plus will be expected to use language effectively in all areas of the English exam, as well as in interviews. The exam will likely test candidates understanding of an unseen passage from a novel, play, poem or from another genre. At this level, students are assessed on their understanding of the text, as well as their analysis and evaluation of it.