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Entrance exams

To secure a place at the best schools or universities in the UK, students are often required to sit an entrance exam. Through our private tuition service, we can help your child pass exams and get a place at the school or university of your choice.

In the UK, schools, colleges and universities use entrance examinations to select students for admission. It is more common for secondary schools (11 – 16 year olds), sixth form colleges (16 – 18 year olds) and universities (18 years old and above) to require students to pass exams or achieve a particular score, but many independent primary schools (5 – 11 year olds) also require students to sit an exam too.

Exam preparation through private tuition

Due to increasing demand for limited places at the UK’s best schools, colleges and universities more and more parents and students are turning to private tuition for help with exam preparation.

Since 2006 we have helped hundreds of students secure offers from the best schools in the UK by providing them with private tuition to help them prepare for exams.

We ensure that students are matched with private tutors who fully understand the content of the relevant entrance exam.

For example, we will pair a student who is applying for Eton, Winchester College, Charterhouse School or Rugby School with a private tutor who is familiar with the entrance exam for those schools. Equally, we will pair university students with teachers who have first-hand knowledge of the exams they will be sitting.

The private tutors we work with will also coach students for any interviews that may be part of the entrance exam or admissions process.

Our experienced private tutors understand that preparing for exams and interviews requires working on different skills:

  • Time management
  • Writing and presentation skills
  • Analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Organising thought processes
  • Managing nerves.

To best cover all these different aspects the private tutors we work with take a holistic approach to exam preparation, from assessing student’s level and developing an action plan to applying teaching techniques that build confidence and ensure students feel positive when taking entrance exams and interviews. Some of our tutor profiles are available here.

Entrance exams and appropriate preparation

Preparing for the 7+ and 8+ exam

Children who are 7 and 8 years old sit the 7+ exam and 8+ exam respectively. They are both competitive selection exams for entry into Year 3 and Year 4 and are used by many of the top schools in the UK.

Primarily, the 7+ and 8+ exams test maths and English, including mental arithmetic, spelling, memory and dictation. However, some schools also include a “reasoning paper” which tests a child’s ability to explain a subject verbally and in writing and some schools may also conduct an interview with candidates.

Preparing for the 11+ exam

The 11+ is an examination for grammar schools taken by some school pupils in the last year of primary school when they are 10 years old.

The test can vary from school to school but essentially there are four different “disciplines” used for the 11+ exam – verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, mathematics and English.

Preparing for the 13+ exam

Private schools use the 13+ exam (often called “Common Entrance”) to select year 9 students. The 13+ exam varies greatly between schools and there is often little common ground on what each school assesses or what they expect from candidates.

However, although schools set their own exams independently of each other, they generally cover maths, English and science. Many schools also include verbal and/or non-verbal reasoning and ancient and/or modern languages and humanities.

Preparing for GCSEs

GCSEs are available in a huge number of subjects and are taken by school students aged 14–16, at a level below A level. GCSEs normally take two years and students take the final exams when they are 16 years old.

The grades achieved at GCSE help determine what students will study at A level (high school), many School Sixth Forms or Further Education Colleges ask for candidates to have at least five GCSEs, and GCSE results may ultimately determine what they go on to study at university.

Preparing for A levels

Students take A Level qualifications in years 12 and 13, after completing their GCSEs. There are more than 40 different A level subjects, most students study three or four A Levels which they choose whilst still working towards GCSEs. To take A levels, students generally need at least five GCSEs but this varies according to each school or college. Offers from the top UK universities are normally based on a candidate’s A level grades, for example some may require students to have achieved A*AA or AAB before they can apply.

For other universities A Level grades are converted into UCAS points — with the higher grades scoring higher points. University courses require a certain number of UCAS points, which can depend on the popularity of the course and the standard of grades that the university requires.

Preparing university entrance exams

Some universities and colleges require that students pass an admissions test as well as achieving particular grades at A Level. The nature of the tests will vary greatly depending on the university and the subject a student wants to study. Generally, they test the student’s knowledge of the subject they are applying to study, but they usually include more general aptitude and awareness tests too. The best and most popular universities will also conduct interviews with students applying for a place.

Talk to our consultants about private tuition for entrance exams

Call direct to speak to one of our consultants: 020 3397 7744

Email us or provide a few details on our email form and we will contact you right away.

Visit us in our London office: UK Study Centre, 44C Highgate High Street, London, N6 5HX

Available 08.30 – 17.30 UK time.

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