Demand for places at Eton has soared by 66% in the last decade. As parents seek, the same quality teaching that produced 19 Prime Ministers and many more famous and successful individuals.
With competition for places so fierce, the selection process is predictably tough and complex. Students are invited to pre-selection at the age of 11, which involves a short interview and a reasoning test. Only 33% will pass this, and be invited to sit the Eton Common Entrance exam at the age of 13. Eton uses its own Common Entrance exam. Candidates will sit papers in Maths, English, Science, and a Language.
A small number of places each year (14) are reserved for Kings Scholars who sit three additional papers. These are chosen from the following, a tripartite paper with questions on history, geography, and divinity; French; Latin; Greek; mathematics B, general paper II.
All of the papers are age group challenging, but reward innovation and give a student the chance to show their skills and individuality.
Getting extra help may seem like the right course of action. However, it is worth heeding the words of Eton’s admissions tutor Charles Milne.
He warns against over tutoring which he says can turn boys into mini adults. He even goes so far as to say that, “33% of candidates with the best scores in the Eton Common Entrance are rejected”. This is because of concerns these students will fail to fit in. Above all Eton prizes individuality and a desire to break away from conformity.
Books claiming to hold the secret to a successful application are largely a waste of time and money. However, past papers are readily available and should be used. In addition to this, a good tutor will help prepare your child for the stresses of formal examination. They will also identify and repair weaknesses and familiarise them with the format and content of the questions. However, a tutor with the child’s best interests at heart will do more than that. They will encourage them to follow their interests, broaden their horizons and converse with adults.