Chapter 1 : How competitive are they?

From Pre-prep admission to 13+, the average child may sit up to five entrance exams in the space of 10 years.

This means most parents start preparing for school admissions from the moment their child is born, which makes the process extremely tough for everyone involved.

The table below helps to give an overview of what parents should expect at each exam:

Entrance Exam? What’s it like?
Schools will take on children at ages 3 or 4, and prepare them for their transition to prep school when they are 7.Pre-prep schools will usually have a 10:1 place ratio.If a child does not get in, most parents will try again at 7+ level.
This is the first year of prep school, where children will take the exam at the age of 6.This means preparation can start as early as Reception or Year 1.The intake ratio is similar to that of the Pre-prep entry. Many parents prefer to go for the 7+, as their children are older and have more time to prepare.
These are some of the most competitive exams out there, traditionally taken by 10 year old girls starting secondary school.Although you can sit one exam for multiple schools, many youngsters will sit up to 7 exams in one year to maximise their chances of getting in to a good school.Success rates depend on the number of students who apply each year. As the 11+ is becoming more popular, your child should be performing very well to be getting into the top schools.
Common Entrance at 13+
The 13+ is a favourite option for boys, who prefer to move schools for Year 9.These exams cover a much wider range of subjects compared to the 11+, making the stakes extremely high.Different schools set their own pass marks for this exam. To even be considered for an interview, some schools require over 75% in their tests.


Every entrance exam is competitive, and success rates oscillate from year to year. However, every candidate must be heavily supported by their parents, and many people look into tutoring to give their children a helping hand.

If this is something you’re interested in, please take a look at our Private Tutors for any of the above levels.


Entrance Exam Fees

Every school will charge parents if their child is sitting the exams, which never come cheap. Although prices vary, it is important to be mindful of the cost. Check out each individual school’s website to find out how much the admissions process will come to.

While paying a few hundred pounds may seem expensive, your child should not miss out on the chance to have a go at getting into the best schools. If you think they are capable, the fee will be worth it when they get a place later on.