Chapter 2 – 13+ Entry: 3 steps to preparing your child

If your child has already sat the 11+ exams, you will be familiar with the preparation techniques available to you. If not, here are some simple steps you can follow to ensure your child can pass the Common Entrance at 13+:

1. Preparation for university :

Whether this is in the form of past papers or just general exam technique, you should aim to slowly start preparing your child as far in advance as possible.

As the 13+ tests are so specific, extra help goes a long way. Our 13+ Exam Tutors can simplify the process and create a realistic revision timetable for their students.

2) Hone existing skills

Parents often forget that children are well prepared by the national curriculum, regardless of whether they are in private or state education.

While the Common Entrance exam is difficult, it is not designed to catch candidates out and you must be able to assess your child’s natural ability to perform. However, there are a few things you can prioritise in the lead-up to the 13+:

Focus on core subjects

Encourage your child to practice Maths, English and Science questions regularly. There’s no need for fancy accessories! Go over their old work or look into buying some assessment paper books.

Engage in conversation

Talk about your child’s work with them, and ask them to explain concepts or ideas to you. This will develop their verbal skills in preparation for interviews, while also allowing them to understand their subjects.

Know your child’s interests

Since the Common Entrance allows candidates to take assessments in humanities, get to know what your child enjoys. Look over their school reports to see where they excel in order to choose the best options for them.

3) Practice papers?

If you have experience with 11+ preparation, you will know there are many assessment papers available online and in stores that are designed to help children understand the format of admissions tests.

The Independent Schools Examinations Board has approved a list of publishers that provide materials that will help for the Common Entrance exam prep. All relevant books carry their logo, which makes for targeted revision.

While a good knowledge of all subjects is necessary at 13+ entry, it is far more important for your child to get used to the idea of taking exams:


Exam conditions

The 13+ will be a new experience for the majority of children who sit it, so it helps to give them the chance to see what an exam environment is like.

This could mean setting up a mock exam with their classmates, so that they understand what it feels like to work under strict time conditions and sit still for a prolonged period.

Panic fears

If you are worrying about your child getting anxious in the exam, encouraging them to do past papers in exam conditions is crucial. Panicked parents will add to the stress, so make sure that you are well-informed about the procedure and trust in your child’s abilities.

Taking into account all of the above is a lot to expect from parents who have never encountered the 13+ exam system. For further guidance, you can arrange a session with one of our Private Common Entrance Tutors.