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Here you will find some observations about various aspects of exam taking which are the personal opinions of Helen Grogan and are based on my experiences with children taking these exams. I hope that you might find some of this useful.


Brief explanation of the vagaries of the system:

Each school seems to run their own admission system so you have to check with the various registrars. Make sure you register your children in plenty of time.


Independent - (also referred to as Private/Public school system). In other words — fee paying.


Girls move from their Lower schools to Upper schools when they are 11. They usually take some form of entrance exam.

Boys move from ‘Pre-prep” schools to “Prep school” when they are 7 or 8. They then move again to what used to be called “Public” school at the age of 13 and normally stay there until they have taken their “A’ levels.


State school — not to be confused with “Public” schools. Non fee paying.

Students all leave at 11. The non fee paying choices available to parents are either a comprehensive school or a Grammar School - there are very few Grammar schools and they are incredibly over subscribed.


Pre-tests for Public School - Not to be confused with the 11+

The more oversubscribed boys schools i.e. St Paul’s, Westminster, Eton(throughout Year 6), Harrow(test in Year 7) etc run ‘pre-tests’ so boys do not put them as their one choice for Common Entrance only to be disappointed in Year 8 when it is too late for parents to rush around finding a school. These are held in the autumn term of Year 6 and consist of reasoning tests and a variety of interviews and exams.

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