What is the Common Entrance Exam Pass Mark?
Typically, the average pass mark is between 55 – 60%.
Although there are difficulty levels.
The standard of work for Common Entrance in most subjects is in advance of a student’s academic age. Some subjects, such as English, involve working at GCSE level.
What is the Common Entrance exam?
Firstly, it’s not that ‘common’. It’s the series of examinations children take in the summer term of Year 8 at independent schools. These are of a standard that prepares children superbly for GCSE. Historically, children from maintained schools sat these for entry into private senior schools as a standard-marker. Today, most senior schools still require children to sit them as a trusted indication of ability.
With this test, each child has a Standard Age Score (SAS) which is based upon the number of multiple choice questions answered correctly. The score is adjusted for age so those, for example, with summer birthdays are not disadvantaged. This score is placed on a scale which then makes a comparison with the standardisation sample taken from the independent sector.
The test can be sat at the child’s current school (which deals with Covid-related logistical issues) or the senior school they are trying for. The test only needs to be sat once as participating schools are given access to the results which allows for flexibility and ease of administration.
Which Common Entrance Exam subjects are examined?
The three core subjects are Maths, English and Science. French is usually a requirement for senior schools too. Geography, History, Religious Studies and Latin are also sat, usually in early June.
- 3 Maths papers: Mental Arithmetic, Non-Calculator paper and Calculator paper.
- 2 English papers: Prose & Poetry Comprehension and Practical & Creative Writing.
- 3 Science papers: Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
- Geography and Religious Studies incorporate a coursework project, which counts towards the final mark.
How do I prepare?
Common Entrance is a kite-mark of quality. By sitting the exams, your child will be better placed for future studies. Plus, the standards taught mean it’s more likely that he or she’ll feel able to work on higher tier GCSEs. The exams are all conducted under strict protocols which require your child to be taught exam technique and conduct. These skills will be invaluable when your child is up against his or her GCSEs and A Levels ahead.
Getting used to sitting in the exam hall, learning to write quickly and under pressure, to manage time and to keep answers as concise and clear as possible are important exam skills to learn. It helps children to develop resilience – children learn from making mistakes as much as their successes. They gain self-confidence and self-belief for their GCSEs when they can think ‘I’ve done this before, I can do it again’.
Which year is the Common Entrance exam taken
Common Entrance Exams are taken when a child is in Year 8, to determine the Year 9 intake for an academically selective Independent School. Common Entrance Exams at 13+ are set by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB). The ISEB Common Entrance Exam is a standardised test, which are marked by the individual schools, who can decide on their own pass mark. Prep Schools tend to prepare their pupils for these tests, especially 13+, as that is when the students move on from Prep to Senior. Generally, other State Maintained or Junior Schools do not provide preparation for the 11+ or 13+. Independent Schools with their own Junior School will mostly use internal exams and school reports to offer places to the pupils at that junior school. Prep Schools will most likely register and enter their pupils for Common Entrance. Students can also be registered via the ISEB website
Do all children take the Common Entrance Exam?
Yes, all our pupils sit the Common Entrance. Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School is a Sussex prep school that’s a recognised ISEB examination centre. Our teachers help our students to reach their full potential in these assessments. We differentiate teaching to abilities and learning styles. Our students who struggle with specific subjects in Year 7 or 8 tend to do extra work in Latin slots on core subjects or work with our Learning Support Co-Ordinator in one-to-one sessions.
If your child is a new joiner from the state sector at Year 6 or Year 7 stage, don’t panic. We differentiate our teaching to each child’s needs and put in place a fast-track learning programme to ensure your child is fully up to speed for the Common Entrance exam.
How much homework is required?
Around 30 to 40 minutes per subject. These are ‘at the most’ figures though. We’re understanding of your children’s extra-curricular commitments (family events, sport clubs, Brownies, Scouts, etc) and make allowances and give support. We use Google Drive to communicate and facilitate students’ work much more quickly.