Common Entrance Examination

Common Entrance Examination

Common Entrance Examination

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Common Entrance Examinations are taken by some children in the UK as part of the admissions process for academically selective secondary schools at age 13 or (for girls) 11. Most of the secondary schools that use Common Entrance for admission are public schools; most of the schools that routinely prepare their pupils for Common Entrance are preparatory school. Both kinds of schools are normally fee-paying, that is, they are particular kinds of independent school. The name comes from the fact that, unlike many other selective secondary schools which each set their own entrance examinations, the secondary schools concerned agree to use a common set of examination papers. However, the marking of the scripts and all other aspects of the admissions process is still done independently by each secondary school.


English, Mathematics and Science are compulsory core subjects. Other papers can be chosen from French, German, Spanish; Latin, Greek; Geography, History, and Religious Studies. Most senior schools expect candidates to offer Geography, History, Religious Studies and one or two languages, but pupils from schools which do not offer the traditional range of subjects or weaker pupils can offer a reduced number of papers: entrance requirements are dictated only by the senior school, not by the examination.


The Common Entrance examination has been criticised by headteachers who complain that it uses 3 to 4 years of the children's time at prep school...
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