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British Boarding school FAQs – 11+13+, ISEB pretests and scholarships

Which school do you want for YOUR child? 

Eton, Winchester, Wycombe Abbey, CLC …?

Based on our recent seminars, these are the top questions from our parents!

– Is it ever too early to start preparation?

No! As parents, think about what options you may explore for your child and identify different key dates. Your plans may change but this way you are keeping doors open.

– When do we need to choose schools?

Watch out for deadlines. Many highly selective 13+ schools including Eton and Winchester now test in Y6 and close registration in Y5. For 11+ schools, you need to be thinking even earlier! Brandon offers a full consultancy service to help you along your path.

– Should we look at co-ed or single sex schools?

The starting point in school selection is always understanding your child. The second step is to really understand what the school is offering. Open days (even virtual ones!) are a good opportunity to see how students act within your chosen school. You might also want to ask about boarding ratios, weekend activities and the school’s tutor system to get a full picture. My suggestion is to be as open minded as you can and see for yourself before ruling out possible options.

– How do we enter and prepare for school pre-tests (including the ISEB pre-test) and 11+/13+ entrance examinations?

The online ISEB Pretest is usually taken in Y6 and covers English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning and candidates are entered by their senior schools.  We have developed an online practice tool ( which will give you full preparation for the ISEB Pretest.  Our classes are always popular and the results really do speak for themselves. As with any exam, the more familiar you are with the contents, the easier the process becomes.

You or your prep school will enter your child for 11+/13+ Common Entrance. Check with your senior school who will tell you which papers you need to take and when. Typically, girls’ and co-ed schools test in the spring and boys’ schools in the summer. Some schools (such as Tonbridge) have different papers and timings for overseas students. 

– Is my child suitable for academic scholarships?

Is he or she academically curious and driven? Speak to your prep or primary school who can advise. Girls schools (such as Benenden or Downe House) will invite girls to try for academic scholarships following testing. Every year, we prepare boys for Election at Winchester or King’s Scholarship at Eton. The preparation is rigorous and students who are genuinely inspired to learn thrive through exposure to the depth and breadth which a scholarship application entails.

If you have specific questions or would like tailored advice, ask about a consultancy appointment with Dr Jessica.

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