• Vic Li Math

All About Common Entrance Pre-Tests

The Common Pre-Tests are taken when a pupil is in Year 6 or Year 7 and are an age-standardised measure of ability and attainment. They are commissioned from GL Assessment and are online and adaptive. The tests include Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and Mathematics. The tests are taken online. They are in a multiple-choice format and take about two-and-a-half hours to complete (English 25 minutes, mathematics 50 minutes, non-verbal reasoning 32 minutes, verbal reasoning 36 minutes), and can be taken together or at separate times, For overseas candidates, testing centres can be used if prior permission has been granted from the senior school.

1. Verbal reasoning question styles include common words, antonyms, word

combinations, letter transfer, number codes.

Non-verbal reasoning question styles include shape analogies, classes like, horizontal


English question styles include reading comprehension, sentence completion, spelling

and punctuation.

Mathematics content is in line with the National Curriculum; candidates are assessed on

National Curriculum topics taught up to the end of Year 5.

2. Some famous senior schools which use the Common Pre-Tests are Eton College,

Tonbridge School, Harrow School, Wellington College and Westminster School.

3. If a student is offered a place after completing these tests, he or she may still be

required to sit further assessments.

4. Senior schools will inform parents if they use the Common Pre-Tests and will register

the candidates. Parents do not need to register their children for the Common Pre-


5. Students applying to multiple schools which use the Common Pre-Tests will only take

the tests once per academic year. The set of results obtained will be shared with all

schools registering that candidate. It is important to inform prospective senior schools

if the student has already taken the Common Pre-Tests. In the very unlikely event of a

candidate taking the tests more than once within a single academic year, the school(s)

will be informed and the first set of results will stand.

6. No special preparation is required for the Common Pre-Tests, which are designed to

identify potential as well as attainment. ISEB does not provide practice tests. Examples

and practice questions, where relevant, are provided during the tests so that

candidates understand what they have to do. Each question is answered by choosing

an answer from a selection shown on the screen. Each question must be answered

and candidates cannot go back to previous questions. While taking the tests,

candidates are able to track their progress within the test (number of questions

answered in relation to overall number of questions).

7. Textbooks, calculators, mobile devices, or other materials which might assist a

candidate will not be accessible during the Common Pre-Tests. The use of

pen/pencil and paper is not permitted in the non-verbal reasoning or English tests.

However, candidates should have access to pen/pencil and paper for their rough

work during the verbal reasoning and mathematics tests. It is the responsibility of the

invigilation centre to provide pen/pencil and paper.

8. The tests are designed in such a way that repeated practice will not continuously

improve performance. However, it is important for candidates' confidence that they

are familiar with the nature and style of the tests and ISEB provide a short

familiarisation test for this purpose.

9. Adaptive tests are designed to adjust the difficulty of questions, based on the answers

given. Each candidate will start with a medium-level question. Candidates who

answer questions correctly are gradually routed to more challenging questions. Due

to this, candidates cannot go back to previous questions. The adaptive model allows

candidates to recover from any early wrong answers to attain a score that matches

their ability.

Sources from: https://www.iseb.co.uk/Parents/Common-Pre-Tests

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