What is Common Entrance?
Common Entrance is the name for a set of examinations taken by boys and girls for entrance to senior independent schools in the UK at 11+ or 13+. The syllabuses are devised by the Independent Schools Examinations Board which is composed of Heads from the three Associations which represent the leading independent schools in the country: The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, The Girls' Schools Association and The Independent Association of Prep Schools. The papers are set by examiners appointed by the Board, but the answers are marked by the senior school for which a candidate has applied.
Common Entrance at 11+
Pupils sit the Common Entrance examination at 11+ when they are in Year 6, mainly for entrance to senior independent girls' schools. There are two examination sessions each year, in November and January. Most girls sit the examination in January. They take papers in English, Mathematics and Science.
Common Entrance at 13+
The 13+ Common Entrance examination is strongly supported by many of the top prep and independent senior schools in the UK. Its rigorous syllabuses and breadth of subjects provide a strong academic focus for pupils in Years 7 and 8 and an excellent preparation for GCSEs. It offers the following benefits:
High academic standards and rigorous syllabuses
Senior schools know what to expect
Academic breadth across 11 subjects, many of which will be continued at senior school
Provides a trusted, well-known focus for pupils in stand-alone prep schools in years 7 and 8
There is compelling evidence that formal examinations lead to high standards
Favourable comparison with state sector, where Years 7 and 8 are part of senior school
Not using Common Entrance likely to lead to narrowing of curriculum
Independent school parents are familiar with, and trust, Common Entrance
Pupils sit the Common Entrance examination at 13+ when they are in Year 8. There are three examination sessions each year, in November, January and May/June.
The core subjects - English, Mathematics and Science - are compulsory. In addition, candidates can sit papers in a wide range of subjects chosen from French, Geography, German, Classical Greek, History, Latin, Theology, Philosophy and Religion (TPR) and Spanish. The core subjects, most modern languages, Latin and Classical Greek are offered at more than one level.
Source of information: https://www.iseb.co.uk/Examinations-Assessments