Entrance exam papers
The Examination Papers
We set our own entrance papers which are designed to identify potential and innate ability rather than test what has been taught. Past papers are not released, but you may find the following information helpful:
The Mathematics paper is intended to assess mathematical ability and potential rather than test mathematical knowledge. Questions focus on problem solving and often involve two or three different stages. Candidates should have a good understanding of mathematical techniques (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and, equally importantly, know how and when to apply them to solve mathematical problems. Questions include some simple calculations, number patterns and relations, spatial relations and elementary logical reasoning. For example:
- Give the next term in each of the following series:
- The distance round a square is 12 metres. What is its area?
- If a*b means add a and b and divide the result by two (e.g. 3*5 = 4), find the numbers meant by 8*4, 21*3, 6*7.
Calculators may not be used in the tests.
English Response and Composition
The English Response and Composition assessment consists of two papers. Paper 1 is a 25 minute English Comprehension paper which tests candidates’ reading skills by asking them to respond to a passage of writing via multiple choice questions. The passage will be taken from fiction or biography and will contain questions intended to check that the candidate has fully understood what is described in the passage. Candidates will be required to think about what the passage of writing suggests or implies as well as what it directly expresses, particularly about the characters’ feelings, attitudes and motives. This paper will also include a passage of writing which candidates will be asked to punctuate, testing their grammar skills. Paper 2 is a 35 minute composition paper which tests the candidates’ writing skills. Candidates will be asked to complete a piece of creative writing based on an image. Liveliness and sensitivity in style and vocabulary will be rewarded, as well as an ability to invent convincing dialogue. The composition should comprise of controlled sentences of varied length and pattern, and should be coherent as a whole. In setting this paper, it is assumed that boys have read a wide range of the best children’s novels, by authors such as Gillian Cross, Terry Pratchett, Rosemary Sutcliff, Robert Westall or Philip Pullman. Suggested Authors and Titles
Strikingly original work is not expected under examination conditions, but if a boy has flair for creative writing he should bring a short piece of his work to interview.
Boys are expected to write legibly (in ink, ball-point or pencil), to spell and punctuate reasonably well, and to express themselves in grammatical English.
Words & Reasoning
The Words & Reasoning paper tests the candidate’s ability to extract information from a factual passage and from material such as maps or timetables. It assumes that boys will have read a good deal of non-fiction appropriate to their age: science and history, for instance, and informative books on their hobbies. The paper also includes questions about the meaning and use of words and some simple verbal and visual puzzles.
The questions on the passage will be in multiple-choice format, candidates being asked to select the best from four possible answers printed on the paper. A few questions may take the slightly more awkward negative form: “All the following are true EXCEPT one. Choose the one that is not true.”