16 Plus (16+) Exams Guide

What are 16+ exams?

16 Plus exams are set by Independent schools to allow them to select pupils for intake into Year 12, when the students are 16 years old.

How do 16 plus exams work?

Most public schools use 16+ exams to help them select students (dependent on places available). These exams are typically around 45 minutes to an hour in length, with prospective pupils sitting papers in all the AS-levels they are applying to take. As with Common Entrance there is no standardised process for 16+. These exams are written in-house by schools, and are normally based on a GCSE or AS-Level syllabus.

How many students are admitted at 16+?

Schools don’t normally admit large numbers of new students into Sixth Form. (The obvious exceptions are schools like Charterhouse which are single-sex except for their 6th Form). This means that there are limited numbers of places available at most Independent schools at 16+, and these are sometimes only to cover natural churn of existing pupils. With more applicants than the small number of places available, the pass mark will vary from year to year with these schools. Schools will occasionally publish specimen papers, but this is the exception and not the norm.

16+ entrance exams normally take place in Autumn of the school year before entry, in October or November. Obviously schools aren’t expecting mastery of a subject in Year 11, but they will be looking for students with high potential to achieve top grades at A-Level and go on to a leading University.

Which schools have entry at 16+?

You can navigate our Schools Guide to view 60 schools which offer entrance at 16+. We have provided exam format and likely exam content where this information has been shared.

How can I get help with 16 plus exams?

If you would like your child to get extra help, you should think about starting them with a tutor early in Year 10, allowing for a year before the examination in Year 11. All of our tutors are qualified teachers, with years of classroom experience in the subjects they tutor. The majority have experience of preparing students for entrance exams in the London area, and know the schools very well.