Eton College tutors

Eton College entrance guide

Pre-Tests at Eton College

The Eton College application process involves a number of stages, and can be tricky to navigate. Below is a comprehensive guide to the different stages and what they involve. There are two main stages of assessment in the Eton application process.

First Stage: ISEB

The first stage happens in the Autumn term of year 6 (October or November) and is called the ISEB Common Entrance Pre-test. This test is sat either at the student’s current school or at a test centre that has been agreed on beforehand. The ISEB Common Pre-tests are online and are multiple choice in format. They take 2.5 hrs to complete and involve 4 sections which are: Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning, English and Mathematics. These tests can best be prepared for using a combination of tailored tuition with an experienced tutor, and some form of online practice e.g. Atom Learning or BOFA Online. You can also look at the ISEB website for more information. Check out our What is the ISEB Pre-test and How to prepare for the ISEB Pre-test articles The English section covers areas such as Comprehension of short passages, grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary. In Maths, standard areas are covered such as operations, fractions, percentages, decimals, ratio’s, number sequences, geometry and some algebra. Verbal Reasoning includes topics such as letter codes, some numerical logic, antonyms and synonyms and word puzzles. Non-verbal Reasoning covers both traditional non-verbal questions such as matrices, odd pattern out, pattern codes and so on, but also spatial reasoning which involves rotating objects, 3d imagery and nets and cubes. It is important for a student to prepare for all four of the sections, with an emphasis on both the non-verbal and spatial elements of Non-verbal Reasoning. many students can find these types of questions tricky and quite different from anything they have done previously, but the quicker they can familiarise themselves with these types of question, the faster they will pick up the techniques and make progress. If students are successful in the pre-tests and also based upon the Headteachers report from their school, they will usually find out in the following December, where they may be selected to proceed to stage 2.

Second Stage:

The second stage of assessment occurs during January to May of Year 6 i.e. the Spring and Summer terms. the exact month depends on the students date of birth and whether they have requested financial aid. In this stage, there is an individual interview with the student. Owl Tutors have a number of tutors who are experienced in mock-interviewing students for this stage. There will also be an online test of general academic ability. The test is predictive, meaning that questions become more difficult as the test progresses. Eton is notoriously private about this test, and it is not a standard Atom Learning style or CEM style test, it has been designed by examiners in conjunction with Eton College. According to previous students, the areas tested will include English, Maths and Reasoning. The English test involves exercises on grammar, cloze type questions (choosing correct word in a paragraph) and open-ended comprehension questions. The Maths tests involves amongst other things, quite tricky word problems looking at numerical reasoning, where various parts of information need to be simultaneously handled in order to answer the question successfully. The Reasoning section involves spatial, non-verbal, logical and lateral thinking conundrums.

13 Plus at Eton College

If a student is successful at Stage 2, they are offered a conditional place, which is usually confirmed only when they have passed either the King’s Scholarship examination, Common Entrance examination or Eton Entrance examination in year 8. Students with a conditional offer will meet their prospective House Masters during the first and second terms of year 7.

The ISEB Common Entrance examination involves CE Maths, English and Science, and may also include the addition of CE papers in other subjects such as geography, history, classics, languages and so on. There are numerous CE papers available online for practice, some of which can also be accessed on Atom Learning.

Scholarships at Eton College

The Eton King’s Scholarship paper is intensely academically demanding, and only 14 scholarships are awarded annually. The papers are sat in late April/early May and include several compulsory papers. These are English, Creative Writing, Mathematics A, Science and General Paper I, as well as three of the optional papers from French, Latin, Greek, Mathematics B, General Paper II and History-Geography-Divinity. Students are assessed on their performance in the compulsory papers and the best of the three optional papers. If a student who has opted for the King’s Scholarship Paper does not do very well in the paper, he may be asked to sit the CE papers instead.

The King’s Scholarship papers can also be found online at

Owl Tutors provide experienced tutors for both CE and King’s Scholarship papers as well as tutors experienced in preparing students for all stages of the examination and entrance examinations process.

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We could not have asked for a better fit for our son. Emily made him comfortable from the start and he actually enjoyed the tutoring. He is now thriving and at his new school and this is part due to the dialogue between her and his teacher. Emily is really approachable and flexible. Our son was prepared and not anxious for his 11+ exams and that owes significant debt to Emily
Abigail is great with our daughter, making the lessons engaging and helping her to understand the methods behind the answer rather than rote learning. She is able to help explain things in different ways if our daughter isn't initially able to grasp the concept.
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