Westminster School entrance guide

Westminster School Overview

Westminster School is situated in the heart of Central London and has provided an excellent education to boys since the 16th Century and since 1973, for girls via the Sixth Form.

It maintains a very good reputation for the quality of teaching and pastoral care students receive, with the vast majority performing very well in their GCSE and A Levels. Onward progression is very good with the majority of Sixth Formers progressing on to top universities in the UK and internationally.

Like most independent schools however, there is a strong emphasis on developing non-academic skills, whether through the encouragement of sports or the arts. Westminster also boasts it's own observatory for budding future astronomers.

How hard is it to get into Westminster School?

The school welcomes a complement of boarders each year and also offers Day Places for those successful applicants who live within a commutable distance. The school welcomes 120 boys each year to Fifth Form (Year 9) and as might be expected with a popular independent school, entry is dependent upon successfully completing entrance examinations and an interview process. With limited places and approximately 500 applications, less than a quarter of those who apply at 13 plus receive a place.

When should I apply to Westminster School?

If your child is due to finish their current school in Year 6, the school advises you apply for the 11 plus route (to Westminster Under School). If your child is due to finish their school in Year 8 however, you should apply for the 13 plus route. The school does not allow applications via both streams so you will need to think carefully about which route works best for you.

To help inform your decision, we are pleased to present a guide to preparing for Westminster School below (at 13 plus). You will also have the opportunity to view the profiles of our tutors who have experience of supporting applicants to Westminster.

13 plus Guide to Westminster School

Westminster is a very competitive school, and they have rigorous standards of entry. The entrance process should be started in year 5 or latest year 6 of a student's current schooling.

It is generally a good idea to get your child comfortable with the testing process early on, allowing them to gain familiarity with the type of papers encountered and how to best tackle them.


The 13+ assessment to Westminster has two stages. Stage 1 are the online pretests to be sat in the Autumn (October or November) of year 6. Stage 2 is the exam paper to be sat in the January of year 7, and will also include an interview.

Stage 1 ISEB Pretest:

This is a computerised assessment that consists of Maths (50mins), English (25mins), Verbal Reasoning (36mins) and Non-verbal reasoning (36mins). The maths that is covered is similar to the maths covered at school at this stage, with basic functions and also typical topics such as ratio's, percentages, algebra and fractions. The English online tests involve comprehension but also areas such as spelling, grammar, punctuation and scanning a short passage for meanings and inference. In verbal reasoning, questions can be on areas such as antonyms, synonyms, letter codes, and other word puzzles. Non-verbal reasoning involves pattern, shapes and three dimensional rotation i.e. aspects of spatial reasoning.

Good practice for these tests would be the Atom Learning website which is also used in many schools. It is very useful in that it has adaptive testing, which means that the questions get more difficult depending on how well the students performs, which is similar to the actual tests. New questions are thrown up in each session, which allows students to get plenty of practise and also become familiar with the online format (especially since students cannot go back and change their answers to a previous question).

Additionally, Westminster School may ask for school reports from your child's current school, at this stage, to help form a picture of their progress.

Stage 2 Entrance Exam:

This involves sitting an English and Maths paper (they are 40 mins each). The English paper consists of comprehension and a writing task, while the Maths paper looks at topics such as algebra, fractions, ratio's, percentages, functions, geometry and statistics. The best practice would be 11+ and 13+ Maths and English papers, and you can find some typical past papers here via our 13 plus examination pages.

If you decide to apply for a scholarship, the examination will be the Westminster 13+ Challenge paper.


If your child is invited to interview, this will take place in January of year 7.

Owl Tutors has many tutors who cover interview practice at this stage, and it is a good idea to start this process early, so that students can gain familiarity with interview technique and strategies. Interview questions typically cover areas such as current learning, interests and pastimes, why a student wishes to study at the school, past achievements and some knowledge of current affairs. The school typically looks for well-rounded students who are academically strong but also have other interests such as musical or sporting interests as well as any more unusual or interesting hobbies.

Free Exam Papers

The following papers have been written in-house by our expert team of tutors.

They are free for anyone to use for non-commercial use.

We are so happy to have had Anna help. She is incredibly knowledgeable and patient and is a wonderfully calm person to have guide my son through tricky verbs and declensions! I couldn’t recommend Anna enough - thanks to her my son has gone from a low grade in exams to one of the top in his class. We are thrilled.
Jacqueline is a fabulous tutor! In the beginning she made it a priority to get to know my daughter and talk about her interests which made my daughter feel at ease. Her lesson planning is very clear which is brilliant as I know what to expect and her feedback is extremely helpful. She has identified my daughters strengths and weaknesses which as a parent is a relief after receiving little feedback from school. I would say Jacqueline’s teaching style is structured, firm but at the same time always encouraging. Jacqueline is happy for me as the parent to have as much or as little input as I like in terms of what she works on with my daughter. But I leave Jacqueline to take the lead. I 100% trust Jacqueline and know my daughter is in excellent hands.
Richard is an amazing tutor. Calm, patient and great at engaging my boys in learning. We have used him several times now before year end exams and have always been very happy. My son gains lots of confidence in maths after his sessions and his grades always improve as a result.
We can’t recommend Maud highly enough. Not only did she help our son get into his first choice of school she also helped him increase his predicted GCSE English/Literature grades from 7’s to 9’s. And even though maths and the sciences are his favourite subjects he thoroughly enjoyed working with Maud and completely trusted in her methods as to how best tackle exam questions. We can’t thank Maud enough for all her support.
Isabelle really helped our daughter regain confidence in Maths following lockdown and online lessons which led to a disappointing mock GCSE result in January of her year 11, despite her being a very academically capable student. Our daughter enjoyed having the opportunity to work one to one with someone who could help her recover some of those areas that suffered during online lessons.

How much are Westminster School fees in 2022?

The advertised annual fees for Westminster School are £43472. This is the annual figure and does not include possible additional fees, such as trips and music lessons. The calculator automatically includes a predicted percentage increase per annum

Westminster School is an ancient and prestigious independent school situated in the heart of London. The school has produced a number of influential figures in politics, business, journalism and the arts. Given its prestigious reputation, Westminster School can command considerable fees.