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About 13+

The 13+ Common Entrance exams, simply referred to as 13+, are set by the Independent Schools Examinations Board and used as part of the admissions process for many secondary schools in the United Kingdom. 

The exams usually take place either in Spring or, more commonly, towards the beginning of Summer in the months of May and June. Students in Year 8 take the exam, prior to entering secondary school in September. While some of the subjects covered depend on the school, all students have to sit exams in English, Maths and Science. 

What does the 13+ exam consist of? 

The separate exams are usually around an hour in length with, as already mentioned, everyone sitting papers in English, Maths and Science. Many pupils also sit exams in French, Geography and History. The difficulty and contents of the exam can vary depending on the school the student is applying to. Most schools use the common entrance papers set by the Independent Schools Examination Board, but some, often the more prestigious ones, set their own exams which usually tend to be more difficult.

Students taking the 13+ exams will sit two papers in English, each of which consists of a writing and reading section. Each paper has two levels with most students sitting the Level 2 exam, which is the standard one. The writing section consists of choosing one of four given topics and writing an imaginative essay on it, while during the reading section, students are given a text followed by a series of questions they have to answer. 

Students also have to sit three papers for the 13+ Maths exam. These exams are split into a calculator paper, a non-calculator paper and a mental arithmetic paper. 

The last mandatory part of the exams are the Science papers. Students either sit one exam that combines Physics, Biology and Chemistry or three separate exams for each subject. 

How to prepare for the 13+ Exams?

The 13+ Exam period can be stressful for students so it’s important to prepare adequately. In order to have plenty of time available for studying it’s advised to start preparing around the Christmas holidays. This way students can cover all of the new information within the first few months and use the time between Easter and the exams for revision. 

Students can prepare on their own by solving practice exams and ones given in previous years, alongside their standard preparation in school. Signing up for private tutoring is also a great option for students who are more worried or simply in need of some extra help. 

Can I sign up for lessons for the 13+ Exams?

Absolutely, plenty of students decide to seek the help of tutors to make sure they’re adequately prepared for the exams. Luckily for you, TutorExtra offers a wide variety of lessons in over 1000 subjects, including preparation for the 13+ exams. 

Visit our website, browse through our list of qualified teachers and choose the one that suits your needs the best.

Key details about your Thirteen Plus sessions

✅ Experts available : 4
✅ Average price : £50/hr
✅ Session format : Face-to-Face or Online
✅ First lesson free : Yes
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