Applying for a senior school place can feel like a big step, but our Admissions team is here to guide you through the process. Whether you are considering independent education for the first time, relocating to the UK, or simply wish to talk through your options, we are on hand to help.

Entry is by an assessment process which takes place in the January of National Curriculum Year 6. Late applications may be considered subject to availability of places.

We have approximately 65 places available in the First Year, and this entry point is intended for students who would normally transfer from their primary school (or equivalent) on completion of Year 6. In a typical year, about two thirds of students come from local state primary schools.

View the Lower School prospectus online

Download the Lower School prospectus as PDF

Key Dates

2024 Entry2025 Entry
Registerby 1 October 2023by 1 October 2024
Bursary application deadline10 November 202311 November 2024
UK Entrance Assessments13 January 202411 January 2025
Overseas Entrance Assessments6 - 14 January 20244 - 12 January 2025
Interviewsw/c 22 January 2024w/c 20 January 2025
Results letters sent outEarly February 2024Early February 2025
Acceptance to be received1 March 20243 March 2025

Visit opportunities are available throughout the year – book here.

Late assessments may be possible subject to availability of places. Please contact us to discuss.

Book a visit

We would be delighted to welcome you to Abingdon School and offer a number of visit opportunities throughout the year. Visits can take place at any stage of the Admissions process, and you can book a visit to our school here.

Who can apply?

This entry point is primarily for students who would normally transfer from their primary school (or equivalent) on completion of Year 6. We welcome applications from candidates from all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. We are happy to advise on whether an Abingdon education may be a good fit for your son, and a recent school report would be a helpful guide for us.

Students will be aged 11 on 1 September of their year of entry. If your son’s age falls outside this, please contact the Admissions team for advice.

If you are currently at a UK prep school which continues to Year 8, the typical entry point would be into our Third Year.

Registrations should be received by October of Year 6. Late applications may be considered, subject to availability of places. Please contact the Admissions team for advice.

Parents interested in applying for assistance with fees can indicate this on the registration form.

Register here

Entrance Assessments

Entrance assessments are taken in January of Year 6. These take place at Abingdon School on a Saturday for those candidates who are based in the UK. Overseas students may take their assessments at one of our preferred invigilation centres.

Candidates sit assessments in English, Mathematics and reasoning. Details are sent to parents of all registered candidates in the October of Year 6. The papers are a combination of computer based and handwritten questions. It is not expected that candidates have any typing skills. Please contact us to discuss specific access requirements which may be required for your son.

We will also request a confidential reference from the candidate’s Headteacher covering their character, academic strengths and interests.

Details of papers

Our English papers assess both reading and writing skills. Reading covers comprehension as well as spelling, punctuation and grammar. This is multiple choice using a computer. The writing paper asks for a piece of descriptive writing based on a choice of pictures used as a stimulus. This paper is hand written (unless a candidate has access arrangements granting the use of a computer).

The Maths aspect covers topics aligned to the UK National Curriculum, as well as some more complex problem solving puzzles which require candidates to apply the knowledge and skills they will have acquired. These are mostly multiple choice questions using a computer.

Reasoning contains both verbal and non-verbal questions, and again, is computer-based. Overseas candidates may also be required to take an extra English Grammar paper.


Results of the assessments are reviewed, along with the school reference, before deciding which students are invited for an interview. We see the interview as a very important element of the process and almost all candidates will be interviewed. However, it is also likely that a small number of candidates will not be offered an interview at this stage. These would usually be candidates whose academic performance in the assessments indicates that they would be very unlikely to thrive in Abingdon’s fast-paced, selective atmosphere. Bringing those candidates back for an interview would, in our view, set up an unnecessary false hope about their chances of gaining an offer.

The interview is a friendly affair, providing the School with an opportunity to assess a candidate’s interests outside the classroom and explore what they enjoy about learning. The majority of interviews are conducted in person at Abingdon School, though we will conduct some interviews using video conferencing platforms (such as Zoom), particularly for overseas candidates. Candidates may like to bring something with them, such as an object of interest or an example of their work to provide talking points, but this is entirely optional.


Following the interview, all information from the assessments, interview and confidential reference is carefully considered, and parents will receive one of the following outcomes:

  • an offer of a place for their child at the school
  • an offer to put their child’s name on a waiting list
  • a decision that their child’s application will not be taken forward

Parents who receive an offer of a place for their child will be asked to give a firm acceptance of the place by the first working day of March, and to pay an acceptance fee.

Candidates on the waiting list will have their application reviewed after our acceptance deadline in March.

Lower School Awards

A number of academic awards are made on the basis of a candidate’s performance in the entrance assessments. No separate application is required.

Music exhibitions are also offered (via a separate process) and further information about applications for these may be found on our scholarship pages.

Students may also be put forward by their teachers to apply for a Third Year scholarship once they are in the school.

Financial Assistance

If you are interested in assistance with fees (a bursary), an application must be made by our deadline in November of Year 6. Please visit our bursary page for more information.

Find out more about bursaries