The information below gives you the details you need about our entry procedure to the First Year as well as the key dates for First Year entry.​​

We know that the application process for senior school varies quite widely and we are very happy for you to get in touch at any time if you have any queries or concerns.

Please contact the Admissions Office by email [email protected].

View the Lower School prospectus online

Download the Lower School prospectus as PDF

Key Dates

Key dates for first year entry to abingdon in september 2023
1 October 2022 Open Day
By October 2022 Register
Early October 2022 Receive details of entrance examinations
5 November 2022 First Year 2023 Taster Morning – book online
11 November 2022 Bursary application deadline
12 November 2022 First Year 2023 Taster Morning – book online
23 November 2022 Discover Abingdon open morning
30 November 2022 Discover Abingdon open morning
14 January 2023 Entrance Examinations at Abingdon – 9.15am – 3.00pm approximately
w/c 23 January 2023 Interviews
Late January 2023 Results letters sent out
1 March 2023 Acceptances to be received with acceptance fee
Late June 2023 Induction Day


Boys in the First Year are usually aged 11 on 1 September of their year of entry. First Year entry is intended for boys who would normally transfer from their primary school (or equivalent) on completion of Year 6 (UK national curriculum). For this entry point, we recommend that prospective pupils are registered before October in the academic year prior to joining.

Entrance Test Procedure

The offer of a place in the First Year is made on the basis of a candidate’s performance in the entrance test, a confidential report from his current school and an interview. Details of the arrangements for the entry test are sent to the parents of all registered candidates in the previous October (or on registration for those registering later than this). The School does not send out copies of past examination papers, but sends online practice questions shortly before the assessment takes place.

The Tests

Candidates sit an entrance test in early January with papers in English, Mathematics and Reasoning. These papers are designed to be appropriate for candidates from primary schools as well as independent schools.

There are two English papers. The first paper (40 minutes) tests candidates’ comprehension skills by asking them to respond to two prose passages via multiple choice questions. Other elements of this paper test spelling, punctuation and other vocabulary skills (e.g. recalling words with particular letter formations or turning noun forms into verbs).

The second paper asks for a piece of descriptive writing (25 minutes) based on a choice of pictures. Candidates will be given an additional 5 minutes for thinking and planning before they can begin writing their piece. The most important thing about this element of the exams is that boys remember to show their skills in crafting their language to have a strong and vivid effect on the reader. Part of ‘crafting’ involves accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Experience also tells us that overly short pieces are self-limiting, in that the candidates won’t have given themselves the opportunity to show what they can do. As a very rough guide, they might expect to be producing between 200 and 350 words in 25 minutes.

The mathematics paper (40 mins) contains questions on topics such as fractions, decimals, averages, percentages, coordinates, sequences, perimeters, areas, nets, currency and ratios. Metric units will be used throughout and calculators are not allowed.

The reasoning test (approximately 25 minutes) covers the typical areas of verbal, numerical and perceptual skills.

Candidates are not required to wear school uniform. Snacks are provided.


Candidates are selected for interview at the School following the written papers alongside a confidential report from their current school. The interview is a friendly affair, providing the School with an opportunity to assess a candidate’s personality and interests outside the classroom. 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.


A number of academically related awards together with music exhibitions are offered at this entry point.

Financial Assistance

Bursaries are available and can be up to 100% of the fees. All bursaries are means-tested.


Offers of places are usually sent out about three weeks after the written examination. Parents will be asked to give a firm acceptance of the place and to pay an acceptance fee which will be credited to the parents’ final account when their son leaves the School.


Successful candidates are invited to the School for two induction days, one in June and the second in September.


We welcome visits at any time during the admissions procedure. Should you wish to discuss the entry procedures further before visiting us, please contact the Admission’s office at [email protected] or telephone +44 1235 849041.