Academic Scholarships | Abingdon Senior School

Academic Awards for entry in September 2021

A number of awards will be made to boys who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual curiosity across a range of subjects. These awards are made to reward the potential of boys who we expect to set an example to their peers in the manner in which they go about their work, making connections between their subjects, questioning received wisdom and always looking to extend their knowledge beyond what they learn in the classroom.

We are looking for scholars to be leaders within the school through their enthusiasm, initiative, imagination and dedication.

Awards are made to candidates at 13+ (Third Year), 14+ (Fourth Year) or upon entry to the Sixth Form. Awards are made to existing boys at 14+ and post-GCSE through an internal process in which all boys are considered automatically and no application is required. Such awards are announced in August after the GCSE results have been published.

Internal candidates at 13+ will be invited to participate by the Head.

Overseas candidates may sit their papers overseas and should get in touch with the Admissions Registrar to agree details.

There is an extensive programme of after-school lectures, trips and presentations for scholars organised by Dr Chris Burnand, Master of Scholars, and Mr Andrew Jamison, who is master-in-charge of middle school scholars. Academic scholars are expected to participate fully in this programme as well as attend the annual scholars’ dinner.

Master of Scholars, Dr Chris Burnand, welcomes informal contact with potential candidates by emailing

All awards are reviewed annually, and are subject to satisfactory academic progress and behaviour.

The Academic Scholarship carries an entitlement to a nominal fee remission of £300 per year. However, as is the case for all pupils, there is an option to apply for further financial assistance through a means-tested bursary.

For further information please contact the Admissions Office on +44 (0)1235 849041 or email

Key Dates & Application Procedure for 13+ Scholarships

Abingdon School 13+ Academic Scholarship Examination for entry in September 2021

key dates
Entry forms deadline
(online form to be completed and academic reference provided by your son’s school)
Friday 27 November 2020
Academic Scholarship exams/interviews Monday 1 March to Thursday 4 March 2021

Summary of Papers and Interviews 

The papers and interviews listed below, except for Greek, are compulsory. In exceptional circumstances some candidates may be given a dispensation from one or more papers.

Where a pupil has a special talent or interest which he would like to be taken into account in the award of a scholarship, such as knowledge of a different language (though not if he is a native speaker), we are always prepared to set an additional paper, or arrange for an extra interview, to assess his potential.

General Paper
(1hr 30 mins)
Comprehension on a passage, plus one essay, selected from a wide range of titles.
The interview (15 mins) may make reference to the general paper, as well as including questions on a piece of prose or poetry (which will be given to candidates shortly before the interview) and a visual stimulus (such as a piece of art or a political cartoon, which will be shown to the candidate in the course of the interview).
(1hr 30 mins)
Q1. ‘Found’ Poetry: candidates will be given a piece of prose and asked to bring out its poetic features by arranging it as a poem on the page. They will then have to explain their choices in a piece of continuous writing.
Q2. Essay: one selected from a choice of tasks covering descriptive writing, narrative writing and persuasive writing.
(1hr 30 mins)
The questions are based on the extended common entrance syllabus (papers 2 and 4), and designed to test mathematical intuition and potential. The paper is divided into two sections in order to assist candidates with their timing. They are advised to spend 50 minutes on Section A, and 40 minutes on Section B, which contains some more challenging questions.
(1hr 30 mins)
All questions must be attempted, and there will be equal weighting between Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Based on the Common Entrance syllabus (national curriculum level 6).
(1hr 30 mins)
A. Comprehension
B. Unseen Translation
C. Either sentences from English to Latin or a harder comprehension including linguistic questions
The grammar and vocabulary tested will be the same as those in the syllabus of the scholarship paper of Common Entrance Latin.
French Listening comprehension
(30 mins)
Passages on tape/CD: questions in French.
Reading comprehension
(30 mins)
Some questions in English, some in French.
Essay and grammar
(45 mins)
Choice of one of two essays of 150 words based on a picture stimulus, or instructions given in English or French, depending on the task.
(10 mins)
General conversation. Topics chosen by the examiner from the following list: (a) home, family and friends; (b) school; (c) leisure; (d) holidays and travel; (e) town; (f) pocket money.
We are looking for candidates who show potential as linguists, who have a wide range of vocabulary, and who can manipulate the language they have learnt with imagination and confidence in any situation. Very good knowledge of Present, Future (all forms) and Perfect tenses is essential. Candidates must be able to manipulate these tenses with confidence. Outline knowledge of the Imperfect and Conditional tenses is desirable but not essential. Candidates will be expected to use articles, adjectives and pronouns with a high degree of accuracy and will be expected to make good use of a range of opinions and justifications.
(2 hrs)
Each candidate answers questions from two of the three sections only. In Geography and History, there is one compulsory question, and one essay selected from a wide range. The compulsory question in history is a comprehension exercise, in geography a map question. In Philosophy and Theology, each candidate has to write answers to two essay questions from a wide choice.

Section A: Geography
Section B: History
Section C: Philosophy and Theology

(1hr 30 mins)
A. Greek to English sentences
B. Unseen translation
C. Harder unseen
D. Either sentences from English to Greek or a comprehension including linguistic questions.In Greek, questions are in ascending order of difficulty and candidates are allowed to complete as much of the examination as they can, depending on how long they have been learning Greek. The first two sections are based on the syllabus of Common Entrance level 1; sections C and D are based on the syllabus for level 2.

The exam papers will all be sat on the Monday to Wednesday and the modern language oral will take place on Wednesday afternoon. Most candidates will have their interview on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it is likely that some will have to come back to Abingdon for their interviews on Thursday, and internal candidates will have theirs on Friday of the same week.

Application Procedure

The application form asks for a Head’s confidential reference and any specialist educational assessments and exam access arrangements which may apply.

Internal (lower school) candidates will be invited to participate by the Head following consultation with Dr Chris Burnand, Master of Scholars, following their academic extension programme in the Michaelmas Term.

Key Dates & Application Procedure for 16+ Scholarships

Abingdon School 16+ Academic Scholarship Examination for entry in September 2021

key dates
Entry forms deadline
(online form to be completed by boy’s parent/legal guardian)
Friday 16 October 2020
Academic Scholarship Exams/Interviews Wednesday 18 November 2020 & Saturday 6 February 2021

Sixth form academic scholarships may be awarded on entry to the school from other schools, the scholarship examinations being held on Wednesday 18 November 2020 and Saturday 6 February 2021.

Sixth form candidates will sit papers in the four subjects they intend to study at A level, together with a general paper and reasoning paper. There will also be one or more interviews.

Overseas candidates may sit their papers overseas and should get in touch with the Admissions Registrar to agree details.

Master of Scholars, Dr Chris Burnand, welcomes informal contact with potential candidates by emailing

For an application form, please contact the Admissions Office on 01235 849041 or email

All boys already at Abingdon will automatically be considered for an academic scholarship on entry to the sixth form, and there is no need for boys to make an application.

The Master of Scholars conducts an internal process, in which the heads of the various academic departments nominate the top boys in their subject for consideration.

In making the final decision each boy’s reports and academic record throughout Middle school are also considered, as well as the final GCSE results.

Those who become scholars on entry to the sixth form all have excellent GCSE grades, but that in itself will not win a scholarship, as so many Abingdonians achieve excellent results at GCSE every year.