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

Important Notice

We regret that we are no longer accepting registrations for Third Year 2022 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 Middle School prospectus online

Download the Middle School prospectus as PDF

Key Dates

Key dates for THIRD year entry to abingdon in september 2023
By Spring 2021 Register
June 2021 Receive details of entrance exams
Friday 1 October 2021 Bursary application deadline
Saturday 2 October 2021 Open Day
Tuesday 5 October 2021 Registration deadline
Saturday 16 October 2021 Entrance exams (9.00am – 1.00pm approx.)
w/c Monday 8 November 2021 Interviews
Late November 2021 Offers made
December 2021 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
January 2023 Sports Scholarship
February 2023 Art, Design and Technology, Drama and Music Scholarships
March 2023 Academic Scholarships
September 2023 Induction Day
Key dates for THIRD year entry to abingdon in september 2024
Saturday 2 October 2021 Open Day
Saturday 22 January 2022 Taster Morning – book online
Saturday 12 March 2022 Taster Morning – book online
Saturday 14 May 2022 Taster Morning – book online
By Spring 2022 Register
May 2022 Receive details of entrance exams
Friday 30 September 2022 Bursary application deadline
Saturday 1 October 2022 Open Day
Saturday 15 October 2022 Entrance exams (9.00am – 1.00pm approx.)
Early November 2022 Interviews
Late November 2022 Offers made
December 2022 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
January 2024 Sports Scholarship
February 2024 Art, Design and Technology, Drama and Music Scholarships
March 2024 Academic Scholarships
September 2024 Induction Day


Boys entering the Third Year are usually aged 13 on 1 September in the year of entry. For Third Year entry, it is helpful if boys are registered with us by May in the academic year in which they are 11 (Year 6 in the UK National curriculum).

Selection Procedure

Stage 1

Having first registered with us, candidates then take our entrance exam (see below), which takes place on a Saturday in October each year. The exam is taken by boys in UK National Curriculum Year 7 which is about two years prior to joining the school. There is some flexibility over dates for special cases (e.g. for boys who have moved to a new school for Year 7 and the majority of overseas candidates) – anyone for whom this applies should contact Admissions to discuss their particular case. Additional information for boys applying from overseas can be found here.

Applications from boys in Year 8 are considered if there are places still available. These boys will take a different set of entrance exams (see 13+ examination below).

In addition to the exams we request a confidential reference from a boy’s Headteacher covering their character, academic strengths and interests.

Stage 2

The results of the assessment exam are carefully reviewed along with the school reference before deciding which boys are asked to the second stage of the selection process, the interview. Those boys whose application is not being progressed to interview will be notified.

Details on what to expect in the interview can be found below.

Following the interview, parents will receive a letter with one of the following outcomes:

  • an offer of a place for their son at the school (subject to the conditions below)
  • an offer to put their son’s name on a waiting list
  • a decision that their son’s application will not be taken forward

The offer

Offers given to boys in Year 7 for places for the Third Year (Year 9) September 2020 onwards will be subject to boys maintaining the level of academic progress and extra-curricular profile, in Years 7 and 8 at their prep or current schools, that is deemed appropriate for Abingdon School. However the offers will no longer be conditional on passing Common Entrance or other similar exams, such as the Prep School Baccalaureate, PSB.

Parents who receive the offer of a place for their son will be asked to give a firm acceptance of the place and to pay an acceptance fee. This fee will be credited to the parents’ final account when their son leaves the School.

The waiting list

The boys on the waiting list have their application reviewed when they enter Year 8 of their current school. This process involves Abingdon requesting an up-to-date reference from the boy’s Headteacher. In some cases boys may be required to undergo some further testing or interviewing, for example if their first language is not English and we wish to confirm their progress in English since their entrance exams. We start making offers to boys on the waiting list from the November of Year 8 and continue to make offers throughout the rest of the year as places arise.

Entrance Exams

Candidates sit the entrance exams in late October of Year 7 (UK national curriculum year group) with papers in English, Mathematics and Reasoning. Details of the arrangements are sent to the parents of all registered candidates in the previous May (or on registration for those registering later than this).

The papers are designed to be appropriate for anyone in a school which follows/considers the UK National Curriculum. 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 they 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.

Candidates whose first language is not English are also required to take an additional English Grammar test.

The mathematics paper (40 mins) contains questions on such topics 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 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.

13+ Examination

This examination consists of papers in English (reading comprehension and an essay), mathematics and reasoning. Candidates are selected for interview following the written papers alongside a confidential report from their current school.

Scholarships and Exhibitions

A number of scholarships and exhibitions are offered at this entry point.

Overseas Admissions to Third Year

Parents of overseas boys seeking admission to the Third Year should refer to the overseas admissions page.

Boarding Entry

Both weekly and full boarding places are available from age 13.

Financial Assistance

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


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.