First Year Admissions

We know that the application process for senior school varies quite widely and we welcome you contacting us at any time in your son’s primary school career to ask questions about Abingdon’s procedures. However, in order to assist, we have listed below the chief aspects of the First Year entry procedure as well as the key dates for First Year entry.​​

View the current first year boys discussing the entrance procedure.

First Year boys 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.

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 does send sample questions.

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 independents.

There are two English papers. The first paper (45 mins) tests boys’ reading skills by asking them to respond to two prose passages via multiple choice questions. This paper also tests grammar, spelling, proof reading, punctuation and word manipulation (e.g. recalling words with particular letter formations and turning noun forms into verbs). 

The second paper asks for a piece of descriptive writing (30 minutes) based on a choice of pictures. Candidates will be given an additional 10 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 300 and 400 words in 30 minutes. 

The mathematics paper (50 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 covers the typical areas of verbal, numerical and pattern skills.

Candidates are not required to wear school uniform. Lunch and snacks are provided.

Candidates are selected for interview at the School following the written papers. The interview is a friendly affair, providing the School with an opportunity to assess a candidate’s personality and interests outside the classroom. On such an occasion it is quite in order for candidates to bring something with them, such as an object of interest or an example of their work, to provide talking points. Under certain circumstances some candidates may be asked to attend a second interview.

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

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 or telephone +44 1235 849041.

Key dates for First Year entry to Abingdon in September 2019

29 September 2018 Open Day at Abingdon
By October 2018 Register
Early October 2018 Receive details of entrance examinations, return confirmation, ask school for report
3 November 2018 First Year 2019 Taster Morning 
10 November 2018 First Year 2019 Taster Morning
16 November 2018 Deadline for completed bursary applications
21 November 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
28 November 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
12 January 2019 Entrance Examinations at Abingdon – 9.15am – 3.00pm approximately
w/c 21 January 2019 Interviews
31 January 2019 Results letters sent out
Early February 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
4 March 2019 Acceptances to be received with acceptance fee
27 June 2019 Induction Day