Third Year Admissions

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

We regret that we are unable to accept any new enquiries for Third Year (13+) entry into the School for September 2018. We continue to welcome applications for the Third Year for 2019 and beyond.

Should you have any questions or concerns please contact the Admissions Registrar, Mrs Marilena Kaye, by email marilena.kaye@abingdon.org.uk or telephone +44 (0)1235 849041.

Third Year boys 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 eleven (Year 6 in the UK National curriculum).

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

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

There are three main methods of entry to the Third Year, listed below. Prior to sitting one of these sets of examinations boys should take a pre-test about two years (UK national curriculum Year 7) prior to joining the school. A conditional offer of a place in the Third Year following the pre-test is made on the basis of a candidate’s performance in the pre-test, a confidential report from his current school and an interview. Places are then confirmed following a satisfactory performance in one of the following examinations (taken in Year 8 of the UK national curriculum).

  • Common Entrance: this examination, which is set externally by the Independent Schools' Examinations Board, is taken by boys attending independent prep schools in the June preceding the September of entry.
  • 13+ examination: Abingdon’s own examination which is taken in the spring immediately preceding the September of entry by those attending maintained schools, some UK independent schools and schools overseas.
  • Academic scholarship: this examination is taken in early March preceding the September of entry. If you have any queries about scholarship entry please contact the Registrar.

Candidates sit the pre-test 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 School does not send out copies of past examination papers, but does send sample questions. 

The papers are designed to be appropriate for anyone in a school which has an eye on the UK National Curriculum, whether the school be an independent or not. 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.

Following the interview, successful candidates will be offered a place, subject only to a satisfactory result in Common Entrance, the academic scholarship or the 13+ transfer 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. We expect candidates to reach the required standard in their qualifying examination (as detailed above) but if this is not the case, the acceptance fee will be returned.

The School will view sympathetically later applications from parents, such as those who move into the area after the pre-test period, provided that places are still available.

This examination consists of papers in English (reading comprehension and an essay), mathematics and reasoning. Candidates will also be expected to prepare for interviews in their modern language or languages, the sciences as well as a general interview. In addition we will ask his current school to supply a confidential report.

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

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

In late June, following the Common Entrance examination, the confirmed Third Year entrants are invited to the School for an induction day.

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 admissions@abingdon.org.uk or telephone +44 1235 849041.

Key dates for Third Year entry to Abingdon in September 2019

By Spring 2017 Register
14 October 2017 Pre-Test
November 2017 Interviews
Late November 2017 Offers sent by Abingdon, subject to Common Entrance / Scholarship / 13+ examination / Prep School Bacc
December 2017 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
29 September 2018 Open Day
30 November 2018 Scholarship entry form deadline
7 February 2019 Music Scholarship
13 February 2019 13+ examination
w/c 4 March 2019 Academic Scholarship 
March 2019 (date tbc) Art, Design and Technology, Drama, and Sport Scholarships
w/c 3 June 2019 Common Entrance / Prep School Bacc
25 June 2019 Induction Day

Key dates for Third Year entry to Abingdon in September 2020

20 January 2018 Taster Morning 
2 February 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
17 March 2018 Taster Morning 
27 March 2018  Discover Abingdon - booking form
3 May 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
19 May 2018 Taster Morning
By Spring 2018 Register
14 June 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
June 2018 Receive details of pre-test
29 September 2018 Open Day
1 October 2018 Deadline for completed bursary applications
13 October 2018 Pre-Test (9.15am – 3.00pm approx.)
w/c 5 November 2018 Interviews
21 November 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
28 November 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
Late November 2018 Offers made - subject to Common Entrance/Scholarship/Prep School Bacc/13+ 
December 2018 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
November 2019 Scholarship entry form deadline
February 2020 Music Scholarship
February/March 2020 13+ examination
w/c 2 March 2020 Academic Scholarship
March 2020 Art, Design and Technology, Drama, and Sport Scholarships
June 2020 Common Entrance / Prep School Bacc
June 2020 Induction Day

Key dates for Third Year entry to Abingdon in September 2021

29 September 2018 Open Day
21 November 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
28 November 2018 Discover Abingdon - booking form
19 January 2019 Taster Morning
31 January 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
16 March 2019 Taster Morning
20 March 2019  Discover Abingdon - booking form
2 May 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
18 May 2019 Taster Morning
By Spring 2019 Register
13 June 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
June 2019 Receive pre-test details
September 2019 Open Day
October 2019 Bursary deadline
October 2019   Pre-test (9.15am – 3.00pm approx.)
November 2019 Interviews
November 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
November 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
Late November 2019 Offers made - subject to Common Entrance/Scholarship/Prep School Bacc/13+ 
December 2019 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
November 2020 Scholarship entry form deadline
February 2021 Music Scholarship
February/March 2021 13+ examination
March 2021 Academic Scholarship
March 2021 Art, Design and Technology, Drama, and Sport Scholarships
June 2021 Common Entrance / Prep School Bacc
June 2021 Induction Day