Third Year Admissions

The information below gives you the details you need about our Third Year entry procedure as well as the key dates for Third 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 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 11 (Year 6 in the UK National curriculum).

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 in this category 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.

Offers made for Third Year 2019 places remain conditional upon a boy’s performance in the Common Entrance, Abingdon’s 13+, the PSB or Scholarship examinations.

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.

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 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 follows/considers the UK National Curriculum. 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. 

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

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 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. Candidates may like 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.

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.

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.

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

Subject to satisfactory progress in the previous 2 years, and a good reference from their current school in Year 8, entrants are invited to the School for an induction day in late June. There is a further induction day when the boys join the school 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 Third Year entry to Abingdon in September 2020

By Spring 2018 Register
June 2018 Receive details of entrance exams
29 September 2018 Open Day
1 October 2018 Deadline for completed bursary applications
13 October 2018 Entrance exam (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
December 2018 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
November 2019 Scholarship entry form deadline
February 2020 Music Scholarship
w/c 2 March 2020 Academic Scholarship
March 2020 Art, Design and Technology, Drama, and Sport Scholarships
June 2020 Induction Day

Key dates for Third Year entry to Abingdon in September 2021

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 entrance exam details
Saturday 28 September 2019 Open Day
Monday 30 September 2019 Deadline for completed bursary applications
Saturday 12 October 2019   Entrance exams (9.15am – 3.00pm approx.)
w/c 4 November 2019 Interviews
20 November 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
27 November 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
Late November 2019 Offers 
December 2019 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
November 2020 Scholarship entry form deadline
February 2021 Music Scholarship
March 2021 Academic Scholarship
March 2021 Art, Design and Technology, Drama, and Sport Scholarships
June 2021 Induction Day

Key dates for Third Year entry to Abingdon in September 2022

28 September 2019 Open Day
20 November 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
27 November 2019 Discover Abingdon - booking form
25 January 2020 Taster Morning
4 February 2020 Discover Abingdon - booking form
14 March 2020 Taster Morning 
19 March 2020 Discover Abingdon - booking form
30 April 2020 Discover Abingdon - booking form
16 May 2020 Taster Morning
By Spring 2020 Register
11 June 2020 Discover Abingdon - booking form
June 2020 Receive entrance exam details
3 October 2020 Open Day
October 2020   Entrance exams (9.15am – 3.00pm approx.)
November 2020 Interviews
Late November 2020 Offers made 
December 2020 Acceptances to be received, with acceptance fee
February 2022 Music Scholarship
March 2022 Academic Scholarship
March 2022 Art, Design and Technology, Drama, and Sport Scholarships
June 2022 Induction Day