Entrance Examinations

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The entrance examination is in two parts and is taken in the January when the candidate is in Year 6.


We focus attention on the basic Spelling and Grammar skills of entrants alongside comprehension and creativity. The format is typically a comprehension passage followed by creative writing element, usually involving a picture stimulus which is the format of much of this type of task up to and including IGCSE examinations. This might be either non-fiction or fiction and pupils should be prepared for either. The content of the comprehension is aimed at the level of a confident year 6 pupil. We have a level of intellectual rigour in our teaching in Year 7 and it is important that pupils can make this necessary ‘step-up’ on arrival. Students are expected to be able to offer comments on the effect of choices made by the writers and questions are graduated in complexity.

Pupils should be reading widely and frequently, outside as well as in school, for pleasure and information. They should be able to read silently, with good understanding, inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words, and then discuss what they have read.

The test in English is written to identify pupils who are confident with language, in their reading, comprehension and writing.  In addition, pupils’ grammar, spelling and punctuation should be accurate and handwriting neat and legible. Marks will be awarded specifically for this area in the creative element of the paper.


The 11+ Mathematics examination requires knowledge of all topics from the Mathematics Key Stage 2 National Curriculum (link). Candidates will encounter problems that test these topics across a range of difficulty levels in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts. Few candidates are expected to be able to answer every question. The specimen paper is representative of the difficulty of the questions likely to be encountered and as such provides an excellent preparation for the examination.

Calculators are not permitted. Where appropriate, the best candidates will show complete working to the support their answers; we are looking for pupils who can develop clear and concise solutions rather than just those who can reach the correct answer.

Group Activities

As part of the entrance examinations day, boys will take part in a series of group activities. These are not academic tests, but an opportunity for us to see how boys respond to different problems and how they work in practical circumstances. As a School that values potential highly, we observe these activities to judge the ‘teachability’ of potential Lyonians and what they will add to the whole School community.

These activities cannot be prepared for, but will include small group tasks and problem-solving challenges.


All applicants are interviewed by an academic member of the Senior Team. The interview will be done in a small group and boys will be asked to talk about a topic, which may be academic, or based in current affairs or similar. It is an opportunity for a boy to tell us more about his interests and aspirations and our experience is that many pupils enjoy our interviews and leave us smiling,

No explicit preparation is required for the interview. 

Offer letters are sent out in accordance with the date set by the North London Consortium of Schools.

Please click here to view specimen 11+ entrance examination papers and syllabuses.


Selection is based upon: performance in our entrance examinations, school reports, and most importantly a personal interview with the Head. We take special note of potential and achievement in music and the creative and performing arts and of the capacity of any candidate to contribute fully to the extra-curricular life of the School.  We are an academically selective school and potential and achievement in at least one major academic subject is required of all successful applicants.

There are compulsory papers in Mathematics, English, French and Science.

Please click here to view specimen 13+ entrance examination papers and syllabuses.


Sixth Form

The closing date for 16+ Application Forms is 31st October in the year prior to entry. Entrance Examinations for 16+ entry will be held in January of the year of entry. A completed application form and confirmation of predicted GCSE grades are required. We will also write to the candidate’s current school requesting a reference.

16+ candidates are invited into school to take an entrance exam based around the four subjects they would like to take for A-Level. Conditional and Unconditional Offers will be made pending entrance examination results, School report, predicted grades and GCSE results.


Extra Time and the use of Laptops in Entrance Examinations

Parents are required to declare in a letter attached to their registration application, any medical condition or learning difficulty which may affect performance in the examinations. In some circumstances we may be able to arrange additional time for completion of at least some papers in the entrance examination. We may also be able to arrange for the use of a word processor for the 13+ English paper should this be judged appropriate. In such cases notification, supported by a report from the candidate’s educational psychologist, is required well in advance of the exam day.