Entrance Examinations

Entrance Examinations

The admissions process at John Lyon tests each boy academically, as well as containing elements we use to learn about his character and to give us an insight into a pupil’s ‘teachability’.

Our tests do not contain ‘trick’ questions and we aim to create a level playing field to allow future John Lyon pupils to shine.

Offers are made based on a combination of the testing and interviews, as well as a reference from the applicant’s current school. We use the entrance tests to identify potential Academic Scholars.

11+ and 13+ entrance examinations take place, typically, during the second week of January. Offer letters are sent out in accordance with the date set by the North London Consortium of Schools.


11+ Examinations

English – 1 hour
Mathematics – 1 hour
Group activity – up to 1 hour
Interview

English Examination
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.

Mathematics examination
The 11+ Mathematics examination requires knowledge of all topics from the Mathematics Key Stage 2 National Curriculum. 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.

Interview
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 on 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.

Group activity
We also have a series of group activities on the day of entrance examinations, enabling us to see the boys working and thinking practically. These activities cannot be prepared for, but will include small group tasks and problem-solving challenges.


13+ Examinations

English – 1½ hours
Mathematics – 1 hour
French – 45 minutes
Science – 45 minutes

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.


16+ Entry

At 16+, entry is by interview. An offer is conditional on entrance examination results and GCSE grades. In general, prospective Sixth Form entrants will be expected to achieve A grades, or better, in those GCSE subjects they intend to pursue at A-Level, plus passes in Mathematics and either English or English Literature. All candidates will meet the Head of Sixth Form.

More information about John Lyon’s unique Sixth Form is here


Following the 11+ test day, my son was elated and in very high spirits talking about every aspect of the day on the journey home. In particular, he mentioned how much he enjoyed the group exercise and interacting with his peers. Thank you for the great experience.

A prospective 11+ parent after the 2018 Entrance Exam day


Summer-born applicants

We do not weight results for summer-born applicants but we do take note of those pupils who are significantly younger than their peers within the application process and when making our offers.

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 entrance exam day.

Registration and confirmation of entrance fees

A non-returnable registration fee of £100 is payable. Once a place has been offered and confirmed we require payment of £750 for UK boys and £3,000 for overseas boys. The fee is refundable at the end of the School career, less any outstanding charges.

Full terms and conditions are set out in the Parent Contract and Annual Update of Fees and Optional Extras, which are both available on request from the School’s Admissions Office