Entrance Examinations

When he went for the exam all the teachers were very polite, kind and reassuring, because they could tell an 11-year-old would be nervous, and they put us at ease.

A prospective 11+ parent after Entrance Exam day

The admissions process at John Lyon tests each pupil academically, as well as containing elements we use to learn about their 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+ selection is based upon performance in our entrance examinations, school reports, interview and group activity. 13+ selection is based upon performance in our entrance examinations, school reports and an interview. We are an academically selective school and potential and achievement in at least one major academic area is required of all successful applicants.

Key Dates

Sunday 31st October 2021 Closing date for 11+ and 13+ Music, Sport, STEAM and Drama Scholarship applications for entry in September 2022
Sunday 31st October 2021 Closing date for 11+ and 13+ bursary applications for entry in September 2022
1pm, Friday 5th November 2021 Closing date for 11+ and 13+ registrations for entry in September 2022
Thursday 11th November 2021 STEAM Scholarship assessments
Friday 12th November 2021 13+ Sports Scholarship assessments
Thursday 18th November 2021 Drama Scholarship assessments
Friday 19th November 2021 11+ Sports Scholarship assessments
Thursday 2nd December 2021 11+ & 13+ Music Scholarship assessments
Wednesday 10th November 2021 11+ Entrance Examination day
Wednesday 17th November 2021 11+ Entrance Examination day
Wednesday 24th November 2021 11+ Entrance Examination day
Wednesday 1st December 2021 13+ Entrance Examination day
Wednesday 8th December 2021 11+ Entrance Examination day
Monday 31st January 2022 Closing date for 16+ registrations for entry in September 2022

11+ Examinations

The entrance examination is in three parts:

  • English examination – 1 hour
  • Mathematics examination – 1 hour
  • Group activity and interview – 2 hours

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 a 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. 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, available on our website, 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 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 and girls will take part in a series of group activities. These are not academic tests, but an opportunity for us to see how boys and girls 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 and girls will be asked to talk about a topic, which may be academic, or based on current affairs or similar. It is an opportunity for pupils to tell us more about his interests and aspirations and our experience is that many pupils enjoy our interviews and leave us smiling.

Candidates are with us for the whole day. There will be a lunch break between the two sections.

No explicit preparation is required for the interview.

13+ Examinations

The 13+ examinations consist of four compulsory papers:

  • English – 1.5 hours
  • Mathematics – 1 hour
  • French – 45 minutes
  • Science – 45 minutes

An optional Latin paper can also be taken.

John Lyon places particular importance on our 13+ interview process. All candidates should normally meet the Head for an interview, prior to the examination date. During this interview, which lasts for fifteen minutes, each candidate will be asked about his interests, be given a passage to read aloud and do some mental arithmetic. Candidates are also asked to bring along a piece of schoolwork of which they are particularly proud, they will be asked questions about this also.

Sixth Form (16+) Entry

For those interested in Sixth Form Entry we hold an Open Evening in the Autumn term. This offers the opportunity to meet the Head of Sixth Form, Department Heads and the Head of Higher Education and Oxbridge provision. Those interested are also invited to join our current Year 11 pupils for their A-Level options talks in January.

The closing date for 16+ applications is 31st January in the school year prior to entry. Interviews for 16+ entry will be held at the beginning of March. A completed registration 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 to school to meet the Head of Sixth Form to discuss the subjects they would like to take for A-Level. Conditional Offers are made based on interview, predicted grades and GCSE results.

In order to proceed automatically into the Sixth Form, it is necessary for a candidate to achieve six GCSE passes at 9-6/A*-B, including 7/A grades in the subjects they wish to study in the Lower Sixth, with a minimum of 6/B grades in Mathematics and either English Literature or English Language. Any offers are conditional upon examination grades and further discussion about his options may be required once a candidate receives his results.

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

Summer-born applicants
We do not formally ‘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
When registering your son or daughter a fee of £125 is payable. The registration fee is payment towards the administration of your child’s application to the school and his entrance examinations. This fee is non-refundable.
Once a place has been offered and confirmed we require payment of £750 for UK pupils and £3,000 for overseas pupils. 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.