We aim to provide an application process which is fair, clear, robust and accessible to children from all schools and backgrounds.

We are concerned about the pressure the 11+ application system can place on young children and the damage to learning which relentless ‘teaching to the test’ produces. We therefore seek to run a simple process with just one test, which provides a good tool of assessment to elicit information which can match candidates to schools best fitting their profile. We are interested not only in verbal and mathematical potential, but also in non-verbal ability, which often signifies the sort of creative and visual intelligence relating to problem-solving and design. The changing landscape of work needs all these aptitudes.

Important News for Entry in September 2025

In 2022 the Consortium introduced a new bespoke assessment process, for entry in September 2023 onwards, which goes beyond testing cognitive ability alone and seeks to discover a child’s potential in creative and critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and problem-solving. This test is 100 minutes in total and taken in the candidate’s current school, but where this is not possible, provision is made in all Consortium schools for candidates to sit the test there. Candidates can familiarise themselves with the Consortium online assessment using the ‘Familiarisation Materials’ link below.

Key dates for entry in September 2025

  • Closing date for registrations: Friday 8th November 2024
  • Consortium Assessment dates: One of Friday 29th November, Tuesday 3rd December or Thursday 5th December 2024
  • Offer date: Friday 14th February 2025
  • Deadline to accept: 12 noon on Thursday 6th March 2025
Code of Practice & FAQs Familiarisation Materials The Three Assessment Approaches

Our selection process covers three complementary assessment approaches:

  1. An age-standardised measure of ability assessed through an online, adaptive, cognitive test followed by a non-adaptive section testing problem solving and creative and critical thought. The test is taken when the child is in Year 6 and should be sat at the child’s current school if possible. For those not able to take the assessment in their own school, it will be possible to sit the test at any Consortium school. The results will be shared with all schools at which the candidate is registered.
  2. A common reference form requiring, amongst wider contextual information on attitudes and character, detailed commentary on the candidate’s academic performance. Although not compulsory, it is hoped that this form will be widely used but feeder schools may use their own reference forms;
  3. An imaginative interview experience (individual to each senior school) which explores the skills, aptitudes and intellectual acuity of the candidates. Please note Francis Holland (Regent’s Park) , Godolphin and Latymer, and South Hampstead High School will select for interview from the assessment.
School girls laughing School girls in a hall Students lined up School girls discussing Students laughing Girls singing Students walking School girl friends

Highgate

Channing School

Channing School

Regent's Park

Francis Holland School

Francis Holland School

Sloane Square

Francis Holland School

Francis Holland School

Hammersmith

Godolphin and Latymer

Godolphin and Latymer

Knightsbridge

More House School

More House School

Northwood

Northwood College for Girls

Northwood College for Girls

Ealing

Notting Hill and Ealing High School

Notting Hill and Ealing High School

Marylebone

Queen’s College London

Queen’s College London

South Kensington

Queen’s Gate School

Queen’s Gate school

South Hampstead

South Hampstead High School

South Hampstead High School

Ealing

St Augustine’s Priory

St Augustine’s Priory

Northwood

St Helen’s School London

St Helen’s School London

Kensington Olympia

St James Senior Girls’ School

St James Senior Girls’ School

Hampstead

St Margaret's School

St Margaret's School

Code of Practice

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key dates and times I need to know?

  • The deadline for applications to any Consortium school is 8th November 2024.
  • Test dates are one of Friday 29th November, Tuesday 3rd December or Thursday 5th December 2024. Candidates only sit the assessment once, irrespective of the number of Consortium schools to which they are applying.
  • If she is sitting at a Consortium school, she may have either a morning or an afternoon assessment on one of the three assessment dates. Schools will advise of the exact start time for their sitting.
  • Offers will be sent out to arrive on Friday 14th February 2025.

When was the new Consortium entrance examination introduced?

The first candidates for the new Consortium entrance examination were pupils sitting the test in December 2022 for entry to Senior School in September 2023.

Why did the Consortium introduce a new test?

The Consortium wants to continue to assess mathematical and verbal ability, but also to assess deeper thinking. We worked hard with our test provider, ATOM Learning, to design creative questions to assess problem-solving and analysis skills, something our previous assessment did not do. The assessment is innovative and candidates find the questions stimulating.

Who designed the entrance examination for the Consortium?

The assessment is a collaboration between the Consortium and ATOM Learning. We selected ATOM as our test provider because of their evident passion for assessment and ability to innovate in this area. ATOM is familiar to many primary schools through their online Maths and English learning platform which provides children with opportunities to consolidate and extend their skills in these two critical areas. The assessment designed for the Consortium is almost entirely bespoke and designed in partnership with a group of primary and secondary curriculum specialists in Consortium schools.

How long will the Consortium exam take? How will candidates manage their time?

The exam is 100 minutes long (1 hour 40 minutes). There will be a 30-minute break in the middle. During the exam, candidates will see a clock on their screen that will count down in minutes showing them how long they have left for each section. It will be visible but not so large as to distract them from their work. We have deliberately chosen for the clock not to count down in seconds as we thought this might distract some candidates. They will not be given any additional time warnings.

What about candidates eligible for extra time?

Candidates eligible for extra time will be asked to indicate their entitlement at the point of application to Consortium schools. Admissions teams will then ask families to provide evidence of this entitlement, in accordance with JCQ rules. Candidates eligible for extra time will be granted their extra time on each section of the exam rather than taking it all as one block of time. This is because once a section has been completed, candidates cannot go back to amend it.

What will be tested in the entrance examination?

There are five distinct components, taken in the following order:

  • 20 minutes for Maths
  • 10 minutes for Non-Verbal Reasoning
  • 30 minutes for English comprehension and Verbal Reasoning
  • BREAK for 30 minutes
  • 15 minutes for Problem Solving
  • 25 minutes for the Analysis component

Is the assessment adaptive or non-adaptive? What does this mean?

The first three parts of the examination are adaptive. The adaptive nature ensures every child can have a good experience completing the assessment as the questions will be tailored to their performance. Adaptive assessment is a tried and tested method of assessment that yields reliable results, especially in assessing cognitive reasoning ability.

The final two sections of the examination (problem-solving and analysis) are non-adaptive, meaning all candidates see exactly the same questions but with different content on each of the three exam days.

The English comprehension passage is also the same for all candidates on any one exam day, but the questions are adaptive. We change the non-adaptive parts (the comprehension passage and the content for the problem-solving and analysis sections) for each of our three exam days to ensure the security of the test.

I would like to know more about each section. What can you tell me?

You should look at the familiarisation materials on this website. We hope the information below is helpful to learn a little more about each section:

Maths section

The questions are based on the National Curriculum for Year 5 and we do not test anything on the Year 6 curriculum. This is to make things fair as different schools will teach the Year 6 curriculum in different orders. Because we have many very able candidates taking the Consortium exam, we provide stretch and challenge through the style and depth of the questions we ask. This section is adaptive, with questions suited to the performance of each candidate.

Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR):

This involves assessment of the candidate’s ability to identify patterns and think logically. NVR is a tried and tested component of many cognitive reasoning assessments. The questions can seem strange to candidates who have never seen those sorts of questions before, so we recommend that all candidates look at our familiarisation materials. We do not, however, recommend intense preparation as any gains quickly become very marginal. This section is adaptive (see above for an explanation).

English Comprehension and Verbal Reasoning

The text is a piece of fiction specially written for the Consortium examination. Questions are adaptive depending on a candidate’s performance. There is no extended writing required. Candidates should not be thrown by vocabulary they do not know as one of the things we are assessing is the ability to infer meaning from context. The questions are adaptive.

Comprehension is followed by an assessment of a candidate’s ability to identify the correct use of standard English in context. This section does not require any recall of grammar, and candidates who read widely will be well prepared for this section.

Problem-solving

This section tests the ability of candidates to use words and numbers to solve multi-step problems. The section is non-adaptive but candidates are likely to complete different numbers of questions in the time available.

Analysis component

Candidates have to use information from a variety of different sources to answer questions. The information provided is given to them in a range of different formats and they may have to look at several different sources simultaneously to answer questions. The context is likely to be unfamiliar to all candidates but in the event of a candidate being familiar with the context, this will not confer any advantage on them. This section is non-adaptive.

Why is the entrance examination online? Does this not put candidates unused to typing at a disadvantage? What type of device do candidates use?

Many secondary schools are now running online assessments, so we are not unusual in this respect. There is no extended writing required for our exam so typing ability will not impact on results. Putting the assessment online significantly reduces the risk of human error, leading to results all our Consortium schools can trust. Even GCSE examination boards are now piloting online assessments and we believe this is where the future of assessment lies.

The entrance exam can be taken on many different types of device including iPads, PCs, laptops and chrome books. The device used does not make any difference to a candidate’s performance.

Why do you offer three test dates? Why don’t all candidates sit the test on the same day? Why do you not allow the test to be taken within a certain timeframe?

Some elements of our assessment are non-adaptive which means we cannot allow candidates to take the test whenever they wish. They have to take it on one of three selected dates – Friday 29th November, Tuesday 3rd December Thursday 5th December 2024. We allow three dates to enable as many primary and prep schools to host the tests themselves as possible, giving them flexibility to work around their calendars. To ensure security, different non-adaptive content is produced for each of the three sitting dates. Our Consortium schools accommodate pupils who cannot take the exam in their own school.

Why do you allow some candidates to take the exam in their own school and some in Consortium schools? Is this fair?

All schools abide by strict rules set out by the Consortium to make things fair for all candidates:

  • The exam must start within a certain time frame within the day. This is to preserve the security of the exam.
  • The exam can only be taken on three selected dates – Friday 29th November, Tuesday 3rd December or Thursday 5th December 2024.
  • The break must occur at the same point for ALL candidates - after the Verbal Reasoning section. Candidates must resume the exam after a specified break duration of 30 minutes.
  • Only Consortium schools are allowed to run afternoon sittings. We allow this to increase capacity for candidates to take the assessment at Consortium schools if required, and because our schools ensure there is no possibility of afternoon candidates finding out the questions from morning candidates.

Is the exam the same on each of your three exam days?

The adaptive sections change for each candidate as they work their way through the relevant section of the examination. This means that every candidate answers different questions on the adaptive parts of the assessment. The adaptive parts of the assessment are therefore intrinsically secure. As a reminder these are: the Maths section, the Non Verbal and Verbal Reasoning section, as well as the questions (but not the passage) on the English comprehension.

The non-adaptive sections change for each of the three sittings of the exam: the comprehension passage, the problem-solving and the analysis sections. This ensures that candidates do not gain any advantage by sitting the test on a later test date. Results are standardised across the three sittings to ensure parity between candidates taking the assessment on different days. However, the pitch has been carefully checked for all three sittings.

My daughter’s school does not offer the facility to take the exam. What should I do?

We recognise that not all schools have the capacity or time to offer this facility. If your daughter’s school does not offer this facility, the Consortium schools you apply to will ask you to indicate a 1st and 2nd choice Consortium exam centre when you apply. The 1st and 2nd choice must be a Consortium school to which you have applied.

The location at which a candidate sits the exam has no bearing on the outcome of the application. Candidates should not be at any advantage whether sitting at a Consortium school or in their own school. If sitting at a Consortium school, we do not mind which schools a family selects as their 1st and 2nd preference exam centre, as long as they have made an application to both these schools.

My daughter’s school offers the facility to take the exam there but I would rather she sat at a Consortium school. Is this possible?

No. If your daughter’s school offers the facility for her to take the exam there, for important logistical reasons we ask that you take up this facility. The ability to run an effective online assessment is dependent on the number of available devices in each school, including in Consortium schools. We need to keep our exam sittings free for those who can only take the exam in a Consortium school.

My daughter is an overseas applicant. Where will she take the exam?

Your daughter is welcome to travel to sit the test in one of our schools and please indicate to us if she can do this. If you would prefer your daughter to sit the exam overseas, please contact the Admissions team at one of your Consortium schools to find out how to proceed.

What if my daughter is ill on the day of the exam?

If your daughter is unwell on the day of her exam, please alert the Consortium schools to which she has applied as a matter of urgency. A medical certificate will need to be provided to all the Consortium schools to which she has applied. We will aim to organise for her to sit the exam on one of the other exam dates. If this is not possible (for example because her test date was the last of the three possible dates), we have contingency plans in place and you should liaise with the Consortium schools to which she has applied to make arrangements.

What if my daughter is late on the day of her exam?

You should ensure you leave plenty of time for travel as we cannot guarantee being able to give your daughter the full assessment time she needs if she arrives late. However, we do understand that sometimes even the best-laid travel plans can go wrong and we aim to show kindness and flexibility wherever possible.

Will the results affect whether my daughter is invited to interview at the schools to which she has applied?

Some Consortium schools select for interview, and some do not. You need to check the details on the individual schools’ websites. If the school selects for interview, how they make their decision and how many candidates they invite to interview are matters at their discretion.

How much preparation does my daughter have to do for the Consortium entrance examination?

We recommend that all candidates look at the familiarisation materials available on the Consortium website. Beyond that, the exam tests knowledge of the Year 5 Maths National Curriculum, and candidates will need to know how to read an extended passage of fiction and answer questions on it. These are all skills that your daughter will be developing in school anyway, so your daughter does not need special tuition or intensive practice for this assessment.

We actively discourage preparation for the interview. Our interviewers can easily identify the candidate who has been coached for this part of the process. They are also experienced in putting nervous candidates at their ease. We are looking for evidence of creative and independent thinking, and suitability for our schools.

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