School entrance exam preparation.
Leading the way to the country’s finest schools
School entrance exam preparation

At Figtree we take a holistic approach to school entrance, supporting families with their initial search through all the phases of preparation to secure that coveted spot. Whether your child is taking their first steps into prep school or making the leap into secondary education, our targeted entrance exam tuition is a core part of our offering. Our specialist tutors are experienced across all the key entry points, from 4+ to 16+, and we have a 100% success rate supporting our students into one of their top choices.

Over the years, we’ve found that combining one-to-one tuition with peer-based learning in a group setting can be a really effective way to prepare for school entrance, particularly in the later years. We run a number of targeted preparation courses, offering concentrated support over the summer – discover more here.

First steps: preparing for the 4+

Prep school assessments tend to focus on play-based activities and group sessions. Schools are looking for curious, positive children that can follow instructions and get along well with others. Our 4+ preparation follows a similar approach, with a light touch and plenty of opportunities to play. We aim to familiarise young children with the process and build their confidence across the Early Years curriculum, including reading, writing, numeracy and motor skills.

Stepping up to the 7+ and 8+

As school entrance exams become more formal, with the 7+ and 8+ usually testing across English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning, our approach is carefully planned and expertly paced.

An initial academic assessment gives us a valuable snapshot of a student’s current position, so we can make ambitious, yet honest, recommendations about the schools within reach – as well as devise a detailed tuition programme to get there.

Interviews are becoming an important part of the process too, which we know can be daunting at any age. So we dedicate significant time to exploring possible questions, practicing interview techniques and conducting mock interviews so our students feel comfortable thinking on their feet.

The 11+, a gateway to secondary education

We take a transparent, highly tailored approach to 11+ preparation. Which means no two journeys are the same. After meeting a new family, we develop a bespoke profile that considers the student’s unique personality and learning style. And while we are always open and clear about what it will take to be successful, compassion remains at the heart of everything we do – because we know that students learn best when they’re happy, engaged and enjoying their work.

Following an academic assessment, tuition is precisely targeted to build confidence, develop depth and plug any gaps. Students are paired with a tutor who has a proven track record preparing candidates for key target schools, and dedicated interview preparation remains a core part of the process.

Getting ready for the 13+

Those joining a new school a little later will need to sit the 13+, which varies from school to school. But most students can expect to sit English, maths and science, as well as verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers. We’ll help guide you through all the different requirements for your target schools, devising a smart, consolidated approach that will ensure efforts remain focused – and your child doesn’t become overwhelmed.

Alongside our programme of tuition, we can help manage your child’s schedule and plan revision time so that it doesn’t disrupt ongoing learning. We can also arrange mock exams – under timed, invigilated conditions – as well as practice interviews, so your child feels confident to face every stage of the challenging 13+ process.

One final leap: the 16+

Most schools set their own criteria for the 16+, but students can expect to sit papers in all the AS-levels they’re planning to take. With limited places, the bar is high and candidates will need to demonstrate clear potential to achieve top A-level grades. So along with helping students to navigate different school requirements, our tuition focuses on developing deep subject expertise – identifying and addressing any weaknesses, and building on core strengths.

Bespoke. Compassionate. Rigorous.

At each stage, we don’t just aim for acceptance. We want to equip every child with the skills and confidence to thrive. And where appropriate, we have a dedicated scholarship preparation programme to help high-flying students really take off.

With entrance requirements continually evolving, our in-house training programme means we’re able to keep our tutors one step ahead – working closely with school leadership teams and entrance exam experts to ensure we’re always offering up-to-date support.


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