13+ scholarship prep

“The tutor had a clear road map for my son and, within a short period of time, was able to help him achieve brilliant results due to very targeted and precise preparations. My son was introduced to various titles he would have never considered and debated politics, economics and philosophy with the tutor, widening his outlook and thinking for which I am extremely grateful.”

~13+ NW1 London mother

Is your child 13+ scholarship material?


“What is courage?  You have 90 minutes to answer.”

If this sort of essay comes easily to your thirteen-year-old child, you are the parents of scholarship material!  On this page we answer some common questions about the 13+ scholarship exam process.


What is a 13+ scholarship?

The important thing to note is that different schools treat scholarships differently.

Some boarding schools have scholarship houses, where these young polymaths live and eat separately from the unwashed masses.  The scholars are given substantial fee reductions (regardless of parental income), they dress differently, they have different privileges, they have special support networks and they are even addressed differently!

At other schools the scholarship is an honorific, perhaps attracting a token fee reduction of £50 a term with no differences in classes or lifestyle.

So before deciding on the scholarship track for your child, first consider whether you are happy with their approach to their scholars.


Who should apply for a 13+ scholarship?

The short answer is: only children who are both hard working and academic.  Of course, if you are the parent of a Stephen Hawking (who got sick on the day of his Westminster Scholarship exam and so did not attend that school) perhaps your child might keep to the same pace as his or her peers outside the scholarship.  But the scholarship is an eight month time of shared dedication by the best teachers a school has and its most gifted pupils.  The vast majority of parents in any case rely on the school to guide them, but you should make sure your child is right for this entry path to senior school.  If you feel they are going to struggle, even if the school recommends this track, do not go down this arduous though rewarding path.  You know your child best.


How does my child prepare for the scholarship track?

How do you get to a room at College in Eton?  Practice, practice, practice.  But it is not the usual practice.  Of course different schools have different scholarship entry exams, many in the public domain.  There is an old complaint: teachers have to teach to a test.  A valid complaint, perhaps, but not if the test is a good test. And some of the top scholarship exams are excellent tests.  They ask copious, wide-open questions requiring logic, reasoning, knowledge and flair (like the one above).  These questions are not easy and so excelling in them requires wide preparation.  Readings usually required during first year university courses are not uncommon.


What if he or she does all of that work and doesn’t get it?  Isn’t that just wasted?

Grasshopper, you couldn’t be more wrong.  If you decide your child can handle the work, the child will be rewarded.  Instead of doing (in some schools) mindless ISEB Level 2 papers for the better part of a year, they will open their minds to concepts and thinkers most competent adults have never encountered.  In sum, the destination achieved, in a properly orchestrated scholarship preparation, is not material.

It is the journey that matters.