The Admission Challenge


When applying for scholarships or even simply a place at the best schools in the United Kingdom, students are frequently faced with the problem of academic selection. While all schools have their own admissions process, there is often one ‘common’ factor: the Common Entrance Examinations, one set of papers that many schools use to determine which students they accept, and which they reject.


Sat by students at both 11+ and 13+, the CE exams have three compulsory parts: mathematics, English, and science. Students are also obliged to choose among papers on a range of other subjects, including history, geography, modern languages, and the Classics.

Often held over four days in November, the CE can appear to be a daunting prospect, since students of such an age have rarely faced such intensive examination over so many subjects.

Many preparatory schools, of course, are able to prepare their pupils thoroughly, but at Grove Tutors we believe that all pupils should be given the opportunity to ace these exams, and to secure a place at the school of their dreams.

Armed with past papers, syllabuses, and a genuine desire to help our students, our tutors are dedicated to helping young people through the labyrinth of entrance examinations.

Entrance exams also play a significant role in university admissions. As grade inflation makes it harder and harder for universities to distinguish between candidates, such exams have taken on increasing importance. Some of these exams are common to applications for certain courses across the country.

For instance, the LNAT, the National Admissions Test for Law, is mandatory for applicants to nine of the leading law courses in the United Kingdom. The BMAT, the Biomedical Admissions Test, is a two-hour, pen-and-paper examination set by eight of the UK’s leading medical schools as part of their admissions process. Candidates for mathematical and – in some cases – engineering and computer science courses at six universities are meanwhile required (or at least strongly encouraged) to take the STEP paper, the Sixth Term Examination Papers.

There is also a raft of university-specific admissions exams. Historians applying to Oxford, for example, have to sit take the History Aptitude Test (the HAT), while aspiring linguists must take either the Modern or the Oriental Languages Admissions Tests (the MLAT and OLAT). The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) is another common admissions test, especially for students in the humanities and social sciences.

Yet the growing importance of admissions exams is perhaps best demonstrated by the recent news that, for the first time in a generation, all applicants to the University of Cambridge will be required to sit an entrance exam to compensate for the scrapping of AS-levels next year.

The process of applying to schools and universities is already a difficult task, and the necessity of entrance exams could be seen as just another obstacle. At Grove Tutors, however, we believe that such exams are in fact a way for our students to prove they belong

That’s why our experienced tutors – many of whom have gone through the same admissions processes – offer bespoke entrance exam preparation to help our students achieve their goals.

For more information on how Grove Tutors can help students of all ages with entrance exams, please get in touch via the ‘Contact Us’ page.