Students applying to enter the sixth form of an independent school will need to take the school’s 16+ exams and attend an interview. Candidates typically sit these in the November of Year 11 in the subjects they intend to study for A-level. Exams are loosely based on the GCSE syllabus, but are frequently more challenging.
Many top schools have only limited places for sixth form applicants. Other good schools may be more flexible. The most academic schools are interested in developing the overall calibre of the year group. Schools are therefore looking for candidates who can demonstrate exceptional academic ability and potential. Candidates must excel in the 16+ exam and of course ensure they meet the school’s minimum GCSE requirements. This means performing well across a range of subjects, not just those they intend to study for A-level.
Selective grammar schools do not use exams for sixth form entry, but base offers on GCSE performance. Such schools are heavily oversubscribed and places are offered to applicants with the highest average GCSE score.