It is becoming increasingly common for senior schools to use the ISEB Common Pre-Tests as part of their 13+ selection procedure. The Pre-Tests are sat from the Michaelmas Term of Year 6, meaning that pupils need to be registered early – for some schools the registration deadline is the end of June in Year 5.

You can download here a list of senior schools that use the ISEB Common Pre-Tests. The list gives the registration deadlines for the schools as well as details of when the Pre-Tests are sat. It is not an exhaustive list, but it includes all local schools using the Pre-Tests as well as a number of additional schools from across the UK.

The Common Pre-Tests are online, adaptive assessments that include Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning, English and Maths. The questions are all multiple choice and take about two and half-hours to complete. The Pre-Tests are generally sat at Vinehall rather than at the senior school to which the pupils have applied. The following information about the Pre-Tests is taken from the ISEB website (

The key features of the tests are:

  • they cover verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, English and mathematics
  • they are online and adaptive
  • they are in a multiple-choice format
  • they take about two-and-a-half hours to complete (English 25 minutes, mathematics 50 minutes, non-verbal reasoning 32 minutes, verbal reasoning 36 minutes)
  • the four tests can be taken together or at separate times, either in the candidate’s own school or at the senior school for which he or she is entered
  • candidates are registered by the senior school (or schools) for which he or she is entered
  • results are available to all senior schools which register candidates, so a child need only sit the test once for a range of senior schools

The Pre-Tests are produced by GL Assessment and are similar to the CAT tests and Progress Tests in English and Maths (also produced by GL Assessment) that pupils at Vinehall sit every year. Consequently, Vinehall pupils will be familiar with the format of the assessments and so are unlikely to be fazed by the Pre-Tests.

Practice assessments for the Pre-Test are not available, but at Vinehall, we use a website called Planet BOFA ( to help pupils to prepare for the Pre-Tests. Planet BOFA tests, teaches, retests and tracks pupils’ progress across the same areas as the Pre-Tests (Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and Maths). To complete Planet BOFA takes around 50 hours, so pupils need to begin using the website six to twelve months prior to sitting the Pre-Tests. There is a BOFA activity, which runs on Saturday mornings, and pupils currently in Year 5 who will be sitting the Pre-Tests in the Michaelmas Term of Year 6 are advised to sign up to the club after for the Summer Term. The children can though access Planet BOFA from home using their Vinehall email address and password.