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OK, who's got a copy of a Common Entrance paper?

(73 Posts)
curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 18:20:00

Then we can all try it on our 13 year olds and see how they get on. Then we can send the results to Michael Gove, and increase the amount of research he's done by 100%...

scaevola Mon 03-Feb-14 18:24:28

Syllabus and specimen papers here

cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 03-Feb-14 19:21:59

CE is basically KS3, except for languages. The ISEB website clearly stated that the syllabus of most subjects is modelled on KS3.

trinity0097 Mon 03-Feb-14 20:02:56

Some subjects are very similar to what is done in state schools, e.g. maths, Science, others are much more rigorous, especially History.

Klingyston Mon 03-Feb-14 20:10:21

Looks very easy for 13

SuburbanRhonda Mon 03-Feb-14 20:20:05

Surprised Gove wants anything to do with an exam labelled "common" ..... smile

ballylee Mon 03-Feb-14 20:37:09

You should note though that the most academic privates (where one is not applying for scholarships by doing much harder scholarship papers) require the highest level CE papers in subjects like maths, latin and French and a minimum of 70%, or indeed many (eg Winchester) set their own entrance exams which are much harder than CE.

curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 20:39:18

Why should I note that, ballylee? It's not remotely relevant to the Gove proposal!

happygardening Mon 03-Feb-14 21:24:08

ballylee the level of CE varies from school to school as does the required pass mark. A super selective school like SPS will require at least 70% at level 3 on all papers whereas as a less selective school may only want 50% and will accept level 1 on some subjects e.g. Latin, others ask for an average of say 60%. The pass mark required by each school used to be a secret but now many state it on their websites.
Win Coll does indeed set their own entrance exam loosely based on the CE curriculum, no pass mark is stated on their website but those who dont do well enough will loose their provisional place.

curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 22:12:08

And as I said none of this relevant to Gove's proposals. Good to give people the opportunity to share their knowledge, though grin

almapudden Mon 03-Feb-14 22:23:23

The science curriculum is based on the whole of KS3 including Y9 topics.

The Latin, French and History are really tough.

Shallishanti Mon 03-Feb-14 22:27:22

God forbid a school year might pass in which the poor sods don't have to sit an exam...

happygardening Mon 03-Feb-14 22:30:23

I can't see why or what the point is of getting state school pupils to sit a similar exam to CE at the end of yr 8. Most children in prep schools spend the whole of yr 8 and often much of yr 7 being "prepared" for CE. I personally feel too much time is devoted to it. It can be a source of anxiety for the less able and many parents despite already paying fees spend £££ on tutoring but under the current system it is required by most senior independent schools so it has to be done. But why inflict it on children unnecessarily, aren't children tested enough already?

cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 03-Feb-14 22:42:08

I was trying to make the point that by sitting KS3 state school children are already sitting a similar to CE type exam. Maybe someone should tell Gove because I don't think he knows.
Although if we're going to start telling him things he doesn't know..........

curlew Mon 03-Feb-14 22:53:44

Ks3 SATs don't happen any more. Haven't
For ages,

cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 03-Feb-14 23:06:19

Not officially, but they all have regular assessments during KS3 and they know which SAT level they are at. The information is there even if its not collated. Why would you sit CE as well?

Hulahaha Tue 04-Feb-14 06:03:59

The CE is really tough - I agree with HG . My DS has to swot for level3 papers which cover a high percentage ofiGCSE work at age 12 . He needs to get 70% in every subject . This means instead of being a child he needs to work quite hard . I would say however that the CE syllabus is very traditional and I don't mind him learning it - I suppose that what Gove wants . However DC have so many tests from GCSE onwards , I feel they should be enjoying learning at this age rather than sitting another test .

craggyhollow Tue 04-Feb-14 06:42:22

CE is much much tougher than ks3 assessments. Most prep schools spend years 7 and 8 preparing for it.

AuntieStella Tue 04-Feb-14 06:54:33

How tough CE is depends on which papers are sat, and which school is marking.

Like a sample of Britisn children sit additional tests for PISA, maybe a sample of children should sit tests to compare sectors? At 11 (SATS based) and 13 (CE based) or mix of exam style at both/either.

Then we'd see if there was any significant difference between the sectors, and hypotheses for causes could be tested.

craggyhollow Tue 04-Feb-14 07:08:09

I've done sats at 11 (my dcs have)

And ce

And I am telling you that CE is much much tougher

BUT I think a red herring which is why I now use a private school which has entry at 11+ to avoid CE

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 04-Feb-14 08:48:21

DS was at prep and sat CE last year, all level 3 papers for very good boys London Indy. DD is at straight through school which sits SAT tests regularly so you can see her progress.

I think the SAT route is better because it is a clearly measurable stepping stone on the way to GCSE. It is also easily comparable to other schools/national levels etc so you have a clear picture of where they are. EG being a 5a for maths is a much clearer than being told she got 86% in an internal maths exam.

Part of the mystique surrounding CE is that schools will ask for e.g. an average of 60%, but rarely state which level papers they require (very selective apart). There is no national standard for marking and schools set their own grade boundaries, so someone can get 60% on level 1 maths at one school and be marked as an A, whereas a child at another school could score 78% on a level 3 paper and only get graded a B. How on earth can this become an exam sat at every school in the country?

I think the mystique of CE suits some senior schools as saying that they require 65% plus at CE this sounds a lot more impressive than asking for SAT level 6, but will probably take a high 5.

ISEB are looking to make changes to CE and one of the suggestions is to make it more like SAT tests. So Gove is actually going in the completely wrong direction.

curlew Tue 04-Feb-14 08:51:32

For some reason I can't open the papers kindly linked to further down. I'll have another go, then get my nearly 13 year old to do one tonight and report back!

wordfactory Tue 04-Feb-14 08:54:35

Curlew I came on this thread to say I'd probably got some old CE exam papers you could have a look at grin...

TBH, I don't know what Gove is on about...many independent schools are trying to phase out the bloody CE.

Many now set their own tests at 12 (which tend to be very challenging). You might still be asked to sit the CE too (but not always), but it all feels a bit half arsed.

Hulahaha Tue 04-Feb-14 09:01:41

In many London schools , Boys have to sit 11+ pre-test as well which is the really crucial one . It's such a lot of pressure . My DD sat 11+ and has had a lovely few years , she is coping very well with GCSE study I think because she's not had this constant testing .

singersgirl Tue 04-Feb-14 10:36:14

I don't think Common Entrance is particularly impressive - I think several of the papers are old-fashioned and fact-heavy, and generally this way of testing encourages the infamous 'teaching to the test' and heaps unnecessary revision upon 12 and 13 year olds. Why can't children just wait until they do their GCSEs to have a miserable Easter holiday revising?

There are different levels of CE too and the higher tiers are very close to GCSE in subjects such as French and Latin. And, as others have said, there is reform going on in the ISEB and amongst schools who use/used to use CE papers.

I don't think there's much point using the History and Geography papers on children who haven't been taught the syllabus as they almost certainly cover different topics. Not harder, just different. Don't know about the English and maths.

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