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Common Entrance - confused! I didn't know there were different levels!

(14 Posts)
946boys Mon 03-Mar-14 17:54:20

Call me stupid but I had assumed that Common Entrance papers were all the same and that different schools require a different pass mark. I have just discovered that there are different levels of papers. Is it just me or is this never made clear - certainly something our prep school never really talks about. So, here's the question.... when a school says it requires say 60% how do you know what level of paper this refers to. I assume getting 60% in a level 2 maths paper is easier than getting 60% in a level 3 paper.
Does anyone out there understand how this all works??

NeedHoliday Mon 03-Mar-14 18:07:24

As far as I can remember individual schools apply weighting factors to the harder papers so 60% on a level 3 would be multiplied by the relevant factor giving a higher percentage. Your prep school should be able to tell you the what the weighting factors the school you are applying to use.

The ISEB website has the syllabus for the different papers. Some schools specify which papers e.g. St Paul's and Westminster require level 3 maths.

946boys Mon 03-Mar-14 18:12:32

ah is that how it works. From what I have found from another parent the secondary school contact the prep school to discuss what level of paper the candidate (13 +) is capable of sitting and then that is what they sit. Am I right in thinking then that a school, lets use Rugby as an example, say they require 60% at CE this is based on a level 2 paper and if the candidate sat a level 3 maths paper and only got say 55% in this it would be weighted to an equivalent level 2 paper mark?

946boys Mon 03-Mar-14 18:14:19

thanks Chazs - yes I think some schools such as Westminster are specific about the level but there are lots of schools which are quite vague about it!

trinity0097 Mon 03-Mar-14 18:35:23

Normally they refer to the 'normal' level for the subject, unless they specify otherwise, so Level 2. Maths and Latin are the only subjects to have the harder level 3, which you have to take for RGS in Guildford for example, whilst Level 1 is really much easier than Level 2 and available for core subjects and all languages, modern and ancient.

LIZS Mon 03-Mar-14 18:41:43

Just to confuse you more there are also CAS (Common Academic Scholarship) exams which require a different approach to CE papers. Schools have to plan in advance what level to teach each group to, a decision unlikely to be made at this stage of year 8 for example.

946boys Mon 03-Mar-14 18:49:48

goodness - so when do they decide what level to teach a group to?
The problem is as far as I can work out that we get an offer from a school for a confirmed place conditional on getting say 65% at CE but (unlike the 11+ system where you can run a back up) I understand you can only sit CE for one school so you kind of HAVE to get the % being asked for.....

LIZS Mon 03-Mar-14 18:53:39

dc prep separated CAS, L3 Latin etc at end of year 7 but in reality the same children will have been in the top stream for a year or two already. About half of those in CAS stream were actually taking school specific academic scholarship exams, not CE or CAS, so had extra tutoring too.

946boys Mon 03-Mar-14 19:03:04

thanks LIZS - yes all the schools I have come across seem to sit their own scholarship papers. Not sure at this stage if DS will sit the scholarship or CE but I think he will be required to sit the higher level papers if he does do CE - hence my sudden panic about levels.

mulv2222 Mon 03-Mar-14 21:46:20

Radley ask for level 3 maths too.

946boys Tue 04-Mar-14 17:37:18

so (sorry to labour the point) but Mulv2222 and NeedHoliday......
when a school says specifically that they require level 3 maths and they also say they need say, 65%, do they mean they want 65% in the actual level 3 paper or do they mean they want the equivalent mark to 65% in a level 2 paper.
i.e. if there was a weighting factor of 1.2 that would mean that a student only has to score 54% in the level 3 paper to be an equivalent to 65% in a level 2 paper. hope this makes sense!!

Challengers Tue 04-Mar-14 19:00:52

I think the weighting factor is 1.1 . All the boys in top set at DS school ( ex scholars ) will sit level 3 and results will be adjusted accordingly .

dog1dog2 Tue 04-Mar-14 19:45:02

2/3 of boys at ds prep did l3 maths last year, whether the secondary school required it or not. 946 - follow your prep school's advice. If your chosen secondary requires it, your ds will (or should!) be prepped, if not but he is capable, he should do it, and if l2 is as far as he can go that's fine depending on secondary school. If you're still confused, ask your prep school maths teacher - he/she should know the answer (you'd hope!!)

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