ISEB Common Pre-Test

What is it?

● The Common Pre-Tests by ISEB (Independent Schools Examinations Board) is an age-standardised measure of children’s ability, attainment and potential
● For children in Year 6 or Year 7, prior to entry to senior schools
● Candidates are registered by the senior school for which they have applied to (not by own registration)
● A further assessment in Year 8 may be required after being offered a place in senior school (Common Entrance Exam or Scholarship exams)
● Common Pre-test by ISEB is not the only pre-test available, but is one of the most popular


● Online and adaptive assessment with multiple-choice questions

● Usually taken at candidate’s own school/ the senior school for which he or she is entered/ at an independent testing centre

● Taken between 1 October and 13 June each year

Test Format
Comprised of four elements (around 2.5 hours)​

Verbal Reasoning
(36 minutes)

Common words, antonyms, word combinations, letter transfer, number codes

Non-Verbal Reasoning (32 minutes)

Shape analogies, classes, horizontal codes

(25 minutes)

Reading comprehension, sentence completion, spelling and punctuation

(50 minutes)

Assessed on National Curriculum topics taught up to the end of Year 5 in the UK

● The four elements can be taken together or at separate times
● Use of pencil and paper not permitted except for the Maths part
● For each question candidates must select an answer from multiple choices and press ‘next’ to submit
● Candidates cannot go back to previous questions once he/ she has submitted their response by pressing the ‘next’ button.


● Available to all senior schools for which the candidate has registered (thus no need for repeated testing)
● Only one test is taken per academic year
● If multiple tests are taken in the same year, only the first test result will stand
● If pre-test is passed, schools may offer a place to the candidate on the condition that they pass the Common Entrance at 13+ / at the end of Year 8
● Some schools may invite students with high performance in pre-test to enter their next stage of application
● Competitive senior schools may use the result to de-select candidates

Ampla’s Preparation Courses

Following our initial assessment, students will receive a customised plan based on the following curriculum which is designed to imitate UK school assessments.

● Familiarise children with the different question types

● Cover test-taking strategies including time management,  making informed guesses  and how to handle stress 

● Familiarise children with the computer interface and answer questions under timed conditions

Verbal Reasoning

  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Word combinations
  • Letter transfer
  • Number codes
  • Vocabulary booster
  • Regular quizzes

Non-Verbal Reasoning

  • Shape analogies
  • Pattern sequences
  • Similar classes
  • Horizontal codes


  • Reading comprehension
  • Sentence completion
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation


  • Key terms
  • Important concepts
  • Required formulae
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