The Entrance Exam

To gain a place in the Grammar Stream, pupils must pass an Entrance Exam.  The Entrance Exam, set in conjunction with Marlborough College, enables us to accurately determine your son/daughter’s academic potential.  

Pupils sit the Entrance Exam on a Saturday morning to ensure they do not take time out from their education.  Pupils sit three tests, with breaks in-between, to demonstrate three key predictors of their ability. 

The Entrance Exam is made up of Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) to examine general intelligence. The tests are designed to assess a pupil’s ability in three key areas.  On the day of the Entrance Exam, pupils will take three CAT tests, with a 15 minute break in-between each test. The tests are taken online at a PC in one of our IT suites. The tests are as follows:

  • Verbal Reasoning Test: thinking with words (45 minutes)
  • Quantitative Reasoning Test: thinking with numbers (45 minutes)
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning Test: thinking with shapes and space. (45 minutes)

The Entrance Exams will take place at Swindon Academy’s Beech Avenue site (address below*) on Saturday 21st April 2018 from 9.45 - 12.45.  Children will need to be registered at 09:45am and will be ready for collection at 12.45pm.  The morning will be organised as follows:

  • 09.45 – 09.55     Registration
  • 10:00 – 10:45     Verbal Reasoning Test
  • 10:45 – 11:00     Break and refreshments
  • 11:00 – 11:45     Quantitative Reasoning Test
  • 11:45 – 12:00     Break and refreshments
  • 12:00 – 12:45     Non-Verbal Reasoning Test

We understand that parents will be keen to help their child to prepare for the tests.  The tests are designed to be taken without any revision or preparation so they can assess a child’s potential in his or her ability to reason.  CATs are not testing children's knowledge and understanding as a maths or English exam might, so they can't ‘learn’ how to answer the questions.  The best advice we can give parents is that their child should read good quality fiction and non-fiction books regularly, and that they should work hard to master their times tables and mental arithmetic skills. 

Please remember, legally your child is not allowed to sit the exam unless you have accepted a place at Swindon Academy.  If you have already confirmed Swindon Academy as your first preference, registered for the exam and completed the early application form, then you need do no more. Final details of the exam will be sent to you.

If Swindon Academy is not currently your first preference, you have until Thursday 15th March 2018 to change your preference by contacting Swindon Borough Council’s admissions department.

If you have not yet registered your child to sit the entrance exam you can do so here

* Swindon Academy, Beech Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1JR


The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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