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.  

The Entrance Exam is made up of three 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 each CAT test with a 15 minute break in-between each test. The tests are administered in paper format.

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)

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. CAT's are not testing childrens' knowledge and understanding as a maths or English exam might so they can not 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.

The Entrance Exams will take place at Swindon Academy’s Beech Avenue site (address below*) on Saturday 25th April 2020 from 9.45 - 12.55.  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


Please remember, legally your child is not allowed to sit the exam unless you have accepted a place at Swindon Academy, which you are only able to do once you have been offered Swindon Academy as your child's secondary school. Final details of the exam will be sent to you once this stage of the admissions process has happened.


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

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