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Sixth Form Entrance Exam for Top UK Private Schools (Westminster, KCS etc.)

Hi, I currently attend a grammar school but am considering applying for some private schools this year (2023) for Sixth Form. The schools I am thinking about include:

- Westminster School
- King's College School (Wimbledon)
- City of London School
- St Paul's Boys

My A-Level subject choices are Maths, F.Maths, Physics, and Economics (quite a popular combo I hear). Any advice on tackling the written exams and tips for revision would be much appreciated, as I am admittedly quite confused as to where I should start. Would be great to hear any past experiences as well.
(edited 10 months ago)

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Reply 1
I read somewhere that KCS only accepts 5 boys per year and you said 50, i don’t mean to be rude, could i just ask where you are getting this information please?
Original post by dire_rear
Have you considered engaging a consultant? Here's a link to one I know is good: https://www.ivyeducation.co.uk/consultancy/admissions/sixth-form

They are quite expensive though (2 to 8 thousand pounds) but they guarantee you a place and compared to school fees it's like half a term, so if you are really motivated go for it.

In regard to your schools, I would recommend narrowing it down to three, similar to UCAS, have a stretch, firm and fallback. Out of your schools listed, Westminster will have a lot of competition, but they have loads of places (roughly 40 for boys), so it could probably be a firm choice. St Paul's will also have a lot of competition but only has roughly 20 places, so would be more of a stretch. KCS is quite easy to get into, will have less competition and has roughly 50 places for boys, so could be a fallback, as could CLS although it only has 20 places, will have less competition than Westminster or St Paul's. So in order from hardest to easiest for admission: St Paul's, Westminster, CLS, KCS. Pick three of these and don't apply to the fourth, four applications and four sets of entrance exams take their toll, three is a good number.

On the schools, they are very different. Westminster is very academic, less sporty, very intellectually focused, full of smart and driven students. St Paul's is similarly academic, but has a much stronger sporting flavour, offering many more sporting opportunities but maybe slightly less academic. Further toward that end of the scale KCS is a very sporty school less academic than St Paul's and Westminster, and as for CLS I don't know much about it.

Consider engaging a tutor to teach exam technique and content specific to the entrance exams, look at the past papers. Work on your CV, it is crucial to applying, take part in every extracurricular activity or club your school offers, learn an instrument, play multiple sports to a high level, get straight A's, volunteer work, personal projects, competitions these are all things which help. Practice your interviews, think about how you will answer questions, consider paying for some mock interviews. Knock your GCSEs out of the park, study hard, commit, put in the work all that.

Specifically preparing for the entrance exams make sure you know all the content, and once you do just do past papers, mark them, and fix your mistakes. I am not sure whether you will sit 3 or 4 tests, I think there is only one maths paper, so that lightens your workload slightly. If you have any other queries just ask or if you want to chat I'd be happy to do a phone call.

I know many people who have gone down this route of sixth-form in the UK at a boarding school, although they all came from overseas, and although I assume you will be going to day school and currently live in London, it remains similar, and for the people I know who did this it really did change their life, and many have told me that boarding in England for 2 years was one of the best and most fun period of times in their whole lives, and it really is a springboard into Oxbridge or a similar university if that is your goal.
I got into Westminster, cls, and kcs last year for sixth form and chose westminster, doing the exact same subjects as you. Tbh the main thing is to be a really good problem solver. For me my previous background in maths olympiads like bmo helped a lot for the exams. Order of priority for you would be:

1) Getting really good a problem solving, e.g. through olympiads
2) High predicted grades (especially bcause st pauls do check ur grades before letting you take their exam)
3) Entrance exams
4) Interviews

imo entrance exams are generally viewed as more important than interviews for westminster and kcs. for kcs I did rlly bad in the interviews cause there was a mix up in my chosen subjects and so I had an interview in geography but I still got in due to the exams. Also in general it may sound cliche but be really interested in the subjects u are taking - for me I was mostly only interested in maths and I had experience trading stocks which helped for econ.

In terms of interviews for all those schools the "sketch the curve" questions are very popular.

PM me if you have any questions :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by AdityaSarma
Hi, I currently attend a grammar school but am considering applying for some private schools this year (2023) for Sixth Form. The schools I am thinking about include:

- Westminster School
- King's College School (Wimbledon)
- City of London School
- St Paul's Boys

My A-Level subject choices are Maths, F.Maths, Physics, and Economics (quite a popular combo I hear). Any advice on tackling the written exams and tips for revision would be much appreciated, as I am admittedly quite confused as to where I should start. Would be great to hear any past experiences as well.

Why move from a Grammar? Remember universities are trying to cut down how many Private school students they take.
Reply 4
Original post by AdityaSarma
Hi, I currently attend a grammar school but am considering applying for some private schools this year (2023) for Sixth Form. The schools I am thinking about include:

- Westminster School
- King's College School (Wimbledon)
- City of London School
- St Paul's Boys

My A-Level subject choices are Maths, F.Maths, Physics, and Economics (quite a popular combo I hear). Any advice on tackling the written exams and tips for revision would be much appreciated, as I am admittedly quite confused as to where I should start. Would be great to hear any past experiences as well.


Hi, I took the 16+ exams for King's in 2022, and I will be joining in Sept this year, and I don't think you need to stress too much about the exams. As long as you are preparing for your GCSE's well (I'm assuming you are not an international applicant), any skills you have developed will be applicable during the exam - I didn't prepare for the exams but relied solely on my GCSE knowledge. However, that was the only set of exams I took, so I can't say it will be the same for the other schools.
Reply 5
Original post by entrepreneur_13
I got into Westminster, cls, and kcs last year for sixth form and chose westminster, doing the exact same subjects as you. Tbh the main thing is to be a really good problem solver. For me my previous background in maths olympiads like bmo helped a lot for the exams. Order of priority for you would be:

1) Getting really good a problem solving, e.g. through olympiads
2) High predicted grades (especially bcause st pauls do check ur grades before letting you take their exam)
3) Entrance exams
4) Interviews

imo entrance exams are generally viewed as more important than interviews for westminster and kcs. for kcs I did rlly bad in the interviews cause there was a mix up in my chosen subjects and so I had an interview in geography but I still got in due to the exams. Also in general it may sound cliche but be really interested in the subjects u are taking - for me I was mostly only interested in maths and I had experience trading stocks which helped for econ.

In terms of interviews for all those schools the "sketch the curve" questions are very popular.

PM me if you have any questions :smile:

hey do u mind sharing some tips for admissions. i’m interested in sixth form entry, as fee paying international student from Singapore. i’m in an A lvl curriculum in my current sch in singapore and my intended subject combi wld be bio,chem, math and further math
Reply 6
Original post by entrepreneur_13
I got into Westminster, cls, and kcs last year for sixth form and chose westminster, doing the exact same subjects as you. Tbh the main thing is to be a really good problem solver. For me my previous background in maths olympiads like bmo helped a lot for the exams. Order of priority for you would be:

1) Getting really good a problem solving, e.g. through olympiads
2) High predicted grades (especially bcause st pauls do check ur grades before letting you take their exam)
3) Entrance exams
4) Interviews

imo entrance exams are generally viewed as more important than interviews for westminster and kcs. for kcs I did rlly bad in the interviews cause there was a mix up in my chosen subjects and so I had an interview in geography but I still got in due to the exams. Also in general it may sound cliche but be really interested in the subjects u are taking - for me I was mostly only interested in maths and I had experience trading stocks which helped for econ.

In terms of interviews for all those schools the "sketch the curve" questions are very popular.

PM me if you have any questions :smile:


Hi thanks so much for writing this info, what kind of questions did they ask you and what did you mean by ‘sketch the curve’? As a girl, would you say it’s easier to get into Westminster of KCS? They have their exams on the same day this year and I’m unsure what to choose! Also, would you say it’s beneficial to revise gcse content maths questions or problem solving questions eg UKMT? Thanks so much!
Reply 7
Hi i’m applying for KCS this year, and I was just wondering what the admissions process is like? What are the exams like and would it be beneficial to revise problem solving skills for maths instead of gcse content? and also what kind of questions did they ask you in the interviews? Thanks in advance!
yh kcs rescheduled to the day before in the afternoon last time (if you are fast enough you can do both st pauls and kcs on same day :smile:)
Original post by WisePotato
Hi, I took the 16+ exams for King's in 2022, and I will be joining in Sept this year, and I don't think you need to stress too much about the exams. As long as you are preparing for your GCSE's well (I'm assuming you are not an international applicant), any skills you have developed will be applicable during the exam - I didn't prepare for the exams but relied solely on my GCSE knowledge. However, that was the only set of exams I took, so I can't say it will be the same for the other schools.


What type of questions were in the English and maths exam
In English I think there was an essay (we had to choose from a selection of 4). In maths it was just algebra and a little geometry I think. I don't think you need to stress about it, as it definitely wasn't anything too hard (or anything too different to GCSE level).
Original post by Manahilfaisal
What type of questions were in the English and maths exam
Original post by WisePotato
In English I think there was an essay (we had to choose from a selection of 4). In maths it was just algebra and a little geometry I think. I don't think you need to stress about it, as it definitely wasn't anything too hard (or anything too different to GCSE level).


What about the general paper what type of questions were there and just to ask did you have all 9s for your predicted grades
Original post by Manahilfaisal
What about the general paper what type of questions were there and just to ask did you have all 9s for your predicted grades

I honestly don't even remember the general paper for some reason, but I don't think it was hard at all (else I would've remembered it).
I had been predicted all 9's.
Original post by WisePotato
I honestly don't even remember the general paper for some reason, but I don't think it was hard at all (else I would've remembered it).
I had been predicted all 9's.

I just had one last question, do kcs check your grades before u take the exam or do they let u take the exam
Original post by Manahilfaisal
I just had one last question, do kcs check your grades before u take the exam or do they let u take the exam


I think they would let you take the exam regardless of the grades but I'm not sure tbh
(edited 6 months ago)
does anyone know how many places they have for girls in kcs and if its a diverse school.
(edited 6 months ago)
Original post by WisePotato
Hi, I took the 16+ exams for King's in 2022, and I will be joining in Sept this year, and I don't think you need to stress too much about the exams. As long as you are preparing for your GCSE's well (I'm assuming you are not an international applicant), any skills you have developed will be applicable during the exam - I didn't prepare for the exams but relied solely on my GCSE knowledge. However, that was the only set of exams I took, so I can't say it will be the same for the other schools.


I was wondering how many spaces there are for girls and if it is a diverse school for kcs
(edited 6 months ago)
Original post by Manahilfaisal
I was wondering how many spaces there are for girls and if it is a diverse school for kcs

I'm not sure how many spaces for girls there are, but I think those numbers are available on the website if you dig deep enough (maybe around 50?). I've been to a few induction events, and King's seems diverse.

Edit: This link might be useful. https://issuu.com/kingscollegeschool/docs/admissions_at_16_
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 18
Original post by Manahilfaisal
I was wondering how many spaces there are for girls and if it is a diverse school for kcs


I have a friend who went to the open day - apparently in the talk they said it's typically 76 girls and 4 boys (iirc).
But these are the figures that actually end up going, not the people who get a space
Original post by snowypaul
I have a friend who went to the open day - apparently in the talk they said it's typically 76 girls and 4 boys (iirc).
But these are the figures that actually end up going, not the people who get a space

Not sure about the number of girls as I can't really tell, but there were about 10/11 new boys this year I believe.

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