Canford School « 13+ Exam, Year 9 Entry » Key Details

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Occupying a beautiful 250-acre campus near Wimborne Minster in Dorset, Canford School is a successful independent school that caters for a mixed cohort. It boasts a long tradition of academic excellence, aligning its provision with the motto Nisi Dominus Frustra, which conveys the idea that, without divine guidance or blessing, human efforts are futile. [1]


Canford’s students thrive thanks to a richly diverse curriculum, demonstrating enthusiastic engagement and excellence in a wide array of disciplines, including languages, technology, humanities and natural sciences. This academic prowess is evidenced by recent GCSE results, where an impressive 72.8% of grades were within the superior 9-7 range.


The extensive array of enrichment opportunities at Canford significantly enhances the quality of school life. Students have the chance to engage in a diverse range of activities, from kayaking,  engineering and climbing to debating, the Combined Cadet Force and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Through these experiences, Canford not only fosters a positive educational environment but also encourages students to develop their skills and discover latent talents, aligning the cohort’s achievements and personal growth with its culture of high expectations. [2]


Recently, over 80% of leavers secured places at prestigious universities within the Russell Group to study a wide variety of courses. Furthermore, in the past five years, 44 of Canford’s students have gained admission to Oxbridge and 47 earned places at medical schools. These achievements highlight Canford’s role in nurturing and developing future leaders and professionals across various fields.


School trivia: Canford boasts a comprehensive Sleep Programme as part of its efforts to holistically approach pupils’ development. Focusing on the importance of sleep for adolescent well-being, this initiative educates students about the science behind sleep, covers the causes of sleep disturbances and provides practical strategies to help improve their welfare in this regard.


Canford School 13 Plus (13+) Entry Admissions Process


To help families familiarise themselves with Canford’s broad offerings, the school hosts Open Mornings, consisting of guided tours of the facilities and meetings with the Head and members of the senior teaching staff. The events take place in spring and autumn and can be booked through this page. If your child is in Year 5 or above, you have already attended an Open Morning and would like to further explore Canford School, you can always book a private visit


There are two routes in Canford’s 13+ admissions process because your child can go through the admissions process in Year 6 or Year 7. If your child wishes to sit the ISEB Pre-test in Year 6, which the school recommends, you should register them with the school by the end of July of Year 5 by completing an online form and paying the £250 non-refundable fee. Registered candidates will be invited to attend the Explore Day event in September of Year 6, spending a fun day on campus without being assessed. 


For the Year 6 route, the ISEB Pre-test must be sat by the end of November of Year 6 so that selected applicants can attend a pre-assessment day in the Spring term of the same academic year, better known as Headmaster’s List Test Day. 


For the Year 7 route, the school follows the same process but with all the admissions activities taking place a year later.


If your child receives an offer of a place and has a particular talent, they may wish to apply for a scholarship by the December deadline in Year 8. Scholarships are available in the following areas:


– Academic ability

– Drama

– Sports

– Music 

– Art

– DT


Academic scholarships are awarded on the basis of further assessments. Art, DT and drama scholarship applicants will be asked to complete specific tasks prior to the scholarship assessment day, for which details will be communicated shortly after the closing date for applications. 


In order to be considered for an award, Music scholarship applicants should perform at Grade 5 standard on their main instrument, while Sports scholarship applicants must be proficient in at least two sports, typically chosen from rugby, netball, hockey and cricket.


All scholarship candidates must be in Year 8 at the time of the assessment process. Your child can apply for more than one scholarship, each usually valued at 5-15% of tuition fees. Please note that a scholarship or a combination of scholarships will not exceed 50% of the fees. In some cases, scholarships can be coupled with a means-tested bursary and cover 100% of total fees.


Means-tested bursaries are a form of financial assistance awarded to low-income families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the school fees. The deadline for applications is in December of the year preceding entry. Please note that these awards are reviewed annually and can increase or decrease in value subject to changes in your financial circumstances.


Canford School 13 Plus (13+) ISEB Pre-test Information


Address: Wimborne, BH21 3AD

County: Dorset

Admissions info: [email protected] or 01202 847207

School type: Independent co-ed day and boarding school 

Open events: Autumn and Spring terms

Pre-test exam date: Autumn term of Year 6 / Year7


To join in Year 9, your child will be asked to complete an online assessment called the ISEB Common Pre-test, which assesses skills in Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. The test provides a universal and standardised measure of attainment, ability and potential. 


Canford School 13 Plus (13+) ISEB Pre-test Exam Format 


The ISEB Pre-test assessment comprises the following areas:


⦿ English – evaluates reading comprehension and grammar (using cloze sentences, shuffled sentences and SPaG question types)

⦿ Mathematics – measures mathematical ability relative to the national curriculum stage

⦿ Verbal Reasoning – tests thinking and problem solving with words

⦿ Non-Verbal Reasoning – assesses thinking with shapes, space, diagrams and pictures


In total, the four parts of the ISEB Common Pre-test take 2 hours and 15 minutes to administer and complete. There is no audio component to any of the tests.


FAQs About the Canford School 13 Plus (13+) ISEB Pre-test


Do I need to register my child for the Canford School 13+ ISEB Pre-test?


Yes, registrations for the pre-test are completed through the official ISEB website


Where can my child sit the Canford School 13+ ISEB Pre-test?


If your child attends a Prep School, the 13+ ISEB Pre-test can be sat there. If your child attends a state-funded school, they will sit the test at Canford School.


Will older pupils have an advantage in the Canford School 13+ ISEB Pre-test?


No, the ISEB Pre-test is age-standardised so students are not disadvantaged by their age when they sit the test.


How many times can my child take the Canford School 13+ ISEB Pre-test?


The Canford School ISEB 13+ Pre-test can only be sat once, while in Year 6 or while in Year 7.


Canford School 13 Plus (13+) ISEB Pretest Practice Materials


At Pretest Plus, we believe that a little preparation can go a long way to improving a student’s confidence and performance in entrance examinations.


We provide online practice tests, video courses and skill-specific tests which focus on helping students familiarise themselves with the exact types of questions that they will be asked in their ISEB Pre-test assessment. Read on to learn more!


Canford School 13+ ISEB Pretest Mock Tests


These full mock tests are designed to provide your child with highly accurate practice ahead of their ISEB Pre-test assessment. Each practice test covers English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, replicating the modules, timings and question types used in the actual exam.


Each test contains unique content, but they are all pitched at the same difficulty level as the actual assessment. This means you can easily benchmark your child’s progress as they work through the practice tests, quickly identifying their strengths and weaknesses.


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Canford School 13+ ISEB Pretest Video Courses


We’ve also produced online video courses that cover everything your child needs to know for each section of the ISEB Pre-test assessment. These courses consist of a series of lessons that detail each question type, providing step-by-step explanations and techniques to help your child recognise the underlying patterns to look out for. The courses cover every possible question type that could come up in the ISEB Pre-test.


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Canford School 13+ ISEB Pretest Skill Practice Tests


Our Skill Practice products consist of focused tests that allow your child to target specific question formats that appear in the ISEB Pre-test. They are an efficient way to improve skills and boost scores quickly. All tests are marked automatically and feedback, solutions and statistical rankings are provided upon completion.


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Canford School 13+ ISEB Pre-test Preparation Tips


Preparing effectively for the Canford School 13+ ISEB Pre-test can significantly enhance a student’s confidence and exam performance. Here are some Pretest Plus Preparation Tips for the Canford School ISEB Pre-test:


1. Improve time management skills:

Using our practice tests will help your child get better at answering questions quickly and accurately, preparing them for the time-pressured sections of the actual ISEB Pre-test.


2. Become familiar with the online test interface:

It’s important for your child to learn how to use the online testing system, including effortlessly navigating between written workings and the computer interface.


3. Understand the nature of the ISEB Pre-test:

Our practice tests will help your child understand the different sections of the ISEB Pre-test and get a sense of their difficulty levels, which is important for doing well in the actual exam.


4. Learn from mistakes:

If your child reviews the mistakes they make in our practice tests, they can avoid repeating them in the actual exam. Understanding errors is a key part of the exam preparation.


The information in this post was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of possible future changes. We advise you to contact the school directly if you are unsure of anything. School contact details are provided within the post.


Please note that Pretest Plus is an independent publisher of practice tests and not affiliated with or endorsed by the publishers of the ISEB Common Pre-test or any other pre-test publisher.

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