Whilst the usual route into prep schools is via the 7+ entrance in year three, there are some schools that admit candidates in year 4. This entrance procedure is the 8+ assessment. The papers are similar to those taken at 7+, with a slightly increased difficulty to compensate for the age difference. Some schools will accept children only at 7+, whilst others will opt to accept children at both 7+ and 8+. The 8+ is generally taken in January, with the prospective student joining the school in the following September.

What is being tested?
The 8+ follows much the same lines as the test material at 7+. 8+ is centred around reading, writing, comprehension, mathematics, as well as verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills. Candidates should expect to be tested on the Key Stage One curriculum, as well as the beginning of Key Stage Two.

Schools that offer 8+
• Dulwich Prep
• Harrodian
• Kings College Junior School
• St Paul’s Juniors (formerly Colet Court)
• Westminster Cathedral Choir School
• Westminster Under School
• Wetherby Preparatory School
• Latymer Prep

This list is not exhaustive and it’s also important to understand that many schools provide ‘occasional’ entrance at 8+ in certain circumstances. It should also be noted that entrance at 8+ is not any less competitive than entrance at 7+. Although many more students go for 7+, there are also significantly more places available.

What is being tested?



The English paper is usually divided into two components: a story and a comprehension. As ever, lots of practice at both reading and writing will make all the difference when it comes to taking the test. School are looking for wide vocabularies and refined writing styles.
For the creative writing, candidates will not only be tested on grammar, punctuation, sentence construction, spelling and vocabulary but also their level of description, how they present their ideas and whether their response relates logically to the question. This final point cannot be overemphasised. It’s incredibly important that a child’s response actually answers the question, rather than acting as a regurgitation of a memorised plan.
For comprehension, responses should be given in full sentences unless otherwise stated. It is slightly dependent on the child but we recommend that the questions (if possible) should be read before the passage. This means that they know what they’re looking for when they come to read the text.

Goals for English

Improving punctuation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, writing, reading skills, creativity.



The maths paper is based on the full year two syllabus and some assessments will ask questions even beyond this. Below is the summarised list of the year two programme of study.
For numbers and calculations, students should be comfortable with basic mental methods for single digit and double-digit addition and subtraction and be able to recall the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables, as well as their corresponding division facts. They should understand and be able to utilise their knowledge in various different problems, which may include multistep word problems.
For fractions, students need to be able to recognise basic fractions both visually and numerically, and also be able to find basic fractions of numbers.
For measurements, students need to choose and use appropriate units of measurements such as length, mass, temperature, capacity and British currency. They should be able to solve a variety of different real-life problems in these capacities. Candidates should be capable of telling the time to the nearest 5 minutes and draw hands on clocks, as well as reading time in digital format.
For geometry, students should be able to identify and describe properties of 2D shapes and some 3D shapes including number of sides/lines of symmetry/vertices/edges/faces. Using mathematical vocabulary to describe position and direction is equally important. This includes rotation with an understanding of clockwise and anti-clockwise and quarter and half turns.
For statistics, students should be able to interpret simple pictograms, tally charts, block diagrams and simple tables. There may be some construction but it would be unlikely that they would have to draw a whole table from scratch. There are also questions involved with interpretation of data from these graphs.

Goals for maths

Numbers and calculations, fractions, measurements, geometry and statistics.


Verbal Reasoning

This part of the test is almost entirely based around knowing what words mean, so it’s a good opportunity to reemphasise the importance of reading! Children with insufficient vocabularies will struggle on this paper.
The following exercises are likely to come up in one variation or another: code sequences, missing letters, synonyms, antonyms, related words, sum completion, word analogies, letter connections, hidden words, code pairs, problem solving, letters for numbers, number sequences, moving letters, word constructions, word combinations and double meanings. Candidates should be familiar with all of these terms and exercises to the extent that no question should confuse them when it comes to test day.

Goals for Verbal Reasoning

Revise all topics mentioned in the subject description. Skill in these areas will only come through constant practice.


Non-verbal reasoning

For non-verbal reasoning, the ability to recognise patterns in sequences is imperative. Good maths vocabulary to describe position and movement is very useful. Being able to identifying different shapes will also help with tackling the more challenging questions.
The following exercises are likely to come up in one variation or another: code sequences, code pairs, patterns, spot the difference, odd one out, related shapes, shape sequences.

Goals for Non-Verbal Reasoning

Revise all topics mentioned in the subject description. Skill in these areas will only come through constant practice.

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