Canford School 13 Plus (13+) Entrance Exam Information – Key Details




Canford School is a coeducational independent school day and boarding school. Settled in 300 acres of parkland near Wimborne Minster in Dorset, it is one of the largest schools in the area.


Ofsted ranked the school ‘outstanding’, whilst In 2014 and 2016, Canford was among four runners-up for “Public School of the Year” in the Tatler School Awards, receiving the top award in 2019.


Among the school’s alumni are high-ranking military officers, pioneers in industry, computing, and economics, as well as senior figures in the Arts and Sciences.


The school follows the Shell Curriculum, designed to instill habits that shape skills and develop pupils’ literacy to enable them to successfully cope with all the academic challenges they face.


Pupils have lessons in art, biology, chemistry, classical civilisation, design technology, English, drama, French, German or Spanish, geography, history, computing and ICT, Latin or Extra English, maths, music, PE, physics, PSME, philosophy and theology.


The Shell Projects have been designed to develop in pupils Canford School’s eight Cross-curricular Competencies which are applied in academic teaching across all year groups: Literacy, Communication skills, Organisation, Research and Planning, Teamwork, Critical thinking, Independent Learning, Self-Reflection and Global Awareness.


The co-curriculum programme extends across a wide range of activities that take place in state-of-the-art facilities. 


The fully-equipped and modern Layard Theatre houses Canford’s drama department, whilst The Canford Sports Centre offers facilities that support a wide range of sports, health and fitness activities.


The Music Department hosts pupil-led school concerts but welcomes numerous professional musicians and musical groups as well, opening its doors to members of the public who attend these events at a very competitive price. 


The school offers pupils across all year groups the chance to demonstrate their obtained knowledge in a much wider context through learning that emphasises the ability to ‘read between the lines’ and approaching communication with clarity. 


This fully-inclusive school, with an outward-looking focus that is reflected through the 50 community projects currently running, teaches children to be respectful towards others, regardless of their background.


The continued success of Canford School is due to a dynamic learning environment set in a vibrant and inclusive community, which is fully aligned with the motto Nisi Dominus Frustra (Without God, all is in vain).



13 Plus (13+) Exam Information for Canford School



Address: Canford School Wimborne Dorset BH21 3AD

County: Dorset

Admissions info: or 01202 847207

School Type: Independent co-educational day and boarding school

Number of Students: 660 (approx.)

13+ Open Day: During the Spring and Autumn terms

13+ Exam Type / Board: ISEB Pretest



Open Events for Canford School 13 Plus (13+) Entry



The school holds two Open Days each year in the Spring and Autumn terms which offer families the chance to meet the Headmaster and staff members after attending a pupil-guided tour. A spot for the next Open Day can be booked here.


Individual visits last approximately 2 hours and comprise a pupil-guided tour of the school and a meeting with the Headmaster. They can be arranged with the Admissions staff.


The third option includes attending Discovery Days which take place prior to the pre-assessments and provide your child with the opportunity to spend a day on campus and take part in activities with other children. Discovery Days include a Q and A session for parents with staff and current pupils.



Canford School 13 Plus (13+) Admissions



After registering your child for a place in Year 9, they are pre-assessed in a two-stage process that includes four possible pre-assessment timeline options to increase flexibility for families:


Option A: ISEB Pre-test (taken in the Autumn of Year 6)

Option B: ISEB Pre-test (taken in the Summer of Year 6)

Option C: ISEB Pre-test (taken in the Autumn of Year 7)

Option D: ISEB Pre-test (taken in the Spring of Year 7)


The ISEB Pretest is an online test used by many senior schools for pupils in Years 6 and 7, comprising multiple-choice questions in Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and mathematics. 


It can be taken by pupils at their school, or at Canford, only once per academic year in Years 6 and/or 7. Those who perform well in the ISEB Pre-Test are invited to Canford for a Headmaster’s List Day. 


The Headmaster’s List Day is a mix of activities, tests and informal interviews. There are three possible outcomes following the Headmaster’s List day


  1. A ‘firm’ place at Canford, following the provision of a satisfactory current-school reference. These pupils will then sit an Academic Scholarship, Common Entrance or the Canford Assessment in Year 8 to measure their current level of attainment, but their places would not depend on this. 
  2. A ‘provisional’ place following a satisfactory current-school reference and good results at the Progress Day assessment in Year 8. 
  3. A ‘waiting list’ place with the chance of a place emerging as time goes on.



Canford School 13 Plus (13+) Exam Format



The entry exam is in the form of an online test (ISEB Pretest) that is completed in Year 6 or Year 7. 


The test examines your child’s ability in skills such as numeracy, problem solving and vocabulary, with emphasis on how they think and how they will respond to the curriculum. The test includes modules testing maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.


Please see below our recommended packs to help prepare your child for the Canford School 13+ entrance exam.



How to Prepare for Canford School 13 Plus (13+) Exam 



One of the best ways to prepare your child for a highly competitive 13+ entrance exam is to familiarise them with the types of questions and the format of the actual exam. You can achieve this with the use of our practice tests.


Consisting of thoroughly researched and up to date questions, our practice tests will help you identify the strong and weak areas in your child’s knowledge base, and thus remove unnecessary stress from the exam preparation process.


By getting used to answering questions quickly and under time pressure, your child will gain a significant advantage over other candidates who prefer a less structured approach towards preparation for a competitive Year 9 entrance exam.


We highly recommend that you make use of our practice tests in order to increase your child’s confidence ahead of exam day. They are available for immediate use after purchase.


Please see below our recommended packs to help you prepare your child for the Canford School 13+ entrance examinations.



Canford School 13 Plus (13+) Exam Practice Tests


ISEB Pretest


Canford School uses the online ISEB Pretest for their 13+ exam assessment. We therefore recommend the following online practice tests, which are specifically designed to help students familiarise themselves with online test formats in all four key subjects:


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 1


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 2


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 3


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 4


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 5


The following video courses cover everything your child needs to know to do well in the ISEB Pretest:


ISEB Pretest Maths Course


ISEB Pretest English Course


ISEB Pretest Verbal Reasoning Course


ISEB Pretest Non-Verbal Reasoning Course


Our Skill Practice products consist of focused tests that allow your child to improve targeted skills ahead of the ISEB Pretest:


ISEB Pretest English – Comprehension


ISEB Pretest English – Spelling & Punctuation


ISEB Pretest English – Sentence Completion


ISEB Pretest – Non-Verbal Reasoning



Get 10% off orders over £80 and 20% off orders over £200. Use the code ppdiscount at checkout.



Our practice tests aim to show what sort of questions were included in Canford School 13+ exam past papers. The information provided about Canford School was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of future changes. We advise you to contact the school directly if you are unsure of anything. School contact details are provided within the post.

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