8 plus (8+) Exam – Westminster Cathedral Choir School (WCCS) – What you need to know

Westminster Cathedral Choir School (WCCS) 8 Plus Exam


School Name Westminster Cathedral Choir School

Description Boys Catholic day school/boarding for choristers from 8+

Age range 7-13 years

Size 180

Fees £5,899 per term

Address Ambrosden Avenue, London, SW1P 1QH

Email (general enquiries) [email protected]

Website www.choirschool.com

Telephone (general enquiries) 020 7798 9081

Head Mr Neil McLaughlan

Registrar Miss Lucy Auger (and Head’s PA)

Email [email protected]

Bursar Mrs Joanna Stephens

Email [email protected]

Telephone 020 7798 9394




Westminster Cathedral Choir School is a Roman Catholic prep school in the heart of London’s Victoria. Whilst the majority of boys are day boys (150), it also has thirty boarding choristers who come from all over the country. Boys board from 8+.


From 2017, WCCS offers a pre-prep option for boys from Reception to Year 3, creating a school of over 280 boys aged from 4 to 13.


It has attained 22 music scholarships for boys leaving at 13+ since 2010 and has an impressive list of destination schools – see below.


The school bases its ‘modern liberal-arts curriculum’ on the three Cs: ‘curriculum’, ‘canon’ and ‘character’. Whilst the first one is self-explanatory, canon means providing boys with the highest level of cultural literacy for their age; and ‘character’ concentrates on helping boys to understand what is ‘beautiful, true and good’ in this world, to link these concepts to the world around them and to teach them how to think using grammar, logic and rhetoric.


The standard of music here is exceptional, as you would expect. Choristers are trained to the highest level. All boys are given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, but it is not obligatory.


Admissions Process for Westminster Cathedral Choir School Eight Plus


Once academic prowess has been established via selective entry, preference will be given where possible to practising Roman Catholics.




Click here for Westminster Cathedral’s 8+ registration form.


Boys can be registered at any time prior to the first Monday in December in the year prior to entry.


Registration fee: £150


Open Days/Visits


You must register for an open day visit by contacting the Registrar, Miss Lucy Auger [email protected].

The School displays the dates of its open mornings on its website throughout the year. The annual timetable is as follows.

Day boys: three weekday open mornings in the Michaelmas Term (September – December), two in the Lent Term (January – March) and one in the Trinity (April – July) term.

Choristers: one Saturday open morning in the Lent Term.


Entrance Exams and Interview


Exams and the assessment for Westminster Cathedral Choir School 8+ entry take place on the same day in the January of the year of entry.


Their admission procedure has five elements:


  • academic and, in the case of chorister applications, musical assessment tests
  • boarding assessments for all chorister applicants
  • interviews for boys
  • academic, character and, where applicable, musical references
  • disability assessments (if applicable)


These procedures apply at the main points of entry: 7+  or 8+, and also to boys for available places in other year groups (which happens very occasionally).


Entry tests at 8+:


Exam – there are four papers in total: a 70-minute comprehension and composition paper (picture prompt), a 30-minute punctuation paper, a 15-minute spelling paper and a 45-minute maths paper.


The assessment includes reading out loud and a friendly chat with either the Head, Deputy Head or Registrar.


There are no reasoning or IQ tests.


Recommended materials:


8+ English practice papers, ideal for Westminster Cathedral Choir School (WCCS) eight plus (8+) exam preparation:

8+ English Pack 1

8+ English Pack 2

8+ English Pack 3

8+ English Pack 4

8+ English: Writing

8+ English: Spelling

8+ English: Punctuation

8+ English: Vocabulary and Grammar

8+ English: Dictation

8+ English: Inference Skills


The Complete Guide to 8+ Comprehension

The Complete Guide to 8+ Writing


8+ Mathematics practice papers, ideal for Westminster Cathedral Choir School (WCCS) eight plus (8+) exam preparation:

8+ Mathematics Pack 1

8+ Mathematics Pack 2

8+ Mathematics Pack 3

8+ Mathematics: Mental Arithmetic

8+ Mathematics: Problem Solving


8+ Listening practice papers, ideal for Westminster Cathedral Choir School (WCCS) eight plus (8+) exam preparation:

8+ Listening Pack 1


Destination Schools at 13+


Destinations include:



City of London School for Boys

Downside School

Dulwich College

Eton College

Harrow School

King’s Canterbury

London Oratory School

Radley College

St Edward’s Oxford

St Paul’s Boys School

Tonbridge School

University College School (UCS)

Wetherby School

Winchester College


Other Entry Points


4+, 7+


Occasional places at other entry points in exceptional circumstances.



What came up in the 7+ and 8+ exams this year (2017 entry)?

We’re delighted here at Exam Papers Plus to bring you our annual round-up of what came up in this year’s entrance exams. This article contains information on some of London’s top schools’ 7+ and 8+ exam processes for September 2017 entry as well advice on how to prepare.


If your child is aiming for 7+ or 8+ entry in 2018, this post will prove useful. The information is relevant for a number of schools, including:



  • St Paul’s Junior School
  • Westminster Under School
  • King’s Wimbledon
  • Latymer Prep
  • City of London School for Girls
  • Bute House
  • South Hampstead High School
  • North London Collegiate School
  • Highgate
  • Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ and Girls’ Junior Schools
  • Wetherby
  • Sussex House
  • Dulwich Prep London
  • Dulwich College Junior School
  • Bancroft’s School


The seven plus (7+) exam is often a child’s first experience of an academic entrance process. Most schools have both an exam and an interview or group assessment as part of their assessment. These could all be held on the same day or separately. Measuring both a child’s academic potential as well as his or her personality and attitude to learning is essential for informed selection.


Eight plus (8+) is a classic entry point for boys; few girls’ schools have this as an option (unless via an occasional place). There are many boys who don’t quite make it at 7+, but who nail it a year later; it’s amazing the difference twelve months can make in terms of academic maturity and stamina. The good news is that any preparation for 7+ will provide solid foundations and experience for 8+, so it is never wasted effort.


7+ and 8+ exams vary from school to school, but the top academic schools always include maths, English (comprehension and composition) and usually some reasoning too. Some schools have long papers (one school has a maths paper worth 83 marks), whilst others are split into sections. One school divided its comprehension into two short sections this year, whilst another combined its non-verbal reasoning (NVR) and comprehension into one paper.




In terms of English, animals featured heavily at 7+ this year, providing visual prompts for creative writing as well as comprehension subjects and story starters. Our 7+ English Writing pack is ideal for practising writing based on picture prompts. One school’s story picture prompt was of a crying rabbit looking longingly at a plate of carrots, and its comprehension included answering questions about a picture of an elephant and a written piece on a zebra.


An extract from Moomin Papa came up at one school, with an opening question asking candidates to answer in their own words. This was a long comprehension paper and many did not manage to finish it. The story was a continuation piece in the first person.


Other story writing tasks included writing a story entitled ‘The Magic Box’ and writing a story about ‘Bob the dog’. An 8+ composition task at another school gave candidates the choice of writing about ‘your hands’ or ‘the school’. The shortest story time this year was 15 minutes and the candidates were asked to write based on a picture prompt of a boy, a girl and a strange creature.


Poetry featured prominently in a number of 8+ comprehension exams.


Advice for the English section


English assessments allow for the measurement of how a child thinks as well as their potential for empathy and logical thought. As such, this section in exams can be challenging. For a question that has a tight timeframe (the 15 minute story for example), children should concentrate on quality over quantity and try and showcase what they have learnt in a focused way. They should be encouraged to stick to the question and ensure they are addressing it directly. Regurgitating a previous piece of creative writing, or descriptive section, just because it got praise at school or good marks in a mock exam, should be discouraged. Examiners will notice a ‘prepared piece’ instantly and could knock off marks if it is included and bears no relation to the question.


One school always includes a recorded listening task, which includes assessment of reasoning, close listening skills and comprehension. True to form, an animal was featured; the children were asked to ‘underline the hippo with the three spots’ and ‘underline the hippo whose toenails weren’t painted’. Many other schools also now incorporate tasks in their assessment that require children to listen carefully and follow verbal instructions. The best way to prepare for these types of questions is to make sure that your child is attentive, listens to others and learns to follow instructions with care and diligence. Dictation practice can help to build listening skills.


Finally, it’s worth remembering that not all comprehension tasks include a prose piece. This came up in one school’s literacy section:


  • Two comprehensions: one was a standard written piece about a cat going hunting at night, but the other was of a picture of a family preparing to go on holiday. With the latter, candidates were asked questions about the picture: Eg What two things might be dangerous in this picture? What two things suggest they might be going on holiday? Who in this picture would not be able to drive the car?




In maths, the following topics came up: number squares (up to 24); time; shapes; sequences; measurement; right angles (on a clock); shading in fractions; basic weight conversions; height; and money. Doubling numbers also featured, as did mental maths. One 8+ maths paper also included a ‘Magic Number’ exercise with triple digit numbers.


Here are some examples of specific questions/tasks that came up:


  • A question which showed a picture of a regular hexagon and a picture of an irregular hexagon and then asked candidates to draw two more different pictures of a hexagon.


  • A six mark question which had four squares and two circles and then some information about the colour of each shape and its location; candidates had to label each shape with the correct colour. Eg. green is not a square, red is not next to grey…etc.


  • Draw an 8 cm line in a rectangle.


  • A question which showed a drawn line and candidates were then asked to measure it and give an answer to the nearest cm.


  • A box which contained three numbers, but the fourth number was missing and candidates had to find the number so the total added up to 100.


Advice for the Maths section


For many schools this year, there seemed to be a strong emphasis on fundamental arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, so our advice would be to get your child up to speed with their number bonds and times tables, so they can approach these types of ‘bread and butter’ questions confidently and accurately.


One school always has a dedicated maths problems paper, which incorporates two and three step questions, whilst other schools often include these trickier questions within their maths papers as a whole, usually towards the end. These questions tend to be worth higher marks, so it’s essential that your child paces himself or herself so they have enough time to tackle them. This is when a sound working knowledge of the maths basics will come into its own, ensuring that your child is able to work quickly, efficiently and calmly…and hopefully get to the end.


However, it’s worth noting that papers are sometimes designed to be very difficult to complete in time. As such, you should remind your child not to worry or get upset if they don’t finish a paper. Rather, they should do the best they can and then focus their attention on the next part of the assessment. Many children gain entry to the top schools without completing all the questions. Mock exams are especially helpful here as they will give your child a good idea of what to expect.




Reasoning was varied and challenging this year. One school showed candidates a picture of four men and a ladder and asked the children what they felt about each man and to explain which man they would prefer to be and why. Non-verbal Reasoning (NVR) questions included rotation and birds-eye views of shapes, arrow patterns and odd one out.


Verbal reasoning (VR) questions included finding letters that completed one word and began another, hidden words, anagrams and cloze passages. Every school will have its own take on VR and how to test it, so be aware that it might not be exactly the same as in practice text books, though the skills being tested will be similar across the board.


Advice for the Reasoning section


Whilst NVR seems to fall into defined question types that can be easily practised, we have noticed a slight change in VR, which can be tested in multiple ways. Word patterns, missing letters, code words etc still all come up, but sometimes crosswords and word wheels are also included. Cloze passages, as referenced above, (where words are left out and candidates must find the most suitable word to fill the gap from a selection offered) are now featuring in VR sections, providing a combined test of VR, grammar and vocabulary. Therefore, it’s important to mix up your child’s learning, so they are exposed to as many different types of question as possible. If they are able to confidently recognise certain question types, then should they experience one in a different context or unexpected location in a paper, they will be able to take it in their stride.


We hope that you have found this article helpful! Please feel free to get in touch here if you have any questions or queries.


You can view our full range of 7+ practice materials here.


You can view our full range of 8+ practice materials here.


You can view our Mock Exam schedule here.

8 plus (8+) Entry – Knightsbridge School – What you need to know

Entry Level Eight Plus (8+) exam

School Name Knightsbridge School

Description Co-ed; day school

Age range 3-13

Size 400 approx.

Fees £6,067 to £6,460 per term, excluding lunch, uniform, clubs and trips.

Address 67 Pont Street, London, SW1X 0BD

Email [email protected]

Website www.knightsbridgeschool.com

Telephone (General enquiries): +44 (0)20 7590 9000 (Registrar): +44 (0)20 7590 9006

Principal Magoo Giles

Head Shona Colaço

Registrar Mary Caldecott-Smith

Email [email protected]




Rated excellent in all areas in its 2016 ISI inspection report and based in the heart of London, Knightsbridge School educates girls and boys from 3 to 13. The school’s values are expressed by way of six core aims and the KS Code, which includes maxims such as, ‘I will try and do something creative every day’ to ‘I will try not to let others feel lonely’.


In addition to the usual curriculum subjects one would expect to find at a quality prep school the senior school curriculum (from age 8 upwards) includes a subject called Perspectives, which aims to merge the traditions of RE and PSHEE with Philosophy for Children.


Admissions Process for Knightsbridge School (8+)


Occasional places come up at 8+.


Entry to Knightsbridge School is by informal interview of parents and child. Prospective (you have to be registered) boys and girls for J1 (age 5 and above) are asked to take part in a day of assessment at the school. This usually takes place in a regular Y3 classroom and includes a short computerised test. A report from the Head of their current school will also be required. Before your child comes for an interview, you should have visited the school by joining a school tour.


Tours for those entering at 8+ or above are held on Wednesdays at 9.00am. To arrange a date, call the registrar on +44 (0)20 7590 9006. Tours take approximately an hour. You will be taken around the school and then meet the Principal and the Head. You will also get to meet the Registrar, who will be available at the end for further questions.




A child’s name will be put on the applicant list for admission only once a registration form has been completed and returned to the Admissions Office, together with a non-refundable registration fee of £200. You need to be registered in order to be called for assessment.


Admission is subject to the availability of a place and the pupil satisfying the entrance requirements.


Here’s a handy link to their registration form.


Recommended Materials:


Whilst there are no formal written assessments for 8+ entry to Knightsbridge School, you may wish to take a look at some of our 8+ preparation resources here. They will provide excellent age-appropriate practice for your child.


Destination Schools at 11+ & 13+:


Knightsbridge School prepares for both 11+ and 13+ entry and has a good range of destination schools displayed on their website. Click here to see a full breakdown.


Other Entry Points: include 5+, 7+ and 11+. Entry to the nursery is for siblings only.


8 plus (8+) Exam – Dulwich College Junior School – What you need to know

Dulwich College Junior School 8 Plus Exam


Entry Level Eight Plus (8+) exam

School Name Dulwich College Junior School

Description Boys; day school

Age range 7-11 (Boys then go on to the Lower School aged 11-13)

Size 220 approx.

Fees £6,554 per term (excludes individual music lessons and music exam entry fees)

Address Dulwich Common, London, SE21 7LD

Head Dr Toby Griffiths

Head’s PA and Junior School Secretary Jo Maudsley 020 8299 9248 Email [email protected]

Registrar JoAnn Thornton 0208 299 8432 Email [email protected]



Dulwich College Junior School is an integral part of the College, and shares the same ethos and values but has its own distinct identity. It aims to create an environment which fosters challenge and a love of learning.


The school has some great facilities including a dedicated art room and a music department with provision for music technology, rock music and percussion. Shared facilities with the College include abundant playing fields, a swimming pool and astro pitches. This is a school where both the mind and the legs can run wild with learning and creativity.


The Junior School Symposium, held on a different topic every year, is a highlight of the school’s academic year.


Open Days and Visits


Parents are encouraged to visit the Junior School during the school day. The Head of Junior School leads tours for up to five sets of parents on most Friday mornings during the Michaelmas and Summer terms. This provides an excellent opportunity to see the Junior School at work and to discuss the details of the entry procedure.


To reserve a place, contact the Junior School Registrar, Mrs JoAnn Thornton, on 0208 299 8432 or by email


Parents and boys are also welcome at their Open Days, when pupils are available as guides.
Later in the year there is a Registered Parents Evening – for parents of registered boys – which normally takes place in the November. Speakers include the Head of the Junior School, the Master of the College, Dr Joe Spence and a Year 13 student who began his Dulwich College career in the Junior School. Additional Junior School staff are also available to answer questions after the presentations.

Visit the school’s website for up to date information and dates.


Admissions & Registration Process for Dulwich College Junior School (8+)


For an up to date entrance timetable, please click here.


Entry is competitive. Applicants’ schools will be contacted directly for a confidential report in December.


Assessments take place in the January of the year of admission. Boys will do papers in mathematics and English (writing and reading comprehension) and non-verbal reasoning.


Candidates who have shown sufficient promise in the assessments will be invited back in mid-January for an activity morning, as well as a short individual interview.


Decisions on a boy’s suitability will be based on his assessment results, his interview, his school report and his approach to learning as demonstrated throughout visit on the activity morning.




Boys will be assessed in mathematics, English (writing and reading comprehension) and reasoning.


The maths exam covers a wide range of concepts children will have already met at their current schools. A good working knowledge of all of their times tables will be helpful, and they will need a sound grasp of the four rules of number. They will need to use their own strategies and methods to solve mathematical problems, including word problems involving two or more distinct calculation stages.


English writing is a task based on a stimulus.  Usually for 8+ entry, candidates will be given a story opening to develop. They will be expected to write using paragraphs, developing a story with a beginning, middle and end. They will be looking for a good use of language that includes descriptive vocabulary including well-chosen adjectives, verbs and adverbs. Marks will be awarded for good knowledge of age-appropriate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Tough words that are phonetically spelt will also be given acknowledgement.


Reading comprehension – this paper comes in two parts. The first section is sentence completion, where 8+ candidates have to choose a word from a list to complete each sentence correctly. The sentences become increasingly difficult. The second part of the paper consists of a comprehension passage with some multiple-choice questions. The format is the same for all age groups, but the reading level becomes more demanding and the questions more challenging – so it will be harder at 9+, for example.


Activity Morning


After the written assessment morning about two thirds of boys will be invited back for an Activity Morning. Boys are split into groups of 8 – 10 and take part in four activities including sport, music and team-building exercises. The school will be looking at boys’ ability to follow instructions and to assess their enthusiasm and team-working skills. In addition, all boys will have a one-to-one chat with a senior staff member. They will be asked to read a short passage and answer questions on it, do some mental mathematics and have a friendly conversation about themselves and their interests. Dulwich staff are skilled and experienced and will be looking to engender confidence and potential in all pupils that they interview.


Recommended Materials: 


8+ English practice papers, ideal for Dulwich College Junior School eight plus (8+) exam preparation:

8+ English Pack 1

8+ English Pack 2

8+ English Pack 3

8+ English Pack 4

8+ English: Writing

8+ English: Spelling

8+ English: Punctuation

8+ English: Vocabulary and Grammar

8+ English: Dictation

8+ English: Inference Skills


The Complete Guide to 8+ Comprehension

The Complete Guide to 8+ Writing


8+ Maths practice papers, ideal for Dulwich College Junior School eight plus (8+) exam preparation:

8+ Mathematics Pack 1

8+ Mathematics Pack 2

8+ Mathematics Pack 3

8+ Mathematics: Mental Arithmetic

8+ Mathematics: Problem Solving


8+ Reasoning practice papers, ideal for Dulwich College Junior School eight plus (8+) exam preparation:

8+ Reasoning Pack 1 (Non-Verbal Reasoning sections)

8+ Reasoning Pack 2 (Non-Verbal Reasoning sections)

8+ Reasoning Pack 3 (Non-Verbal Reasoning sections)


8+ Listening practice papers, ideal for Dulwich College Junior School eight plus (8+) exam preparation:

8+ Listening Pack 1


Destination Schools at 13+:


Most children will be expected to stay at the College until they are 18.


Other Entry Points


7+, 9+, 11+, 13+ and 16+.

A Reading List for the 8 Plus English Exam

Reading should be an essential part of your child’s 8 Plus exam preparation. The more your child reads in the lead up to the English exam, the more their vocabulary and literacy skills will improve.


Try to encourage your child to read outside their usual comfort zone. This might mean reading books from different genres, or in different styles. To give you an idea of the level of reading that your child should be aiming for, we’ve compiled the following 8 Plus reading list.


These texts include both modern and classic books, and should be suitable for boys and girls.


The Feet by Tom Wayman


Whilst the rest of this reading list consists of novels, it’s also highly recommended that you expose your child to some poetry. Tom Wayman’s poem, ‘The Feet’, was recently used as the comprehension text in the Westminster Under 8+ (8 plus) exam.


Aquila by Andrew Norriss



Awarded the 1997 Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year, Aquila tells the story of two boys who, after bunking off school, discover a flying time machine. With the ability to travel anywhere they like, the boys have some fantastic adventures – but for how long can they keep the time machine a secret?


Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

Billionaire Boy


One of David Walliam’s most popular books, Billionaire boy tells the story of Joe Spud, a boy who has everything he could wish for – his own cinema, a bowling alley, an orangutan…everything except a friend. The book has also been adapted for the BBC.


Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs

Fungus the Bogeyman


Fungus the Bogeyman follows a typical day in the main character’s life. We learn about how his environment differs from humans – surrounded by damp, darkness and cold food. As his day progresses, he starts to question his job as a bogeyman, where he scares humans, known as ‘surface people’. The book creates its own world, full of the myths, hobbies and books of the Bogeys.


Mr Majeika by Humphrey Carpenter

Mr Majeika


Mr Majeika is a primary school teacher at St Barty’s Primary School, a fairly normal school in England. Mr Majeika, however,is no ordinary teacher. When he arrives in class on a flying magic carpet, school lessons suddenly become a lot more interesting, especially when the class discover that he is in fact, a wizard. The book has also been made into a popular television series.


Stig of the Dump by Clive King

Stig of the Dump


Stig of the Dump was first published in the UK in 1963, and has become a classic children’s novel. The book tells the story of a boy named Barney who lives with his grandparents in southern England. When he tumbles over the edge of a cliff, he falls through the roof of a den, where he meets an unusual caveman named Stig. The story follows their adventures together in the chalk pit, which is full of people’s discarded rubbish.


The Demon Headmaster Series by Gillian Cross

The Demon Headmaster


The Demon Headmaster is a children’s book that follows the strange events that happen in a secondary school, run by a hypnotising headmaster. With his powers of hypnosis, he controls the pupils of the school and plots to take over the world. The mysterious character hides behind dark glasses, taking them off only to hypnotise pupils. The book was also made into a popular TV series.


The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

The Iron Man


The Iron Man was written in 1968 and is a classic children’s story that makes a good addition to our 8 Plus reading list. A science fiction novel, the story of the Iron Man is told over five nights and describes the arrival of a metal giant who befriends a small boy and defends the world from an outer space invasion.


The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

The Magic Finger


This fantasy story was written in 1962 and is narrated by an eight-year old girl who hates that her neighbours, the Gregg family enjoy hunting. After several attempts to convince the family that hunting is wrong, she realises that she has a special power in her finger that she can use whenever she feels upset or angry.


There’s a Viking in My Bed by J Strong

There's a Viking in My Bed


There’s a Viking in my Bed is a good book to add to an 8 Plus reading list. The story follows the antics of Sigurd the Viking, who falls from his longboat and ends up in modern-day England. After finding refuge in the Viking Hotel, he begins his attempts to live as a modern man, which inevitably end up in disaster.


The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith

The Sheep-Pig


The Sheep-Pig follows the story of a lonesome pig, living on a farm. Inspired by the author’s experience of being a farmer for 20 years, the book was adapted into a film called Babe. A welcome addition to any 8 Plus reading list, The Sheep-Pig won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award in 1984.


Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

Tom's Midnight Garden


This fantasy novel is a classic children’s book, first published in 1958. The book has since been adapted for television, radio, cinema, and the stage. The novel follows the main character, Tom, who lives under quarantine with his aunt and uncle. Set during the late 19th Century, the book follows Tom’s adventures as he slips out at night to a garden and travels back in time.


Related posts:

A Reading List for the 11 Plus English Exam

A Reading List for the 7 Plus English Exam


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Everything You Need to Know About the 8 Plus (8+) Exam

If your child is due to sit the 8 Plus exam for entry to an independent school, I’m sure you’ve found that there isn’t a whole lot of information out there on the 8 Plus. So, to provide you with a general overview, we’ve put together this post to help you understand the process a bit better.


What is the 8 Plus Exam?


The 8 Plus (8+) exam is taken by pupils midway through Year 3, at around 8 years old. Whereas most schools use 7 Plus exams to admit students in Year 3, there are some schools that also admit pupils in Year 4. This is known as 8 Plus entry.


In some cases, schools may admit students in Year 4 exclusively. Usually, the 8+ exam is similar in content to the 7 Plus, but is administered at a slightly higher level to reflect the older age group of pupils taking the exam.


Which Schools Use the 8 Plus Exam?



The following list outlines some of the schools that offer the 8 Plus all the time, as opposed to occasionally, when Year 4 places become available. Schools that offer the 8+ exam include:



What is the Structure of the 8 Plus Exam?


The 8 Plus exam is generally structured in the same way as the 7 Plus, but with a higher attainment level. The 8+ is usually taken in January and pupils then join the school the following September.


The content of the exam follows the Key Stage One curriculum and the early stages of Key Stage Two. To give you an idea of the level expected, most schools would expect pupils taking the exam to be able to achieve a minimum level 3 or above in the National Curriculum.


However, it’s worth noting that the standard expected and required at the most competitive schools is incredibly high relative to national averages.


The content and style of the test varies from school to school, so you should make sure that you know exactly what your child needs to study by contacting the school beforehand. You may wish to take a look at our school-specific 8+ posts too.


The exam focuses on Reading Comprehension, Writing and Maths as well as some verbal and non-verbal reasoning. In addition to the 8 Plus exam, schools may also ask pupils to attend an interview to gauge their readiness for entry. A report is also usually requested from the student’s current school and this is taken into consideration when allocating places.


Students are assessed on their ability to work on their own and as part of a group. Their ability to interact with other pupils and staff members is also closely monitored. Some schools may also adjust the pass mark to reflect the student’s age.


So, What’s the Difference Between the 7 Plus and 8 Plus Exam?



Generally speaking, the structure of the 7 Plus and 8 Plus exams are similar. However, the 8+ exam is pitched at a higher level and students are expected to show a comprehension and understanding of the complete Year 3 Maths syllabus as a minimum. In the English exam, pupils should be able to demonstrate a higher level of spelling and grammar and write using a range of different vocabularly. In the 8 Plus exam, there may also be separate spelling and punctuation tests.


Certain schools also test Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.


How to Prepare for the 8 Plus Exam


As with preparing for any exam at primary school, little and often is the key. It can really help your child’s performance in the exam if you create a study timetable a few months before the test. The timetable should ensure that your child is covering the KS1 and relevant KS2 coursework and that they have a good understanding of the types of questions that will be asked on the day.


For the 8 Plus Maths test, you may want to take a look at the St. Paul’s Juniors Maths syllabus, which provides a great framework to structure your preparation.


For the English exam, you should focus on your child’s reading and writing skills and ensure that they’re able to write at length on a given topic. Spelling, grammar and punctuation exercises are also very useful.


For the verbal reasoning exam, try working on building your child’s vocabularly through reading and comprehension exercises.


For the non-verbal reasoning, make sure that your child has a good grasp of the various question types.


Buying 8 Plus Exam Practice Tests


At Exam Papers Plus, we believe that the most effective way to prepare your child for the 8 Plus exam is to work through practice exam questions. Not only do they help familiarise your child with the exam layout, but they’re a good way to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses.


We have a range of 8 Plus practice exam papers that you can purchase directly from our website. Our papers cover all aspects of the exam and can really help improve your child’s confidence in the lead up to the big day.


Hiring a Tutor for the 8 Plus Exam


Many parents decide to enlist the help of an 8 Plus private tutor to help their child prepare for the exam. A little tuition can go a long way to helping your child grasp concepts they currently struggle with.


At Exam Papers Plus, we specialise in tutoring for the 8 Plus exam and we can help boost your child’s confidence. For more information on our 8 Plus tutoring service, take a look at our page here.


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7 Plus (7+) and 8 Plus (8+) Mock Exams Advice

Mock exams are a great way to help your child prepare for the 7 Plus and 8 Plus tests. At 7 or 8 years old, most children won’t have any experience of sitting a test under exam conditions. Not only do mock exams help familiarise your child with the exam structure, but they gain the valuable experience of doing timed papers.


Some of the Benefits of 7 Plus and 8 Plus Mock Exams include:


Getting Used to the Exam Structure


Knowing the material is one thing but being able to put theory into practice is another. Mock exams enable your child to experience first-hand, what it’s like to do an paper under test conditions. Mock examinations are set out in exactly the same way as a real exam, with sample questions, very similar to those that could be asked in the real test. Knowing what to expect from the structure of the exam will give your child an advantage in the lead up to the day.


Experiencing Test Conditions

An school exam room

Mock exams can help calm your child’s nerves about the final test


Most children have experience of class tests, but for most, the 7 or 8 Plus exam will be their first taste of what it’s like to sit a proper exam outside the classroom. The formal exam environment can take a bit of getting used to that’s why it’s a good idea to have your child experience a mock exam early. Not only do they help calm nerves, but they provide reassurance that the exam isn’t as scary as it sounds.


Improved Time Management


One of the most valuable skills to be gained from mock exams is time management. Your child will need to get used to answering questions quickly and moving on the next one immediately after. Mock exams can help teach your child to manage their time more effectively, especially if they come up against a challenging question.


Learning From Mistakes

Two mobile phones being used as calculators on a desk

Mock tests are the perfect way to improve exam performance


7+ and 8+ mock exams are a great way to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses. If the mock exam didn’t go quite to plan, it’s okay, there’s still time to learn from mistakes and put things right before the big day.


A Confidence Boost


If your child performs well in a mock test, their confidence will be higher going into the actual exam. Mock tests are a great way to show your child how much they’ve improved from when they first started studying for the test.


What to Expect From 7 Plus and 8 Plus Mock Exams?


The idea behind a mock exam is to make the test paper and the surroundings as similar to the actual test as possible. The questions that your child will be asked will be very similar to those that could be asked on the day. Similarly, the testing environment will be the same, with other children in the room, in a formal setting. Desks are usually laid out in rows, with spaces in between and an examiner will be present on the day as well. The mock exam will start and end at the exact time it should and children will be expected to complete the test papers within the allocated times.


How to Prepare for Mock Exams?

A good night’s sleep before the day of the test keeps your child alert


Preparation for mock tests should be the same as how your child is preparing for the actual exam. Hopefully, by the time your child sits a mock exam, they’ll be well into their study schedule and will already have a good grasp of the 7 Plus, or 8 Plus material. Some practical things to consider before the mock exam (as with the real exam), include:


  • Ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before
  • Have a healthy breakfast that will provide plenty of energy
  • Make sure that your child has all the materials they will need for the exam
  • Ensure that you know exactly where the exam is being held and what time it starts
  • Try to keep stress levels to a minimum on the morning of the mock test


When to Enrol Your Child For 7+ and 8+ Plus Mock Tests


Every child will have a different study schedule leading up to the exam, but it’s important that you don’t leave it too late before enrolling your child in a mock test. Mock exams can be very popular, so you should make enquiries early to avoid disappointment.


On the other hand, you don’t want to enrol your child for a mock exam before they’re ready. If your child doesn’t perform as well as they had hoped, they could become demotivated in the lead up to the proper exam.


At Exam Papers Plus, we recommend that children should take mock tests from October until the Christmas holidays. Doing a mock exam just before they take the real thing can help them focus and get into exam mode.


How Many Mock Tests Should My Child Do?


How many mock exams your child takes will depend on how much practice your child needs. If you feel that your child is on track, then you may want to enrol them in 1 or 2 mock exams. If, however, your child would benefit from further practice, you may want to enrol them in 3 or 4 mock exams so they enter the real exam with plenty of experience and confidence.


Having your child take a couple of mock exams will help you gauge their progress and identify any areas that need to be improved. This will help your revision be more focused and targeted in the final run up.


At Exam Papers Plus, we run our own 7 Plus and 8 Plus mock exams in London from October onwards. Be sure to keep your eye on this page for updates. These mock invariably sell out months in advance so we suggest booking early if you are interested.


Related post:

A Reading List for the 7 Plus English Exam


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The benefits of taking our 7+, 8+ and 11+ Mock Exams

We have now finalised the dates for our 7+, 8+ and 11+ Mock Exams for 2016. This article will highlight the benefits of our mocks and how they will help your child. Click here to reserve your child’s place now.


The word ‘exam’ – whether preceded by the word ‘mock’ or not – can instill fear in both children and parents. Most people do not like to be tested in a formal environment and therefore do not like taking exams – although there are always exceptions! So whilst it is unlikely your child will actively want to take an exam, there are things that you can do to make the whole experience more successful, manageable and bearable. More than anything, mock exams are a great way to learn, consolidate knowledge and refine exam technique before the real thing.


The advantages of taking our mocks include:


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What came up in the 2016 entry 8+ exams?

The 8+ is a traditional entry point for boys and is offered by a small selection of prep schools. The intake tends to be less than or equal to that at 7+. One notable exception to this rule is Sussex House, which only offers entry at 8+. Even if it not a conventional entry point for a specific school, children can sometimes gain entry at 8+ if an occasional place arises. For a selective school, your child will most likely be asked to sit age-appropriate 8+ papers in english and maths (and sometimes verbal and non verbal reasoning too). For those schools with 8+ as a standard entry point, all four disciplines will usually be tested.


This article covers information from this year’s 8+ exams and relates, among others, to the the following schools:

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Changes to King’s Wimbledon 7+ and 8+ Entrance Exam Timetable for 2017 Entry

This year King’s Wimbledon has changed things around a bit. In previous years, interviews for 7+ and 8+ entry would take place prior to Christmas and then the exams would be held the following January (in the year of entry). Most schools, with the exception of City of London School for Girls, tend to hold their written exams in January.


This year however, the King’s written exams are taking place on Saturday 10th December 2016. Interviews are still being held in advance of the exams, in November, and the activity mornings/afternoons will be held on either Thursday 8th or Friday 9th December.


For many children, the Christmas holidays are an essential period when extra support is given, knowledge is consolidated and exam technique refined. But knowing about this date change now, is to be forewarned and forearmed. Gradual and consistent preparation for the 7+ and 8+ exams (in fact, for most exams!) makes the most sense as it allows children to build their foundations at their own pace. Our advice is to ensure that you bring in timed exercise and mock exam practice towards the ends of summer, so that your child gets used to exam conditions and working under pressure. In a later post, we will explain why mocks are such a good idea and the benefits to taking them.

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What Came Up in Last Year’s 7+ and 8+ Exams?

This article was written by Faisal Nasim, Director of Exam Papers Plus. It collates feedback from those who sat the 7+ and 8+ exams last year and provides advice on how best to prepare for those sitting the exam this winter.

The article is relevant to anyone considering the 7+ or 8+ for their child, but it is especially relevant for those doing so in London for the following schools:

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7+ and 8+ Easter Revision Courses – 9th-10th April 2015

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding our 7+ and 8+ Easter Revision Courses on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th April at the Millbank Academy, Pimlico. (Erasmus Street, SW1P 4HR)

These courses are designed for those taking 7+ and 8+ exams in the following academic year (most likely Jan 2016).


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7+, 8+ and 11+ Revision Courses in London


11+ Course   –   6th December 2014

7+ Course     –  14th December 2014

8+ Course     –  14th December 2014



As entrance exam specialists, we receive lots of requests for further support – recommendations for tutors, interview technique, advice on specific scholarships etc and we always try to help!


Following a number of enquiries, we’re delighted to announce that we’re running our own revision courses for students taking 7+, 8+ and 11+ examinations at competitive London schools in January 2015.

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8+ Mathematics for top Prep Schools: Tetrahedrons and Negative Numbers!

You certainly won’t find many schools teaching Year 3 students about tetrahedrons and negative numbers. Neither will you find them mentioned in any 8+ Mathematics syllabus. However, both these topics appeared in 8+ assessments in 2014.


One top London Prep School asked a question about the relative number of edges and faces of a tetrahedron. Another asked a question involving adding negative numbers.


It would seem that as competition for places continues to grow, top schools are posing increasingly difficult questions to distinguish between numerous excellent candidates. Therefore, in order to succeed, it’s imperative that your child prepares effectively.


We use our extensive network and years of experience to ensure that our 8+ Exam Papers are completely up to date and fully reflective of the latest examination trends, both in style and content. Our papers will provide your child with the best possible preparation ahead of their 8+ exams. Check out the full 8+ range here and read one of our 2014, 8+testimonials here.

An 8+ Testimonial From a Very Happy Parent!

This post was written by Katie Darrow*. With our help, Katie’s son, George, gained successful 8+ entry to a number of London’s top schools, including St. Paul’s Juniors (formerly Colet Court), Westminster Under, Sussex House and Wetherby.
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Welcome to the new Exam Papers Plus blog

Welcome! Thank you for visiting our site and taking the time to read this post.  Our intention is for this blog to become an invaluable source of useful information, insight and advice about the ins and outs of 7+, 8+, 9+, 10+, 11+ and 13+ examinations.


Here at Exam Papers Plus, we are fortunate to have built up a great network of educators, teachers and assessors with decades of combined experience. This blog will draw on this priceless pool of knowledge and share it with you all!


For too long, we believe, the whole examination process has been shrouded in obscurity and ambiguity. Furthermore, the competition for places at top schools has grown considerably over the years. This has made life difficult and stressful for all involved, not least the poor children who have to sit the exams! We intend to change this.


We want to empower you by equipping you with a thorough understanding of the requirements of each type of exam and explaining how you can efficiently and successfully prepare your child to grasp their opportunity and flourish under difficult conditions. A little knowledge and preparation can go a long way!


Future articles on this blog will include:


–       Interviews with assessors and examiners.

–       Interviews with parents who have successfully navigated their way through the whole process.

–       Actual past papers from previous exams at all age levels.

–       Advice about how to motivate your child and deal with stress.

–       Syllabus requirements for all ages and subjects.

–       Advice about dealing with interviews, including past questions.

–       Plenty more helpful hints and tips.

–       Reviews of individual schools and their requirements.


We always love to hear from our readers and customers so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries or questions, we are a friendly bunch! Similarly, if you have a suggestion for a blog post or if you would like to contribute an article yourself, let us know and we can work together to make it happen.


That’s it for now. Have a cup of tea and relax. You’re in safe hands.


The ‘Exam Papers Plus’ team