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Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Entrance Exam Information


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Downe House School is an independent day and boarding school for girls in Cold Ash, Berkshire. Established in 1907, it boasts a distinctive alumni list, including Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Annette Worsley-Taylor, founder of London Fashion Week. [1]


Tailoring its provision to suit individual strengths and preferences, Downe House offers a relevant educational model, underpinned by a varied and robust curriculum that stimulates healthy competition. Subject areas range from ICT, PSHE and drama to French, history and religious studies, inspiring a love of learning that’s grounded in ambition and the desire to make a difference. 


Sporting, musical and performing arts pursuits are at the heart of Downe House’s offering, complementing an abundant co-curricular programme that ensures the vibrant quality of school life. Academic and non-academic clubs are also available: knitting, engineering, MUN, cookery, ceramics and an array of further activities effectively add up to the well-rounded experience. [2]


To maximise pupils’ capacity to embrace diversity, Downe House holds Cultural days, which have included Bab Al-Islam Day, India Day, Africa Day, America Day and Germany Day. Guest speakers are frequently featured in the events’ programme, familiarising girls with their unique life experiences and the many opportunities that emerge from cultural pluralism. [3]


Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Exam Information


Address: Cold Ash, Thatcham RG18 9JJ

County: Berkshire

Admissions info: or 01635 204701 

School type: Independent day and boarding school for girls

13+ Exam date (pre-test): Autumn term of Year 6

13+ Exam date (CE): June of Year 8


Open Events for Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Entry


Downe House School holds two Open Mornings each term, welcoming prospective families on campus where they can enjoy a wealth of activities, including tours of facilities and meetings with staff. Private tours can also be arranged, providing you and your child with a more personalised experience, including an informal meeting with the Head. For more details, please click here


Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Admissions


The admissions process formally commences with registration. Please note that the online form should be submitted with a non-refundable fee of £200 in order to be processed.


Unconditional offers are made on the basis of success in the Pretest exam and Assessment Day, both of which are held in the Autumn term of Year 6. Places are confirmed in Year 8, after your daughter attends the Academic Scholarship / Common Entrance examinations for streaming purposes. 


The Academic Scholarship exam takes place in January, while the Common Entrance exam is sat the following June. 


Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Scholarships and Bursaries


Besides Academic Awards, the school offers scholarships in the areas of Sports, Art, Music and Drama. 


Sports Scholarships are awarded on the grounds of an interview and practical assessment in at least two of following options: lacrosse, tennis, swimming, cricket, netball and hockey. Music Scholars receive free tuition in two instruments following an assessment that includes auditions and interviews. 


Drama Scholarship applicants are also asked to audition, while Art Scholarship applicants are assessed on the basis of their portfolio and their performance in an observational drawing test. 


Bursaries are means-tested awards that may bring a 100% reduction in fees. They are offered to families who struggle with paying the fees.


A substantial number of girls who succeed at gaining a place at Downe House are also awarded a bursary. Their academic potential, exhibited throughout the admissions process, is taken into careful consideration.


If you decide to apply for a bursary, you will be asked to submit a bursary form alongside supporting documentation that provides an insight into your financial circumstances. This means-testing procedure will be repeated annually, hence the value of the award may increase / decrease, subject to changes in your finances. 


Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Exam Format


The Downe House School Year 6 Assessment Day examinations consist of:


  • English writing paper (essay)
  • Interview


The English paper examines writing skills, grammar and punctuation. Marks will be awarded for good use of imagination, creativity, form, purpose, organisation, cohesion and sentence structure.



The Downe House School Year 6 Pretest exam consists of the following assessment:


  • ISEB Common Pretest


The Pretest is an online assessment which assesses skills in Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.



The Downe House 13+ Common Entrance examination consists of the following tests:


  • English 
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • MFL


The English paper examines comprehension and writing skills, including inference, vocabulary and punctuation. 


The maths exam assesses problem-solving abilities and arithmetic skills. The paper will include questions on number, measurement, geometry, algebra and statistics.


The Science paper tests acquired knowledge in the areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. 


The MFL paper is optional, offered only to applicants with previous knowledge in a foreign language. 


Please see below for further details and recommendations on how to prepare for the Downe House School 13+ entrance examinations.


How to Prepare for the Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Exam


Our practice tests help students become familiar with the style and layout of the Downe House School exams, which can help boost their confidence in the lead up to the big day. They cover all the question types that could be asked in the entrance exam and can be used to identify any weaker areas that require additional work.


Once you devise a specific study schedule and a structured approach towards 13+ exam preparation, you will be able to remove unnecessary stress from the preparation process and make it more manageable for your child.


We highly recommend that students take our practice tests under timed conditions to get used to answering questions quickly and under time pressure.


Our practice tests are age-appropriate, yet still challenging, corresponding perfectly with the demands of a competitive independent school’s 13+ entrance exam. Our recommendations to help your child prepare for the Downe House School 13 plus entrance examination can be found below.


Downe House School 13 Plus (13+) Exam Practice Papers


Year 6 Assessment Day – Essay


We highly recommend the following packs to prepare successfully for the Downe House 11+ English paper (essay):


11+ Complete Writing Guide


11+ Writing Prompts


11+ Rewrite & Improve


11+ Spelling Pack 1


11+ Spelling Pack 2



If you’d like to have your child’s writing assessed and marked, you may be interested in our Writing Marking Service. Please click here to learn more.




11+ Interviews – The Complete Guide



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ISEB Pre-Test


To help your child prepare for the ISEB Pretest, we recommend the following online resources, covering all key question types known to come up in the exam:


Full Practice Tests


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


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 6


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 7


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 8


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 9


ISEB Pretest Practice Test 10


Video Courses


ISEB Pretest English Course


ISEB Pretest Maths Course


ISEB Pretest Non-Verbal Reasoning Course


ISEB Pretest Verbal Reasoning Course


Skill Practice


ISEB Pretest English – Comprehension


ISEB Pretest English – Sentence Completion


ISEB Pretest English – Spelling & Punctuation


ISEB Pretest Mathematics


ISEB Pretest Non-Verbal Reasoning


ISEB Pretest Verbal Reasoning



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English CE Year 8 Exam


We highly recommend the following packs to successfully prepare your child for the Downe House 13 Plus English paper:


13+ English Pack 1


13+ English Pack 2


13+ English: Rewrite & Improve


Mathematics CE Year 8 Exam


We highly recommend the use of the following papers to help develop your child’s arithmetic and problem-solving skills within the examination context of the Downe House 13 Plus maths test:


13+ Mathematics Pack 1


Science CE Year 8 Exam


We highly recommend the following practice papers to help your child prepare for the 13 Plus CE Science exam at Downe House:


13+ Physics Pack 1


13+ Chemistry Pack 1


13+ Biology Pack 1



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Our practice tests aim to show what sort of questions were included in Downe House School 13+ past papers. The information provided about Downe House 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.


Other entry points for Downe House School:


Click here to learn about Year 7 entry via the 11 Plus (11+) Exam

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