Over the past three years, entrance exams for British schools for international students have radically changed. Below we look at a simple way you can make it easier for your family.

entrance exams for british schools

Entrance exams for British schools: what’s changed?

Previously, each school had their own entrance exam, largely assessing what the applicant knew about the British curriculum using tests devised, arranged and marked by their own staff. Prospective families navigated their way through each school’s policies and could wait weeks to find out about their fate.

Today, many of the same schools use UKiset – a one-stop shop – to assess international applicants.

So what is UKiset?

UKiset objectively assesses underlying academic potential and English language skill. Prior to UKiset there were few ways for these students to know what the academic standards were in the UK, and if they would be able to keep up with their British peers. Standardised scores provide a direct comparison between the candidate’s abilities and students in the UK – both nationally and within the independent schools sector.

Alison Stanbury, Walden School, says: “It is difficult to know what international applicants are really like in terms of future potential, so UKiset helps enormously in this way. It is also a good message to send to overseas students and agencies that the school takes testing seriously.”

With increased competition for limited places, an assessment to differentiate applicant qualities has become increasingly necessary. At a recent gathering of registrars from leading British schools in which we reported on market trends and lessons learned, it was clear that UKiset has changed the way they approach international applications.

Anastasia Hatvany, Registrar at Downside, said: “All of the information is hugely helpful. We accepted a Year 10 boy from Hong Kong on UKiset alone and looking at his most recent report, UKiset was an excellent indication of promise.”

Entrance exams for British Schools and UKiset

UKiset is proud to have recently assessed its 5000th candidate since its launch in September 2014. In that short time, UKiset has sent profiles to over 300 British schools. As evidenced at the recent BAISIS conference UKiset attended, British curriculum schools overseas are increasingly keen to demonstrate that they are as good as their British counterparts, and UKiset is a good measure to see how they compare.

When asked what the future of entry testing may hold, Alastair Montgomery, Director of UKiset, says, “Further innovation in looking deeper at applicant skills will extend the kind of profiling entry testing can achieve. Schools are becoming interested in considering and assessing soft skills such as social acuity, resilience and attitudes towards learning. Future tests might include modules designed to look at a wider range of skills in order to find the right fit for the right environment.”

Where to go for further information:

Gabbitas Middle East is a registered UKiset assessment centre. For more information about UKiset, get in touch today.

Read our School Profiles of schools that currently accept UKiset: