How to cope with Common Entrance Exams

Good Luck to all the pupils in Prep 8 who have their Common Entrance Exams next week.  We are sure you have been revising hard over half term and we know you will do yourself proud.  It is natural to be a little nervous but be confident, we know you can do it!

Here is some last-minute exam advice…

Make sure you get lots of sleep and eat properly

It is important to be well rested and ready for the exams.  A good breakfast is important and ensure you have snacks and a balanced lunch.

Know what is coming

Check the exam timetable and know what exams you have coming up on what day.  Look back at your past papers, exam guidance and revision notes.  This will allow you to remind yourself about the structure of the exam and how many questions you need to do.

Have you got what you need?  

Pack your bag carefully and check you have got all the right equipment. Pencils, pens, calculator, ruler, protractor, rubber? Have you got a water bottle? Keeping hydrated will help your concentration.

Read carefully

Always read the instructions and questions carefully.  Don’t write down everything you know about a topic; answer the question! Spend some time thinking about and planning your answer.

Wear a watch

Manage your time, thinking about how long each question should take. Keep an eye on the time, checking that you will finish all the questions that you can.

Look at the number of marks available

The number of marks available for questions will help you think about the number of points you need to make and how much time you should spend on the answer.


Be calm and control your breathing.  If you are struggling with a question, don’t panic.  Think it through.  If you still find it tricky, move onto another question and come back to it later.


Try to allow a few minutes at the end of the exam to read through your answers.  Do actually check! Too many people ‘check’ their exams by just skimming through the pages of the exam.  Instead complete the calculation again and actually read what you have written.

Don’t dwell on the last exam

The next exam is a fresh opportunity so don’t dwell on the last exam and how you might have answered things differently.  Focus your mind on what is coming next.  You can’t change the past but you can change the present.

Remember, the exams are a chance to show what you can do.

Be confident.

Be calm.