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The Common Entrance Exam (also known as CE or the 13+) is taken by pupils as part of the admissions process for Year 9 entry into academically selective Independent Schools at age 13. Common Entrance consists of examinations in Mathematics (three papers: a mental mathematics paper, plus written non-calculator and calculator), English (two papers), Geography, History, Religious Studies, Latin, Classical Greek, plus either a specialist Physics, Chemistry and Biology or a Combined Science. There can also be a choice of four languages: Spanish, French, German or Mandarin, assessed via listening, spoken and written papers. The only compulsory elements of the Common Entrance Exam are Maths, English and a Science, with each schools offering their own combination and subject requirements.
The Common Entrance (CE) for admission at age 11, 12 or 13 to Independent Schools, usually from Preparatory Schools, is to be scrapped in 18 months. Many leading Public Schools now recruit more children from State Primary Schools and increasingly at Year 7 rather than at Year 9. Common Entrance was introduced in 1904. The "pass mark" varies widely and is high for the more prestigious schools but can be much lower for schools where academic standards are less demanding. For over a century CE has worked well, ensuring that privately-educated children transfer to an Independent School that matches their academic abilities and potential. Scholarships and bursaries are also available to rovide opportunities to a wider range of children, including those from less-privileged backgrounds.