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Rising Competition: What You Need to Know About UK School Requirements

by Antonina Kudrova | December 20, 2022

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Foreign students coming to study in the UK need to be aware of the country’s school study requirements. In general, foreign students are required to attend school in the UK if they are between the ages of 5 and 16. Students who are 16 or older may attend school if they choose, but are not required to do so. Foreign students should be aware that the UK school system is different from that of their home country. The UK school system places a strong emphasis on academic achievement therefore students are expected to study a wide range of subjects. Students are also expected to participate in extracurricular activities, such as sports or music, as part of their education.

The first step is to know what assessments to prepare for when applying to UK Schools. At this stage in the application cycle, there have been school assessments across November and with further testing due to take place in January too.

UKISET and ISEB pretest are crucial to the success of studying abroad.


UK Independent Schools Entry Test is a standardized cognitive ability test for overseas students. Completing the test is required by many British Private Schools as one of the important early criteria for overseas students. The UKISET assesses a student’s academic level, developmental ability and learning potential. The test consists of three main parts: verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning. It also requires students to complete an English reading and listening section and a piece of creative writing. The test is two hours long and results become available within three days of sitting the test.

The test can be taken every 4 months at a designated test center or at a designated school. The number of international students entering the UK is steadily increasing. How fierce is the competition to study in the UK? There are increases in the number of applications and the level of competition is therefore increased. To avoid any additional concerns or stresses, it is best to prepare.

ISEB Pretest

The Independent Schools Examinations Board offers a range of assessments. This includes the Common Entrance at 11+, 13+ and 13+ and the Scholarship assessments. Finally, there is the Common Pretest which the vast majority of overseas students will be required to sit before being invited for a formal interview and for the schools assessments. The ISEB Pretest is usually sat 2-3 years before students enter a UK school. It is used by schools as a preliminary assessment to ensure that all students invited to take the next round of school assessments are at the right standard to compete.

The ISEB Pretest is divided into Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and Mathematics. The difficulty of the test can be adjusted based on the age and ability of the student taking it.

These are the most common assessments and schools will require students to take before accessing the formal interview and following assessments. However, the vast majority of schools will require students to take formal assessments after having received the results of either the UKISET, the ISEB pretest or both.

Applying to a UK school from abroad is a project and a process. It requires preparation for multiple steps of assessment, beginning with these pretests, a formal interview, entrance examinations and an assessment of suitability.

How We Can Help

Juno’s school placement team is made up of industry experts with first hand experience of Private Education in the UK. They have an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the system, individual schools and the international private education industry. Receiving the best grades in UKISET and ISEB exams is crucial for your child’s UK school application and affects the offers your child will receive. Our expert team is able to provide support in managing anxiety in the exam setting. We help our students develop confidence, critical thinking skills and cultural awareness. Top grades are no longer enough to stand out in the entry process to a top UK school. This gives them a competitive edge and allows them to make full use of their world-class education.

Important to Note

Finally, it is important to note that foreign students who come to study in the UK are required to have a basic level of English language proficiency. English is the primary language of instruction in most UK schools. Many schools may require students to take an English language proficiency test before being admitted. Foreign students should also be aware of the visa requirements for studying in the UK. Students from non-EU countries will need a student visa to study in the UK for more than six months.

We have a partner who will be able to assist with any immigration and visa-related concerns. We are happy to offer a complimentary consultation to discuss your child’s needs in detail.