Back to school: key test dates this autumn 

Words by Quintessentially Education

30 August 2023


With many exams looming for students aged 10–18, it’s important to take note of key dates and application deadlines to best prepare – here are our tips.

For so many, there is always a buzz of excitement in September with the start of a new school year. However, as students settle into the new academic year, the novelty of new stationery and summer holiday stories will quickly wear off as they look ahead to the required work and fast-approaching deadlines and assessments prevalent during the first term. 

Between September and late November, students aged 10–17 will have decisive deadlines and examinations paramount to their educational journey's next phase. We understand that trying to stay on top of everything is often overwhelming, with extracurricular clubs and mounting homework, so we have created a list of key dates to be aware of this autumn, with links to our top tips on preparing


11+ Assessment

Who? UK Year 6 (or equivalent) students aged between 10–11 years, applying to secondary school in September 2024.

When? Between September and November.

Where? Candidates typically take a test at their target school. However, some exams (such as the 11+ Consortium) take place at the student's current school. 

Want to find out more? Quintessentially Education Super tutor, Lauren Williams, shares her top tips here.

13+ ISEB Common Pre-Test 

Who? UK Year 6 or Year 7 (or equivalent) students aged 10–12 years, applying to senior school for September 2026 or 2027.

When? Between late October and early November.

Where? Candidates can take the test at their current school, target school or an independent test centre. 

Want to find out more? ReadISEB common pre-test: a simplified guidefor more information about the exam and how to prepare. 

16+ entry 

Who? Year 11 students aged 15–16, applying to sixth form or college in September 2024.

When? Open evenings will occur throughout September and early October, with most registration deadlines no later than mid-September. 

Where? In-person entrance exams and interviews typically take place between late October and early November at the sixth form or college.

Want to find out more? Click here to learn about the difference between the IB Diploma and A-Levels. If you are considering boarding school, read about the pros and cons here.

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UK universities

Who? UK Year 13 or equivalent students aged 17–18, applying to UK universities in September 2024.

When? University admissions tests are generally taken between late September and early November. The application deadline for Oxbridge, medicine and other specialist subjects is Monday 16th October. 

How? Applications are submitted through UCAS.

Want to find out more? Read Oxbridge Applications: a simplified guide to learn about the nuances of the world-renowned University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. To better understand the application process for UK, medicine undergraduate courses, click here.

US colleges and universities

Who? UK Year 13 (US Grade 12) or equivalent students aged 16–18, applying to attend a US college or university in September 2024.

When? SAT and ACT exams must be taken by early September, as most Early Decision (ED, or EDI when EDII is offered) deadlines range between 1st to 15th November. 

How? Applications are submitted through Common App or the per-state equivalent. Direct university applications can also be submitted for select specialist institutions such as art and design schools. 

Want to find out more? Read A guide to US undergraduate application submission options to understand the difference between Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision. To learn about admissions entrance examinations such as the SAT and ACT, click here.

Our international education consultancy covers everything from admission and application processes to private tuition and more. Contact Quintessentially Education [email protected] or phone +44 (0)20 3073 6839, and a member of our team will respond to your query within 24 hours.

More to explore


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UK university applications: how to prepare this summer

With the exam season drawing to a close, Quintessentially Education shares top tips for how to get ahead with UK university applications this summer.

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