Back to blog

The Eton List Test and How to Make Sense of It


Chances are that you have heard of Eton College, the prestigious English independent boarding school for boys in England that has educated world leaders, award-winning actors and prime ministers. The public school which was founded in 1440, has one of the most competitive entrance processes, with around 1,300 boys vying for a place each year.

The Eton List Test is an exam created specifically for entrance into Eton and is taken following the ISEB Common Pre-Test. The results of this test are used to place applicants in three different categories, each signifying different types of offers. The process for 13+ entries begins when your child is in Year 5 so it is important to get to know the basics as early as possible. If your child is currently in Year 5, they can register this year for 2025 entry.

Read on to find out key information on this test and tips on how to help your son succeed!

How difficult is the test?

Less than 20% of all the candidates get offered a place at Eton. These stats reveal how selective the entrance process is and how challenging the exams can be. They are designed to test children to reveal their future potential and so test cognitive and reasoning skills as well as speed and accuracy.

What is the format of the entrance exam and how is it scored?

It is online and adaptive, lasting a total of 60 minutes. The candidates are tested in Mathematics, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. As the test is adaptive, the difficulty of the questions increases as the candidate answers them correctly. Like the ISEB Common Pre-Test, each candidate taking the Eton List Test is given a Standardised Age Score (SAS) based on the difficulty of the questions they answer and their birthday. The most successful candidates will be those who have achieved the highest SAS scores due to answering the hardest questions.

What are the three stages?

Your child will have to pass various stages before they officially join Eton College. These include:

Stage 1 (Oct-Nov Year 6) ISEB Common Pre-Test - includes English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

Stage 2 (Later in Year 6) Eton List Test and an interview.

Stage 3 (Year 8) An offer is made according to three types:

A Type: guaranteed conditional place. B Type: waiting list of whom 40% are likely to be moved into the A list. C Type: no offer given, although there is the possibility that a C list boy could come in on a music or academic scholarship but this is highly unlikely.

The final test will be either the King’s Scholarship test, Eton test or Common Entrance test in Maths, English, History, Geography, languages (French, Spanish, Latin or Greek) at 13+. If your son has passed the previous stages it is unlikely that he will fail on this final one.

When should my child be registered?

The deadline for registration for 13+ entry is the 30th of June when your child is in Year 5. The registration can be completed online here and is accompanied by a non-refundable fee of £400.

What is the best way to prepare for the Eton List Test?

Many prep schools already prepare their students for these exams. At home, regular and steady preparation that suits your child’s academic ability is recommended. Over-tutoring is a common problem when it comes to the Eton List Test, so it is advisable to be aware of your child’s individual strengths. If they are very intelligent, highly academic and perform well in exams, then they might not need tutoring. Although, it is still good to have them practice the skills they will be tested on to improve their chances of success.

If they are intelligent but may need some extra help to feel confident in the entrance exam then we would recommend that they get a tutor or join an online learning platform, such as Atom Nucleus. Either of these options will provide your child with top-quality resources that will greatly improve their likelihood of success!

If your son generally struggles at school then it's a good idea to make an informed decision about whether it is worth putting him through the stress of the entrance process. Speak to his teachers at school to see if they think he should apply.

More Eton List Test information can be found here!

We can help

Eton College does not provide any Eton List Test examples, however, you can get unlimited Eton List replica tests with a premium Atom Nucleus subscription. If you’re looking for more ways to prepare your son, start your 5-day free trial of Nucleus for success in the classroom, entrance exams and beyond.



Follow Atom Learning

Atom Learning Ltd. is registered and incorporated in England and Wales. Company Registration Number: 10867907 VAT number: 316903508 Copyright Atom Learning Ltd. All rights reserved.