• Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
  • Telephone: 01235 543000, Fax: 01235 543106





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13+ Academic Scholarship Introduction


2018 Scholarship is now closed.  Applications for 2019 will be available from 1st June 2018.

For 2018, we are introducing a two stage process for our academic scholarship.  All candidates who have entered the academic scholarship will be invited to sit both stages but only shortlisted candidates will be invited to Radley to sit the Stage Two papers and they will also have two interviews - one with the Warden or a member of Senior Management and one with English dons.  Boys who are not shortlisted will still sit all the scholarship papers but will do so at their current school or invigilator centre (timetable below).  If they do exceptionally well, then it will be possible that we would then invite one or two extra candidates to Radley for interviews.

As with previous years, any candidate who has done well enough in both Stages One and Two of our scholarship will be exempt from Common Entrance.

Details of the process are as follows:

STAGE ONE - to be sat at current schools or invigilator centres on Tuesday 30 January 2018

English:  2 hours.   Bespoke papers are written each year, but the same key skills of comprehension and composition will be the focus, as on previous scholarship papers.

Maths:  1 hour. This will be the same format as Paper 1 of previous scholarship papers, examples of which are on the website. 

Papers and instructions will be sent to current schools or invigilators for safekeeping on Wednesday 24 January.

Results of Stage One (either shortlisted or not) will be sent to schools (or if overseas to parents) by the end of Thursday 8 February 2018.

STAGE TWO - to be sat either at Radley, for shortlisted candidates, or at current schools.  If a boy is not shortlisted and he does not follow the CE curriculum, he will not need to sit this stage, but he may be asked to sit CE Science and Maths for setting purposes.

The timetable for shortlisted candidates is as follows:

Wednesday 28 February 2018

9.30am                 Arrive                         

10.15-11.45am:    Science (90 mins)

1-2pm:                  Maths, Paper 2 (60 mins)

2-3.15pm              French & Dictee (75 mins total)

3.30 onwards        Greek (45 mins)German/Spanish (30 mins +15 mins dictado) or Interview

Thursday 1 March 2018

8.30-10.30m:        Common Paper: History (45 mins), Geography (45mins), Religious & Ethical Studies paper (30 mins) – 2 hrs total

10.30am:               Latin (75 mins) or Interviews (SMT and English dons) 

You will note that the key difference is that candidates will only be staying one night at Radley.  Minor changes are that there is a slightly shorter Religious & Ethical Studies paper and there will not be a French interview. English interviews will involve a stimulus piece of writing.

An outline of the papers is as follows:


English (2 hours).  The literature section of the paper will test skills of understanding and literary analysis. Questions are designed to allow the best candidates to show that they can think for themselves, and have read widely. There is usually a mixture of poetry and prose, though these are often approached in an unconventional way. There is also a writing task which may be either creative or discursive, and in which candidates are expected to show that they can take pleasure in language with precision and flair. Clear, accurate, and agile use of English is essential throughout the paper. The interview is an important part of the examination, and is the candidate’s opportunity to show that he is ambitious about, and takes pleasure in, his study of English.

Mathematics (1 hour).  This paper, Paper 1, in which calculators are not allowed, will consist of six routine questions based on algebra and calculation (see sample papers).


Science (2 hours) This paper will consist of three 40 minute compulsory sections, one each of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Questions will be based on the Common Entrance syllabus (although candidates who can handle powers of ten and know some basic chemical formulae will find themselves at an advantage). It should also be noted that the general interview will include some science-based questions.

Maths (1 hour) This paper, Paper 2, in which calculators are allowed, will consist of six questions of varying difficulty. Applications are likely to involve algebra, number, lengths, areas, volumes and probability/counting arguments.

French & Dictee (75 mins total).  Only candidates who have studied French at school for at least two years will be required to sit this paper. The examination will consist of dictation, reading comprehension and guided composition. Questions and tasks will be of various kinds, largely in the target language. Accuracy, imagination and an ability to cope with a wide range of tenses will be rewarded. Rubric and indications as to the content will be given in French. Dictionaries will not be allowed. 

Greek (Optional Subject) The paper is optional but candidates are encouraged to take it even if they have only studied a little Greek. Results on this paper can in no circumstances count against a candidate. The paper will consist of three sections. Candidates will be required to attempt two sections, either A and B, or B and C. Beginners are encouraged to attempt as much as possible. Section A will consist of sentences in Greek for translation into English (all vocabulary will be given) and will be based on the first eight chapters of Wilding; section B will contain a passage in two parts – the first will require candidates to answer comprehension questions, and the second will be a translation; section C will contain unseen English sentences for translation into Greek.

German/Spanish (Optional Subject) These papers are optional and an oral test will be arranged during the examination. Prep schools should notify the Registrar for how long and to what level the subject has been studied.

Common Paper (History, 45 mins, Geography, 45 mins, General, Religious & Ethical Studies, 1 hour)

The History paper will have three questions. The first will test candidates’ ability to infer information from a source. The second will test candidates’ ability to cross reference two sources. The third will test candidates’ ability to evaluate a point of view using a selection of source material. The factual basis of the History section will be the major world events of the twentieth century.

The Geography paper comprises six questions, five of which link with selected human and physical topic areas in the Geography Common Entrance specification, together with one that focuses on fieldwork skills. Candidates will be expected to answer any three questions. Successful candidates will be expected to demonstrate knowledge that extends beyond the Common Entrance specification, such as knowledge of current affairs with detailed examples. No submitted fieldwork project is required. 

The Religious & Ethical Studies paper consists of a stimulus passage which will be of a religious or ethical nature. Candidates are not expected to be familiar with the subject matter of the paper.

Latin (1¼ hours). Only candidates who have studied Latin for at least two years will be required to sit this paper. It consists of a passage for unseen translation (Section A) which is compulsory and a choice of English to Latin sentences (Section B) or a comprehension exercise (Section C). All vocabulary outside the Common Academic Scholarship lists will be glossed, unless a meaning can be inferred through derivations or context.


There will be two interviews: an English interview and a general interview with the Warden or a Senior Master.

Results will be given to prep schools (or parents of those boys at maintained schools or overseas) approximately one week after the assessment day.  Grades and confirming letters will be sent out later that week. Successful candidates and all those who have reached the required entry standard will be exempt from Common Entrance.  

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