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Dulwich College: 11 plus entry guide

School guide

Apr 24, 2023, 9:51 AM

Dulwich College, London

Are you considering Dulwich College for your son? We've collated everything you need to know about entry to Year 7. Find out about key dates, what's covered on the entrance exam, and how to help your son prepare.


About Dulwich College

Dulwich College is a leading private school for boys with both day and boarding options. The community comprises DUCKS (a co-educational kindergarten and infants’ school), the junior school (Years 3–6) and the senior school (Years 7–13).

The school was founded as the ‘College of God’s Gift’ in 1619 by actor Edward Alleyn with the intention of educating 12 poor scholars. Philanthropy continues to be high on the agenda at Dulwich College, with the school aiming to provide financial assistance to 50% of its pupils.

Dulwich College has a well-established tradition of excellent education and students leave to join highly competitive universities. While academic success is important and celebrated, social responsibility is integral to the school's mission. Pupils of all ages get involved in partnership work, both within their local area and as part of an international network.

  • Headteacher: Dr Joseph Spence

  • Address: Dulwich College, Dulwich Common, London, SE21 7LD

  • London borough: Southwark

  • Age range and gender: 2–18, boys only in Years 3–12

  • Number of pupils: 1,800+

  • National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 28

  • A level results: 95.1% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 92.9% 9–7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 020 8299 9263

  • Open day: 12th September, 22nd September, 7th October and 12th October 2023. More details are available on the school website

  • Overview of selection procedure: online and written entrance exams, interview and headteacher’s report

  • Registration window: 25th April 2023 – 30th October 2023

  • Assessment date: 8th December 2023

Dulwich College fees and financial assistance

The current fees at Dulwich College are £7,657 per term for day pupils and between £14,984 and £15,983 for boarders (weekly/full boarding). The Governors review the school fees each year.

Financial assistance

Dulwich College is committed to providing financial assistance (known as bursaries) to bright boys who need full or partial financial support. Over £4 million is provided to support students (across all age groups) every year. Dulwich College’s Bursary Committee carries out a full and confidential means-tested assessment of applicants’ families' financial circumstances.

As a guide, children who pass the entrance assessment and have a household income of £35k or less will be eligible for a 100% bursary, while successful applicants with a household income of £100k may be eligible for a 10% bursary.


Boys applying for Year 7 entry to Dulwich College may also apply for a scholarship. These awards range in value from 10% to one third of tuition fees and are awarded on talent, as opposed to a means-tested assessment.

  • Academic scholarships: automatically awarded to boys who score the highest grades in the 11 plus entrance exam and interview.

  • Music, choral and organ scholarships: children should be at Grade 5 standard in their first instrument. Auditions take place on Saturday 13th and Saturday 20th January 2024.

Dulwich College term dates

The term dates at Dulwich College in 2023–2024 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 4th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 21st October – 5th November 2023

  • Spring term (Lent): 10th January – 28th March 2024

  • Half term: 10th–18th February 2024

  • Summer term: 23rd April – 4th July 2024

  • Half term: 25th May – 2nd June 2024

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Dulwich College 11 plus admissions process

There are around 70 places available for boys applying to Year 7 entry at Dulwich College each year. These children are joined by the boys moving up from Dulwich College Junior School, resulting in a year group of approximately 125 pupils.

Boys who are offered a place at Dulwich College are usually working in the top 15% of the academic ability for their year group, and are able to work at Greater Depth in English and maths. Before registering with Dulwich College, check with your child's current school to find out if your son falls within this range and whether Dulwich College would be suitable for him.

If you are applying for Year 7 entry, you cannot also apply for Year 9 deferred entry.

1. Visit the school

If you're considering Dulwich College for your son, it's a good idea to visit the school at an open event first to explore the facilities, meet staff and pupils, and see whether your child would thrive in the environment. Open mornings will take place on Tuesday 12th September, Friday 22nd September, Saturday 7th October and Thursday 12th October 2023. There will also be a series of mid-week lower school tours throughout the autumn term.

Find out more about Dulwich College open events.

2. 11 plus registration

To register your son for 11 plus entry to Dulwich College in September 2024, complete the online registration form. Registration costs £160 per child but is free if your son receives the Pupil Premium (confirmation from your child's current school is required as proof of eligibility).

You will also need to attach a copy of your son's passport or birth certificate, a recent photo, his most recent academic school report, an Educational Psychologist Report (if applicable) and details of any medical condition indicating exam concessions.

The deadline for submitting the form is 30th October 2023.

3. Year 7 entrance exam

Your son will take the Dulwich College entrance exam on Friday 8th December 2023. This consists of three parts, lasting about 2 hours in total. There will be breaks between the tests.

Parts 1 and 2

The first two parts of the entrance exam consist of an online assessment by Atom Learning. Assessments produced by Atom aim to improve typical entrance exams in English, maths, reasoning and problem-solving by providing an accessible, challenging, and enjoyable experience.

Questions are adaptive, meaning they become more difficult or less difficult depending on how your child is performing. This ensures children see questions at the right difficulty level for them, so they are stretched but not to the point where it becomes demotivating.

  • Maths: Children will answer questions on the topics they have learnt on the maths national curriculum

  • English: Questions will be aligned to the English national curriculum

  • Non-verbal reasoning: Questions will test your child’s ability to understand and analyse visual information

  • Verbal reasoning: Your child will be assessed on their ability to use logic and solve problems with written information

  • Problem-solving: Children will be tested on their ability to solve problems, form connections and think creatively through interactive puzzles and creative comprehension

Part 3

The third part of the entrance exam will be a handwritten creative writing task, lasting around 20 minutes in total (including 5 minutes for planning). Your child will have a choice of prompts.

Marks will be awarded for originality and imagination, effective use of imagery, and interesting and appropriate vocabulary and sentence structures.

Get creative writing tips and resources to help develop your child's writing confidence ahead of the exam day.

Try some example questions

Have a go at some familiarisation questions for the Dulwich College 11 plus entrance exam.

Let's go!
Familiarisation question for Atom Assessments 11 plus maths

4. Interview

Following the exam, the 160 boys with the highest results will be invited back to Dulwich College for an interview between 24th and 31st January 2024.

The aim is to provide a friendly atmosphere where your child will be given the opportunity to give further evidence of his academic strengths. This is also an opportunity for your child to talk about his interests and abilities and how he might be able to use these to contribute to co-curricular life at the school.

Learn more about private school interviews.

Boys who have applied for a music scholarship and have been successful in the entrance exam will also be invited to a music scholarship audition on Saturday 13th January 2024.

5. Offers

Dulwich College will post offer letters on Thursday 8th February 2024. Offers are made on the basis of your child's performance in the entrance exam, the interview, and a report from his current headteacher.

Top tips to prepare for entry to Dulwich College

Dulwich College assesses a variety of subjects for 13 plus entry, including content which is not traditionally taught on the national curriculum. Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the selection process.

It can be tempting to jump straight into practice papers to prepare for school exams. However, this is not an effective way to learn and can cause children to feel demotivated.

Your child should have a good understanding of the content they’ve been taught in Year 5 before testing their knowledge with practice papers. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when recapping content is key, as our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. Experts recommend study sessions should last no longer than 30 minutes for children aged 10–11.

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Personalised support for you

We understand how important this next step is for them, and for you. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have about applying to Dulwich College or other selective schools.

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