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Wycombe Abbey: 11 plus entry guide

By Atom | Jun 9, 2023, 11:35 AM

Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire

Are you considering Wycombe Abbey for your daughter? We've collated everything you need to know about entry to Year 7, including key dates and what's covered on the entrance exam.

About Wycombe Abbey

Wycombe Abbey is a private boarding school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire for girls aged 11 to 18. It was founded in 1896 by Dame Frances Dove – a trailblazer who promoted equal opportunities for girls in the Victorian era.

The school is a global leader in girls’ boarding education. Students live on a 170-acre campus in the Chiltern Hills, which includes a lake, woods, gardens and several Grade II listed buildings. Girls have the space to thrive and plenty of opportunities to develop independence. Beyond the classroom, there are extensive opportunities to meet others and learn new skills in music, art, dance, drama, sport, and enterprise.

Pupils are encouraged to develop five ‘academic qualities’: risk-taking, resourcefulness, determination, reflection and development. A supportive yet challenging learning environment encourages them to develop intellectual curiosity. Students leave Wycombe Abbey for high-ranking universities around the world, including Oxbridge, Russell Group and Ivy League universities.

  • Headteacher: Jo Duncan

  • Address: Wycombe Abbey, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire HP11 1PE

  • County: Buckinghamshire

  • Age range and gender: 11–18, girls only

  • Number of pupils: 650+

  • National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 11

  • A level results: 96.8% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 96.4% 9–7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01494 897 008

  • Open day: Saturday 16th September 2023. Find out more and book a place on the school website

  • Selection process: CAT4 test, written exams, interview, group activity, and school reference

  • Registration closes: 1st June in year before entry

  • Assessment date: November in Year 6

Wycombe Abbey fees and financial assistance

The school fees at Wycombe Abbey for 2023–2024 are £12,000 per term for day pupils, and £15,900 per term for boarding pupils. Boarding fees include the cost of tuition, lodging, laundry, personal accident insurance, games activities, educational materials, meals and snacks, pastoral care, and many curricular and co-curricular activities. Day fees include the above, apart from lodging and laundry.

Financial assistance

Wycombe Abbey is committed to supporting academically-able children, who might not otherwise be able to afford the school fees, to benefit from its educational provision. The school is able to offer means-tested financial assistance, known as bursaries, to children applying for entry at 11 plus.

A bursary may represent up to 100% of school fees, depending on the parents’ financial circumstances. As a guide, a family with a combined disposable income of less than £30,000 may be eligible for an award up to 100%, while a family with a combined gross income of over £150,000 are unlikely to qualify for support.

Find out more about bursaries and how to apply on the school website.


Children applying for 11 plus entry to Wycombe Abbey may also apply for a scholarship. This is an award which recognises talent in a particular area and is not means-tested. Scholarships carry limited financial value.

  • Academic scholarships: 5% of fees. Exhibitions are worth £600 per year

  • Choral scholarships: free voice tuition

  • Music scholarships: free tuition on two instruments (or one instrument and voice). Exhibitions provide free tuition on one instrument

Wycombe Abbey term dates

The 2023–2024 term dates at Wycombe Abbey are:

  • Term starts: 3rd September 2023

  • Short leave: 23rd–25th September 2023

  • Long leave: 13th–29th October 2023

  • Short leave: 22nd–26th November 2023

  • Term ends: 13th December 2023

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Wycombe Abbey 11 plus admissions process

Wycombe Abbey welcomes bright, motivated and engaged girls who will enjoy contributing to all areas of school life. While most pupils board full-time, a limited number of day places are available each year for girls living within a 15-mile radius of the school.

Note that the 11 plus process begins when your daughter is in Year 5. This is earlier than many other selective schools.

1. Visit the school

If you are considering Wycombe Abbey for your daughter, it’s a good idea to visit the school first. Wycombe Abbey is selective and is looking for girls who will make the most of the full academic and boarding opportunities. It’s important to get a feel for the school, its culture and community, and to make sure that your daughter would thrive in its unique environment.

The school holds open mornings and coffee mornings every year:

  • Open mornings: formal open events which take place on Saturday mornings

  • Coffee mornings: informal small gatherings

For more information on upcoming events, visit the school website.

2. Register for 11 plus entry

Once you have decided to begin your daughter’s application to Wycombe Abbey, you will need to complete the 11 plus registration form. This closes on 1st June in the year before entry (1st June 2024 for 11 plus entry in 2025).

You will need to pay a non-refundable registration fee of £350 when you submit the form.

3. CAT4 test

The first stage of the Wycombe Abbey 11 plus process is a CAT4 test. All girls who have been registered will take this test during a ten-day window in November in Year 6.

This will usually be taken at your daughter’s current school. If the school cannot facilitate the test, you can arrange for your child to take it at a recognised test centre in the UK, or at a local British Council Office if you’re applying from overseas.

The CAT4 test is a cognitive abilities assessment which aims to reveal a child’s academic potential. It’s usually taken on a computer under exam conditions and has a time limit of 72 minutes. Children are assessed through multiple-choice questions across four subject areas:

  • Verbal reasoning

  • Quantitative reasoning

  • Non-verbal reasoning

  • Spatial reasoning

The test is marked by computer, with a mark given for every correct answer. The total raw score is then converted into a standardised age score to take into account your child’s age in years and months at the time they sit the test. While every school will set its own pass mark, a competitive selective school like Wycombe Abbey would normally expect children to achieve a standardised age score of 125 or higher.

CAT4 tips and resources

Find out everything you need to know about the CAT4 test. Take a look at example questions and get free CAT4 questions to support your child’s exam prep.

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CAT4 mock test on Atom Nucleus

4. Assessment day

The second stage of the Wycombe Abbey 11 plus process is an Assessment Day. This takes place on the school site in November in Year 6.

The Assessment Day involves further tests to assess your child’s academic ability and suitability, while giving her a taste of school life. Children will take written tests in English and maths (each one hour), have individual interviews with a member of staff, and get involved in a group activity.

Wycombe Abbey will also seek a reference from your daughter’s current school around this time.

5. Offers

Wycombe Abbey will let you know the outcome of your daughter’s application in December in Year 6. Offers are made on the basis of your daughter’s performance in the entrance exams, interview, and group activity.

If your daughter receives a firm offer of a place, you will have until early March to pay the deposit and provide written acceptance.

Girls who have received a firm offer and have performed particularly well in the entrance process will be invited to take the school’s academic scholarship exams in January. This exam consists of papers in English, maths, science and humanities, as well as a language aptitude test.

Top tips to prepare for entry to Wycombe Abbey

Wycombe Abbey is an extremely successful girls’ school, so entry is naturally competitive. Take a look at our top tips to help prepare your child for the selection process and give them the best chance possible.

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 on the school curriculum 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.

An online learning platform like Atom Home can help your child learn and revise Key Stage 2 content. The adaptive algorithm will ensure that your child is studying at a pace that’s just right for them.

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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 Wycombe Abbey or other selective schools.

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