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Entrance Examinations

boy student studying from books in library

Once you have registered your son, the next formal stage is assessment.

This usually happens in the year before he joins us. Most children join us at the start of the academic year in September, but your son might be able to start at another time if a place becomes available.

The Merchiston Journey


Ages 7-12+

Your son will sit online assessments in Maths and English, a writing exercise, and an online screening test. He will have an informal interview with Junior school and be asked to provide a report from his current school.

Ages 13+ and 14+

If your son is joining from a Prep School he will sit the Common Entrance Papers.

Otherwise, he will sit written papers in Maths and English, Non Verbal Reasoning and online screening tests. He will have an informal interview with staff and be asked to provide a recent school report. 

Age 15+

In the very rare instance that your son is moving schools mid GCSEs, he will be asked to sit written papers in Maths, English and Science. We will also interview him and consider his recent school report.

Age 16+

If your son is taking GCSE, or equivalent exams, we will consider him based on his predicted and actual exam results and an interview with the Headmaster. If he is joining us from a different exam system, he will be asked to sit papers in the subjects he wishes to study at A Level as well as his interview. Whichever route he takes, your son will also need to provide a school report. 

Junior Years
J4 - Pringle
Primary 4 (Scotland) Age 7 + 8 Year 4 (England)
J5 - Pringle
Primary 5 (Scotland) Age 9 Year 5 (England)
First Form - Pringle
Primary 6 (Scotland) Age 10 Year 6 (England)
Second Form - Pringle
Primary 7 (Scotland) Age 11 Year 7 (England)
Third Form - Pringle
S1 (Scotland) Age 12 Year 8 (England)
Middle Years (Senior School)
Fourth Form - Chalmers West
S2 (Scotland) Age 13 Year 9 (England)
Shell - Chalmers East
S3 (Scotland) Age 14 Year 10 (England)
Fifth Form - Rogerson
S4 (Scotland) Age 15 Year 11 (England)
Sixth Form (Senior School)
Lower Sixth Form - Laidlaw (Boarding), Evans (Day)
S5 (Scotland) Age 16 Year 12 (England)
Upper Sixth Form - Laidlaw (Boarding), Evans (Dday)
S6 (Scotland) Age 17 Year 13 (England)

International Admissions

Assessments (and entry requirements) may be a little different for International Students. Click here for further details about International entry.

Entry on Behalf of Younger Brothers

We will do all we can to ensure that places are available for the younger brothers of current pupils. If you have a younger son, we advise you to reserve a place as early as possible to maximise the chance of a place, which is subject to the usual entrance assessments and a satisfactory school report.

Waiting Lists

We may operate a waiting list if applications to the School are oversubscribed. If you would like your son to be on the waiting list, please complete a Registration Form and pay the Registration Fee, after which your son will sit entrance assessments. Should places become available before the start of an academic year, they are offered on the basis of academic ability. Since the School is primarily a boarding school, priority is given to boarding applicants.