Merchant Taylors' School

Admissions Guide

How to get into Merchant Taylors’ School

Are you looking into Merchant Taylors’ School for the next step in your son’s education? Find out everything you need to know about the 11 plus admissions process, and how to help your son succeed.

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Introduction to Merchant Taylors’ School

Merchant Taylors’ School is a highly selective private day school for boys in Northwood, north-west London. Founded over 460 years ago, Merchant Taylors’ has established itself as an outstanding school where academic success is complemented by a wealth of achievement outside the classroom.

Merchant Taylors’ aims to support, encourage and inspire boys to reach the highest standards. Its ethos is to nurture creativity, confidence and warmth to create a truly impressive school leaver who is equipped to find success in life wherever they choose to look for it. Merchant Taylors’ is highly competitive, considering its outstanding results when it comes to higher education and university admissions. In 2022, 93% of GCSEs achieved at Grade 9, 8 or 7 (A*-A), while 49% achieved at Grade 9. In the same year, 75% of A Levels were achieved at A* or A. Typically, over 80% of the leavers go on to attend their first-choice university.

Despite its academic record, Merchant Taylors’ does not have the reputation of a “hothouse” that seems to haunt similar high achieving schools. Merchant Taylors’ are known for producing well rounded, sociable boys who are enthusiastic and confident. However, being a larger school, more sensitive and less confident boys may be overshadowed and have a harder time finding their footing. Simon Everson has served as the Headmaster at Merchant Taylors’ since 2013.

Life at Merchant Taylors’

The main entry points at Merchant Taylors’ are 11+, deferred 13+ entry, and 16+. The school has over 1,100 boys aged 11-18. In addition to its high achieving academics, Merchant Taylors’ offer a broad range of co-curricular opportunities for boys. Sport is at the heart of Merchant Taylors’ as it believes sport is character building – experiencing the highs and the lows of competitive sport prepares boys for life beyond school. There are school teams in Basketball, Cricket, Fives, Golf, Hockey, Judo, Rugby, Sailing, Shooting, Soccer, Squash, Swimming, and Tennis. Handball, Badminton, Croquet, Cross Country and Mountain Biking are also on offer at Merchant Taylors’ extensive and outstanding facilities.

Outside of the classroom, boys have opportunities throughout the year to act, direct or work backstage. Every year there are two major productions and two major Drama Competitions at school. Merchant Taylors’ boys have a fantastic range of opportunities for extra-curricular Music offering 21 different ensembles, including three jazz bands, several chamber music groups, and various bands, choirs and orchestras. Around a third of boys at school learn an instrument or have singing lessons delivered. If they find the time, boys are also welcomed to participate in over 80 clubs including Allotment Club, Model United Nations, Robotics Club, Dissection Club and Board Games Club.


£25,370 per year for Years 7-13. A deposit is required on acceptance of a place of £1,050 (£600 set against the first term’s tuition fees, £400 set against final account, £50 non-refundable administrative fee).

11 plus open days at Merchant Taylors’

Before registering your son for admission, we recommend that you and your son attend a Merchant Taylors’ Open Morning. These are held each year in September and May. This will give your son a sense of what life is like at Taylors’, the facilities it offers, and a chance to meet members of staff and current pupils. We find that boys who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.

You can book a place at their next open day on the 23rd of September on the MTS website.

children studying for the 11+ exam

The 11 Plus admissions process at Merchant Taylors’

Applications for 2023 entry to Merchant Taylors’ are now open. The deadline to submit your application for 11 plus is October 31st, the year before entry. Merchant Taylors’ advise candidates to apply early. The registration must be completed online. Candidates must pay a non-refundable registration fee of £150. Once your registration form is accepted, Merchant Taylors’ ask parents to submit a recent School Report. Parents will be sent a form for them to forward to their son’s school for completion and direct return to Merchant Taylors’.

At 11 plus, Merchant Taylors’ accept 50 to 60 boys into the Senior School. Around 400 applications are accepted. This number remains constant year on year. Meaning odds of securing a place are usually around 1 in 7 to 1 in 8. Siblings of pupils at Merchant Taylors’ are not automatically offered a place and are required to fulfil the standard entry requirements. However, in cases of applicants who perform relatively similar in the entry process, priority is given to siblings of current pupils and to those with a recent family connection to the school.

It is not possible to apply for both the 13 plus and the 11 plus. Merchant Taylors’ offer around 75-80 places at 13 plus. Around 25 additional places will go to boys coming up from Merchant Taylors’ Prep School. Those who wish to apply for the 13+ register online by late June of their son’s Year 5.

11 plus exam content at Taylors’

All 11 plus applicants to Merchant Taylors’ will sit the entrance exam in December. For 2024 entry, the exam will be on the 6th of December 2023. Candidates will sit papers in English, Mathematics, and a Merchant Taylors’ General Paper. Boys will sit the exam at Merchant Taylors’ School in their Year 6. These papers are generally rather challenging, with boys finding the technique and time management aspects difficult so it is vital to prepare in advance. Merchant Taylors’ provides multiple practice papers for the English and Maths exam on its website.

The English exam is 1 hour and consists of a comprehension and composition section. Boys should spend half their time on the comprehension section. They are given a text passage and have to answer short and long form written questions on it. The passage is generally quite long, containing complex sentences, unfamiliar vocabulary, and lengthy paragraphs. In the composition section, boys are given four options to choose from and asked to complete a piece of creative writing. Boys are assessed on spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and ability to read, understand and respond to a given text.

The Maths paper is 1 hour long, requiring boys to work at a pace of picking up just over a mark and a half every minute. The exam will test boy’s arithmetic and problem-solving skills, they will need to work creatively and logically to solve problems.

The General Paper was brought in to replace a Verbal Reasoning Paper that boys would sit previously. The general paper has some similar style questions to Verbal Reasoning, but is designed to test a wider set of learning skills, including creativity, thinking and problem solving.

If you want an experienced third party to help you stay on track with your preparation, our specialist 11 plus tutors can help. Many have significant Merchant Taylors’ entrance experience and over 80% are qualified teachers themselves.

11 plus interviews at Merchant Taylors’

Those who are successful in the entrance examination are then invited to Merchant Taylors’ for an interview. Merchant Taylors’ usually interview around 220 boys. The interview will take place in the last two weeks of January and the first week of February. Interviews are one to one with a member of staff and last around 25 minutes. It is an important part of the admission process and success at interview is key to get into Merchant Taylors’. The interview will assess four areas – communication; intellectual curiosity; reasoning and extra-curricular commitment.

The interviews require applicants to talk about themselves as the interviewer aims to explore candidates interests and ideas and learn if Merchant Taylors’ is the right fit for them. The interview will also include questions seeking to gauge boy’s abilities in communication, inquisitiveness, reasoning and wider cultural interests. The interviewer may also focus on academic strengths and weakness that were noticed through the entrance exam. This could involve giving boys a passage to read and discuss, or some maths problems to solve.

Teachers are looking for enthusiastic, confident boys who they will enjoy having at the school, and who will make the most of what the school has to offer. It is important your son can engage and respond during a discussion. To do well at the interview he must be able to clearly articulate himself and answer the question given – rather than meander around a point. At Merchant Taylors’, they prefer not to have boys appear over practised in the interview. If your child’s answers come across as rehearsed or planned, they will be less likely to get offered a place.

The thought of an interview can be quite daunting for some boys who find it harder to express their views. So, every year Mentor run individual and group sessions to build confidence. Focusing on interview prep and what to expect, we encourage children to develop answers and present their best self.

11 plus scholarships at Merchant Taylors’

All applicants to Merchant Taylors’ are automatically eligible for an Academic Scholarship and an All-Rounder Scholarship. Both Academic and All-Rounder Scholarships will be awarded to boys who perform exceptionally well in both the exam and interview, taking into account the information received from the boy’s current school. All-Rounder Scholarships are awarded to applicants of high academic ability who are likely also to make a substantial contribution to the wider life of the school. At 11 plus, there are at least five major academic scholarships available, each to the value of at least 10% and at most 50% of the school fees. Up to five minor academic scholarships (known as Exhibitions) will also be awarded, worth a maximum value of 10% of the school fees. Merchant Taylors’ will award up to 2 all-rounder scholarships at 11 plus, worth between 10 and 50% of the school fees. 

MTS also offers scholarships in Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Music and Sport. Applicants need to apply to Merchant Taylors’ by 30th of September in the year preceding entry and fill out the relevant scholarship application form available on the School’s website. One or two scholarships in art, D&T, drama and sport are available at 11 plus each up to the value of £200 per annum department programme and associated materials. Four Music Scholarships (one of up to 25% of the School fees; one of up to 15% and two of up to 10%) will be awarded across 11+, 13+ and 16+. A Music Scholarship includes free instrumental tuition on two instruments, additional awards of free tuition may be made if there are applicants of sufficient merit.

Scholarship applicants will be invited for an assessment day in November of the year preceding entry. Here, boys will attend an in-person assessment or audition set by the relevant department. All candidates must also satisfy Merchant Taylors’ normal academic entry requirements.

Find a tutor

To guarantee your son the best chance of admission, offer him some additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our over 200 tutors are experts in the Merchant Taylors’ 11 plus and with bespoke one-to-one tuition, they can help children to achieve success at exams and interviews. 

With more than 40 years of experience in tutoring children to gain admission to some of London’s most competitive independent schools, we at Mentor have a wealth of knowledge on how best to prepare your son for entry to Merchant Taylors’. 

Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers, so they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject, the syllabus and the most effective teaching methods. Many have been heads of department, head teachers or examiners and all come with a wealth of experience and a great track record of success. All have been reference checked and have up-to-date DBS certificates. Wherever possible we will match your son with a tutor who has a track record at Merchant Taylors’ themselves.

For more information on our tutors’ unique approach to testing children in preparation for exams, contact our team.

More information on MTS

Merchant Taylors' School Northwood grounds

Address: Merchant Taylors’ School, Sandy Lodge, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 2HT

Telephone: 01923 820644

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.mtsn.org.uk

Local Authority: Hertfordshire

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 117616

Gender: Boys

Age Range: 11-18

Get in touch

We have many experts on entrance to Merchant Taylors’ here at Mentor and are ready to guide you through the new entrance format during Covid-19 measures. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your son gain admission to Merchant Taylors’ at 11 plus, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.

Unit 6C Hillgate Place
SW12 9ER

020 8883 2519

[email protected]

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