The Wandsworth Test

Experienced in tutoring children for school admissions, we are here to help you navigate the Wandsworth Year 6 Test.

How to get into the Graveney Extension Stream

The Borough of Wandsworth is known for its good schools, and every year at 11 plus level many of its popular schools tend to be oversubscribed. One of the most popular is Graveney School in Tooting, which holds an Outstanding Ofsted Report and is one of the largest, most successful comprehensives in England.

Figures from Wandsworth Council in 2020 show Graveney School was the hardest secondary school in the borough to secure a place in, with just 36.9% of people who put it down as a first choice being offered a place.

 The Graveney Extension Stream and Graveney school building

Because Graveney School is so popular and most families in the local catchment area take up their places, the few places that are not geographically dependent are highly sought after and competitive. These places are offered to the 70 children who come top in the Wandsworth Year 6 Test. These 70 places not only offer a place to children not in the catchment area of the school, but they also offer a coveted place on the Graveney Extension Stream. This stream is taught separately within the school and the teaching is more like that of a Grammar school, academically intensive and with high standards.  

About Graveney School

Founded in 1986, Graveney School is a partially-selective secondary school and sixth form located in Tooting. The school became an academy in 2011 and has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in it’s most recent inspection in 2015. The school prides itself on providing a disciplined atmosphere for pupils to learn. Graveney aims to produce confident, responsible adults who will make a positive contribution to society.

In 2020 Graveney opened an impressive new Science and Technology block called the Oppenheimer Observatory- so named because the school can now offer Astronomy as a GCSE subject.  This new building won some impressive Design and Architectural Awards and parents couldn’t be happier with the new facilities.

The Head, Cynthia Rickman, is well thought of and a steady hand to steer the ship. Pupils speak of her with a mixture of awe and admiration. Here is her introductory video for a virtual open day during the pandemic.


What is the Extension Stream and why is it so sought after?

In the Graveney School system, there are four streams: Extension, Upper, Middle and Support. The top two are academically intensive and Extension particularly operates more like a Grammar School. The Support stream is for children with SEND, with small class sizes and lots of extra help on offer.
In the Extension stream standards are high – with formidable teachers and lots of homework.
Discipline Behaviour is good, and the kids speak of the head with a mix of awe and admiration.

What is the Wandsworth test?

The Wandsworth Year 6 test is an exam set by the Borough of Wandsworth to help the transition to senior school. All children who go to state primary school in the borough sit the test, which normally takes place in the September of Year 6.

Confusingly, not all schools in the borough use the test for admissions purposes and indeed those that do, use the test in different ways, depending on their own admissions criteria. Results are usually released in October: a good score undoubtedly means more options when applying to secondary schools in Wandsworth.

Key dates:

  • Registration Closing Date: September (a year before entry)
  • Common Application Form (CAF) Closing Date: October
  • Exam Date: September
  • Results Date: October
  • Allocations Date: March
  • Appeals Hearings: June, July

Admissions Info: admissions@wandsworth.gov.uk, 020 8871 7316

What is on the Wandsworth test?

The Wandsworth Year 6 test has two parts, with a short practice session at the start and a short break in between the two tests: 

Part 1: Non-Verbal Reasoning (55 minutes)

 Part 2: Verbal Reasoning (50 minutes)

The tests are created by GL Assessment, one of the exam boards particularly involved with Grammar School Admissions. GL Assessment tests do have a particular slant and focus and we would recommend you read our article to make sure you are familiar with GL Assessment tests and that your child practices with the correct resources. To find out in more depth about what is involved with Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning, please see the following articles:

How can I prepare my child for the Wandsworth Test?

Ideally, parents should begin preparation for the Wandsworth Year 6 Test twelve months before their child will sit the test. This is so that children prepare in a gentle build up that never feels too much for them. Children do pick up on the pressures of preparing for an important test such as this and it is important to try and strike the balance between them feeling well prepared and practised and them feeling pressured and switching off from their learning.  

The Wandsworth Year 6 Test is purely a Reasoning test. This is because the borough tries to make it a test of ability, rather than of learning or parental resources. Parents and tutors are indeed less able to influence success, compared to say, helping their child memorise stories for creative writing tests for an English Exam.

However, some parents have been told that they cannot help their child improve at all and this is absolutely not the case! Although your child may have a natural affinity for Reasoning, there are a finite number of types of Reasoning questions. It is easy to practice and improve on them all if you start early and work systematically.  

We believe that there is an uplift of 10-12% in terms of scoring available from learning how to approach each type of question and practising. A further 10-15% uplift available if your child can develop a speed of collecting up to 1 mark per minute. We cannot stress enough how important a factor speed is in terms of succeeding at Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning exams. The Wandsworth Test consists of approximately 60 questions in less than 1 hour. No matter what proportion of the questions your child solves correctly, they will not pass the test if they only get to question 40. 

How can I help my child develop their Reasoning skills for the Wandsworth test?

  • Firstly, aim to familiarise your child with each type of Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning question that they will come across. Teach them how to approach each type of question and how best to solve them. We have specialist tutors who can help you to do this if you don’t have the knowledge or time.
  • Once children are familiar, aim for accuracy. Encourage them to take their Reasoning practise slowly at first when they are learning how to approach the questions and concentrate on speed only when their knowledge is secure. Children must read the question carefully.
  • From the Summer holidays of Year 5, practise Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning every day. Bond 10-minute test books are perfect for this. A little bit and often works best.
  • From September of Year 6, encourage your child to work through their Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning practice at speed. They will need to pick up 1 mark per minute, whilst maintaining their accuracy. This is an essential element of preparation as Reasoning tests are notoriously time pressured. There is no point in your child answering accurately but only getting halfway through the paper in the allotted time. This is a hurdle we feel many parents never get through and is a common reason why children do not perform to their potential in exams.
  • Learn Reasoning specific exam technique for the Wandsworth Test. Our tutors can advise on specific school tests. 

How can Mentor help?

Here at Mentor Education, we specialise in the school entrance and the Wandsworth Test specifically. Our results speak for themselves, with 90% of our 2020 cohort achieving their first-choice school in 2021. 100% received an offer from their first or second choice school.

The key to this success is our annual Wandsworth Test programme that builds each year, from January of Year 5 to the January of Year 6, encompassing the whole Wandsworth Test syllabus, across the Reasoning disciplines tested in the exams themselves, exam technique and question practice. This allows young children to develop at an appropriate pace, with no element of cramming. We see your journey in three distinct phases and have organised our work to support you at each of these.

Our School Entrance Co-ordinator

One of the main advantages of working with Mentor Education is that we can coordinate your whole Wandsworth Test journey. Our dedicated Co-ordinator works to get to know you, your child and your aspirations. We can flex our services to reflect what you need at any point in your Wandsworth Test journey.

For example, if you don’t know where to start or don’t know if your child is a good candidate for the Wandsworth Test our School Entrance Coordinator can arrange an academic assessment brimming with data points to help you make decisions, target schools and focus tuition only on where your child needs it.

If your child’s needs change throughout the year, our Coordinator can swap out a generalist tutor, bringing in Reasoning experts as needed.

Essentially, our Co-ordinator’s job is to stay close to your journey and assist every step of the way. 

Specialist Reasoning Tuition for the Wandsworth Year 6 test

We have specialist Wandsworth Test tutors, who understand in great detail the Reasoning tests set by Wandsworth borough. These can change year by year and our exam tutors are always up to date with the latest knowledge. Many schools are increasing their proportion of Spatial Reasoning questions and this is a trend we see across the London Independent Sector. Our experienced tutors can help.

Get in Touch

Contact us for expert advice about the Wandsworth Year 6 test, specialist tuition, Academic Assessments and the next steps for your child.