Frequently Asked Questions

What form do the S1 Entrance Exam papers take?

The examination comprises an English paper (reading and writing elements), a Mathematics paper and a Non-verbal Reasoning paper.

Are past papers available for the S1 Entrance Exam?

We do not provide past papers, nor do we encourage any sort of preparation for the tests, since specific preparation is unnecessary.  On the day of the Entrance Examination we do, however, work through a practice test with all the children before starting the real tests. We believe this is the fairest approach to adopt.

Do children need to do any special preparation for the Junior School Entrance Assessments?

No, special preparation is not necessary.

When should we apply for entry to the school?

Applications for P1, P6 & S1 August 2018 entry should be made by Tuesday 9 January 2018. This is because the entrance assessments are held in the January of the year of entry. Applications for other year groups do not have to be submitted at any particular time. These places are subject to a space being available in that year group.

Can we apply at any other times?

If you are moving to Aberdeen or for other reasons cannot apply before the application deadline, there may be places available and applications will be accepted. Please contact the Admissions Office (select Admissions). Please note that bursaries are only considered for pupils who have sat the S1 Entrance Examination.

Is there a waiting list?

Applications are always accepted. A waiting list will only be applied to candidates who have been successfully assessed where a year group is full. The position with regard to each year group can change quite quickly but individuals will be appraised of the exact situation when they apply.

How are candidates assessed for entry to years S3-S6?

The selection process for years S3-S6 takes the form of a series of interviews (candidates for S3 will also sit tests for English and Mathematics) and it is therefore preferable for pupils to attend the College in person in order to be interviewed by the relevant Heads of Department. However, it is possible for applicants for places in P4-S6 to be assessed in schools abroad including interview by Skype or equivalent for pupils applying for entry to years S3-S6.

What is the format of the interviews for entry to S3-S6?

The interview process comprises 20 minute slots with the Heads of Department of each subject selected for study. These interviews, along with written tests in English and Mathematics for S3 candidates, are usually scheduled to occur in a morning. It is helpful if some course work/completed assessments etc can be brought to interview (eg English, Technology/Engineering, Art & Design etc). Most interviews are oral but in some cases there is likely to be a requirement to complete some brief written or practical work. It is expected that those wishing to study Music will perform on two instruments at interview. Otherwise, the conversations will concentrate on what an applicant has studied previously in each subject and how secure his or her knowledge is of key concepts, principles, content etc.

What information is required for entrance to S3 or S4?

Applicants need to select six subjects in addition to Mathematics and English, which are compulsory. The S3/S4 curriculum booklet provides details of the subjects that are available and the categories of subject (science, languages and a social/environmental subject) which must be included in an applicant’s choices. It is always helpful if at least one reserve subject can be included in the list of subjects passed on to the Admissions Office (select Admissions).

What is the nature of the S3/S4 curriculum?

The S3/S4 curriculum comprises eight National Courses, studied over two years. In some subjects, the bulk of the work connected with the formally assessed aspects of the course occurs in S4 but in others there is a significant proportion of this kind of activity which occurs in S3. It is preferable to avoid applying for S4 entry as, even within Scotland, the content of the courses undertaken and the order in which units are studied can vary significantly from school to school.

What is the equivalent in the English school system of years S3 and S4?

In England, years 10 and 11 (the years in which GCSE subjects are studied) are equivalent to S3 and S4.

Are the dates of birth used to determine a pupil’s year of entry to school the same as in England?

No. In England 1 September is the cut-off date while in Scotland it is 1 March. As a result, pupils in England tend to be older than their Scottish counterparts when they leave school.

Do pupils coming from outside the Scottish system have difficulties adjusting to it?

Generally, no. The key factors tend to be a pupil’s ability and motivation. Arrangements can be made to cover any significant work that has not been covered, and sometimes it is a condition of an offer that steps be taken to address particular gaps or weaknesses.

Where can I find information about the courses (National Courses, Higher courses and Advanced Higher courses) studied by pupils at Robert Gordon’s College?

Documentation for courses that are examined by the Scottish Qualifications Authority can be found on their website.

Can we arrange to see around the school?

Of course. We are delighted at any time to show visitors around and, wherever possible, our tours will be conducted by College Prefects and/or Primary 7 pupils. Please follow this link to arrange a visit.

Another possibility is to visit us at one of our Open Events.