Dulwich College

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If Dulwich College is an option for your child, the following article outlines everything you need to know about the school. Nightingale Tutors has a fantastic track record getting children into Dulwich and if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Dulwich College is an independent boys school in Dulwich, south London, with a history going back 400 years. It is a day and boarding school for boys aged 7 to 18, however, there’s an associated co-educational kindergarten and infant school (“DUCKS”).

The school seeks to get the best out of every one of its 1450 pupils, whatever his ability or interests, in a supportive community environment that encourages a sense of social responsibility.

Dulwich College is a competitive school, known for its high academic and sporting standards, with 10% of its 2020 leavers went on to study at Oxbridge. It also has flourishing music and drama departments. Famed for being one of the first English schools to introduce science into its curriculum in the 19th century, Dulwich College’s beautiful grounds were also where Harry Potter was filmed.

The College’s impressive sports facilities include a sports hall, gym, swimming pool, 70 acres of grounds, and a boathouse on the Thames. Many sports are on offer including rowing, badminton, water polo, cycling, triathlon, volleyball and horse riding along with the usual rugby, football and cricket.

Dulwich College also offers a fantastic performing arts program, putting on professional standard productions in its own fully equipped theatre and pupils regularly go on to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Keen to foster musical participation, regardless of ability, Dulwich College has over 650 music lessons taking place every week with a whopping 50 instrumental ensembles and choirs.


  • 84% of all GCSE grades in 2019 were Grade 7 or above (A*-A) with 36% of pupils achieving a Grade 9.
  • 63% of A-levels in 2019 were awarded an A* or A.

“10% of its 2020 leavers went on to study at Oxbridge”

Dulwich College 11 Plus Admissions Process

Dulwich College admits approximately 125 Year 7 pupils into its Senior School each year. Just under half of these boys come from Dulwich College’s own Junior School, while the rest come from state and independent schools. The window to register your child for Year 7 entry is from the April when they are in their Year 5, until the early November of their Year 6. There’s a registration fee of £150 for UK-based applicants. International applicants pay £300. The fee is waived for those receiving a Pupil Premium. Dulwich does not give priority to siblings of current students.

The job of a Nightingale Tutor can start here, we will happily guide you through this process and advise on any further questions you may have.

Dulwich College Exam Content

Examinations typically take place in early January. Dulwich College write their own entrance exams in English and Mathematics. They helpfully provide practice papers with answers to help prepare boys for these exams. Our tutors will specialise in these papers & questions and will work extremely hard to prepare your child and ensure they’re ready. Applicants should be aiming for at least 70%. In terms of CAT scores, Dulwich College want boys who score a minimum of 120. The English exam lasts 60 minutes (plus 10 minutes of reading time). This tests comprehension & creative writing. The Maths exam tests numeracy & problem-solving skills. This lasts 60 minutes. At Nightingale Tutors, we’ll select your tutor for their vast experience with the Dulwich entrance exam process and will work diligently to prepare your child. We offer a range of services alongside your son’s tuition to help. This includes:
  • Termly progress meetings
  • Guidance on school selection
  • Mock exams
  • Interview preparation
  • Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning courses
  • Scholarship groups
  • Access to Pastoral consultants
  Last year, boys were invited to sit a Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning exam in November 2020. 300 of these boys were then invited back to sit the Maths and English exam in the following January; the exam process for 2022 applicants will follow the same pattern. The Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning skills aim test a child’s natural ability and potential, rather than their learned knowledge. Here’s where a good tutor can really come into their own as reasoning is rarely taught in schools. At Nightingale Tutors, we believe a strong performance in these tests can set a child apart and work hard to prepare our pupils for them. We will expose them to continuously similar questions as well as run courses & workshops on the subject from our classroom space. Please contact Nightingale Tutors if you’re interested in working with one of our tutors.

“A good tutor can really come into their own as reasoning is rarely taught in schools.”

Dulwich College Interview

The 160 boys who score highest in the exam will be interviewed. Interviews are normally held in mid to late January. It’s important your child does not appear over-rehearsed.

Nightingale tutors has a wealth of experience preparing children for the interview and will work to ensure they feel at ease & comfortable before the big day.

Dulwich College is looking for bright, confident, well-rounded boys who are enthusiastic about learning. Ultimately, they want to know whether your son will suit the school and the school will suit him. For this reason, boys should know as much as they can about the school and the reason they want to attend.

Your son can get a taste of what it’s like to attend Dulwich College, as well as an opportunity to meet staff and students, by attending an Open Day event. He’ll be much better prepared for his interview and feel more confident as a result of this visit.

However, due to Covid, Dulwich College is currently unable to invite prospective parents and students to in-person Open Days. Instead, they have a virtual tour on their website and an introductory video from staff and pupils.

Interviewers are likely to bring up the topic of current affairs, so you and your tutor can prepare your son by asking his thoughts and feelings on what’s happening in the world right now.

During the interview, your son will also be asked to demonstrate his academic ability. Interviewers may give boys a text or image to discuss or a mathematics problem to solve. They will also ask questions that test your son’s critical and lateral thinking skills. Nightingale Tutorshas a bank of typical questions from previous candidates to help prepare and familiarise your son. A good example would be “Are there such a thing as good or bad people?” These questions do not have “right” answers but test how well a child thinks and expresses themselves.


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