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Wycombe Abbey School

School rating 4 / 5 by

Wycombe Abbey High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP11 1PE United Kingdom
4th to 12th
4th to 12th
Girls only


Wycombe Abbey School review by .

The school boasts an outstanding public examinations record each year, illustrating the all-rounded nature of its academic programme; there are no particular departments weaker than the other- traditionally it has been strong in the arts and humanities department, with History still attracting the biggest number of Alevel students. However, in recent years the science department has enjoyed much success with a large number of students being offered places in top UK universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial or UCL to read medicine, chemistry or engineering-related degrees. In addition, the school has a strong tradition of educating classicists. Though in UK schools overall Latin and Classical Greek is generally an unpopular subject with fewer schools offering it as a main subject choice each year, the school maintains a strong classics department and each year a number of students go on to read a classics degree. During GCSE years, the classes consist of around 10-15 pupils, primarily based on lectures and preps to work through the syllabus, but for Alevels, students enjoy a much greater degree of freedom. Class sizes are much smaller, and can be as little as 4-7, especially for humanities subjects that are more focused on discussions with peers. For GCSEs, classes are divided according to different levels and lessons are conducted to suit each group's pace. However, for A levels there are no such divisions as students tend to choose subjects where their particular strenghs lie, and because class sizes are small enough to receive focused attention of the teacher on each individual. Extra lessons can be arranged on parent's request, but I have found from experience that teachers are willing to give up their time for an individual extra lesson on request without any formal arrangement. Advanced students can take GCSEs early for all languages, ancient and modern. Top level maths students take an A-level module early in their GCSE year. The workload can be heavy at times though I have not found it to be overly burdensome. The workload depends on the student as to how many subjects she wishes to continue with for A-levels. If she decides to take 4 AS levels and 3 Alevels, for instance, she may find that she has even more spare time compared to her GCSE years. In any case, there are no hours of organised study outside lessons, and there are more free periods, the older a student gets, and so the reputation of heavy workload comes from the fact that students are motivated to set themselves high expectations. Some would comment that there are certain pressures, but I have personally found it to be a healthy competitive atmosphere.

College Counseling

The school has an attentive and supportive college counseling programme for UK universities. University application....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

I have entered as a 13+ candidate, which is the school's largest intake. (Other intakes....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Though I have entered the school mainly because of its reputation for academic support, I feel that lasting friendships and the overall experience in developing these are by far the most valuable things that I leave with. The school does have an competitive academic ethos, but this is overshadowed by the fact that it has an extremely accepting and friendly atmosphere. There have been no incidents of theft, bullying, violence, drugs or crime as far as I have been aware of, and I feel that the school is a warm community in which individuals can feel at home with her....

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