Particularly bright children may be invited to take part in Election, the academic scholarship exam. 

Election is taken instead of the Winchester Entrance exam. It is a unique selection process involving both written examinations and interviews. Election typically takes place at the school over three days in the April or May of Year 8.


What does success at Election mean?

Those pupils who are successful at Election are awarded either:

  • A Scholarship – pupils are offered a place in College, the oldest of the school’s boarding houses. On joining the school, they are known as Scholars and are distinguished by the gowns they wear.
  • An Exhibition – pupils are publicly recognised for their academic ability and accept their existing offer of a place in one of the school’s other boarding houses.
  • Headmaster’s Nominations – an award where a pupil has not previously been offered a conditional place at the school or been successful in gaining an Academic Scholarship, but whose exam results are strong enough to gain a place in the school. He will subsequently be offered a place in one of the school’s boarding houses.

An Academic Scholarship, Exhibition or Headmaster’s Nomination does not automatically carry a remission of school fees. Financial assistance is available via our substantial bursaries programme.

What to Expect in Election

Candidates from prep schools sit compulsory papers in English, Maths 1, Science and General Paper 1. They must also take at least three papers from the following subjects Latin, French, Greek, History, Geography, Maths 2 and General Paper 2.  

We have reformed the Election process to be more accessible to pupils from different academic backgrounds. Candidates from the maintained sector sit compulsory papers in English, Maths 1 and General Paper 1. They are, of course, free to undertake any of the additional papers if they wish. 

The subject syllabuses below set out what may be included within each paper. If you have any questions about Election, please contact Dr Alex Latter, Master-in-College, or Mrs Ros Robertson, Election Secretary.

Subjects Syllabuses  

Preparing for the Exam

Parents and teachers preparing candidates from the maintained sector to sit papers in English and Maths (Paper 1) at Election are invited to e-mail the Master in College or the Registrar’s office with any questions. They will be happy to assist and can direct their queries to the appropriate Head of Department if needed.

Past papers are a helpful way of preparing for the written component of Election. They give a good indication of the level and difficulty of typical questions. The following examples of Election papers from recent years are provided to give prospective pupils an idea of what to expect.

2022 Election Papers (Not including General Paper I)  
2021 Election Papers (Not including General Paper I)  

Dr Alex Latter

Master in College

Dr Latter joined Winchester as the Head of English in September 2019 and became Master in College in 2022. He is responsible for the Election process, from initial discussions with potential candidates about their suitability for Election, through to the final selection of the scholars.

Alex has previously taught at Magdalen College School, Oxford, and the King’s School, Canterbury, where he was the Head of English and a Deputy Housemaster. He has degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of London (where he also taught at Birkbeck College). His first monograph was published in 2015, and he continues to research and publish work on modernist poetry. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, travelling - particularly to Italy - and cooking.

He is married to Dr Eleanor Collins, herself a distinguished scholar, who is Acquisitions Editor for Literature at OUP. They have a young son, Harry.


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