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- In the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries, it is a fee-paying private school which prepares students for the entrance exam to public schools. Such schools take children at 11, who may go to public schools at 14 years of age. This is in contrast to the state school system, where children go from primary school to secondary school at 11 years of age. Many public schools now run their own prep schools, and some have entry at 11 rather than 14.
- In the United States it is a private school which prepares students for college. For example, Village School (Great Neck, New York) is a preparatory school.