For many children applying to their respective senior schools, the first port of call is the ISEB Pre-Test in October or November of Year 6. Though relevant mainly for boys, girls also sit the test for application to co-educational schools. The test takes the form of an online cognitive assessment in English (25 minutes), Maths (50 minutes), Verbal Reasoning (36 minutes) and Non-Verbal Reasoning (32 minutes). The test is age standardised so does not discriminate against younger children in the year group and is designed as a snapshot of both their ability and their potential. The test can be taken once during the year at either a child’s current school or at an exam centre.
Based on the results of the ISEB Test, children are then formally invited to sit a school’s entrance exam, which for the majority of independent schools, happens in the Lent Term of Year 6. Some schools will continue to take applications up until as late as the Summer Term of Year 8, although this is increasingly rare. Assessment days usually include a written or online exam in English, maths and verbal reasoning, a short interview and a set of group activities. The majority of offers are then made or declined by the end of the Summer Term of Year 6.
In preparing children for the 11+ pre-tests, we aim not to place any concern or pressure on a child and seek to manage expectation regarding parents’ aspirations. We are able to familiarise students with the types of questions that are likely to be asked and to help exude conviction and foster confidence in their preparation, in order to feel at ease on the day and ensure they are able to perform to the best of their ability.
It is important to note that there is by no means a one-fits-all model and many schools offer their own unique ways of assessing children. Some schools pride themselves on extensive testing whilst others seek to stay academically selective without pre-testing children in any way. For more information on each particular school, a phone call to the admissions office should help answer any questions you might have.
We work on the basis that coaching children into reciting rehearsed template answers to questions is detrimental to their chances of a successful application. A relaxed approach in this area is vital to a proficient and rewarding interview experience. The interview part of a school’s assessment is often the defining factor in a student’s success or failure; as such, preparation for interview is of paramount importance and our interview sessions are tailored specifically for the intricacies of each school’s interview process.