The Harrow Test is the pre-test for entry to Harrow School, taken by the majority of boys between mid-September and mid-October of Year 7. Boys are offered conditional places based on successful Common Entrance exams taken in the summer term of Year 8. The Harrow Test takes place at the school; for parents and teachers who decide to attend, they will be invited on a tour of the school and a visit to a Boarding House.
At Oppidan, we specialise in preparing boys for the Harrow Test; that preparation is based on a measured approach to helping boys remain engaged about the process, without putting undue pressure or concern on that application. A less is more approach is considered the mark of an appropriate guide of preparation, especially with the interview. Preparation for the academic elements of the test include familiarisation with the types of questions likely to be answered, and confidence to be able to tackle those problems head on.
The Harrow Test is composed of the following elements:
English and Maths Tests (1 hour)
These tests are taken on a computer and take an hour to finish. It comprises five section: for the English, vocabulary, grammar and comprehension, and for a boy's numerical ability, mental arithmetic and problem solving. The test is timed and each section has a separate time allowance such that a boy has to use the time allocated for each specific section.
English Writing (20 minutes)
This is a straightforward assignment used very generally to check a boy's literary and writing ability. The school are looking for clear, accurate English - it is not an area to get overly fussed or concerned about.
Visual Processing Speed Test
This is a short test assessing a boy’s ability to process visual information.
One interview will be with a House Master and the other will be with a senior member of the Harrow teaching staff. The aim of the interviews is to give a boy a chance to develop on his breadth of academics and an opportunity for candidates to showcase their interest in learning. A willingness to engage is the priority; senior schools are looking for a “zest for learning” and whether you are timid or confident, the point is to paint detail on your life, to outline your interests in a variety of subjects, and to show a willingness to engage in debate and give their opinion. Senior schools are not keen on boys who have been rehearsed or who have memorised template answers.
At Oppidan, 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. Interviews will involve poetry analysis, debates, thunks and picture analysis too all within the context of critical thinking.
Examples of Interview Questions:
Why do you want to come to this school?
What interests do you have outside of school?
What is your favourite subject?
Why do you like a particular subject?
What makes a good teacher?
Which books have you read recently?
How would your friends describe you?
What has been interesting you in the news recently?
Harrow Test Results
By the end of the first week of December of Year 7, an applicant is put on one of the lists below and is notified accordingly. Roughly 180 offers are given out for 160 places and some boys (about 30-40) are placed on a waiting list (no batting order.) An offer of a guaranteed place is contingent on an average of at least 65% overall at Common Entrance and a minimum of 60% across both English and Maths papers.