With the start of the new school year almost upon us, it’s time for many to start preparing for independent school entrance exams.

Opinion is divided on whether children should be intensively coached to maximise their performance in entrance exams. There are those who believe that the selection process should be based on ‘natural ability’, and there are those who believe that every available resource should be applied to ensure an offer from a first choice school. There are plenty of parents whose opinions fall somewhere between the two extremes, and who will, to a greater or lesser extent, prepare their children for the exams. Everyone should make an informed decision about what is right for their child, and their particular circumstances.

Children who are already in the independent school sector will more than likely receive suitable preparation at school. On the other hand, children hoping to switch from a state school to an independent school may find additional preparations beneficial, or even essential. Either way, here is a checklist of items to consider:

  1. Find out the format of the exams for the particular school you are applying to
  2. Obtain specimen papers or past papers, if they are available
  3. Obtain suitable practice papers and/or workbooks for your child to work through
  4. Ensure your child is familiar with the vocabulary used in the specimen papers, past papers and practice papers
  5. Encourage your child to take extra care with spelling and punctuation
  6. Word games, puzzles and logic problems can be a fun way to practice logical thinking and broaden vocabulary
  7. Mental arithmetic skills are extremely useful. Children should know tables up to 12 reliably, and be able to add and subtract at least 3 digit numbers quickly and accurately.

Whatever style of preparation you opt for, the key to making the exams and the selection process less stressful is for both you and your child to know what to expect.

Here are some useful websites and suggested preparation materials:

For ISEB Common Entrance (11+ and 13+) past papers, revision guides and preparation materials try www.galorepark.co.uk

For ISEB Common Entrance syllabus www.iseb.co.uk

Bond practice papers and assessment papers for ages 6 to 13 years, available from all good booksellers

www.Schofieldandsims.co.uk workbooks suitable for ages 6 to 11

If you live in the Witney area and are interested in Maths tuition to prepare your child for independent school entrance exams, please email me or see the Maths Tuition and FAQs pages for further information.

Alternatively, you can always give me a call if you want to find out more.