Transitioning to secondary school is a big step for every family member, and applying for a place in your child’s preferred school can be very competitive!
If you’re hoping to secure a place in one of the top independent schools, it’s essential to help your child prepare so they go into the entry process confident and fully equipped to succeed. Entry examinations are usually held in year six, so if your child is heading into Year 5 this year, now is a good time to consider preparations for this type of exam.
Leaving test practise until the last minute, or even when a learner has started year six, means that they have less time to prepare, so it’s wise to get started as early as possible. Here we look at how entrance exams work and why a private tutor is of substantial advantage to learners gearing up for the progression into secondary school.
The Independent Schools Education Board Common Pre-Test
The Independent Schools Education Board introduced a new 11 plus test three years ago, abbreviated to the ISEB Pre-Test.
This test is offered online through a centralised system and is rolling out across an increasing number of schools, including:
- Brighton College
- Cranleigh School
- Hurstpierpoint College
- Lancing College
- Seaford College
- Tonbridge School
- Worth School
ISEB Pre-Tests may eventually replace the historic Common Entrance Exam (typically sat at age 13 plus). High-quality schools are increasingly using this test to offer places further in advance, with greater selectiveness over which talented students secure a placement.
Most tests are run reasonably early in the school year and run throughout the autumn term. They are usually available at the child’s existing prep school, with the benefit of familiar surroundings to mitigate the pressure of a formal testing environment.
Helping Your Child Prepare for ISEB Pre-Tests
The key to success for all children is to ensure they have confidence in their abilities and the knowledge required to showcase their skills through the online testing process. Independent prep schools usually deliver dedicated coaching to support students in performing well on the tests, putting learners in state schools at a distinct disadvantage. As with all tests, preparation is key.
Children respond far better if they can experience the test format in advance and have regular exposure to the type of questions they will be asked.
Private tutors are an excellent resource, creating an equal playing field where pupils who don’t have the benefit of in-school training can practise test questions under the guidance of a teacher who will pick up and re-teach areas that are weaker to give them all the support they need. This experience removes a considerable amount of stress and anxiety, ensuring your child can prove their full potential.
The Advantages of Private Tuition Ahead of Independent School Entry Examinations
There are several other ways to help children get ready for ISEB Pre-Tests or supplement their private tuition sessions, such as:
- Online resources including Atom Learning and BOFA 11+
- Bonds books, usually suggested by schools
However, while adaptive online tests are good practice, they have significant limitations. For example, they only act as a practice tool and don’t address where a student may have gone wrong.
In contrast, a tutor will help correct any mistakes and support a learner in explaining how to change or improve their answer to respond to the question correctly. Tutors can also finesse exam techniques to ensure a correct answer contains supporting statements or figures to achieve a higher pass mark.
Exams can feel like a high-pressure situation for young children, so it’s vital they have strategies to help break down a complex question and cope with any nerves to ensure this doesn’t hamper their ability to score well.
Parent Support with ISEB Pre-Test Exam Strategies
Excellent tuition means that you avoid over-coaching or trying to cram too many sessions into a short period. Rushing through test practices or attempting to fill gaps in student knowledge too quickly is rarely successful. Instead, here at ETS, we advocate for progressive training over six to eight months, with regular tuition sessions.
Gradual learning is a more effective way to provide a solid grounding of knowledge and ensure children understand the learning materials thoroughly. This strategy also helps parents identify which schools will be best suited to the interests and personalities of their children.
Not every learner excels in academic subjects, so a private tutor will support parents in understanding their child’s strengths and what type of school environment will help them flourish and enjoy their ongoing education. Even students with exceptional attainment can struggle in testing, so exam strategies are just as vital as the learning itself.
Some of the most successful tuition strategies include:
- Showing learners how to answer questions faster and help them complete all the test questions in good time.
- Teaching ways to respond in different ways, perhaps addressing new exam techniques that teachers will not have covered in the classroom.
Many year five pupils will have minimal exam experience, so learning how to answer questions and explain their reasoning against the clock is essential.
Why Choose ETS for ISEB Pre-Tests Tuition
Elite Tutors Sussex is proud to have a proven track record of appointing exceptional tutors. Our professional educators have thorough experience of ISEB Pre-Tests and support children at every stage to ensure they secure their first choice in school placement. Pre-test tuition involves learning the test format and harnessing engaging teaching materials to help pupils understand how to increase their scores and apply their learning to each problem.
We believe that children perform best in exams where they have confidence. Therefore, beginning preparation early gives them sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the test style thoroughly – and ready to take on the challenge when the time comes. Hiring a tutor with specific knowledge of the ISEB requirements and scoring process is vital. Other examinations follow alternative formats and won’t provide children with the same depth of familiarity they require.
For more information about ISEB Pre-Test tuition or to understand how a private tutor can enhance your child’s skills ahead of entrance exams for your chosen schools, please get in touch with the ETS team for friendly, professional advice.