Virtually all independent schools set entrance exams for students wishing to join. The most infamous is the 11-plus, aimed at students joining for the start of their secondary school career, in Year 7. However, as the sector grows increasingly competitive, admissions have become increasingly complex, and there are often multiple different types of test a student will need to pass. Naturally, the pressure on students and parents alike can be considerable, and the stakes feel very high. Preparation for the 11-plus and other admissions tests is one of the most popular services offered by Cardiff and Vale Tutors. Receiving dedicated, one-on-one help has many advantages and can give an applicant the edge in this highly competitive environment.
Knowledge of Local Cardiff Schools Criteria
One of Cardiff and Vale Tutors’ greatest assets is its local knowledge and experience. As an agency based in South Wales, applicants to nearby independent schools can rest assured that their tutors will be familiar with any quirks or anomalies specific to each school. It’s the nature of independent schools that they have their own way of doing things, and no two application processes are exactly alike – whether it’s the tests themselves or the conditions and timetable in which they’re taken. So, whether a student is applying to St John’s College, Cardiff, and will need to familiarise themselves with the Cognitive Attainment Tests, or Howell’s School in Llandaff, where tests in English and Maths are used, having an informed and experienced tutor makes all the difference.
Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning
Because independent schools are often selecting based on potential as well as established academic ability, some 11-plus exams test for less familiar things. The most common of these are verbal and non-verbal reasoning. These obviously have no direct analogue in the curriculum, and most children won’t have encountered these sorts of problems in ordinary school work. A Cardiff and Vale Tutor can fill this gap by providing specialist knowledge and resources for verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests, and the types of challenges they present.
Importance of Assessment
Preparing in advance for entrance exams is essential. One of the most useful aspects of Cardiff and Vale private tuition is that assessment of a student’s progress is adaptive and dynamic. The earlier a student can be assessed, the better, because from there a tutor can gain a sense of how much preparation might be necessary. Organising and scheduling this preparation can often be as much of a challenge as the tests themselves, and the burden can be lightened enormously with the advice and guidance of an experienced tutor. For sitting 11-plus, we’d usually recommend starting assessment around the end of Year 5.
Finally, it’s important to note that most independent schools also conduct interviews with prospective students. While it’s much more difficult to prepare for these, a tutor can help to foster the type of engagement that a school will be looking out for. Often this is the simple advantage of one-on-one tuition: it gives students confidence talking about academic subjects by providing them with plenty of practice articulating themselves in an academic context. Again, every independent school is different, and what one interview might be assessing will differ from the next, but in general, the more practice a student has conversing with adults, expressing their enthusiasms and interests in a thoughtful manner and responding to discursive challenges, the better chances they’ll have at winning a place at the school.