Preparing for the 11+ Interview
11+ Interview Tips
How often are children interviewed? Not very often! For most it will be a first experience, so here is some information and a few tips to help smooth the process. Everyone will want your child to present themselves as honestly and fully as possible in the time given.
Each school knows the sort of children that they cater for. They are looking for their ‘type’ of child with the sort of ‘behaviours’ that are expected at their school. Will your child fit in, not just academically but socially too? It is a good idea for you and your child to do some research about the school. What are their achievements, what facilities do they have, what subjects and activities do they offer: and most importantly, what are their values? They will want to find out what your child is interested in contributing to school life and which activities they will want to take part in? The school will also want to know if your child is committed to studying and has the personal drive and stamina to work hard.
What else will they have to do?
They may have to read aloud so practice reading previously unseen text aloud at home. Encourage reading with expression and understanding. Use the punctuation to help the passage make sense.
They may have to talk about an item of interest or a piece of work they are proud of. Your child needs to be ready to talk with enthusiasm and confidence. They will be nervous so give them opportunities to do this beforehand.
- Why are you interested in joining our school?
- What hobbies and interests do you have (sport, music)?
- Can you tell us about your school and any extra activities you currently do?
- What book are you reading currently outside of school?
- Who is your favourite author?
- Is there a current event or world issue that interests you?
The key with these questions is to elaborate! One word answers will not convey much enthusiasm. What does your child feel excited by and what do they feel strongly about?
Discussing the news and world events shows a broad interest in the world and will give your child an awareness of their wider context. The Week Junior Magazine, or similar, is worth buying for current news.
On the Day
- Get a good night’s sleep, go to bed early with The Week Junior or good book! Be fresh and alert but being nervous is also normal!
- Eat a good breakfast. If you are nervous, and can’t eat, perhaps drink a smoothie. Also, drink some water and take some with you.
- Dress appropriately, look smart and formal. Parents too!
- Arrive early! You do not want to be rushed. Parking may be an issue, so work out travel arrangements beforehand!
- Remove ALL distractions, phones, electronic devices, smart watches off, read a book or look at the school prospectus again. Be ready to engage when adults speak to you, give good eye contact.
- Sit up straight with good posture. Show you are enthusiastic, even if you are nervous! Don’t hide, look at your feet or chew your sleeves!
- Try to enjoy being the centre of attention.
Remember, if the school believes you will fit in well and thinks it has what it takes to help you develop your particular talents they will probably offer you a place. If it is not the right school for you, please don’t think you have failed, you just might need a different type of school.
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