It’s a very formal day: Although the assessment itself is taken under formal conditions in the school hall in the morning, you will actually be spending a whole day in school to allow you to sample senior school life and mix with girls who may well be your classmates in I Senior. All pupils wear their own clothes rather than school uniform for the day, and during morning break and lunchtime you will have time to socialise informally in the playground or school dining room. The afternoon is spent in smaller groups taking part in different activities with some of the senior school teachers; we see our assessment day as the first step in the transition process of moving into I Senior and really start to get to know the pupils from this point.
It’s very scary and intimidating: Everyone feels apprehensive but everything is done to make the actual assessment seem far less daunting than you might imagine! When you arrive on the morning of the test you will be warmly welcomed and will be able to meet other pupils who will also be sitting the assessment. It is an opportunity to chat and get to know one another before the test begins. Once you are in the exam hall, you will meet the Deputy Head of school, and the Head of the senior school Guidance team who are there to reassure you and talk you through each section of the assessment. There is the opportunity to try some practice examples for each section before answering the questions yourself. Each of the four sections is split into two tests, which take 8 to 10 minutes each to complete and do not involve writing extended answers – all questions are multiple choice where you are given five options and simply have to mark your choice – A, B, C, D or E – on an answer grid.
You need to do a lot of revision beforehand: There is nothing you can do to revise for the entrance assessment. We use a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help pupils and their teachers understand how individual pupils learn best, and what their academic potential might be. It is not a test of learned knowledge; the tests are designed to assess your cognitive reasoning ability without reference to curriculum-based material. Tests involve thinking about shapes and patterns (non-verbal reasoning), words (verbal reasoning), numbers (quantitative reasoning) and some questions are answered by mentally generating and transforming visual images (spatial ability).
You can’t do well if you are dyslexic: Pupils with dyslexia have every chance of doing well in the test. Some may have marked strengths in non-verbal, mathematical and spatial reasoning tasks, and it is important that we are able to recognise and unlock that potential. Pupils who need help with reading text may be supported by a reader through the introductory sections of the tests.