Entrance Exams - am in purgatory with waiting!

(194 Posts)
Mrshighandmighty Sat 09-Jan-10 20:08:30

Hi there - My eldest son (yr 6) has just sat this week the Hampton, St. Benedicts and KGS entrance exams, with Latymer Upper and Emanuel next week. Does anyone have any experience regarding how long you have to wait to find out after the exam whether your child is going to be offered an interview?

Also - what is an interview like? What should we do to prepare him in the event that he might get an interview?

I have four boys altogether, and I know it will be so much easier next time around - but right now, I'm in a purgatory of ignorance!

Help anyone?

stokeytiger Mon 18-Jan-10 19:38:39

bad luck, mrshighandmighty, StB's interview could be very hopeful, I've been presuming that all these schools only give interviews when they've pretty much decided to give a place, they just want to check out that the kid didn't send someone else in disguise to do the exam, anything else would seem cruel.

Well, at last heard from KGS, and my ds got an interview, big phew, even if it would mean moving to West London.

Controlfreakery - my ds did 10+ City London Boys today.. he thought it was easy (not sure if he's old enough to be a good judge of how well he's done) He did mention lots of boys hadn't had time to finish their maths and verbal reasoning papers, some missing out 2 or more pages of each. I think it's incredibly hard for all of them, I've struggled with answers on previous papers!

Caoimhe Mon 18-Jan-10 19:42:21

Well done to your ds, stokeytiger, on the KGS interview.

Ds has his interview on Thursday - we still haven't heard from the second school - yikes!

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 18-Jan-10 19:46:44

KGS interviews sort out those given actual places from those offered waiting list places - that was the case when DD did the interviews. She was offered a straight place, her friend was a certain number on the waiting list. So it's not a given that they are in, although I would imagine that there is a fair bit of movement on the waiting list.

stillfeel18inside Mon 18-Jan-10 21:44:13

RatherBeOnThePiste - so if they get an interview, does that definitely mean they atleast get a waiting list place? And do you know how far down the waiting list they normally go (ie what placed person is the last one in?)

DS1 said that the CLS Maths paper today was just like the practice one that he did, but that the numbers were different! He thought it went OK.

singersgirl Mon 18-Jan-10 23:20:42

There are 2 types of interview at KGS - a general interview, or an interview focusing on either maths or English; you're told which it is when they call you to arrange it. Apparently (according to SW London lore) no one has been known to not get an offer of a place after a general interview. This is hearsay! DS had a general interview and got an offer.

RatherBeOnThePiste Tue 19-Jan-10 07:10:08

DD had a general interview but my friends DD had a maths interview, and they went over some questions with a maths teacher. She was offered a straight place too.

My DDs friend was 5 on the waiting list but I have no idea. ( She went elsewhere.) A girl from DDs school was offered a place in about the June before they went, so she must have been considerably lower on the waiting list. I really don't know where though, sorry.

They don't do anything with the waiting list until after the national offers day in March.

2010herewego Tue 19-Jan-10 10:20:09

My DS said the same thing about the CoL Maths paper being very similar to a practice one he had done previously.

I take my hat off to the school, they clearly know how to run these days. DS said it was a great day, that he really enjoyed it and that the year 7 boys he met were very nice.
I had to ask him if he was talking about the exam day or the open day we attended grin

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 20-Jan-10 07:42:57

Two of DDs friends have younger sisters who had their KGS interviews at the end of last week. But they do organise the girls first.

stillfeel18inside Wed 20-Jan-10 10:10:07

singersgirl - do you know how long KGS normally give you between calling up and interviewing? (Might need a bit of preparation time if DS has a maths/english interview!)

Mrshighandmighty Wed 20-Jan-10 11:41:08

Well - feeling much more positive ... ds is really pleased about St. Bs - interview is on Tuesday - hoping for a positive outcome. We still have Latymer and Emanuel yet to respond.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words - and good luck for any remaining exams still to be taken ... nearly there folks ...

stillfeel18inside Wed 20-Jan-10 12:12:21

Mrshighandmighty - best of luck to your DS at St Bs and with the others. Lucky you having finished the lot - you can build a nice bonfire with those practice papers!

singersgirl Wed 20-Jan-10 14:22:11

Can't remember how long it was before the phone call, but I think we had about a week from then until the interview - though they gave us a choice of times. The woman who called (not sure if she was the registrar or not) told me on the phone that it would just be a general chat.

MrsGuyofGisbourne Wed 20-Jan-10 19:03:50

Came to this a bit late... Ds took 10+ @ KGS and got a letter on Monday offering interview, but they haven't yet called to arrange a time.
He did the 10+ CoL on Monday and had a fantastic time there - especially enjoyed the lunch hmm & playing football on the roof hmm naturally couldn't remember anything about the actual exams...
He liked KGS because the snack they were given was a kellogs square that he had never had before... can't imagine what he might say in an interview - he can be a bit off the wall sometimes, but we assume that the interviewer will be familiar with the ways of 10 year old boys and assess him on his suitability for the school and the school's suitability for him...
Good luck to all!

2010herewego Wed 20-Jan-10 21:25:02

We got a second rejection today. We only have one left to hear from and am terrified that it will be another No.

After the first rejection, DS was very down and hard on himself and so I haven't told him about today's letter yet. I know two of his friends at school got through and so will be asking him tomorrow so although I think I can put it off for one more day, I really can't think of a way to tell him that won't leave him feeling even less confident about himself.

I hate this whole process and it never occurred to me that he wouldn't get through to interviews. I think he underperforms at exams as he is certainly on a par with the friends that got through. The pressure I feel (and I think he will feel) to get an interview from the next school is immense.

Am very sad and worried about the longer term effect this sort of rejection will have on him. Especially if he sees all his friends going through to the other schools.

controlfreakery Wed 20-Jan-10 22:07:55

oh 2010, it's a harsh business for our poor 10 yos isn't it? and pretty stressful for us too. does he have to move schools in september or can he stay on where he is? do you have a plan b? have been through it all once 2 years ago but it's no easier this time. have no idea how ds2 will have done in the exams. do you have any idea when to expect cls i/v letters? fingers crossed.

2010herewego Wed 20-Jan-10 22:28:52

Yes, it feels extremely harsh especially as the rejection from the latest school was supposed to be our "safe" option. I guess we should have applied to 5 or 6 schools but we were always told that he was a good candidate and it seemed wrong to apply for schools we weren't keen on.

If he doesn't get an interview at cls, then he will be going to a local school. It won't be the end of the world, but I know he will feel like an "almost ran" and having to deal with his friends going to the schools that everyone thought he was a dead cert to get into will be very hard.

I think we have to wait another week for cls. Not sure what I will do in the meantime, or how I should prepare him for another potential rejection.

singersgirl Wed 20-Jan-10 22:59:19

How is it going for DS2, Mrs G? I'd forgotten he was doing exams now. I'm so glad to have a year or 2 off smile.

Needmoresleep Thu 21-Jan-10 08:44:54

Good luck to everyone. A year later and it is all over and both kids (11+ and 13+) are happy and settled in their new schools.

London days schools at 11+ are a real lottery, and produce some strange results. Much of it is a numbers game and not getting a place should not imply rejection, though it is hard to feel otherwise.

We were in the same position as MrsHighandMighty in that no school was a given, so DD tried 5. We were lucky in that we had a fall back of staying on the previous school, so were able to take the approach that every school we applied to was a school my daughter wanted to go to. We therefore tried not to think about which one we preferred until we knew what choice we had. The prospectus cannot tell you where you will find the best-friend-for-life or the inspirational teacher, and every school, including the most academically sought after, will have a few amongst its cohort who find it hard to settle.

We did not try St Bens as it is a bit far for us. However we do know a lovely girl who started in September and who is very happy there. My own daughter is enjoying the switch from a very academic prep school to a less hot house environment with lots of sport and is far happier.

In terms of interview, I was told, by an interviewer, that they are really looking for a child who can talk to adults and who has something to say. What they say is less important! It can be obvious which kids have been coached, and they can come across as very dull.

If a child does not get anything when they should have, and it does happen, you might talk to your Head Teacher, assuming they have good experience of the process. (Or firing off some careful letter to schools at which your child got an interview, or others you failed to consider which might be easier to get into.) Year on year schools go in and out of fashion. In the next few weeks schools will find out whether they will have to add an additional class or whether they will be going through their wait list too quickly. (However don't expect the latter to happen to really competitive schools like CLS. Too many parents will be prepared to ditch their previously accepted school and lose a terms fees.) A Head Teacher may be in a position to ask this question, and also confirm that your child would fit in well within the cohort.

If you are writing I would couch it in the form of an enquiry about an occasional place. These do come up, and can be from the start of Y7, and though they cannot make promises, schools may want to encourage good prospective candidates.

I am so glad it is over. In the end all my daughter's friends got schools they were pleased with. I hope the same is true for everyone here.

stillfeel18inside Thu 21-Jan-10 16:47:31

2010herewego - I really feel for you. The rejection feels horrible, especially when (as in your case) you know that your DS is clever enough for certain schools but on the day just doesn't happen to quite get the required number of marks. Is he in a state school? In which case, would you consider putting him in the last 2 years of a prep school? (Probably a horrible prospect to go through it all again, but it's a possiblity I've always had at the back of my mind as I know that some prep schools empty out a bit as people leave for grammars at 11). I hope you get good news soon but if not, I'm sure that Needmoresleep is right - at the end of the day, much as schools all like to give the impression that they're full to the brim with huge waiting lists, there will be spaces here and there.

2010herewego Thu 21-Jan-10 17:40:56

Thanks for the kind words and advice Needmoresleep and Stillfeel18.
DS is in a state school and I hadn't thought about putting him into for the last 2 years of a prep. I know a few children locally who are at prep and have also applied for the grammar schools so I imagine that in March when the offers are out there may be places freed up from september.
I will give that some serious thought and perhaps make appointments to talk to the heads of some of them in March.
I don't think DS would mind going to a prep for 2 years and sitting CE, as he knows most of the local preps are very good schools so it wouldn't feel like a failure.
Still harbouring very faint hopes for CoL, but I think I am a little deluded!

Caoimhe Thu 21-Jan-10 18:09:57

2010herewego, what a miserable few days you've had - I really feel for you and your poor ds.

Ds is at a prep school and every year quite a few join Y7 to retake entrance exams they failed first time round. The school is very successful at getting them in at 13+ so that may be a good option for your ds if CoL doesn't come off.

I agree with the others that schools often do have places even if they claim to be full. I think this year has been bizarrely competitive - a few boys at ds's prep haven't made it to interview for one local school and there are some real surprises amongst them.

deadbeatdad Thu 21-Jan-10 20:18:15

OP - May I ask as guidance for next year what sort of NC level your DS was achieving at his state school.

From what I have seen entry to some of the so-called 'academic schools' (which often means to many posh schools) is as much about fine gradations of social class. You can see it in some of the questions in past papers: size of a hockey stick; conversion to Carribbean dollars etc and interview questions.

If your DS is targeted for say a 5b end of year 6 you may have just come up against some of the lingering snobbery that still attached to some parts of our educational system.

deadbeatdad Thu 21-Jan-10 20:18:15

OP - May I ask as guidance for next year what sort of NC level your DS was achieving at his state school.

From what I have seen entry to some of the so-called 'academic schools' (which often means to many posh schools) is as much about fine gradations of social class. You can see it in some of the questions in past papers: size of a hockey stick; conversion to Carribbean dollars etc and interview questions.

If your DS is targeted for say a 5b end of year 6 you may have just come up against some of the lingering snobbery that still attached to some parts of our educational system.

controlfreakery Thu 21-Jan-10 21:04:03

hmm really dbd?
can't speak for schools i know nothing about but certainly at city they are only interested in academic potential at the exam stage... 2/3 of the 11+ entrants come from state primaries... from a very wide range of backgrounds.

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