13 plus Common Pre-test St Pauls and Westminster.

(63 Posts)
timmytoes Thu 09-Jan-14 21:06:21

The new Common Pre test for St Pauls and Westminster has thrown up some very puzzling results at our school. Does any one else have any comments on the new format.

Michaelahpurple Fri 10-Jan-14 06:49:03

V curious how it has gone. My son is at the under school so we don't have much visibility , but from what he told me about the papers I suspect it is now harder for a boy whose strength lies in literacy to excel

EdithWeston Fri 10-Jan-14 06:55:13

The format isn't new as such, ISEB paper has been around for a few years (and sample papers can be bought).

Are you a teacher, or have both those schools really made their offers this early this year?

123flower Fri 10-Jan-14 11:18:49

Puzzling in what way?

Michaelahpurple Fri 10-Jan-14 15:17:34

Edithweston - the iWeb paper is new to westminster, having been decided upon for this year's entry only right at the end of the summer term.

Michaelahpurple Fri 10-Jan-14 15:18:41

And the interview invitations went out at the end of last term for W, as expected, so not early. Also interested to know how the results at the op's school were odd!

OddSins Fri 10-Jan-14 22:04:33

Im not sure the results are that odd this year. Boys who got Westminster offers have also got offers / scholarship offers elsewhere. The IQ scores from the headmasters report (CAT / Getintu) are every bit as important as the exam tests I suspect. But perhaps the OP experience is different?

timmytoes Sat 11-Jan-14 12:55:44

Oddsins the Westminster results are not out , it is merely the invitation to the interview stage that is out.
In prior years as Michaelahpurple refers to above, there has been a belief that the Westminster entrance pre-test favoured the numerical over the literary strong boy although both needed to be of a high standard. It was also rare for a boy to do well in the Westminster exam and not do well in the St Pauls exam although it was not always true the other way round. The introduction of the common pre-test for both schools was in response to larger number of boys entering (some against their head's recommendations) and the schools unable to cope with interviewing every candidate. That said the prep schools and parents were assured that strong candidates that perhaps did less well in the online tests but had extremely high endorsement from their prep heads would still get through to interview stage. This year and given it is the first year it is perhaps not surprising that a number of puzzling results have been thrown up at least at our school. Yes you still have to be strong academically and those weak candidates who seriously had little or no chance were still rejected but the Westminster exam has favoured those with higher English comprehension strengths (and strong but not exceptional numerical strengths) while the St Pauls exam has favoured those with higher numerical (but sometimes only slightly above average English). Thus we have candidates getting through to interview at Westminster but not St Pauls and vice versa depending on their particular strength. In addition there seems to have been no or very little regard made to the prep school head's comments and a number of very strong candidates have not got through to the Interview stage. These are not candidates who have been tutored but boys who have been consistently top or near top for many years in a school that regularly sends boys to the top London Day schools. No doubt the process will in future years be refined and settle down but it would be interesting to hear if the experience at our school has been mirrored elsewhere or not.

summerends Sat 11-Jan-14 15:05:28

timmytoes could not the simple reason be that both the schools want to change the balance of talents of their new entrants. I wonder if Westminster as a boarding school is better able to recruit exceptional mathematicians from overseas in their sixth form entry so now want more pupils with strengths in the humanities at this early stage. Computerised marking might make this easier to achieve

OddSins Sat 11-Jan-14 21:21:09

The offers are out; or at least at our prep. The expected boys got an offer.

yakoozee Sun 12-Jan-14 13:37:51

Hi, does anyone know what to expect from the second round English test at Westminster School 13+ entry? I know that St Paul's will test English writing only. I am just wondering is this will be the same at Westminster? My DS has been invited to interviews at both Westminster and St Paul's, so I am eager to find out more about the second round tests. I'd appreciate it very much if anyone could shed some lights. thanks.

Michaelahpurple Mon 13-Jan-14 20:11:02

The view at our prep was that the English was very easy and would not be sufficiently differentiating for our prep school's 11+ entry. Maths and reasoning more interesting.

Does anyone know what the stats are ie how many at the inline yet and how many are going through to interview?

Yakozee - since these are brand new arrangements the only people who are going to know are the school and the parents of the other boys your DS is competing with. suspect you won't get many answers, sorry, but you can call the schools and ask. I think you're right to assume writing as that makes logical sense.

Re nos Michael I had heard over 600 sat for SPS and 250 have been invited for interview for the 90-odd places.

Michaelahpurple Wed 15-Jan-14 14:26:58

Workingitout - gosh, those numbers a astonishing. No wonder the school switched to computer marking

espree Thu 16-Jan-14 20:29:34

350 interviews for 80-90 places .. For St. Paul's I hear. Plus short math and English papers ..

But don't be freaked out by the numbers...those 350 boys or whatever will also be taking tests at Eton, Westminster, KCS etc. eventually they will all get in somewhere and all these schools are fab. I keep telling myself it will be fine!

I now have definitive data so sharing it for the record in case useful in future years:
• Westminster : 520 took the ISEB pre-test, they are interviewing 260 boys for 70-75 places and will be over-offering slightly. They expect to make all offers in early March.
• SPS : 650 took the ISEB pre-test, they are interviewing approx 300 boys for around 90 places and they too will be over-offering slightly. Their offers will come within a week of interview but these will run all this year

Short Maths and English tests at each school alongside interview. Good luck all!

Moggy72 Thu 23-Jan-14 20:51:13

Anybody got a St. Paul's interview date yet ?

They're doing state school and overseas candidates at the moment. I know one person with a date so far who doesnt fall into those categories.

KingscoteStaff Thu 23-Jan-14 22:15:06

2 boys from my class (state primary) have interviews next week.

Touchlinedad Tue 11-Feb-14 18:00:47

One from our school (a day prep) has been interviewed at SPS so far - the rest that got through to that stage are all waiting for the envelope to land.

With those numbers you've got to have every sympathy with them for switching to the computer test.

Moggy72 Tue 11-Feb-14 22:40:19

Two from our school got interviews and received offers three days later. A third has interview this week. We are still waiting for our date. Twelve in total from our school got through to interviews.

One boy from our school was interviewed last week and had his offer by the weekend too.

Kalg Wed 12-Feb-14 19:59:42

It seems the earlier the interview, the more likely you are to secure a place at St Paul's - interviews run through to the autumn and places are already being confirmed. We are still waiting for an interview date for our DS. I'm now starting to worry!

Kalg why do you say that?

SPS has always run its interviews over a 10 month period or so and so I assume knows how to judge who makes their cut - I assume they have an absolute standard they are looking for and so know how to manage their offers so they don't use up all their places too early or have too many left at the end.

On the other hand...the cleverest boy in our school is the one who was invited first...

Eastpoint Thu 13-Feb-14 07:04:12

Are you sure they don't interview by age? Oldest first so they speak to the youngest when they are 13. Sadly I think there are still more September-December children offered places at this stage.

As the mother of an august born DC I do like it when schools manage this process by age, like Eton does. SPS say they are doing it randomly. But the boy called from our school is not the oldest, nor alphabetically first but is super clever so I do wonder....

Moggy72 Thu 13-Feb-14 11:01:54

Kings letters due tomorrow. .... Yikes

AuntFidgetWonkhamStrong Thu 13-Feb-14 11:36:38

Hmm - wish I could offer some reassurance but one of the brightest boys in DS's school (an August birthday) was also ne of the first interviewed!

Yes, King's tomorrow! And our post is ALWAYS late...

Kalg Thu 13-Feb-14 18:21:37

If SPLs interview a lot of suitable boys first, they will then offer places to them as they always give the results within 2 weeks of the interview. This then uses up the available places. It maybe of course that they interview lots of unsuitable boys first, which leaves the places open.

With my older son's year group, there were far more boys given places granted if they were interviewed by the middle of May. In fact, everyone interviewed after then in his prep school were WL or turned down.

Fascinating and I guess it makes sense for them to interview in order of pre test results since they have them. So an earlier interview date is a good sign. Which makes the waiting even more stressful. Am so glad we now have our interview date!!

Moggy72 Thu 13-Feb-14 20:16:11

Getting pretty fed up now. Had Westminster today and agree that the exam was challenging but not impossible. Got the impression from my DS that the interview was a bit of a meet and greet ... I.e. Very enjoyable but unlikely to be a big part of the process (I could be wrong). That means it will be down to exam performance. Still waiting for SP interview date. To think even if we get offers we need to clear Common entrance !!

Challengers Fri 14-Feb-14 05:20:09

My DS was the last one in his school to be interviewed last year . He is the youngest in his year so not sure if late birthday had any bearing . He got offered a place . Good luck to everyone !!

mariehubble1 Wed 19-Feb-14 11:33:23

I am new to the world of UK's education .My son had Westminster interview in feb first week.
It was ok .Maths was easy and english was bit challenging.
I am still waiting for St. Pauls interview date.

Any idea how they are calling children for an interview??Are they applying any criteria???

Please can some one help me to understand the processes.
Also it would be good if anyone can guide me @ exmas and pattern of an interview for St pauls.


Hi marie well done to your DS. If you read this thread you will see us trying to work out how SPS are deciding who to call when. They say it is random but evidence suggests so far the very cleverest boys have been called so far. No insight yet on what the interview is beyond short maths and creative writing and then an interview with some subject based questions. Impossible to prepare for beyond the obvious.

mariehubble1 Wed 19-Feb-14 15:07:03

Thanks a lot for your reply...
Lets see when my son will get his letter...
I know from our son who will be having an interview on 27th Feb.
Fingers and Toes crossedsmile

Westminister they call all the school boys on same day..

Kalg Thu 20-Feb-14 12:23:53

Mariehubble1 - good luck to your son the the 27 Feb.

I didn't really understand your comment about Westminster. Do you mean that Westminster will call us if our DS has a place. I thought we would receive a letter sometime in March. Any information gratefully received!

mariehubble1 Thu 20-Feb-14 12:42:45

Kalg, I mean to say westminister will call according to school..
All the boys who passed iseb from the same they will invite all of them on same daysmile
Also one of boy form our school have an interview on 27th Feb at St pauls.
I am still waiting for my sons datesad
Lets see..

Eastpoint Thu 20-Feb-14 16:33:48

I thought Westminster were going to write after the interviews before the end of the summer term (friend's son had his interview 2 wks ago).

What she means is that boys are called for interview in a group from their prep or primary school. And results letters go out 'early march'.

Kalg Thu 20-Feb-14 20:32:39

Thanks for the clarification - that's helpful.

mariehubble1 Fri 21-Feb-14 12:14:40

Its long waiting for an interview and again long long long processes to get the admission in the schoolsad

Kalg Sat 22-Feb-14 18:18:04

My DS has an offer from CLSB. So relieved that we have an offer now. Hopefully the wait for Westminster will be less stressful now.

mariehubble1 Sat 22-Feb-14 22:08:41

Congratulations smile

FIFIBEBE Sat 22-Feb-14 22:22:52

Wow, good luck to all your boys. Mine is about to finish at SPS and things have certainly changed in the 5 years or so since he got in.

Harassedbutoptimistic1 Mon 03-Mar-14 14:08:39

Hi I'm new to Mumsnet! I was just wondering if anyone had heard back from Westminster yet? I believe the results are due out at the beginning of March, according to the letter that I received. Additionally, has anyone any idea of what is expected on the St Paul's maths and English short tests and any help with types of interview questions would be gratefully received!

Kalg Mon 03-Mar-14 21:08:11

No news from Westminster yet. I heard also that we would hear sometime in March. I would also be interested in what to expect for St Pauls.

Mamala123 Fri 07-Mar-14 22:10:32

Anyone get Westminster offer letters today for 13+ 2016 entry?

Eastpoint Sat 08-Mar-14 08:39:27

Friend's son mentioned up thread received a Westminster offer yesterday, they're taking it.

mariehubble1 Sat 08-Mar-14 15:24:17

Yep My son got the offer lettersmile

My DS rejected by Westminster and results from his prep school surprising. The boy I thought was a dead cert is waiting listed. V tough clearly! Well done to those who were successful.

But happily my DS got the place at SPS which was his heart's desire so all's well that ends well.

Touchlinedad Mon 17-Mar-14 11:44:13

Congrats on the SPS offer WIOAIG - still waiting on an interview date here.

It's tough on those going for SPS still waiting on the interview as all their chums have had the news on Westminster, Kings or have secured places to move on at 11+ etc.

He's got into the other schools he applied to but can't really celebrate those offers as we're too miserly to pay the non-refundable deposits just in case SPS does come off.

wrinkletwinkle Thu 03-Apr-14 12:46:29

Hi everyone,
was really amaze with all the comments..
Kids are really doing hard work to get into these schools...
Congratulation to the boys and girls and their proud parents who got the offers.

I also need an advice from you all as I am new to this education system in UK.
My son got offer from Westminster and got in the interview date for St Paul's ...
So lets see how the St Paul's output will be.

Whats the basic difference in both schools???
Also do we need any special preparation for St. Paul's interview and test?

My son is equally neutral for both schools..But want to choose right school for him.

Please do advice me...

Well done to your son. The schools are radically different and if he is lucky enough to get an offer at both you must visit them again to see which one he prefers - generally boys know where they think they will 'fit' best.

For SPS interview, fill in the form they send and that shapes the discussion, be prepared for 15 mins maths and 10 mins English test before the interviews. But its not an interview you can prepare for other than knowing what you like and why.

Best of luck!

wrinkletwinkle Fri 04-Apr-14 16:23:06

Thanks a lot dear..
Yeah we will be going to visit the school as we are thinking for boarding option as wellsmile

Fingers crossed for St. Paul'ssmile

If boarding matters to you, i really would look very carefully - Westminster does have a lot more and is set up like a boarding school (though note people go home at weekends) whereas SPS is a day school where a small no board. Am sure they are happy but its not a full boarding experience.

Touchlinedad Thu 15-May-14 18:42:08

WIOAIG - see you there in 2016 smile

Relieved of SW London

Touchlinedad - many congratulations to you and your DS and indeed - I expect we'll see you on the touchline every Saturday afternoon! We are in the gap between DS1 leaving and DS2 going, and it's odd to have our Saturday afternoons back!

knickerbocker17 Sun 25-May-14 20:19:43

Deposits and Insurance
Our headmaster told us that so-called non-refundable deposits are fully refundable IF the school can and does fill the space you give up. My DS was given offers at KCS and CLSB. We have accepted one but we await his interview at SPS next week. Even if we had the choice, it's not absolutely clear which we'd choose.
Touchlinedad, I'd check since I think it's worth paying an offer especially if it gives you a decent insurance policy.

Touchlinedad Sat 31-May-14 10:43:42

Thanks WIOAIG and Knickerbocker - the insurance ones aren't needed now and SPS don't even give you the opportunity to say yes yet nor do they demand the deposit yet. It was just Tonbridge of the ones we applied to that asked for a Year 6 payment to secure your choice of house.

It's taken DS1 a while to plump for SPS as Tonbridge had clearly bowled him over - especially the fabulous sports facilities, cinema rooms in the houses (we don't run to one of those) and the prospect of the kit fairies. Quite how he thinks his current stuff gets washed is clearly not on his radar. Thankfully now at least half the fixtures will be a short trek (for us) to Barnes instead of a belt down to Kent.

More importantly for him he can join in the banter with his mates with a simple short answer now that he knows where he's going.

The process was seemingly painless for him (and the other boys) but the wait for the interview was agonising for us as poor parents. I for one will be thrilled when Year 6 is over - it's been worse than anything I remember about school / university & college interviews.

roula Sun 31-Aug-14 13:45:55

Hi. DS has a conditional offer to St Paul's and doing CE this year.
I am somewhat confused about the whole CE thing. I understand his papers will be on a different level than most schools. How can I obtain past papers for St. Paul's? And can only a tutor prepare him for it or can one do it at home just working through past papers?

Hi roula- it's been 6 years since ds1 did CE but in those days the CE papers were standard and issued by the ISEB. Papers available on their website. What was different was not the paper but the marking.

Your DS ought to be at a prep school preparing him for CE? They should be doing plenty of practice and no tutor needed unless your DS has a particular problem with a subject.

Go on the ISEB website and look at the syllabus for each subject. Your DS will have to offer level 3 papers and from memory the syllabus lists the topics for the level 1, 2 and 3 papers so you will know what to cover.

You might want to look at Galore Park textbooks. Most prep schools will prepare hard for the exams. Is your son in a prep?

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