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Westminster / St. Paul's 13+ pre-tests

(14 Posts)
Moggy72 Mon 18-Nov-13 09:41:37

Hi - DS is sitting the pretests for Westminster and St. Paul's this week. As these tests are pretty new feeling a bit in the dark about what to expect. DS was worried about the maths bit... Has heard it is not a traditional maths exam but more logic and number sequences etc.

Anyone know about this. ??


SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Mon 18-Nov-13 20:05:28

hmm Sure someone must know something!

JustAnotherUserName Tue 19-Nov-13 09:32:34

I found it a strange OP to be honest. If you are going for Westminster and St Paul's at 13+, 99% chance you are a prep who would (i) have told OP all about what to expect and (ii) taken 40-60K of your money to get you ready for it? (Not many state school kids do 13+ into indies.)

Not helpful, I know, but the strangeness might explain the silence.

Needmoresleep Tue 19-Nov-13 09:42:42

My understanding is that these schools had become concerned about the amount of coaching for the test. They are looking for potential rather than kids who have been well-schooled, so they have tried to devise something that tests intelligence rather then learning.

I would guess that it would involve math challenge type skills.

I would also relax. This is an attempt to set a level playing field, and if your child is good enough they will be OK. What you don't want is for your child to get into either of these schools and find that they have to work really hard simply to keep up, with no chance then to enjoy the extra things the school has to offer.

Moggy72 Tue 19-Nov-13 09:49:11

I think that's right, they trying to make these tests "tutor proof" so that kids aren't overly prepped for them. Justanotheruser name - this is the first year of the ISEB pretest - so seems like everyone including the school is scrambling about a bit! Reminds me of when GCSEs were first introduced. Anyway thanks for the input, fingers crossed that DS does well.

Touchlinedad Tue 19-Nov-13 14:48:18

My oldest DS just had the ISEB pretest last week. Half the school were doing it and to a boy they didn't look too bothered by it afterwards. Given that on average around a quarter of the school make the St Paul's / Westminster grade I would surmise that the test mets it's aim to adapt to the relative intellect of each pupil and to try to find their appropriate level. As it was there no forlorn faces so each pupil must have been answering questions up to or close to the end of each section.

Could I tell you what was in it? I'm afraid not as immediately post test he assumed his wannabe teenager mode and resorted to grunts and the most I got out of him was the assertion that "it was good / alright".

There didn't appear to be a time limit on the sections as some of the boys stayed doing the test for a long time whilst others cleared out early for an extended break. Whether this is poor exam technique (in the case of the ones that hurried through it) or down to some boys really struggling (for the slow finishers) I don't know. As JustAnotherUserName pointed out - they're at a prep school where the teachers are entrusted by us to prep the boys and get them into the senior schools - if the teachers weren't admonishing them for finishing quickly or early (in relative terms) it must have been becauset he teachers considered they'd given it enough of a shot.

Now it seems the ISEB pretest also counts as the pretest for Wellington so if any were considering applying there as well they will have got the pretest out of the way early.

Not very informative I know but I wanted to get across the fact that it appeared to have been far less stressful for the boys than it was for the parents.

If the tests were introduced to help reduce the numbers for interview then we've just got to hope they've done enough to get through. The real angst will come with the interviews (if we get that far!).

I was at a St Paul's open day recently. They said that they didn't really want to introduce them but they have so many applicants now that they can't interview them all. They did mention that the scores are age scaled so in theory a 10.5 yo might get a slightly lower score than an 11.1 yo but still rank more highly.

I'm afraid that DS was about as forthcoming as TouchlineDad's DS.

Moggy72 Tue 19-Nov-13 16:44:11

Hmmmm interview angst - can't wait. Still have the Kings exam and City of London exam to get through first!

Michaelahpurple Fri 22-Nov-13 19:15:48

No schools are very clear on this new pre selection plan, including Westminster under , who might be assumed to have the inside scoop smile. The change was I think driven by the burden of marking "proper" exams given the vast numbers sitting.
If you look at the teacher links in the ISEB site you will see that the test is designed to have no time limit and it is left to schools to decide how to structure things. As the boys can't go back to change things it makes sense to take their time , subject to their school's timing approach.
In content it is I think pretty similar to the exams it replaces - it isn't a wacky IQ test like Eton's. Given there are only about 36 questions the maths is necessarily more puzzle-like than sums, and no pencils are allowed. It is similar in style to the primary maths challenge , if your school takes that. My feedback was that maths was hardest, English oddly easy and the reasoning average, for what that is worth. How boys are meant to really distinguish themselves against the pack for such selective schools , particularly if literacy is their string point, I really don't understand, and it doesn't strike me as suitably differentiating for these schools - I think they might be left with a headache at the who to interview stage, and miss some great writers, but let's see.

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Fri 22-Nov-13 19:34:34

I have DC at one of those schools, and I teach in a very challenging state comp. In both schools (ie mine and DCs) it is the CATS tests that prove to be the most reliable indicators of potential achievement. My advice grin is to relax. the children do the best they can, and then forget it. Do not fret, if the child does not get in there a re many lovely schools they will be HAPPY in. And the happy bit is the most essential.

Touchlinedad Thu 15-May-14 14:03:28

Realise it's a zombie thread now but we've finally got to the end of the process. On the basis of just our school there seems to have been no method in the calling to interview - neither on age, school based academic performance etc, alphabetical order or anything.

The interview really was one you can't revise for and they are very good at putting the boys at ease. They must have seen enough 10-11 year old boys in their time to know how to engage with them. It's the parents that are nervous.

Both my wife and I felt like the worst interview candidates as having devoured all received wisdom on mumsnet and the school's own website we really didn't have any questions.

Now we just have to hope it's still his 1st choice.

acrobat Fri 01-May-15 11:54:15

hi does anyone know where we can get practice for the iseb onlinetests forStpauls and Westminster ?

GooseberryandCinnamonYoghurt Sat 02-May-15 17:34:38

The tests are not set by ISEB and I think the point of them is that you aren't able to prepare for them.

GooseberryandCinnamonYoghurt Sat 02-May-15 17:46:39

My apologies, Acrobat - I didn't mean to appear so abrupt! Also I was wrong about ISEB!! blush. Re preparation though, if your son is at a prep school (presumably in year 5), then his school should be preparing him adequately. We used Bond Online as a support resource and found that very useful, although obviously not structured in the same way as the Common Online Pre-Test.

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