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30 Nov 2020

How to Prepare for an 11+ Interview

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School interviews are an important part of the 11+ entry process. Schools are looking for students who are articulate, intellectually curious and enthusiastic.

Interviews often include a handful of questions from each of the following categories:

  1. About you
  2. Extra-curricular interests
  3. Academic questions
  4. Brain teasers

We have included some examples of these questions below. The interviews are usually conducted by one teacher and, for 2020-21, 11+ interviews are being conducted online.

Example Questions

About You

  • Describe yourself in 3 words.
  • Why are you interested in our school?
  • What is your favourite subject?
  • If you were a headteacher, what would you change at your current school?
  • Describe a situation that you have found difficult and how did you resolve it, find a solution?

Extracurricular Interests

  • What is your favourite book?
  • Tell me about your hobbies outside of school
  • Explain a current event that interests you
  • Describe a situation when you have demonstrated: good teamwork skills/ creativity/ thoughtfulness.
  • What is your biggest achievement?

Academic Questions

  • Read this poem out loud and identify one literary technique
  • Give a synonym/ antonym for: unusual, exuberant, wise
  • How much greater is 1cm2 than 1mm2?
  • A cuboid has side lengths of 4cm, 3cm and 4cm. What is the volume of the cuboid?
  • What do plants need to grow?

Brain Teasers

  • If I borrow a million pounds, am I a millionaire?
  • What is bravery?
  • Is there more happiness or sadness in the world?
  • What is more important, being right or being nice?
  • I have streets but no pavement. I have cities but no buildings. I have forests but no trees. I have rivers yet no water. What am I?

Top Tips

Before the Interview

  • Before the interview, write down a list of all your achievements and use these examples in the interview
  • Visit the school website and write down three specific things that you like about the school (e.g. facilities, extracurricular offering, arts/science focus, school values)
  • Use materials and resources on the school website to give you an idea of what is expected
  • Prepare 1-2 questions to ask the interviewer. Unprepared students may be thrown off if asked at the end of the interview ‘Do you have any questions for us?’
  • Conduct a mock interview with a friend, parent or tutor

During the interview

  • Make a good first impression! When meeting the teacher, be sure to smile, shake hands and make eye contact
  • Body language, speed and clarity is important. Answers should be no longer than around 15-20 seconds
  • The interview is opportunity to showcase your personality, curiosity and academic drive. Making a good impression involves showing interest in the school curriculum, extracurricular activities and current affairs
  • For brain teaser questions, consider the wording – these questions don’t have a right or wrong answer. Rather, the interviewer is testing how you think

Our team of 11+ specialists have in depth knowledge and experience of the application process at top independent schools. We conduct mock interviews, tailored to your school choices, and 11+ English/VR and Maths/NVR preparation lessons. Please contact us for more information.

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