Preparing for Entrance Exams
Senior schools often report back that they love having Coworth girls as they are confident and curious to learn
Year 6 can finally relax now that exams are over. We are incredibly proud of our girls who year on year achieve places at their top ranked schools. This year we have pupils with offers to Heathfield, The Marist, Benenden, Farnborough Hill, Wycombe Abbey and St George’s, Ascot including 8 scholarships and an exhibition place.
A question that is often asked at Open Events is what are your feeder schools? The beauty of a Coworth education is that we don’t have set feeders. Being a small school, we know each child and can tailor their education to provide them with opportunities to really develop skills to help pupils reach their full potential. Senior schools often report back that they love having Coworth girls as they are confident and curious to learn.
Parents are an integral part of the process. Some parents have a school in mind before they’ve chosen a prep school, others seriously start thinking about it when the conversations start in Year 4. Whichever camp you fall, we operate an open-door policy allowing meetings with the Head as many times as you need to help make the choice of school.
It’s common for most schools to set their own exams. They all follow a similar format based on 4 sections; maths, English, Verbal Reasoning (VR) & Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR). Some will hold assessment days, which can come before or after the written exams, or even on the same day. Others will have a more formal interview process whilst some schools will base their decision entirely on the written exam.
Prep for the exam indirectly starts from the first day in school. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning, based on logic and problem solving are meant to be indiscriminate but the skills learned from a well-rounded education enable children to do particularly well in these areas. These are skills you can develop at home from a young age too.
Non-Verbal Reasoning is about using logic and deduction to spot relationships and patterns between objects. Puzzles, logic games and pattern matching games all require these skills. Observation skills are key too. You can encourage these by a simple game of I-spy in the car for example or spot the difference games.
Verbal Reasoning aims at evaluating the ability to think constructively. These skills are honed in school but you can develop this skill in a fun way at home too. Word games such as Scrabble & Wordle are great for practicing vocabulary-wordsearches, crosswords and hangman too! Most importantly encouraging reading. If you read together, it is good to talk about the book and ask comprehension questions.
A year before the exam is when to start buckling down with practice papers. Girls will do mock exams in school as it allows them to experience the pressures of the exam environment as a trial run. This should help keep them calm and increase their confidence, as they gain an understanding of what to expect in the real thing. It also gives an indication of how well they work independently and under timed conditions.
Girls will also receive ample interview practice with Miss Cowell with the number of sessions required dependent on the individual and confidence levels. Opportunities to practice with visiting Heads may also arise.
As a parent it is easy to become anxious yourself around this time. Children are perceptive and will pick up on your insecurities so it is important to reassure that you’ll be happy as long as they do their best no matter the outcome. We also run workshops to guide parents on techniques and ways to help prepare to alleviate some parental anxiety.