Keystone Blog


20 October, 2017

Many UK independent schools now ask prospective students from overseas to sit the UKiset test as part of their entry process. Most schools use it to assess a student’s level of English, before asking you to sit their own entry papers, but some schools offer places based solely on the UKiset results and school reports. We have outlined the structure of the test below as well as some tips on preparation.

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19 October, 2017

Almost every UK independent school sets 16+ exams for students hoping to gain entry into their sixth-form (year 12). Additionally, schools request previous school reports and predicted GCSE grades. Students are usually offered a conditional place, subject to the school’s minimum GCSE requirements. Most schools do not have a very big sixth-form intake and places are limited, with a high application to place rate.

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12 October, 2017

We have worked closely with Stephanie Cheah at Waypoints for a number of years and all the more so since establishing Keystone’s office in Singapore in March. Waypoints offer UK boarding schools consulting to families in Singapore and organises the British Education and Schools Show in Asia, which runs for the second time later this month.  Keystone’s team attended and spoke at BESSA in 2016 and we are delighted to have been asked to return for the 2017 event.

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21 September, 2017

All applicants for admission to an Oxford degree course involving History must sit the History Aptitude Test (HAT), which is designed to assess a broad range of skills.  Students can often feel a little uneasy about the test at first, as it is very different from A level examinations.  To help make the HAT a less daunting prospect, I have compiled the following introductory guide to what the test entails and how best to prepare for it.

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14 September, 2017

Diana Stewart-Brown, head of Keystone’s Singapore office, considers why overseas parents are attracted to UK independent schools. A few parents have recently questioned the merits of UK boarding schools in comparison to international and local schools in Singapore. Why, they ask, is British education seen as the ‘gold-standard’ across the world, especially while Singapore tops the global education rankings.

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8 September, 2017

Whilst Keystone does not encourage piling too much pressure on to yourself or your child, it is important to recognise the importance of the 11+ exams. For most children, it is their first ‘proper’ exam and can have a significant impact on at least the next seven years of their lives. As a rule of thumb, Keystone recommends one year of proper preparation for the test although in some circumstances it may be prudent to start a little earlier.

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7 September, 2017

An increasing number of independent schools have recently put pre-tests in place, which has caused a flurry of panic among parents and children alike. These tests are purposefully designed with as little transparency as possible and no tutor or school can claim to have in depth knowledge or experience of the tests themselves, in their current form. There are three main types of pre-test at the moment, CEM, ISEB and UKiset, although others are being developed.

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29 August, 2017

Parents today take a more active interest in their children’s education than the generation or two that preceded them, so that it’s not unusual for those of us working in education to be asked our views on a “growth mindset” one day or the “outdatedness of the 19th century factory model of education” the next.

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1 August, 2017

The age old common entrance exam is still insisted upon by many of the UK’s independent schools for 11+ and 13+ entry. The 11+exams tends to comprise English, Maths and Science whilst the 13+ comprises of ten subjects (Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Religious Studies, Latin, French/Spanish/ German/Mandarin). The full syllabus for each subject is available online as are practice papers and revision materials.

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28 July, 2017

What is it and why have many schools adopted it? The Cambridge Pre-U was launched in 2008 and is an equivalent course to the A Level studied in the final two years of school. It aims to offer more depth than the A Level and prepare students more appropriately for university.

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22 June, 2017

‘What shall I do when I leave school?’ is just one of a number of important questions students make during their final three years at school. But, it is one that they shouldn’t feel daunted by as this is an exciting time and, typically, the final step in their formal education. The most salient point to remember is that there is a spider’s web of people from whom they can seek advice: teachers, parents, friends and even current university students.

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21 June, 2017

WHY is the Personal Statement important?  The personal statement is a 4,000 character (one page) document in which you have the opportunity to show admissions tutors that you are ideally suited to study your chosen course at undergraduate level. The lion’s share of a UCAS application is formulaic (e.g.

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15 June, 2017

At a glance, Eton’s 2017 Roll of King’s Scholars appears conventional; a list of the UK’s most notably successful prep-schools. Look more closely and one school sticks out like a sore thumb: Stanford OHS. Stanford Online High School is a selective independent school where all teaching takes place via real-time, online lessons. Classes are seminar-style and address groups of 15 students who can see and hear the teacher as well as video clips, diagrams and other resources.

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12 June, 2017

Over the last decade, gaining entry to UK independent schools has become increasingly competitive. Below, Diana Stewart-Brown discusses some of the biggest factors.   Changes to independent school admissions.  In recent years, many of the top UK independent schools have introduced pre-tests and discontinued the age-old practice of registering children at birth.

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8 June, 2017

Choosing a prep-school in London is often a daunting process and whilst you likely have some fundamental pre-requisites set in stone, we have listed a few points below which you might not have considered.   Does your child fit the academic mould? Consider whether your child will need a good SEN department or particular support as a gifted, talented and able student. Look out for small class sizes, excellent pastoral care and enrichment classes outside of the curriculum.

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31 May, 2017

When Keystone offers advice on choosing schools, we aim to recommend schools which will best prepare a child for adult life, both academically and socially. Gender is one of the most politicised topics of our day, and one that of course bears on schools that limit themselves to just one gender. Single-sex schools are of the opinion that gender matters.

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18 April, 2017

Keystone Tutors Singapore has now been live and kicking for nearly two months! We are here to give families based in Singapore access to our wonderful tutors in the UK via our online tutoring platform and we are here to stay! There has been a fantastic initial response to our on the ground presence and we are starting to help students here prepare for competitive entrance exams to UK independent schools and universities as well as GCSEs, A Levels and IB.

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2 April, 2017

Keystone's Director of Education shares his thoughts on making an effective revision plan. What? You should ask your subject teachers for advice about what to study and revise. They usually have a good idea about which topics appear regularly on exam papers and which are less frequent. Although you should aim to have a good understanding of the whole syllabus, it is not unreasonable to want to prioritise your learning.

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31 March, 2017

Revision can be daunting and establishing a starting point is often a challenge at this time of year. The following article aims to provide ideas about where to start and how to approach revision with suggestions that can be immediately put into practice and will hopefully ease any revision concerns during the exam season.

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17 February, 2017

As a tutor I have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of students, but despite the differences between them I often encounter some of the same issues over and over again.

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In the press

Times Educational Supplement
The West Journal