Keystone Advice

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11+ & Pre-tests

28 February, 2019

This article, by Keystone Founder, Will Orr-Ewing, was originally published in Absolutely Education magazine. I have run a tutoring company at the crucible of the 11+ scene for the last 11 years, and have seen first-hand how hundreds of families approach the 11+. Here I answer some questions often put to me by parents, teachers, tutors and others connected to the sector. Do parents need to hire a tutor? No.

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7 February, 2019

During this panel discussion we talk through the key considerations when selecting a school for your child to move on to. The seminar is led by Keystone's Founder, Will Orr-Ewing who is joined by Director of Education, Ed Richardson as well as Dee Francken, an experienced Education Consultant. During the discussion we look to answer your questions on assessing which prep school or senior school is most suitable for your child.

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11 September, 2018

During this parent event Keystone’s Founder, Will Orr-Ewing, and our Director of Education, Ed Richardson answer your questions and address all aspects of the 11+ entry process.

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10 June, 2018

What did the old exams look like? This year’s (2018) examinations consisted of a paper based English and Maths examination. What will the new exam look like in 2019? At the moment, nobody knows definitively. The consortium have said that the exams will be as follows in their statement: “a one-hour long bespoke cognitive ability test including reasoning and Maths.

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11 January, 2018

Keystone's founder, Will Orr-Ewing, and Director of Education, Ed Richardson, share their insights on tackling entrance interviews for independent schools.

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14 December, 2017

If I were to ask whether all of you have been interviewed before, some of you might say that you haven’t and that you are finding the prospect of having an interview at a senior school rather alarming.

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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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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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10 January, 2016

Parents often ask us which books their children should be reading. In some respects, it’s the wrong question to ask – are there any books children shouldn't  be reading? – but with children’s free-time seeming ever to shrink, there is certainly merit in searching out the best.

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18 March, 2015

11+ and 13+ interviews for UK independent schools can be a daunting prospect. It is however easiest to look on an interview as just a question and answer session, the purpose of which is to tell someone who does not know you, a little more about you. The interviewer is not there to catch you out and there are rarely right or wrong answers.  Whilst we might not be able to alleviate your fears completely, we hope that the below advice will help make those 15 minutes go as well as possible.

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3 April, 2014

Parents often ask us whether we can help them prepare their children for UK boarding school pre-tests. What are they? These tests were first introduced by Eton College almost ten years ago. Where Eton leads, other schools tend to follow. A reaction to the growing number of candidates applying for each place, they are designed to help schools screen prospective applicants one to three years in advance of their actual entrance examinations.

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10 March, 2014

The march of Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Non Verbal Reasoning (NVR) is relentless. More and more schools, it seems, are choosing to screen students using reasoning examinations, believing them to test for innate, as opposed to coached, ability. At Keystone, we are often asked what parents can do to help their children prepare for such examinations. Does practice help? Most teachers agree that students' scores are improved by exposure to the format of VR and NVR questions.

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21 February, 2014

When I started tutoring almost ten years ago, one of the first things I did was search the Internet for information on the examinations I was preparing students for. The 11+ left me bamboozled. The 11+ is a loaded term, which means different things to different people. The frustration for Keystone parents and students is that much of the public 11+ information and material is not written with them in mind. This post tries to clear up some of the muddle.

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In the press

Ed Richardson
Times Educational Supplement
The West Journal