Keystone Advice

30 May, 2019

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 usually online and taken when a student is in Year 6 and/or 7. Students who perform well are then offered a conditional place, subject to passing their Common Entrance in Year 8. The test provides a standardised measure of attainment, potential and capability. It takes approximately 2.

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17 May, 2019

11+ and 13+ interviews for UK independent schools can be a daunting prospect. The best and easiest way to approach these is remembering that the purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to learn more about you. They are not designed to catch you out and there are rarely right or wrong answers. Below is some advice which we hope will help to both prepare and relax you ahead of any upcoming interviews.

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26 April, 2019

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. It is therefore important to ensure the process is as stress free and as positive an experience as possible.

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4 October, 2018

During this panel discussion we share our top tips on the 7+ and 8+. Keystone's Founder, Will Orr-Ewing is joined by Ed Richardson (our Director of Education) and Lucy Watts, who was formerly headmistress of Eaton House School. After 25 years at Eaton House, Lucy now helps place children in UK schools, advises on entrance exams, and undertakes 7+, 8+ and pre-test interviews.

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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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25 April, 2018

During this panel discussion we share our insights into the 7+ and 8+ admissions process to UK independent schools. Keystone's founder, Will Orr-Ewing is joined by our Director of Education, Ed Richardson and Christine Leslie. Christine has had a career spanning over thirty years in education, including twenty years as a headmistress of co-ed, girls’ and boys’ preparatory schools.

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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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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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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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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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19 August, 2016

Overview Originally, the 7+ was designed for girls who traditionally mature quicker than boys, for whom the 8+ was designed. However, some boys’ schools now use both examinations. We would recommend opting for the 8+ if your child is a relatively slower developer, giving another year to grow in confidence and prepare for assessment. Remember that failure at this age can be damaging to confidence so, unless your child is a robust character, trying the 7+ first may not be wise.

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6 August, 2014

In my consultations with parents from outside of the UK, I am often asked to clarify the Common Entrance. What is it? How important is it? What is the best way to prepare for it? This overview aims to clear up any misunderstandings. What is it? Common Entrance was established in 1903 and it has been the standard entrance exam for many of the United Kingdom’s most respected independent schools since then. Its 11+ and 13+ exams are currently used by 250 senior schools.

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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

Knight Frank
Ed Richardson
Times Educational Supplement
The West Journal