Past papers are a fantastic way to prepare for any kind of exam - but UKiset do not publish them, sadly!
Fortunately there are a number of ways to prepare for the different sections of the test, and any candidate taking the UKiset would be well advised to practice using the resources and tips below.
Section 1: Reasoning
Online test practice: Parents and students are often uncertain as to how to prepare for this section of the UKiset, as it assesses cognitive ability and logic rather than learned knowledge. It is most beneficial for students to familiarise themselves with the format of reasoning type questions. There are many web-based tests which are available online, and we advise students to get to grips with this section by undertaking a variety of these computer-based practice tests. We recommend the following websites:
Speed: Students should answer questions as quickly as possible, and should practice working under time pressure to ensure they get through all of the questions.
Accuracy: It is not possible to go back and review or change your answers for the computerised test, therefore it is important to not only be quick, but very careful when selecting the answer. Therefore, it is very helpful to practice as many question types as possible as familiarisation is key to understanding patterns and sequences more quickly. Keep practicing until you feel confident with all question types.
Section 2: Cambridge English Test
Practice papers: Students can familiarise themselves with the format and layout of the reading and listening test using the free online practice tests provided by Cambridge .
Reading practice: We encourage students to cultivate a reading habit and to be exposed to all kinds of texts which will naturally expand their vocabulary and comprehension skills. Reading age-appropriate books, stories, news articles, blogs, can also help a student gain more insight into different writing styles. You can refer to Keystone's reading list for Reception- Year 3 and Year 4 - Year 8 reading list.
Listening practice: We recommend that students explore audiobooks, watch the news, educational documentaries, or age-appropriate TED talks which can help improve their listening and understanding of English.
Section 3: English Essay Writing
The essay component of the test is typically sent on to the independent schools a candidate is applying for them to mark. Markers are typically looking for the following:
- A piece of writing with good structure
- Well-formed ideas and/or character(s)
- Detail in description
- Varied use of vocabulary
- Accurate spelling and grammar
Structure: The first step to tackling the essay is to spend at least 5 minutes planning and brainstorming ideas, before putting pen to paper. This is usually done in bullet point form, listing points and ideas for each paragraph of the essay. An essay must have paragraphs and include an introduction, argument (2-3 paragraphs) and finally a conclusion - structure is a key criteria on which the essay will be marked.
Content: Underline the key words in the question to ensure that you have understood what it is asking, and to check that the points and ideas you include in the essay are relevant to the topic. Marks are likely to be awarded for a clear and logical argument which is consistently relevant to the task and communicated with a wide range of vocabulary and expression. Well formed ideas and detailed description are also important.
Spelling and Grammar: Be careful with spelling and grammar, as this is the easiest way to lose marks due to silly errors. Keep an eye on the clock and always leave at least 5 minutes to read through your work before submitting it!
Handwriting: This part of the test is hand-written, therefore you must remember to keep your handwriting neat and tidy so that it is legible to the marker.
Here is a preparation tip from Emily, one of Keystone’s most experienced UKiset tutors
“First of all, it is important to understand what will be required of you in the UKiset exam, as it will likely be quite different from other exams you have taken. To prepare for the computerised format and type of question you will get, there are a number of different websites that I use. This practice also gets you used to working under time pressure.
When it comes to the content of the test, the best thing you can do is make sure you are familiar and confident with the syllabus for English and Maths. For verbal and non-verbal reasoning it is slightly different - here the best tactic is to ensure you are aware of all the different question types, and then develop strategies to help work through each.”
Keystone Tutors have a number of highly experienced UKiset tutors who can help with UKiset preparation, wherever you are in the world.
For more details on how Keystone can help prepare your child for the UKiset and UK schools entrance exams, please call the office for a chat with one of our client managers, or contact us via our request a tutor form.