A great number of secondary schools include an interview within their admissions process. It
allows the schools to get to know their candidates holistically, as people as well as students;
so they can decide who they believe will best fit their school. It’s a great opportunity for your
child to show how they will thrive in that environment and so it’s important that they can
portray themselves in the best way possible. Knowing how and when to start preparation can
be daunting, so here at Merit Tutors, we created a guide to help your child present
themselves as a suitable prospective pupil during their 11+ interviews
What does the interview consist of?
Of course each school’s interview process will differ slightly depending on their independent
requirements, however they are all likely to start with ‘About you’ questions: this allows your
child to give the interviewers an insight into who they are as a person, their characteristics
and so on. It also gives the school a chance to get to know your child on a more personal
scale, rather relying solely on data sent from their previous school.
Some questions they may ask are: Describe yourself in 3 words or What is a difficult
situation you have been in and how did you remove yourself from it?
They’re also likely to ask Academic questions: they want to see the process of the child
reaching their answer, did they come across any problems and how were they overcome? Of
course your child should use this opportunity to demonstrate their existing subject
knowledge and so will require prior revision and consolidation of the topics they have
covered in school. It is important for your child to remember not to rush the process, to think
carefully and even out loud if it is helpful for them. They may ask your child to: Identify
literary techniques from a particular poem, What is the volume of cuboid with these…
They could ask brain teasers to get a better understanding of your child’s thought process.
This doesn’t require subject knowledge, rather it focuses on problem solving and critical
thinking skills. Some examples are: Is there more happiness or sadness in the world? Is it
better to be nice or right?
Lastly they will want to know what the pupil’s extra curricular activities are, and how they can
develop non-academic skills within a real world context. Being a well rounded student is
appealing to schools, so it’s preferable for your child to engage in some activities beyond
their school curriculum. Their questions may include: What is your current hobby? What is
the book you are currently reading/favourite book you have read?
What to do prior to the interview:
The interviewers will be looking for the student that best fits their school environment, so it’s
a good idea for both you and your child to familiarise yourselves with the school’s values and
the facilities they offer. Your child should be able to demonstrate that they will not only be an
asset to the school but will greatly benefit from it as well. Preparing and practising some of
the example questions shown above would be helpful; making lists of things such as: the
pupil’s previous achievements, strengths and weaknesses etc. Also creating a few questions
to ask the interviewer at the end shows initiative and enthusiasm that could set them apart.
How to stand out during the 11+ interview:
1) Be confident
2) Dress smart
3) Good posture and eye contact
4) Speak clearly and elaborate on answers – It’s vital to speak slowly and loudly so the
interviewer can easily understand. Don’t be too restrictive with your answers but avoid
rambling too, to keep your answers detailed and relevant stick to the P.E.E technique (Point
5) Be yourself – Try to show parts of your personality and discuss things that interest you
Your child’s performance in the interview will all come down to the quality of preparation that
took place prior. So ensuring your child has consolidated their subject knowledge and their
reasoning skills is essential. Merit tutors are dedicated to aiding parents in preparing their
children for their 11+ exams as well as the 11+ interviews. We provide several 11+ resources
In English, Maths and Science, along with logical skills like verbal and non-verbal reasoning.
We also offer weekly spelling tests and periodical mock exams to make the process
smoother and less stressful for you and your child. For any enquiries regarding signing your
child up with us contact …
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