Go to navigation
It is currently Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:57 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 39 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:17 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:15 am
Posts: 126
I'm trying to get my head around the purpose of the interview process which entrance to many (all?) independent schools requires.

Is it to filter-out children who reach whatever academic standard the school has set, but are deemed unsuitable for other (non-academic) reason? Or is it to filter-in children who have not met the academic standard, but have some other quality which means the school would be happy to accept them? I suspect that it might be a mix of the two.

Assuming it's the former, what characteristics would the interviewer deem undesirable? A guess a kid sitting there picking their nose and flicking it at the interviewer would probably count. :)

An entrance exam results in a mark, a score - which, when compared to some target standard results in a pass or a fail; an offer or a rejection. Plain. Simple. But an interview is much more subjective than that. So if a school has 250 applicants for 100 places would they take those with the top 75 scores, plus 25 who missed the cut-off but impressed at interview? Or would they be looking to the those with the top 100 scores, but reject a few nose-pickers?

I guess what I'm trying to work out is, which is more important: the interview or the entrance exam?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:45 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
Suspect there is a bit of both in indie interviews, they will not really want the kid who misbehaves but they may want the very bright daydreamer who simply didn't get their act together in the exam.

Having been round a few indies and through the interview process I think there is a third element, that of totally selling the school to the child and the parents .


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:25 am
Posts: 267
For top indies, the interview filters out those who have been tutored beyond their ability. It's easy to spot the ones who can't replicate their performance because they were given an essay writing formula with a list of cool vocab to slot in but crumble when faced with an unfamiliar problem or question that requires original thought.They are deciding who they would enjoy teaching and ask quite challenging questions to see how the child thinks. Sometimes, a candidate will have done phenomenally well in maths but less well in English (or the reverse) and the school will use the interview to see if it was a blip.
The next tier down are looking for bright and engaging DCs who don't 'pick their noses'etc.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:29 pm
Posts: 89
We applied for two independent schools, one held interviews and one didn't.
The one that didn't hold interviews is a very academic and well regarded school and they don't see the need to hold interviews because they have all of the children in for a full assessment day in addition to the exam day. They get to know quite a bit about the children on the assessment day so there is no additional need for a 15 minute interview.

The school that did hold interviews, interviewed all children who had passed the written exams but the children were interviewed by specific members of staff according to how well they had performed in the exam. The headmaster interviewed the top 10% of candidates (he interviewed their parents actually as the children were interviewed separately by a member of pastoral staff) and it was more or less a sales pitch. The headmaster used the opportunity to tell the parents what the school could offer and how well their child could do at that school. The other childrens parents were interviewed by other members of staff, some more senior than others, and for those parents and children it is a filtering process to see which children they want to offer places to and which will go on the waiting list and which children really won't fit in and won't be offered a place. The children are asked a series of questions just to see how they respond and think and those elements are used to assess the suitability of the more borderline candidates. But the interview process is different at different schools.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:29 pm
Posts: 89
For schools that interview I would say that the exam is the most important element because if you don't pass it then you won't even make it to interview stage whereas if you pass the exam with a very high mark then you would have to do something spectacularly bad at interview to not be offered a place.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:13 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:18 pm
Posts: 354
Our experience have been that most of the top independent schools operate almost the same way. They have their tests which are academic type and then they have interviews.
It's not true always that you have to pass academic mark then only one will interview you. Some schools like Reading Blue Coat and Abbey School (both in Reading) will interview all the students applied for the exam before the exams. RGS Guildford will briefly interview all the students on the day of the exam. If they see that someone seemed well but didn't do well in the tests then they call for another interview to find out whether the child is suitable for the school or not and results can go either way.
I think all these schools are trying to find out whether the kid will do well if he or she joins their school or not.
I quite liked the process of the interview because I think independent schools are not only about academics but more than that and interview is a good way of judging a overall student rather than just an academic one. IMHO may be something to do with EQ along with IQ :)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:15 am
Posts: 126
Very interesting responses all, thank you. I quite like the idea of a "full assessment day" as it takes more stress out of process, I'd have thought: there's less chance of a tongue-tied 15 minutes of nervousness during an interview impacting the school you'll be at for the next few years.

And the idea that the "interview" would effectively be a sales pitch (for all, or the most capable) hadn't even occurred to me. I guess we just have to help our DCs to achieve their best at the exams and encourage them to be themselves during interview.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:29 pm
Posts: 89
My DS really enjoyed the full assessment day, they don't do any exams on the day they just have a lesson and do a bit of work and then get to do a fun activity in the afternoon. The interview at the other school was much more formal and therefore less enjoyable and less of an opportunity for the school to see what the children are really like.
I wasn't even aware that some schools interview all of the children. All of the schools I can think of in my region only invite candidates back to interview who have done okay in the exam. Quite a few children from my child's prep school didn't get invited for senior school interviews as they didn't perform well enough in the exam. Some did perform well enough in the exam to get called back for interview but still didn't get an offer of a place as I assume their exam performances were quite borderline and the interviews didn't add anything.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:59 am
Posts: 431
Location: N London
A lot of schools receive a huge number of applicants and results probably bunch quite a bit in the entrance exams. The schools are keen to identify those children who are teachable (I guess that means interested in learning and bright) and with a bit of spark. Many over offer quite a bit, but I guess it would depend on your test result as to whether you are filtered in or out at interview! My DS assumed he had been filtered in at interview, for some reason, and has been pleasantly surprised to find that he is not a duffer now he's at the school (amazing what goes on in their heads, bless him). Provided your DC have not been prepared for the exam within an inch of their lives, can chat nicely about the school and their interests and sensibly attempt to tackle an unfamiliar question, the interview shouldn't be too much of a problem. Once you get to that stage you will find lots of helpful stuff on this forum to help your DC know what to expect.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:24 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:36 pm
Posts: 10
In my son's case the interview was useful because his exam results weren't definitive. He had a super high VR score, OK maths and comprehension results and low creative writing result.

They said that even though one of his scores was on the low side, his high VR meant that they were interested enough to want to see him and find out if he'd be a good fit.

When the offers came out he was initially on the waiting list, but was offered a place within a couple of weeks.

(This was for an academic indie.)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 39 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
CALL 020 8204 5060
   
Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright © 2004 – 2016