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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:35 pm
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Hello all,

Greetings! This is my first post here and am relatively new to 11+ independent school exam preparation. I was looking at North London independent schools' websites (NLCS, Habs, St.Albans high) and have seen that all of them invite shortlisted candidates for an interview. Not much info is given about the interview though. I am interested to know regarding the structure, how long normally it is for and more importantly how to prepare for it. Is it a general interview or will it be subject based (like Maths, Science etc). Any information would be really helpful for our preparation.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
There is no point spending any time at all preparing for interviews as you have to get through the academic test first. All of these schools will invite less than half of their applicants to the interview so you need to put all your focus on preparing for the academic exam.

Interviews are very straighightforward. Students who are naturally passionate and interested will find them very natural. DG


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 10:19 pm 
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Assuming you will be going to open days/evening to see the schools of interest, it would give you a perfect opportunity to ask one of the staff members on the day about the format and contents of the interviews. From what I know, in some schools they can be more relaxed than others and some treat them nearly as an extension of the exam. DS had interviews at two indie schools (not north London, though) and in one of them he was asked a lot of science questions while the other focused on his general knowledge of history.

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 7:38 am 
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Location: Herts
There are different approaches for the three schools:

Habs is more like another exam which was what my daughter said when she came out. They will ask you Maths questions and give you some English tasks and it is really important to tell them that they are your first choice as they don't like to waste their offers.

NLCS are looking for confident outgoing girls who have more to offer than just the academic.

St Albans have always done a group interview where girls work together on a task but with the new Head this may change this year and they have also come out of the consortium so may now start individual interviews.

There is however one common theme; we know what you can do in an exam now we want to see what you can do in person.

I have never known any girl not get through the interview at St Albans. A handful did not get through NLCS as they were not extrovert enough but the highest failure rate I know of is HABS. However they do interview a much larger percentage of their applicants than the other two. DG


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 8:59 am 
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For the NLCS interviews, I don't think it's all about being an extrovert. In public, you often don't get a squeak from my DD and, when she does speak, she's definitely quite self-effacing but she was offered a place.

At the open day, Mrs Wilson did say that they know girls can be shy and the NLCS interview is designed to settle them down and get them to open up before challenging them. It started off with a discussion of her background (her primary, her brother's secondary, her interest in NLCS, other schools she'd applied to, extra-curricular interests) and then moved to quite challenging puzzle and maths questions (definitely requiring the child to think on the spot). The English question was far more straightforward and typical comprehension style (read a passage, answer some question such as character's mood and then say what might happen next).

We had many reasons to assume that she wouldn't be offered a place. She can be quite shy and it's not at all obvious that she has many strong qualities. She's at a state primary, her brother's at a state grammar and all the other secondaries she'd tried for were state schools, so we were clearly a state school family. Despite all of these issues she was offered a place at NLCS and I do remember the interviewer remarking how well she'd solved the problems posed to her.

nyr


Last edited by nyr on Fri May 13, 2016 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 8:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:25 am
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I would add/correct somewhat on DAO's description of an NLCS interview. Introverted girls do get into NLCS. They aren't all loud personalities. The interview is about assessing how each girl thinks and there are some maths questions and probing dressed up like general chat to do this. In many ways, it is a taster of the style of teaching they can expect at the school. If a girl finds this intimidating or can't think on her feet or has been over-tutored, the interview will sniff this out. It isn't the right school for someone who needs coaxing to give an opinion or one who crumbles when they get muddled. The interviews are really gentle and I've never seen a girl come out without a smile.
Oh, they also will never ask if it's your first choice. Nor will they interview parents ever. Staff and current parents are on hand to answer questions but they are looking to offer a place to your DD not you and your accent, fashion sense, address and country of origin are irrelevant.


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 9:04 am 
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X post with nyr. They don't actually care where else your DD applied, that's just the chat bit.


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:35 pm
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Wow, thank you very much for all the replies. You all are so helpful. I am glad I am on this forum. It is a relief to know that the interviews are friendly.

My dd is goes to a state primary. In her school mostly she does english, maths and science. I am not sure how well they deal with other subjects like history, geography, art etc. And for 11plus exams also we are concentrating just on english and maths. So, I was worried if she needs to be prepared for any questions on topics outside these subjects.


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 9:57 pm 
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No don't try to prepare, beyond general conversational skills. Dd1 did interviews for 6th form and it was similar sounding, she didn't prepare except for her usual schoolwork, and got offers. She's not an extrovert but did enjoy the experiences, I suspect they can draw out and recognise when a kid is actually interested in their subject or current affairs, or whatever they chat about, and forgets to be shy.


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