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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:18 pm
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Dear Parents,
Has anyone prepared for scholarship tests? Please can you advice how to start? Books? extra work? We would like to start early.
Thank you so much in advance.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Which ones are you applying for? DG


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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If this is regarding scholarships for independent schools, perhaps a mod would move the thread to that section?

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Last edited by ToadMum on Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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ToadMum wrote:
If this is regarding scholarships for independent schools, perhaps a nod would move the thread to that section?



Done :D


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:18 pm 
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Tinkers wrote:
ToadMum wrote:
If this is regarding scholarships for independent schools, perhaps a nod would move the thread to that section?


:evil: Another 'thank you, Samsung' moment...

Original post edited :lol: .

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:00 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
Which ones are you applying for? DG


We have been selected by headmaster for 'The Challenge' in Westminster. I will really appreciate if you anyone can give me some pointers please.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:18 am
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Congratulations to your DS!

Presumably he's at a prep, and they will prepare him. Our DS sat the Challenge and is now at Westminster. His prep school started a scholarship class from the summer term of Year 7 (right after the Year 8s sat their exams) so I guess in a year's time if your DS has just been offered a place?

We knew (but only unofficially as our school sends out invitations to join the scholarship class in the Easter holidays of Year 7) that DS would be invited to sit the Challenge, and he chose to do it but without applying for a scholarship. Instead, he saw it as a more interesting alternative to Common Entrance. It was tough, but he really enjoyed his year in the scholarship class, with a small group of like-minded boys, and found his transition to Westminster very smooth (apparently some of the boys that had sat Common Entrance found the pace hard at first).

We didn't want to stress our DS and school advised against attempting to prepare him ourselves. Instead, he enjoyed taking it relatively easy for the end of Year 6 and most of Year 7, before things stepped up dramatically again. Having said that, if you're seriously attempting to win a scholarship and aren't at a prep that specifically prepares for the Challenge (WUS obviously, but there are a couple of others too that regularly produce Queen's Scholars) then it makes sense to start early.

DS was the only boy at his school sitting the Challenge - the other scholars were sitting for a mix of schools including St Paul's and Hampton (which they nearly all won academic scholarships for). The teachers warned us from the start that the exams for the other schools were all pretty similar, but that the Challenge would be a completely different kettle of fish, and that in many subjects they wouldn't be able to cover everything expected in the time available. The only 13+ scholarship exam that is remotely similar is Eton, so it would be useful to practice some past papers from there as well. His prep school will probably cover most available past Westminster papers so it may be best not to look at those in advance.

The biggest discrepancy was in Ancient Greek. Westminster used to use the same text book as the other schools (which is the one our school uses) but would cover 10 chapters when the others only did 6. In recent years, Westminster have changed to a different text book altogether. They expect boys to know 6 tenses, when other schools just do the Present. Greek is optional and DS was advised to opt out, but he loves languages and Greek instead of RS was a major reason why he wanted to be in the scholarship group. So he did all the extra stuff himself, with the help of a family friend, in the weeks leading up to the exams. He managed an A, but it was stressful and with hindsight I wish we'd bought the textbook much earlier (can't remember what it was called and it may have changed again but all the syllabus information is on the school website).

It would probably also be worth working on French and Latin vocabulary. The standard expected isn't far off A level in parts. There isn't a set range of vocabulary but the more he knows, the better.

The other thing that I'd say distinguishes the Westminster exam from others is that the papers are a lot more open-ended, with less structured questions. E.g Geography: "There is nothing left to map. Discuss." or "History is the most dangerous subject - do you agree?" This approach really pulled DS out of his comfort zone and at times we were concerned if we were doing the right thing. But he did really well in the end and is very comfortable and happy at the school.

Good luck to your DS and see you at WS in a few years' time :)


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