Best Prep Schools
The best day or boarding Prep Schools in the UK

  • Our expert advice service can establish the perfect school for your child
  • Helping parents choose the best private preparatory schools
  • Specialising in London, Home Counties and Boarding Preps
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Related Pages: - Pre-Admissions Tests - Exams and Interviews - Tutoring - Fees, Discounts and Bursaries

Exams and Interviews

Most Prep schools will wish to assess students on entry. For non-selective schools this is done to ensure that the child will fit in well with the school and the rest of the class or year group.  More selective schools will need to ascertain the extent to which the child will be able to keep up with the teaching and the high aspirations placed upon them.


When applying for a place in Year 3 or above, most schools will set their own written paper in both maths and English. The level of the paper will depend on the school, but the content is generally in line with the National Curriculum expectations for the age group. In highly selective schools the maths papers often contain more problem-solving questions; the level of maths is still in line with the National Curriculum expectations, but the school will wish to find out how well the child can apply their skills in a range of situations.

When applying for places in Year 5 or above, many schools will also set a non-verbal reasoning assessment which maybe online, or paper based.

Cognitive Ability Testing

Some schools will set cognitive ability tests (CATs) which consists of verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. These CATs will give a child a scaled score ranging from 70 to 140 which is used as a key indicator of academic potential. Schools can use this data to predict the child's future GCSE scores so the assessments are very helpful to determine whether a child is in keeping with the academic profile of the school.


Most schools will want to interview each child. For very young children applying to Pre-prep, this normally takes the form of a taster session where children are observed in the pre-prep setting. The school is looking for children to be 'school-ready'; independent, curious and able to sustain concentration on a given activity.

For age 7+ children will often have a one to one interview where they will be asked about their interests and hobbies. Schools are looking for engaging children that are passionate about their interests and curious about the world around them. Schools are particularly interested in children that show leadership potential and creativity.

For 11+ entry, certainly to selective Prep schools, children may be asked for their views on a topical issue, or current affairs. Schools are looking for children to have an opinion and to be able to communicate their thoughts clearly.

Contact us for further information on how best to prepare your child for entrance exams and interviews on +44 (0)1622 813870.

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Cognitive Ability Testing, CATs, 11+ 7+ Pre-Prep, selective, non-elective, aspirations, National Curriculum