We have responded to increased demand for support with school admissions at 7+ by significantly expanding our 7+ department. Headed up by MD Lorrae Jaderberg, the 7+ team now includes even more specially trained tutors and newly developed material, with of course our usual expert focus on the ever-changing requirements of schools’ entrance exam procedures.
As the competition for senior school places continues to intensify, more families are looking at 7+ entry, particularly for academic independent schools with a senior school. Once a child is in the school, they still need to work hard and meet the school’s required standards, and may still be examined at 11+, but they often have a less difficult transition into the senior school than those applying from the outside. This new approach from parents means that the competition at 7+ is becoming increasingly fierce.
Is the 7+ right for your child?
As with the 11+, you should have your child academically assessed before sending them on this journey. If their academic potential doesn’t match up to the school’s future expectations, then you might be setting them up to fail, even if they can be prepared well enough to secure a place there. Children should not be intensively tutored to get into a school for which they lack the innate aptitude to succeed. This is why we always recommend assessing children before discussing possible school choices and then routes forward – that may or may not require tutoring.
How we prepare children for the 7+
Obviously, the children are very young, but these entrance assessments still require preparation. It’s unfair to send a child into this unprepared, as they will be at a real disadvantage and might find it a traumatic and demoralising experience.
Your child needs to understand what they will face and how to do well, so a knowledgeable tutor’s help can be the most effective tool. One-to-one tutoring often works best with this age group, so that they can be helped to learn in the way and at a pace that best suits them. There will be additional curriculum to cover as well as introducing exam technique.
Sitting an exam under timed conditions will be new to this age group, so it’s a good idea for them to write practice papers this way, to get used to the added pressure and the need to plan out their allocated time. Our tutors always provide this practice.
Most schools will conduct interviews: either calling back those children who have done well in the exams, or interviewing every candidate on exam day. Interviews may comprise a one-to-one conversation with the head teacher to reveal the child’s social skills, confidence and focus by chatting about their hobbies, homes and so on. We advocate giving children at least an hour of focused interview preparation, to reduce the fear of the unknown and accustom them to talking about themselves to an adult.
How is the 7+ assessed?
Written exam content will be English and Maths based, whilst spelling, dictation and mental arithmetic may be assessed verbally. Group exercises are also sometimes used to look at a child’s ability to follow direction and work well with others.
English written papers usually focus on comprehension and story writing. The expectation is for above average vocabulary and reading level; good handwriting should be practised as it is a real asset. Prepared answers will rarely be of use; candidates need to demonstrate the ability to structure answers and write stories to meet the specific questions or topics set for them on the day.
The written maths exam may include questions on any part of the Year 2 syllabus and sometimes questions will be pitched beyond that level. Mental arithmetic is very important, but be aware that quite complex word problems can also be included. This is why we prepare children to expect any type of maths question and to know how to tackle them.
More schools are starting to include Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning tests; a lot of children enjoy these as puzzles and challenges, but they can also be daunting and we always ensure that these are practised.
What are schools looking for?
Children aged six and seven are obviously younger and less established in academic life than those tested at 11+. They will often be as yet incapable of much academic rigour and focus, but the schools are very aware of this. They will place value on social skills demonstrated in interview and group tasks, and on creative, verbal and listening skills that are often assessed through group tasks. Schools will be looking for well-rounded children, but they are academically selective and it’s a fact that academic performance in the exams remains the main measure. JK Educate can help your child feel confident and prepared, so they succeed to the best of their potential.
For more information on our 7+ preparations, please call 020 3369 3390 or contact us.