6 Things you need to know if your child is taking the ISEB Pre-Test

6 Things you need to know if your child is taking the ISEB Pre-Test

It’s time for your child to take the ISEB Pre-Test, but you’re not sure what that means. You may be feeling a little bit of anxiety yourself, but it is vital that you stay calm and collected so you can help prepare them for the test. Here are six things about preparing your child to take the ISEB Pre-test!

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many senior schools have announced this year that they will use the ISEB Pre-Test entrance exam to assess prospective pupils.

ISEB pre-tests are designed to assess whether your child is ready for the ISEB exams, not how smart they are. This means you should never compare them with other students who have already taken ISEB tests or think taking this test will make up for the work done in class!

ISEB pre-tests are not a test of memory. Your child must understand the concepts and skills they have been taught in class, but you should never give them specific questions from homework or tests to study for the ISEB pre-test!

6 Things you need to know if your child is taking the ISEB Pre-Test

What do the ISEB Pre-Tests Include?

ISEB pre-tests can include both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. ISEB tests are computerised, which means they will be presented in English on a screen for your child to read!

There are now more than 70 schools confirmed to be using the Pre-Test this year for their entrance assessment, with the list growing, according to ISEB. This means many parents are worried about preparing their child for an exam they may know very little about. Fear not though, we’ve created a list of all the vital information you need if your child is taking the ISEB Pre-Test exam this year.

1. Subject knowledge

The Pre-Test covers four subjects: Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. These are the same as those covered in most senior school entrance exams. Pupils will need to be confident with the Maths and English national curriculum syllabus up to the end of Year 5 if sitting the exam in Year 6, or up to the end of Year 6 if they are sitting the exam in Year 7. They may need extra support with Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning as these subjects are not always taught in schools. 

2. A unique format

Although the subjects used in the Pre-Test are similar to other entrance exams, the Pre-Test format is unique and often challenging for pupils unfamiliar with it. As well as being confident with the exam’s content, pupils will need to understand how best to approach the exam’s unusual structure for Pre-Test success.

3. Where is it taken?

Pupils may be asked to sit the Pre-Test exam in their current school or one of their prospective schools. Pupils can only sit the Pre-Test once a year, and their results can be accessed by any of the schools they apply to.

The Pre-Test exam is taken on a computer, and the questions are unnumbered, but pupils can see where they are up to by looking at the progress bar at the bottom of the test screen. 

4. Adaptive Testing

The Pre-Test is adaptive, meaning it will become easier or harder depending on whether a pupil answers questions correctly. This can be tricky for pupils as it will be hard to gauge how well they are doing. Unusually, pupils cannot leave a question blank, so they must get used to triaging questions as they appear. Instead of ensuring they do not make silly mistakes on those they can answer, they must not waste time on questions they are unlikely to answer correctly. 

5. Timing

As a timed exam, pupils have approximately a minute per question. Pupils need to be able to remain calm and not stressed if they see a difficult question. Questions are generally multiple choice. If a pupil does not think they will answer a question correctly, it’s best to make a quick guess and move on so they have more time to spend on those they can.

6. Comprehension

For the English section of the Pre-Test exam, pupils must use the facts in the extract to answer comprehension questions. They are not given extra reading time and must learn to quickly scan the text for the answer, reading the question first. This is a skill that most pupils will not be used to, but they will need to cultivate to succeed in these exams.

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