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Top 5 tips for sitting entrance exams

image00040When applying to join an independent school, all Year 7 candidates are required to sit entrance exam papers in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. For many of these prospective students it can be a daunting task – it could be their first experience of a senior school, maybe their first undertaking of an external exam or perhaps they’ve never even heard of ‘verbal-reasoning’ before. So to help make the most of the opportunity and squash any nerves, we’ve put together our top 5 tips for every student sitting the exam.

1. Practice example papers. The entrance exam papers are not something that can be revised for, but they do need some practice to feel more comfortable and familiar with the format. In particular we recommend it for the verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers which are multiple choice questions and contain content that isn’t taught on the school curriculum. Click HERE for some of our practice example papers.

2. Arrive early on the day. It’s never nice to feel rushed, particularly on such an important day so make sure you arrive nice and early before the exam starts to help feel settled and prepared in your own time. A good night sleep beforehand and hearty breakfast in the morning will also help you to feel fresh and fuelled so you’re ready to give the exam papers your best shot. 

3. Try to relax. Perhaps a little easier said than done because we understand the importance to perform well in the exam, but managing your nerves with some deep breaths will ensure you feel a little more relaxed and will help you think clearly during the exam. At Redmaids’ High we do our best to help with this approach; we ensure all of the entrance exams are completed in our classrooms in small groups, and we offer breaks throughout, providing a snack and drink to help top up the energy levels. We also invite our current Year 7 students to join us to help add some fun and reassurance throughout the day.

4. Never leave a question blank. We always tell our prospective students, “If you aren’t sure of the answer have a go anyway!” The exam papers are multiple choice questions, so there is always a chance to sneak in an extra mark or two by just circling any answer rather than leaving a question blank.


5. Learn from the experience. Whether the day has gone to plan or not, there is always an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and that is always a positive to take away. Take note of the things that worked well for you, as well as noticing the areas that you struggled with. This knowledge about yourself will be so useful going forward to help you with more exams and other pressured situations in the future.

Good luck!

For more information about our Admissions journey at Redmaids’ High click HERE.

Date Posted: 13 December, 2023

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