How to prepare for the 11 Plus interview

September 03, 2018 by Alex
Image If your child has reached the interview stage of the 11 Plus exam at an independent school, congratulations! They are one step closer to that offer, and they’ve already done extremely well.

The interview process is difficult to prepare for: schools will be looking for confident and articulate students. We asked one of our top tutors and 11 Plus experts, James M, to share some of the most common 11 Plus interview questions…
Introductory and warm-up questions

  • Tell me about yourself!

  • How would your friends describe you?

  • Describe yourself using 3 adjectives

  • Tell me about your hobbies and interests.

  • What is your favourite subject?

  • What book are you reading at the moment? Tell me about it and describe it using adjectives.

General questions

  • Why do you want to come to our school?

  • What’s the difference between our school and the school you are coming from?

  • Tell me about a lesson that you really enjoyed. What made it so enjoyable?

  • If you were head of our school, what changes would you make?

  • What makes a good teacher?

  • What do you find hard at school,  and what do you do when you find something hard?

  • Why are you suited for our school?

  • Have you visited our school before? What did you think?

  • Do you have any questions for us?

Specific academic questions and tasks

  • What is the difference between volume and area?

  • 22 + 32 + 42 = ?

  • What is the product of 12 and 5?

  • Read this poem aloud. What is your favourite literary technique and why? What is the meaning of the word ______ (insert word)

  • Tell me your favourite metaphor/simile/personification.

Brain teasers

  • Is it possible to have a box with nothing inside?

  • What is bravery?

  • What would the world be like if it was ruled by monkeys?

  • Is there more happiness or sadness in the world?

  • What is more important, being right or being nice?

  • What colour would a zebra be if it lost all its stripes?

  • If I borrow a million pounds, am I a millionaire?

  • How many bricks make a wall?

  • If I take the engine out of a car, is it still a car?

Answering the questions

James has also put together some of his top tips for students who have an 11+ interview coming up.

Before the interview, students should:

  • Look at the school website and write down three interesting things that you like

  • Try and visit the school and talk to pupils/teachers. Remember who you spoke to and what you liked about the experience

  • Practise with a parent / teacher / friend!

During the interview:

  • When first meeting teachers always smile, shake hands and make eye contact

  • Make sure you answer the question!

  • Talk for about 5-10 seconds for each answer, because any more than that is too long, and any less may make you seem shy

  • Think of examples for your all answers by incorporating your hobbies and interests. You might like playing a musical instrument but give more detail: “I play piano grade 4 and play in the school band”. This is much better than just saying “I play piano”.

  • For the brainteasers, think about the wording of the question.

For example, “What is bravery?” To answer this, think of things that are brave and things that are not brave. What do all the things that are brave have in common?

Similarly, with “How many bricks make a wall?” you could think about what a wall is. A wall can just be a barrier between two things, so a single brick could be a wall (especially to a small insect). For a human though a barrier would have to be bigger!

Remember, these questions don’t really have a right or wrong answer, they are meant to test how you think. Good luck!

James M is one of our top 11+ tutors. With over 10 years of experience, James has prepared students for some of the most competitive schools, including Westminster, Eton, Latymer and St Paul’s. As well as being a fantastic private tutor, James has also organised mock exam sessions through his own exam preparation consultancy. Interested in booking a lesson with James? Click here to visit his Tutorfair profile and find out more!
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