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Tips to prepare your child for an interview at a top independent school

Preparing for 11+, 13+ and scholarship interviews – tips and example questions for parents.

Be prepared

  • Practice breathing deeply if your child has a tendency to be nervous.

  • Arrive for the interview in plenty of time, as rushing in at the last minute or even late will lead to a nervous start to the interview. Allow them time to compose themselves, but not so much time that they have time to become nervous.

  • Practice sitting on a sofa or on a chair looking engaged and interested with good posture, but relaxed.

  • Try to practice the art of conversation. Question responses which give one sentence answers will appear ‘rehearsed’ and will not give as good an impression as an interactive dialogue which results from a question.

  • Having to think on your feet can make nerves come into play, so rehearse these situations in advance. Practice forming and expressing an opinion about things. Do you like this that or the other and why?

Sample interview questions

  • Why would you like to come to THIS senior school? Look through the prospectus and website together with your child and write down the things that appeal about the school:

  • Do the setting, historical features or facilities appeal?

  • What can YOU offer to the school? What academic subjects do you enjoy most?

  • Do your family have strengths, achievements, contributions to make to the school community?

  • What can you tell me about your current school?

  • Is there anything you dislike? (briefly, don’t dwell on this)

  • What happens during a typical school day/week/weekend?

  • Describe a situation that you have found difficult and how did you resolve it, find a solution?

  • What is your favourite hobby and why?

  • If you had 2 hours of free time, what would you do with it?

  • Make sure you are aware of the top stories of what is happening in the news at the current time. (UK, Europe and Worldwide). Form an opinion and why have you formed it?


Smile, eye contact, firm handshake, polite ‘thank you for the opportunity to come to the school and meet you’. Leave a lasting impression.

For more information and advice, get in touch with our expert consultants today.

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