All you need to know about the Pretest!
With so many exams coming up in this period of your child’s education, it can be difficult to keep track. Here at PiAcademy, we understand that there is a lot to learn for this time, so we have condensed into this article everything that you should know about the pretest!
Read on to find out:
- What is the pretest?
- How does the pretest work? (including marking, and which schools use it)
- What is tested by the pretest?
- How can you prepare for the pretest and how can we help?
- Tips to remember!
What is the pretest?
If you’re looking for a pretest definition, you’ve come to the right place! ‘Pre’ refers to the fact that the PREexam is a test taken before entry to Secondary School. The test ISEB common pre test is taken in Year 6 or 7, (or later, for 13+ entry) prior to entry to Secondary School. What is ISEB? ISEB is the exam board used for the pre test, the acronym stands for ‘Independent Schools Examinations Board’; The ISEB pretest is commissioned from GL assessment by ISEB.
What does pretest mean for your child? The test is standardised by age, and used to measure the pupil’s ability. The test is essentially an entrance exam to Independent schooling, similar to the 11+ exam used for Grammar schools. (But don’t forget – the pretest may not be the only stage of entrance-testing for the schools which you are applying to!)
How does the pretest work?
To define pretest may be simple, but you will surely be wondering how to conduct the pre-test. Well, luckily for you, parents do not need to be particularly involved in the ISEB testing, no registration by parents is necessary. The pretests are a part of the ISEB common entrance testing for schools, and candidates will be entered by their own school.
Children will most likely take the ISEB exam between the 1st of October and the 1st of February in Year 6; even if a child is applying to multiple schools who use the pretest, they will only need to take it ONCE per academic year. (Though some schools will also conduct their own pretest, separate from the ISEB common pre test, which will take place after the ISEB testing.)
The test is taken online, and the pre test questions are in the form of multiple choice. A timer, as well as the candidate’s progress through the test, will be shown on screen whilst they complete it (they should aim to complete all questions on the test).
How the pretest is marked…
Candidates are given a standard-age-score for each subject they are tested on, this score takes into account their age at the time of taking the test, as well as their performance. Though set by ISEB, the papers are marked by the secondary school that assigns them. For this reason, there is no specific ISEB pre test pass mark… It is at the school’s discretion to decide who to invite to interview or allow admission based on their own analysis of the tests.
Which schools use the ISEB common pre test?
Below is a list of ISEB pretest schools:
Bedford School, Charterhouse, Easton Square Upper School, Hurstpierpoint College, Northfields Int. High School, St Paul’s School, Wellington College, Bradfield College, Cheltenham College, Eton College, Malborough College, Palmers Green High School, St Swithun’s School, Westminster School, Brighton College, City of London School, Harrow School, Monkton Combe School, Radley College, Stowe School, Wetherby Senior School, Caterham School, Dauntsey’s School, Headington School, Mount Kelly College, Reddam House School, University College School, Worth School
Other pretest’s used by various schools…
A group of London schools use the 11+ London Consortium test. See which below:
Channing School, Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park, Francis Holland School Sloane Square, Godolphin and Latymer, More House School, Northwood College for Girls, Notting Hill and Ealing High School, Queen’s College London, South Hampstead High School, St Helen’s School London, St James Senior Girls’ School
Other schools use their own specific pretests (either in addition to or instead of the ISEB pretest). See which below: Alleyn’s School, Ampleforth College, Charterhouse, City of London School for Boys, Downside School, Dulwich College, Emanuel School, Eton, Hampton, Harrodian, Harrow, King’s College School, Wimbledon, Marlborough, Merchant Taylor’s School, Radley College, Sevenoaks School, St Paul’s, Stowe, The King’s School, Canterbury, Tonbridge School, UCS Hampstead, Wellington, Westminster, Wetherby Senior School, Winchester College
What is tested on the pretest?
The common pretest tests four subjects: Verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, English, and Mathematics.
You may hear about, for example, the ‘grammar pretest’, this comes under the English test. The ISEB syllabus for the pretest in Maths is in line with the National Curriculum; the English pretest tests expected subjects such as reading comprehension, spelling, and punctuation. The questions which pupils are likely to be less familiar with, will likely be within the reasoning tests… Examples and practice questions are given within the test to ensure understanding of such questions.
How can you prepare for the pretest?
You cannot access ISEB common entrance past papers; the closest you will get to this is the ISEB familiarisation test, used in preparing for ISEB pretest, as it simulates what the child will experience in the exam. ISEB pretest practice, will therefore not be based in legitimate ISEB papers from previous years’ pretest candidates.
We understand that it sounds daunting, to face preparation without past papers – we always usually advocate practicing from these papers as the best way to get ready for an exam. However, for the pretest, PiAcademy has other resources!
You may enrol your child in our pretest tutoring, or look at our 11 plus resources which focus on very similar topics. Though we cannot provide ISEB past papers, we do have plenty of GL-style practice tests that you can make use of!
To conclude, the pretest is used to assess pupils pre-entry to independent UK schools. Whilst the ISEB test is the most commonly used pretest, some schools make their own or subscribe to a different board… Be sure to check the lists above for the schools relevant to you!
Keep in mind the following:
- Just because there are no past papers available, this does not mean that you can’t practice!
- Familiarise yourself and your child with Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning style questions, they may not have seen test papers like these before!
- The tests and the grades are AGE-STANDARDISED! The pupil’s current school will be in charge of when in the year they take the test, but you need not worry if this is earlier than you imagined.
- If a school uses the ISEB common pretest, your child may still be asked to complete other stages such as interviews and their own assessments, before an offer can be made.
Get to know what the pretest is, and how it works, and the process should run smoothly! But if you are concerned, look under the tutoring tab of the PiAcademy website to get some extra help.
Good luck to you and your child in this exciting time, and their journey to secondary school!