Do all schools have entrance exams?
Karen Batty, Admissions, St George’s: Yes, usually they do. It is a crucial part of our admissions process in order to find out as much as possible about an individual student.
Which year groups have entrance exams?
Karen Batty: Generally, from Junior School entry through to Sixth Form; however, here at St George’s we informally assess Junior School (P2-P5) girls during their taster day with formal assessments for older girls from P6 to S4 entry. Sixth Form entry is based on an interview and predicted exam results.
How long are the exams, does this differ for year groups P1 – S7?
Karen Batty: Yes, the timings do differ slightly. Maths generally lasts approx. 1.25 hours with English lasting 30 minutes, and reasoning 20 minutes.
Can you give a brief description of what children should expect (e.g.: is it all morning – do they stay for lunch – are they in one large room ).
Karen Batty: Here at St George’s, the children are invited in for an arranged morning for P6 – S4. Our girls sit the assessments in our Lower School Library as it is a small, quiet space where they are comfortable. Girls can stay for lunch here should they wish to stay on for the rest of the day with their peer group.
For P1 and S1 entry, the girls are invited as one group on a Saturday morning in January. P1 girls enjoy different activities within the P1 classrooms; S1 girls sit their formal assessment papers, have an interview with a senior member of teaching staff and meet some of our girls.
For S1 entry the girls sit papers in Mathematics, English writing and non-verbal/verbal reasoning. The Mathematics is completed online. There are two sections: Mental arithmetic (timed) and general Mathematics (untimed). English is a written paper. It involves creative or transactional writing – for example a newspaper article or a letter. The non-verbal/verbal reasoning test is online and is a series of exercises looking at patterns and the links between items.
In the video Sonia Edwards talks about what to expect at our S1 entrance assessments
Is it just Maths, English and non-verbal/verbal reasoning exams?
Karen Batty: Generally yes, as we find out much more about other academic areas from their existing school reports. It also helps us establish which sets an individual would be best placed as well as establish what level of support is required for any additional learning needs.
How do we put children at ease?
Karen Batty: Making sure we explain exactly what their assessment morning consists of, reassure them as much as possible and encourage them to do their best.
Does each child have an individual interview?
Karen Batty: Yes, either during their assessment morning or at another personal visit to the school.
What if you would like to apply for financial assistance is this applied for at the same time as the entrance exam?
Karen Batty: Yes, financial assistance applications must be submitted alongside the school application for it to be considered.
Is the school only looking for children with a high IQ?
Karen Batty: Not necessarily, though we would expect at least average ability so that the child concerned would benefit from the challenging curriculum we offer. We are obviously looking to bring out the best in each individual which may not include academic excellence. We are not elitist.
When will parents be informed if their child will be offered a place?
Karen Batty: For P1 and S1 entry, specific dates in February are issued in Edinburgh; however, for other year groups this is flexible and we can offer a place once all stages of our admissions process is complete (visit, taster day, assessments, receiving school reports).
What should parents do now if they would like their daughter to sit an entrance test at St Georges School for Girls?
Karen Batty: Contact me directly (T: 0131 311 8008, E:firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can discuss further, provide parents with all the necessary information about this part of our admissions process and arrange accordingly for their daughter.