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The ISEB Common Pre-Test: A Simplified Guide for Parents




What is the ISEB Common Pre-Test?

The ISEB Common Pre-Test, designed by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB) is an online examination taken by children as part of the admissions process for certain senior schools. It serves as a standardised assessment that multiple schools can use to evaluate a student's academic capabilities.


Unique Features of the ISEB

The standout feature of the ISEB Common Pre-Test is its adaptive nature. This means that as your child answers questions, the difficulty level adjusts based on their performance. As a result, a tailored testing experience is offered for each student.


Registration Details

Parents are now required to register their children directly with the ISEB. This can be done through the ISEB website's admissions portal. The good news? Registration is free and you only need to do it once. While registering for the ISEB is essential, don't forget to apply directly to each of your chosen schools as well.


When is the Test Taken?

Children typically sit for the ISEB in Year 6. Most children take the test in the autumn term, though some might do so in the spring term. The exact date will be determined by the school you're applying to.


Where is the Test Taken?

For children applying from within the UK, the test is usually administered at their current school. If this isn't possible, the school you're applying to should provide guidance. For overseas applicants, the test can be taken at registered testing centres, such as British Council Offices.


One Attempt Per Year

It's crucial to note that the ISEB can only be taken once within a year.


Which Schools Accept the ISEB Pre-Test?

A wide range of schools use the ISEB Common Pre-Test for their admissions process. If you're applying to multiple schools that use the ISEB, the results will be shared between them, meaning your child only sits the exam once.


Preparing for the ISEB Pre-Test

For the most competitive schools, it's advisable to aim for a standardised age score of 120 or higher during preparation for these exams. 100 represents an average score, 142 is the maximum score and a score under 82 is considered low.


The ISEB Common Pre-Test assesses four subjects:

  • Maths: 40 minutes

  • English (reading comprehension and SPaG): 40 minutes

  • Non-verbal reasoning: 30 minutes

  • Verbal reasoning: 25 minutes

Your child can sit the four subjects together or at separate times. If taking them all on the same day, they are allowed a short break between each section.


In Conclusion

The ISEB Common Pre-Test is an essential step in the admissions process for many senior schools. With the right preparation and mindset, your child can approach the ISEB with confidence.


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