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Sample School Entrance Test Questions



What to expect? Most independent schools require candidates to take an admission test before a place at the school will be offered. In some cases the test may be used as a selection tool whilst in others it’s simply to know the starting point from which the child joins the school. Schools will invite applicants to attend an assessment morning where pupils will have a one-to-one interview and/ or group assessment.

The main entry points for most families are at Primary 1 and Senior 1. But naturally, the nature of the assessments will vary, depending on your child's age. Each school has its own admission policy and entrance procedure.

FOR ENTRY AT PRIMARY 1 (4 - 5yrs )

The assessment for entrance into Primary 1 is informaland the atmosphere is designed to put your child at ease. The best you can do for your child is make the event an adventure with as little stress and pressure as possible. This way the school will see your child at their best.

However it is good to help your child know what to expect. Here are some typical assessment activities you could practise at home with your child to prepare them.

Ready for school? Activities to do at home You may also like to help your child become ready for school by incorporating activities at home that will develop the type of skills that will be part of the pre-schooler assessment.

Counting to ten, measuring, sorting, knowing common colours and shapes

  • Counting steps/stairs

  • Counting red cars, post boxes etc. on the way to nursery or the shops

  • Pairing up socks and shoes

  • Looking at numbers around us – on house doors, registration plates, shop windows

  • Sorting the washing

  • Finding shapes in the child’s own environment e.g. road signs, windows and doors, books

  • Helping with the shopping – we need three oranges and two lemons. How many altogether?

  • Comparing different lengths (dog’s lead, socks, shoelaces), weights (shopping bags, toys), areas (footprints of child and adult), sizes (teddies, chairs for child and adult) and capacity (child’s beaker and adult's glass, bottles of squash)

  • Drawing a child’s attention to the clock – e.g. we’ll have tea when the little hand is on the 6.

Describe objects Take it in turns to think of something and ask questions to guess what it is: Is it an animal? Can you eat it? Does it smell nice? Is it big/ small/ heavy/ light? Is it made from paper/ cardboard/ plastic?

Tell stories about experiences and events using sentences Encourage your child to tell a story from beginning to end. Ask questions about the details of their day. The sequence of events is important.

You might read a book such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Read the story to your child. Ask your child, “What happened first in the story, next, and last?” OR “What did Goldilocks do first - eat the porridge or fall asleep in Baby Bear’s bed?” If your child doesn’t know the answer, help your child find the answer in the story.

Hold a crayon or pencil correctly, draw lines, simple shapes and a few letters Help your child practise with pencils, crayons, and chalk. Activities like colouring, drawing, dot to dot, mazes, as well as tracing and copying letters, shapes and numbers.

Draw a person or a house Ask your child to draw a person or a house, encourage them to put in details such as eyes, hair, windows and chimney.


The entrance exam for independent senior schools usually consists of a written examination, often combined with an interview.

Each independent school has its own admission policy and entrance procedures. Some schools use National Standard Tests, while others have developed their own. The exam is often made up of English, Maths and Verbal Reasoning papers. It is often a good idea to let your child know what to expect.

Here are some examples – provided by George Hawkins (MBE), the Director of Step Ahead Tutoring – of the kind of questions which many of the independent schools use within their entrance tests.

Download sample questions click below.

Download PDF • 420KB


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