ISEB Common Pre-Test: An Ultimate Guide for Parents

calendar_todayAugust 21, 2023
ISEB Common Pre-Test: An Ultimate Guide for Parents

Introduction to the ISEB Common Pre-Test 

The ISEB Common Pre-Test, governed by the Independent Schools Examination Board, is an online, adaptive, and multiple-choice exam taken by students seeking entry into private secondary schools in the UK. The test is distinct in its format and adaptive nature (which is possible due to the test being taken on a computer), with the difficulty of questions adjusting based on the student’s performance. 

When is the ISEB Common Pre-Test Taken? 

Children typically take the ISEB in the autumn term of Year 6 if they are applying for Year 7 entry into senior school, or for Year 9 if they are applying for deferred entry. 

The exact exam date is determined by the school to which the child is applying and is usually announced on the school’s website during the application period.  

The ISEB Pre-Test is taken once per academic year, and if a child is applying to multiple schools that use the ISEB, the results will be shared among them. 

Changes to the ISEB Common Pre-Test 

The ISEB Pre-Test underwent significant changes in autumn 2022, with a new provider taking over. Major changes include: 

  • The registration process now requires parents to register their child for the ISEB. 
  • The test has been made more accessible, with features allowing the hiding of the timer, adjustment of font size, and use of a colour overlay. 
  • English now gets two separate scores for comprehension and SPaG (spelling, punctuation, and grammar). 
  • The addition of a new non-verbal reasoning question type. 
  • The expansion of the content bank to add more individual questions. 
What is Covered in the ISEB Common Pre-Test? 

The ISEB Common Pre-Test comprises four sections: Maths, English, Non-verbal reasoning, and Verbal reasoning, which may be taken together at the same time, or at separate times. The English and Maths sections align with the Key Stage 2 national curriculum taught up to the end of Year 5, assessing the child’s ability to recall and apply their knowledge. The Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning sections are designed to test the child’s academic potential, focusing on the ability to acquire new information and apply it to new situations. 

Duration of the ISEB Common Pre-Test 

The total duration of the ISEB is 2 hours 15 minutes, divided among the four sections as follows: Maths (40 minutes), English (40 minutes), Non-verbal reasoning (30 minutes), and Verbal reasoning (25 minutes). The child can sit the four subjects together or at separate times, and they are allowed a short break between each section. 

Unique Features of the ISEB Common Pre-Test 

the ISEB Common Pre-Test is an online, adaptive, multiple-choice exam that students take to gain entry into private secondary schools in the UK. It’s the only one of the ‘big three’ entrance exams in the UK that is adaptive, meaning the questions become more difficult depending on how the student is performing. 

It is also unique in its format. Notable features include: 

  • No back button: Once a question is answered, it can’t be revisited or altered. 
  • The next button only appears once an answer is selected. 
  • A progress bar shows how much of the test has been completed and how much remains. 
Preparing for the Test 

To familiarize students with the unique format of the ISEB, it is beneficial for them to practice questions in the same style as the test. Resources for practice, including a test walkthrough, are available on the ISEB website​​. It’s recommended that students start preparing for this test well in advance, with LessonWise’s recommendation being to commence preparation 12 months prior to the examination date. 

You can also supplement the child’s learning by enrolling them in a group course or 1-to-1 tuition lessons, helping to guide them through the resources and answer any difficult questions. 

In Conclusion… 

In conclusion, the ISEB Common Pre-Test is a key milestone in your child’s academic journey, one that requires thoughtful preparation and understanding of its unique adaptive nature. It’s not merely about what your child knows, but how they apply their knowledge and respond to different types of questions. 

At LessonWise, we understand that every child is unique, and we strive to tailor our tutoring to meet each individual’s needs. Our experienced tutors have a deep understanding of the ISEB Common Pre-Test and are equipped with strategies to help your child excel in all four subjects – English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. 

We believe in the power of personalized learning and cultivating confidence in our students. Our tutors will not only guide your child through the material but also help them understand how the test adapts to their answers, enabling them to approach the test with a strategic mindset. 

Beyond the test, we’re committed to fostering a love for learning and encouraging intellectual curiosity. Remember, the ISEB Common Pre-Test is just one step on your child’s educational journey, and we’re here to support them every step of the way. 

Get in touch with LessonWise today and let’s set your child on the path to success in their ISEB Common Pre-Test and beyond.