The Mathematics section of the ISEB Common Pre-Test is a 40-minute exam that assesses your child’s knowledge based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum taught up to the end of Year 5. It covers a range of topics that include:
- Number and place value
- Calculations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
- Fractions, decimals and percentages
The questions range from arithmetic to multi-step problem solving. Some questions may cover more than one topic. The number questions come up most commonly. During this test, your child is allowed a pen and paper to jot down any calculations or notes that they want to make. This working paper is not marked, but it can be helpful for your child during the test.
The Mathematics test is designed to assess your child’s ability to recall what they have been taught and apply this knowledge to solve problems in core areas of the curriculum. Like the other sections of the ISEB Common Pre-Test, the Mathematics test is adaptive, meaning the questions become more difficult depending on how your child is performing. The test is also multiple-choice and is sat entirely online on a computer
English Section of the ISEB Common Pre-Test
The English section of the ISEB Common Pre-Test is also a 40-minute exam and is split into two sections: comprehension, and SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar). It is based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum taught up to the end of Year 5.
The comprehension section assesses your child’s ability to analyse and interpret text. Your child will see several short passages (between 300–500 words) – these may be fiction, non-fiction, or poetry from a range of time periods. Each passage has a series of multiple-choice questions designed to assess the following skills:
* Literal (retrieval of information)
* Vocabulary, explaining the meaning of words in context
* Summarising ideas
* Literary devices (personification, alliteration, similes, metaphors)
* Making comparisons (across the text, between characters, between formality
The SPaG section assesses your child’s knowledge of spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It’s important to note that the English section of the ISEB Common Pre-Test is adaptive, which means that the questions become more difficult depending on how your child is performing/
For both the Mathematics and English sections of the ISEB Common Pre-Test, it is a good idea to have your child practice questions in the exact format and style of the ISEB. There are test walkthroughs available on the ISEB website and other educational platforms.
Adaptive Test Design
The ISEB test uses advanced psychometric technology to adapt the difficulty of questions to the student’s ability level. Each individual question is carefully calibrated based on extensive pilot data. After the student answers each question, the system estimates their ability level and selects the next question to be the most informative at that level of ability. Students who consistently answer questions correctly are gradually presented with harder questions, while those who consistently answer incorrectly are presented with easier content.
Tips for Success
- Understand the Format: Both the English and Maths sections of the ISEB Pre-Test are online, adaptive, and multiple choice. This means that the difficulty level of the questions adjusts in real-time based on your child’s performance.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Familiarity with the question types and test format is key. Practice with materials that simulate the real test experience.
- Stay Calm and Focused: The adaptive nature of the test may mean that questions get more difficult if your child is doing well. Remind them that harder questions are a good sign and encourage them to stay focused and do their best.
Additional Support with LessonWise
While your child’s school will undoubtedly provide preparation and support, additional tutoring can unequivocally boost your child’s chances of succeeding at the exam. At LessonWise, we offer tailored tutoring services that can help your child prepare for the ISEB exam. Our experienced tutors understand the intricacies of the test and can provide targeted practice and strategies to boost confidence and performance.