ISEB Common Pre-Tests

What are the ISEB Common Pre-Tests?

The ISEB Common Pre-Tests are an adaptive, computerised set of tests commissioned from GL Assessment. They cover English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Your chosen senior school will register your child to take the ISEB Common Pre-Tests.

The ISEB Common Pre-Tests are usually taken at your child’s current school in either Year 6 or Year 7. Generally, the tests are taken in the Autumn term, and the date is normally decided by your child’s prep school. Overseas candidates may use testing centres but this must be cleared with the senior school beforehand. Only one test is needed each year, and the results will be used for all applications to senior schools that year.

The ISEB Common Pre-Tests are adaptive; this means that the questions will get more or less difficult depending on how the individual student is performing. The test produces a Standard Age Score (SAS) for each subject, as well as an overall score.

Your child will have access to unlimited mock tests that mirror the ISEB Common Pre-Tests in scoring and design in the mock test area of their Atom Nucleus Premium account.

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ISEB Common Pre-Tests Format

The format of the ISEB Common Pre-Tests is a multiple-choice, adaptive, computerised test. Each section may be taken consecutively or separately.

Each test begins with a set of written instructions. There is no audio component. Every question must be answered and pupils cannot go back to previous questions.

Your child is permitted to use a pencil and paper in the Maths & Verbal Reasoning sections. Please be aware that this provision is the responsibility of your child’s invigilation centre.

There are 4 sections: English, Mathematics, Non-Verbal Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The timings for each section are as follows:

  • English | 25 minutes
  • maths | 50 minutes
  • Verbal Reasoning | 36 minutes &
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning | 32 minutes

Each section covers Key Stage 2 required learning with a focus on specific topics as outlined in our Preparation section.

SEND (Special Educational Needs & Disabilities) Candidates

The ISEB Common Pre-Tests are adaptable for SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) candidates, and reasonable adjustments can be applied depending on your child’s needs. Please note that you or your child’s school will need to inform the senior school of any adjustments and usually will need to provide a report from a suitably qualified professional.

The same guidelines should be applied to children with English as an Additional Language (EAL). This may mean that your child has access to a bilingual dictionary when they sit the ISEB Common Pre-Tests. It is vital that you liaise with your senior school so that they are aware of any adjustments.

Please note that the ISEB Common Pre-Tests no longer includes an automatic, on-screen timer to provide for any extra time provisions needed. The tests are still timed and this is accounted for in the calculation of your child’s score.

How should you prepare for the ISEB Common Pre-Tests?

English and Maths Preparation

When preparing for the English and Maths sections of the ISEB Common Pre-Tests, your child will need to focus on the following topics for each subject in line with the Key Stage 2 curriculum. All the topics are covered within the Atom Learning platform to ensure your child has a firm grasp of each area. Atom Learning is partnered with Galore Park, an ISEB endorsed educational publisher.

English

  • Comprehension, including Interpretation, Analysis, & Genre
  • Grammar, including Verb Agreement, Parts of Speech & Syntax
  • Spelling, including Building Words, & Word Sounds
  • Punctuation
  • Vocabulary, including Meaning & Adaptation of Words.

Maths

  • Operations, including the Multiplication Tables up to and including 12
  • Fractions & Decimals
  • Shapes & their properties
  • Data, and how to use it, including Probability
  • Measurement
  • Ratios, Proportions, & Percentages
  • Algebra as a method of solving problems

Atom Nucleus (our home learning platform) is designed to encourage your child to practice these areas as part of a ‘campaign.’. As your child progresses on Atom Nucleus they will earn badges and ALPs (Atom Learning Points). This ensures that they spend the optimal amount of time practicing each subject, and helps to track their progress and keep them motivated.

Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning

Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning are designed to test academic potential. It is important to practice these types of questions, as familiarity with the styles of reasoning has been shown to have a significant positive impact on results. Atom Learning has developed the Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning sections of the platform to include a wide variety of reasoning styles, in line with the ISEB advised topics. These are as follows:

Verbal Reasoning

  • Words & Wordplay, including Vocabulary, Building Words, Finding Words, & Cloze (Cloze encompasses Choosing the Correct Word, & Completing the Sentence)
  • Patterns & Functions, including Codes, Reordering, & Sequences
  • Logic
  • Numbers, including Numbers, & Algebra.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

  • Interpreting Shapes, including Recognise & Associate, Extending a Pattern, & Finding a Code
  • Manipulating Shapes, developing your child’s understanding of 2D Shapes & 3D Shapes

As with the English and Maths topics, your child will have access to the ‘campaign’ areas for their independent practice of each subtopic.

With each question, there is a helpsheet and video explanation designed by experienced teachers. This helps to develop your child’s understanding and ensure there are no gaps in their knowledge.

Parental support in preparing for the ISEB Common Pre-Tests

To fully support your child as they prepare for the ISEB Common Pre-Tests, we have developed ‘Custom Practices’ and ‘Mock Tests’. The Custom Practices can be set by either yourself or your child for any area that needs special attention and adapt to your child’s current level to help with their development. The Mock Tests can also be set by yourself or your child and mimic the ISEB Common Pre-Tests.

We find confident children do well in the ISEB Common Pre-Tests and so it is our goal at Atom Learning to help the children using our platform to build their confidence and ability until they are ready for their ISEB Common Pre-Tests.

How should you use practice tests for the ISEB Common Pre-Tests?

The mock tests featured on Atom Nucleus (our home learning platform) are a tried and tested method of achieving excellent marks in the ISEB Common Pre-Tests. Combined with consistent usage of the ‘campaign’ areas, the mock tests have helped thousands of students achieve improved results. The mock tests on Atom closely mirror the format of the ISEB test.

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Timings

One of the biggest technique issues to be aware of is rushing through questions early on and making avoidable mistakes. These early mistakes will prevent a student from being able to attempt harder questions that are worth more marks in an adaptive test. We find that uniformly children who take the time to read the question carefully make fewer mistakes resulting in a higher score. The mock tests taken on Atom Learning will provide advice on how long your child is spending on each question. This will help you determine whether your child is rushing through questions, and compare their progress. If you’re seeing lots of questions answered in under 15 seconds, advise your child to slow down!

The mock tests on Atom Nucleus are adaptive, just like the ISEB Common Pre-Test. This means that as your child answers questions correctly, the questions will get harder. In an adaptive test, it is highly unlikely that your child will be able to answer all the questions correctly; if they’re seeing really challenging questions, that is because they are performing well in the test!

Planning your Preparation for the ISEB Common Pre-Test

We recommend taking a mock test when you first start using Atom Nucleus to help you to establish a baseline score. This will mean you will be able to see your child’s improvement over time. We then recommend using a mixture of mock tests and custom practices to monitor your child’s progress based on their confidence and attainment levels.

Around 6 weeks before your child sits the ISEB Common Pre-Tests, we strongly recommend that you encourage your child to take one mock test per week. This will help to track their progress and also help to refine their exam technique and timing.

Crucially, the mock tests mimic the ISEB Common Pre-Tests in format, and through our work with prep schools, we know that our test results will be very similar to the score your child will achieve in their ISEB Common Pre-Tests.

How to get the most from Nucleus

In line with the ISEB Common Pre-Test results, the SAS from an Atom Nucleus mock test is likely to be around 8 - 10 points below the same child’s CAT4 score. This means that you will know what your child is likely to score in their ISEB Common Pre-Tests and choose your list of target schools accordingly. h4 Understanding the results on the platform

We provide a variety of statistics on the Parent Portal. These vary depending on which section you are accessing.

Before explaining the data you will have access to, it is important to understand our Student Score versus the SAS.

The student score is our algorithm score. This is out of 100 (effectively a percentage) and it represents the percentage chance that a child has of answering an average difficulty question correctly. A child achieving 51%+ is achieving a higher score than the majority of the children using Atom Learning.

This metric allows you to see the full picture of your child’s areas of strength and weakness. The student score gives you a more accurate sense of how your child has performed in an assignment as it takes into account both how many questions were answered correctly and also how difficult those questions were.

The below table shows the average student score pupils achieved across the top 20 most academic schools using Atom Prime (our school platform) in year 5 compared with students at the same 20 schools also subscribed to Atom Nucleus (the home platform) for additional practice.

This is interesting because:

  • it shows the average student scores for the most capable students on Atom Learning; and
  • it demonstrates the impact Atom Nucleus can have over a relatively short period of time and especially in Reasoning.
SubjectPrime vs. Prime & NucleusAverage Student ScorePercentage increase in first 6 months
EnglishPrime6037
EnglishPrime & Nucleus7165
MathsPrime6623
MathsPrime & Nucleus7975
Verbal ReasoningPrime5440
Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus7288
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime4928
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus63100

The SAS is the Standard-Age-Score. A score of 100 is the average score with 120+ being high and 80+ being low. This score is provided with the mock test results and matches the score your child is likely to achieve in the ISEB Common Pre-Tests. As mentioned above, the scores will be around 8-10 points lower than the scores achieved in your child’s CAT4.

If you’d like to know what schools are realistic based on your child’s current SAS, you can contact one of our education experts via LiveChat in the bottom right of your screen.

Overview

At the top of the Home section of the Parent Portal, you will be able to view your child’s ALPs (Atom Learning Points), number of questions answered, time spent on questions, number of badges owned, and the percentage of the campaign topics attempted.

Underneath this, you can view the current week’s targets and see what your child has achieved so far. You will also be able to view the previous week’s targets and whether your child has met them.

‘Overall progress’ is next and has dials for the student score for each topic, (English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning). By switching to ‘Score History’ you will be able to see your child’s longer-term progress.

The ‘Ability Subtopic Breakdown’ allows you to easily see your child’s strongest and weakest areas in each subject. To switch subjects, you will need to use the click down bar. Hovering over the bar chart will display the exact probability and subject.

Mock Tests

To access the results of any mock tests that your child completes, please ensure you are logged in on your parent account. Click on the 'Mock test' tab for a detailed results breakdown.

The mock results will provide several pieces of data. These include the SAS (the standard-age-score), a Stanine which is a scoring system of 1-9 marked on a bell curve (1-3 is below average, 4-6 is average, and 7-9 is above average), and a Decile which is a scoring system split into 10 and works as a percentage (i.e. 1 is the top 10% of results and 4 is the top 40%). It will also give advice on your child’s timings.

The SAS (Standard-Age-Score) is the most important data point. A score of 100 is the average score with 120+ being high and 80+ being low.

Again, If you’d like to know what schools are realistic based on your child’s current SAS, you can contact one of our education experts via LiveChat in the bottom right of your screen.

Custom Practices

We recommend setting custom practices for any areas that your child needs a little extra support. This will allow them to benefit from targeted practice and you are able to supervise without affecting the adaptive nature of the platform so the questions will remain at the right level for your child.

Once completed, you will receive a transcript of the questions to go through with your child so that they can review the explanations behind the questions.

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After the ISEB Common Pre-Tests

What Happens After The ISEB Common Pre-Tests

After your child has completed the ISEB Common Pre-Tests, if they have performed well enough, they may be invited to sit a school-specific assessment and / or interview, most likely at the senior school in question.

Each senior school will have a different cut-off point based on the Pre-Test results for inviting children to their school-specific assessment and / or interview and this will vary from year to year.

Parents will not receive their child’s ISEB Common Pre-Tests results; they will simply be notified if their child has made it to the next stage of the selection process.

School-Specific Assessment

A school-specific assessment is employed after the ISEB Common Pre-Tests by many of the senior schools including Westminster, St Paul’s, City of London, Eton College and Harrow.

You will find a comprehensive list of school-specific assessments in the mock test area of your child’s Atom Nucleus Premium account.

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If you’re not sure whether your target schools use a school-specific assessment after the ISEB Common Pre-Tests, you can ask one of our education experts using the LiveChat function in the bottom right of your screen.

Assessment methods vary from school to school. They typically involve an additional English and maths paper. This could be online, paper-based or a combination.

The English component will usually comprise of prose, poetry and comprehension and maths can range from problem-solving to any area of the Key Stage 2 and, in some cases, early Key Stage 3 curriculum.

By performing well on Atom Learning, pupils can unlock more challenging content to prepare themselves for school-specific assessments.

Use Atom to identify weaker areas and target those areas, rather than wasting time in the topics the pupil is already familiar with:

At this point, it’s worth mentioning that not every school uses an English and maths test. Eton, for example, uses a one-hour computerised test of verbal, numerical and perceptual reasoning developed by Cambridge University.

In reasoning, there is no curriculum per se, so working with Galore Park, Atom Learning has categorised all of the different styles of reasoning questions that might come up to ensure pupils are able to get familiar with all of the different types of questions.

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Get in touch with one of our education experts via LiveChat to discuss your school choices, the relevant assessments (if any), interviews and how best to prepare.

Use Atom’s mock test area to identify gaps in knowledge and hone exam technique including not rushing through questions early on and making avoidable mistakes. Students applying for the most competitive senior schools should be aiming for Atom age-standardised scores in excess of 120 - 125.

The Student Score is another important metric unique to Atom that can be found on your Atom Nucleus Parent Portal. It is a score out of 100, and it represents the percentage chance that a child has of answering an average difficulty question correctly, in a particular topic.

The below table shows the average student score pupils achieved across the top 20 most academic schools using Atom Prime (our school platform) in year 7 compared with students at the same 20 schools also subscribed to Atom Nucleus (the home platform) for additional practice.

This is interesting because:

  • it shows the average student scores for the most capable students on Atom Learning; and
  • it demonstrates the impact Atom Nucleus can have over a relatively short period of time and especially in Reasoning.
SubjectPrime vs. Prime & NucleusAverage Student ScorePercentage increase in first 6 months
EnglishPrime6037
EnglishPrime & Nucleus7165
MathsPrime6623
MathsPrime & Nucleus7975
Verbal ReasoningPrime5440
Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus7288
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime4928
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus63100

When Do School-Specific Assessments / Interviews Take Place?

The individual school decides when the assessment / interview takes place. Typically they will occur in the Spring or Summer Terms of Year 6 but they can also happen later in the Autumn Term of Year 7 as is the case with Harrow.

For specific information on timings for your chosen school(s), contact one of our education experts via LiveChat in the bottom right of your screen.

Group / One-To-One Interviews

  • Interviews are typically 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Expect open-ended questions, often mental maths, various stimulus material (a poem, an advert, an article, an image etc…).
  • Successful pupils are often described as ‘natural’, ‘interested’, and ‘able to develop their responses fully’.
  • Children need to talk enthusiastically about hobbies, academic interests and current affairs.
  • In group activities children must contribute, but not dominate.

The following covers a range of interview methods, techniques and procedures that have been used by some of the leading senior schools when assessing applicants:

NB: most schools will have some combination of the below.
  • The interviewee takes an object of interest into the interview for discussion e.g. Westminster.
  • Discussion of a moral dilemma e.g. Wetherby.
  • The Interviewee is asked to analyse a poem and / or to perform some mental maths e.g. City of London, Winchester and St Paul's.
  • The interviewee is asked to discuss a current affairs article e.g. City of London and Dulwich College.
  • The interviewee is asked to discuss an image e.g. City of London and Tonbridge.
  • The interviewee is asked to consider more abstract questions on certain subjects of interest, for example, what is the point of studying history e.g. St. Paul's.
  • Discussion of extra-curricular interests e.g. Harrow.
  • Group assessments e.g. Alleyn's.

Initial Offers

Soon after the school-specific assessment and / or the interview, an initial offer will be made if the pupil has performed sufficiently well.

Initial offers can be made as early as January of Y6 (e.g. Wetherby) through to the Autumn Term of Year 7 (e.g. Harrow).

Once an offer has been made, a deposit will need to be paid to secure the child’s place at that school. Deposits will vary from a few hundred pounds to c.£3,000.

What Else Can You Do To Help Prepare Your Child?

  • Read aloud with your child for fifteen minutes every day.
  • Practice verbal and non-verbal reasoning, English & maths online with Atom Learning.
  • Discuss current affairs as a family & get The Week Junior Magazine.
  • Check your child’s prep.
  • Regular mental maths with your child.
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The 11+ London Consortium

Which schools belong to the London 11+ Consortium?

The London 11+ Consortium is a group of independent schools in London that have agreed to use the same admissions procedure for entrance into Year 7.

Parents and pupils often apply to more than one of the schools in this group, so managing applicants together makes the admissions process fairer and more efficient. All schools in the group set the same entrance exams, with the same mark schemes, sharing the results with each other. This means that pupils have to sit fewer exams and have more flexibility over where they sit them. It also means pupils can be matched more effectively to schools that best fit their profile.

This group used to be known as the North London Girls’ School Consortium but has now changed its name after incorporating more schools into one group and developing a new cognitive ability test.

The schools that currently make up the London 11+ Consortium are:

  • Channing School
  • Francis Holland School, Regent's Park
  • Francis Holland School, Sloane Square
  • Godolphin and Latymer
  • More House School
  • Northwood College for Girls
  • Notting Hill and Ealing High School
  • Queen's College London
  • South Hampstead High School
  • St Helen's School London
  • St James Senior Girls' School

You will find London Consortium style assessments in the Mock Test area of your child’s Premium Atom Nucleus account.

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Open events — throughout the year

Open events, held throughout the year, will allow parents and pupils to visit schools and help them to decide where to apply. It is important to use these opportunities to decide which schools will best suit your daughter. You should contact each school early in the Autumn Term for the dates and times of Open Days.

Registration — by November of Year 6

You start the application process by requesting an Application Form directly from the school for which you wish your daughter to be considered. If applying to more than one school, you will need to complete a separate application form for each one. Any schools applied for will then process your application and send you information regarding the next steps. Registration closes in November.

If you have applied to more than one school in the London 11+ Consortium, you can state a preference for the school in which you wish to take the exam, giving a second or third choice if applicable. Depending on space, your daughter may be asked to sit the exam in a school which is not her first choice, but this will have no bearing on how the application is considered; the result of the test will be shared with all schools to which your daughter has applied and the location of the test will not affect her chances of success at other schools.

Reference — by January of Year 6

Your daughter’s junior school will need to provide a reference before the entrance examination. Each of the London 11+ Consortium schools to which you have applied will ask for a reference individually. They will seek detailed information on your daughter’s current academic level and performance as well as more general information on character and attitude towards learning.

The Cognitive Abilities test — held in January of Year 6

From 2019 entrance onwards, the separate maths and English 11+ tests have been replaced with one Cognitive Abilities test. This is an effort to reduce pressure on pupils and combat intensive-preparation techniques. It is taken in person at a London 11+ Consortium school. This is where Atom Nucleus (our home learning platform) is particularly useful. It will ensure your daughter has a firm grasp of all the topics which may be tested in a fun and positive learning environment.

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Interview — held January–February of Year 6

In addition to the Cognitive Abilities Test, candidates will also be asked to interview at each London 11+ Consortium school to which they have applied. Each Consortium school decides its interview format and interview date separately. Minimal information will be provided in order to ensure equal opportunity, but interviews will generally test problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

Results — Shared with schools in February of Year 6

Results will be shared with all Consortium schools to which you have applied. Each school will decide individually whether to offer a place to your daughter based on her reference, and her performance at examination and interview. Different schools may place different weights on each part, but all are important.

Offers — Posted in February of Year 6

Offers are sent directly to parents by all London 11+ Consortium schools on the same date in February, using either post or email. Your daughter may be offered a place on a waiting list; everyone on the waiting list is considered to have met qualifications for entry if a vacancy comes up.

Acceptances — by early March of Year 6

If offered a place, you will need to send your acceptance by early March. If no acceptance has been received by the date given, the place will be re-offered to another candidate. You can only accept an offer at one school. After accepting an offer from one school, it is good practice to inform any other school at which you hold an offer immediately, so they may reallocate their places to pupils on waiting lists.

What is the London 11+ Consortium Test?

Test Format

The London 11+ Consortium Test is a paper test, taken over 70 minutes.

  • The questions will focus on Maths, Verbal, and Non-Verbal Reasoning, including short passages of comprehension.
  • The format is a paper test (not on the computer) with a separate sheet on which to mark answers.
  • It will consist mostly of multiple-choice questions, but some will require written answers.
  • All candidates sit the test in January, on the same day. It can only be taken once.
  • They will sit the test at one of the Consortium schools to which they have applied.
  • They will need to bring stationery in a transparent pencil case.

The London 11+ Consortium takes pains to commission the test from CEM to be tutor-proof. This means they do not provide sample papers and are secretive about the exact format. Practice with the styles and categories of questions is where Atom Learning is of real assistance in your daughter’s preparation. Familiarity with the styles of reasoning questions will improve performance.

SEND Candidates

The London 11+ Consortium follows the regulations and guidance for access arrangements set down by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). This means that any applicants who have had a professional assessment, which identifies a learning difficulty or an uneven learning profile may have 25% extra time.

For this to apply, candidates must have either at least one standardised score of less than 85, or at least two standardised scores of less than 90, which relate to one of the following processing scores:

  • Speed of reading.
  • Speed of reading comprehension.
  • Speed of writing.

Any other cognitive processing measures that have a substantial or long-term adverse effect on speed of working.

If this is the case, the candidate's current school should have been made aware and should already be allowing extra time in tests. The Consortium school to which you are applying will need to receive evidence from a specialist and also from your current school by 30th November to qualify for access arrangements.

If standardised scores do not fall into the conditions described above, there are rare occasions where extra time will be allowed, but these will require extensive evidence and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If extra time is refused, the educational professional's report will still be taken into consideration alongside the test results when deciding whether to offer a place.

As the cognitive test is multiple-choice and answered on paper, laptops will not be necessary.

How should you prepare?

When preparing for the VR/ English and Mathematics sections of the London 11+ Consortium Test, your daughter will need to focus on the topics for each subject in line with the Key Stage 2 Curriculum. All the relevant topics are covered within the Atom Learning platform to ensure your daughter has a firm grasp of each topic.

Atom Nucleus (our home learning platform) is designed to encourage your daughter to practice these areas within a ‘campaign’ for the wider topic.

As your daughter progresses with each Atom (sub-topic) she will earn badges and ALPs (Atom Learning Points) to track her understanding of the topic. You will also receive a breakdown of your daughter’s student mastery scores. This is the probability of your daughter answering an average difficulty question accurately across each sub-topic in English, Maths, Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning, so you will be able to set custom practices and provide any additional support she may need.

In our research for the Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning section of Atom Nucleus, we have discovered a strong correlation between familiarity with the type of question and a good score. Atom Learning has developed the Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning sections of the platform to increase familiarity and in line with the CEM-style questions. This will give your daughter the tools to approach the Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning sections with confidence.

How should you use practice tests?

Atom Nucleus offers London 11+ Consortium style mock tests to help familiarise pupils with the styles and categories of questions they may encounter and to help prepare students for the time pressure involved in the Consortium assessment. Combined, consistent usage of the ‘campaign’ areas and the mock tests usually results in significant improvements in every area.

Timings

Your daughter should aim to work a consistent, quick pace as the London 11+ Consortium Cognitive Ability Test is time-pressured. Your daughter should focus on ensuring that she maintains her accuracy and attention to detail as she also develops her speed.

Planning your Preparation

We recommend taking mock tests at the beginning of your Premium experience to gain a baseline score. This will mean you will be able to see your daughter’s improvement over time. We then recommend using a mixture of mock tests and custom practices to monitor your daughter’s progress based on her confidence and attainment levels.

Around 6 weeks before your daughter sits the London 11+ Consortium Cognitive Ability Test, we strongly recommend that you encourage your daughter to take one mock test per week so that by the day of the test, the types of question have become very familiar.

Crucially, the mock tests cover the same syllabus required in Key Stage 2 and your daughter will be expected to have a firm grasp on all areas of this syllabus for the London 11+ Consortium’s Cognitive Ability Test. The other great benefit is the timed conditions which will help your daughter be aware of the necessary time-keeping skills!

Understanding the results on the platform

We provide a variety of statistics on the Parent Portal. These vary depending on which section you are accessing.

Before explaining the data you will have access to, it is important to understand our Student Score versus the SAS.

The student score is our algorithm score. This is out of 100 (effectively a percentage) and it represents the percentage chance that your daughter has of answering an average difficulty question correctly (within an assignment or, if viewing from the stats area, within the relevant subject/subtopic selected). We provide this statistic because, due to the platform being adaptive, it is necessary to differentiate between two pupils who may have both got 70% of questions correct, but one may have only seen hard questions and the other may have only seen easy questions.

The student score gives you a more accurate sense of how your daughter has performed in an assignment as it takes into account both how many questions were answered correctly and how difficult those questions were, similar to the standardised age score (SAS) taken in the mock tests and the Cognitive Ability Test.

The below table shows the average student score pupils achieved across the top 20 most academic schools using Atom Prime (our school platform) in year 5 compared with students at the same 20 schools also subscribed to Atom Nucleus (the home platform) for additional practice.

This is interesting because:

  • it shows the average student scores for the most capable students on Atom Learning; and
  • it demonstrates the impact Atom Nucleus can have over a relatively short period of time and especially in Reasoning.
SubjectPrime vs. Prime & NucleusAverage Student ScorePercentage increase in first 6 months
EnglishPrime6037
EnglishPrime & Nucleus7165
MathsPrime6623
MathsPrime & Nucleus7975
Verbal ReasoningPrime5440
Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus7288
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime4928
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus63100
SAS is the Standard-Age-Score. A score of 100 is the average score with 120+ being high and 80+ being low. This score is provided with the mock test results and is a guideline for your daughter’s performance in the London 11+ Consortium Test.Start 5-day free trial

Overview

At the top of the Home section of the Parent Portal, you will be able to view your child’s ALPs (Atom Learning Points), number of questions answered, time spent on questions, number of badges owned, and the percentage of the campaign topics attempted.

Underneath this, you can view the current week’s targets and see what your child has achieved so far. You will also be able to view the previous week’s targets and whether your child has met them.

‘Overall progress’ is next and has dials for the student score for each topic, (English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning). By switching to ‘Score History’ you will be able to see your child’s longer-term progress.

The ‘Ability Subtopic Breakdown’ allows you to easily see your child’s strongest and weakest areas in each subject. To switch subjects, you will need to use the click down bar. Hovering over the bar chart will display the exact probability and subject.

Mock Tests

To access the results of any mock tests that your child completes, please ensure you are logged in on your parent account. Click on the 'Mock test' tab for a detailed results breakdown.

The mock results will provide several pieces of data. These include the SAS (the standard-age-score), a Stanine which is a scoring system of 1-9 marked on a bell curve (1-3 is below average, 4-6 is average, and 7-9 is above average), and a Decile which is a scoring system split into 10 and works as a percentage (i.e. 1 is the top 10% of results and 4 is the top 40%). It will also give advice on your child’s timings.

The SAS (Standard-Age-Score) is the most important data point. A score of 100 is the average score with 120+ being high and 80+ being low.

Again, If you’d like to know what schools are realistic based on your child’s current SAS, you can contact one of our education experts via LiveChat in the bottom right of your screen.

Custom Practices

We recommend setting custom practices for any areas that your child needs a little extra support. This will allow them to benefit from targeted practice and you are able to supervise without affecting the adaptive nature of the platform so the questions will remain at the right level for your child.

Once completed, you will receive a transcript of the questions to go through with your child so that they can review the explanations behind the questions.

Start 5-day free trial

UKiset

Atom Learning is the only online learning platform expressly endorsed by UKiset for familiarisation purposes:

www.ukiset.com/Prepare-for-UKiset

You will find UKiset mock tests in the ‘Launch Mock Test’ area of your child’s Atom Nucleus Premium account.

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What is UKiset?

UKiset is a standardised adaptive assessment designed to help families all over the world find the right school for their child. Any student aged between 9 and 18, with at least a basic knowledge of the English language, may choose UKiset if they are applying to a British independent school or similar educational institution in the U.K. There is a one-off fee of £295 to use UKiset. This includes registration, test date arrangement, invigilation fees, marking, and the sending of the full UKiset profile to target schools.

UKiset is an adaptive online entry test. It tests four fundamental skills; English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning. It takes approximately 2 hours to complete the test. UKiset can also assess a student’s level of academic English and provide them with their current CEFR (The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level.

A UKiset profile is generated from the results of the assessment. The profile identifies strengths, weaknesses and academic potential. This means that families are able to concentrate on sending applications to the most appropriate schools for their child. This profile may be sent to a total of five British schools. The profile can be sent to more schools for a £50 charge per additional school. Target schools may be selected before or after the test.

Ukiset results are generally processed within 3 working days and they are valid for one year. The test may be re-taken after 6 months have passed.

What format does the UKiset test take?

The UKiset test is split into three sections:

Section 1 covers maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning and lasts 45 minutes. This section assesses a candidate’s learning potential in quantitative, non-verbal and verbal reasoning. ­A student’s score is standardised for their age and compared to British students in the same year group. For students with English as their second language, the verbal reasoning section will be more difficult than for a British student. The UKiset results will include an additional score for this section which excludes Verbal Reasoning. This can help schools understand a student’s potential when language is not a factor.

Familiarity with the styles of reasoning questions will have a big impact on performance. Atom Nucleus will give you access to tens of thousands of individually designed practice questions that cover all types of reasoning questions.

Section 2 is the English test, and this will last 30 minutes. This section is designed to help schools assess the candidate’s level of English, and to predict how easily they will be able to access the British curriculum. Atom Nucleus includes a dedicated English campaign area with carefully crafted help sheets and videos that cover the full range of topics.

How can you use Nucleus to prepare for the UKiset?

The campaign area of Atom Nucleus will allow your child to work through all four subject areas to ensure that there are no gaps in their knowledge. The courses have been carefully designed by expert teachers to build up the concepts in the most effective way. Each area includes high quality video tuition - this is especially beneficial in Non-Verbal Reasoning which is an inherently visual subject.

Nucleus will automatically create targets for your child to ensure they use their time efficiently and spend time practicing in each of the campaign areas. As your child progresses on Nucleus, they will earn badges and ALPs (Atom Learning Points). This will help them to keep track of their progress and stay motivated. As a parent, you will also have an overview of their progress on the platform, and detailed insight into areas of strength and weakness.

How should you use practice tests when preparing for UKiset?

Your premium Nucleus subscription will give you access to unlimited mock tests. You should encourage your child to take a mock test in all subjects when they begin using Nucleus, as this will help you to understand their current level and track their progress over the year. The mock tests on Atom are automatically marked, and will give you a Standard Age Score, as well as a detailed sub-topic breakdown so you can easily see the areas you should focus on with your child.

For more context on the mock test scores and which senior schools are realistic, click here.

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As the UKiset approaches you should incorporate mock tests into your weekly practice. This will help your child with managing exam timing, and help build their confidence going into the test. It will also help you to identify the areas where you can most effectively improve your child’s scores.

How should you use the data on Atom Nucleus?

Atom Nucleus will give you a wealth of data on your child’s progress. When you log in as a parent, you will be able to see their current progress on the platform in each subject. You will be able to see a Student Score for each of the subjects.

The Student Score is a metric unique to Atom. It is a score out of 100, and it represents the percentage chance that a child has of answering an average difficulty question correctly in a particular topic.

This allows you to see your child’s score improve even as they tackle more difficult questions. It also allows you to easily understand their areas of relative strength and weakness so you can support them effectively.

On Atom, you can see an Ability Sub-topic Breakdown. This will show you your child’s Student Scores for each subject, broken down by sub-topic.

We can see, for example, that for this child, Percentages is an important topic to focus on.

Atom Nucleus also allows you to create custom practices for your child. If you have identified an area you want to focus on, you can easily create a custom practice in that topic area:

The below table shows the average student score pupils achieved across the top 20 most academic schools using Atom Prime (our school platform) in year 5 compared with students at the same 20 schools also subscribed to Atom Nucleus (the home platform) for additional practice.

This is interesting because:

  • it shows the average student scores for the most capable students on Atom Learning; and
  • it demonstrates the impact Atom Nucleus can have over a relatively short period of time and especially in Reasoning.
SubjectPrime vs. Prime & NucleusAverage Student ScorePercentage increase in first 6 months
EnglishPrime6037
EnglishPrime & Nucleus7165
MathsPrime6623
MathsPrime & Nucleus7975
Verbal ReasoningPrime5440
Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus7288
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime4928
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus63100
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Grammar School 11+

What are Grammar Schools?

Grammar schools are state secondary schools that select their pupils by means of an examination usually taken by children at age 11, known as the "11 Plus".

The format of the 11 Plus test will vary by region, but will generally cover English, Maths, Verbal, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Our home learning platform, Atom Nucleus, uses AI to help your child reach their full potential in each of these areas.

You will also find a comprehensive list of 11+ grammar mock tests in your child’s Atom Nucleus Premium account that are CEM / GL and region-specific:

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There are 164 Grammar schools across the UK, with the highest concentration in London, Kent and Buckinghamshire. Different regions will use different test formats and application procedures, so it is important to check the details with the schools you are most interested in applying to.

The test will typically be taken early in Year 6, and results will be shared with parents / guardians in October. Place offers will be sent out on the 1st March.

What are the main Grammar School 11 Plus test types?

While the test format and weighting will vary by region, it’s a good idea to look at the type of test that your child will be sitting.

GL Grammar School 11 Plus

GL Assessment produces many of the 11 Plus assessments used by Grammar schools. The papers cover English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR). Schools using GL Assessment tests can choose which components they want to cover. This can and does change from year to year, so it is important to check the latest information with the Grammar school you would like to apply to.

The Maths and English components are rooted in the KS2 National Curriculum. For VR and NVR, developing familiarity with the categories and styles of reasoning questions is essential. Atom Nucleus will give you access to tens of thousands of individually designed practice questions that cover the full KS2 National Curriculum, and all categories of VR and NVR questions for subject mastery.

CEM Grammar School 11 Plus

CEM 11 Plus tests typically cover three main areas:

  • Verbal ability (tests vocabulary, comprehension and Verbal Reasoning).
  • Numerical reasoning (tests the ability to solve mathematical problems and mental arithmetic skills).
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning (tests your child’s ability to see how objects and shapes relate to each other, and spot patterns).

CEM 11 Plus tests were introduced in response to concerns that the GL assessments were too predictable. They do not publish practice materials and have designed the assessment to be harder to prepare for. However, it is clear from the evidence that familiarisation with the styles of reasoning questions does improve performance. Developing a good vocabulary and a strong grasp of mathematical concepts early on is important. Atom Nucleus will also help to develop familiarity with reasoning concepts that will not have been covered in school. The platform includes high-quality video tuition in all topic areas. Video tutorials can be particularly helpful in NVR, as it is an inherently visual subject.

Check the Grammar School 11 Plus test in your area!

Grammar schools can change the type of assessment they use year to year, so it is important to check the most up-to-date information.

You can see below the tests used in each region in 2020.

How should you prepare for the Grammar School 11 Plus?

When should you begin preparing for the 11 Plus?

Before Year 5, the best way to prepare is to ensure that your child has thoroughly covered the topics in the KS2 National Curriculum in Maths and English.

The campaign area of Atom Nucleus covers all KS2 topics and has been carefully designed by expert teachers to help your child progress at their optimal rate. Spending regular time in the campaign area will ensure that your child has no gaps in their curriculum knowledge. Developing a good vocabulary by reading widely should also be encouraged.

Towards the end of Year 4 and early in Year 5, you can begin more focussed preparations. Atom Nucleus will automatically create targets for your child to ensure they use their time efficiently and spend time practicing in each of the campaign areas. As your child progresses on Nucleus, they will earn badges and ALPs (Atom Learning Points). This will help them to keep track of their progress and stay motivated. As a parent, you will also have an overview of their progress on the platform, and detailed insight into strengths and areas to work on.

How should you use practice tests?

Your premium Nucleus subscription will give you access to unlimited mock tests. You should encourage your child to take a mock test early in Year 5, as this will help you to understand their current level and track their progress over the year. The mock tests on Atom are automatically marked, and will give you a Standard Age Score, as well as a mini-report with exam technique pointers and detailed sub-topic breakdowns so you can easily see the areas you should focus on with your child.

In the 4-6 months before the date of the 11 Plus, you should incorporate mock tests into your weekly practice. This will help your child with managing exam timing, and help build their confidence going into the 11 Plus. It will also help you to identify the areas where you can most effectively improve your child’s scores.

For more context on mock test results and which senior schools are realistic, click here.

How should you use the data on Atom Nucleus?

Atom Nucleus will give you a wealth of data on your child’s progress. When you log in as a parent, you will be able to see their current progress on the platform in each subject. You will be able to see a Student Score for each of the subjects.

The Student Score is a metric unique to Atom. It is a score out of 100, and it represents the percentage chance that a child has of answering an average difficulty question correctly, in a particular topic.

This allows you to see your child’s score improve even as they tackle more difficult questions. It also allows you to easily understand their areas of relative strength and weakness so you can support them effectively.

On Atom, you can see an Ability Sub-topic Breakdown. This will show you your child’s Student Scores for each subject, broken down by sub-topic.

Here we can see that for this child, Percentages is an important topic to focus on in practice.

The below table shows the average student score pupils achieved across the top 20 most academic schools using Atom Prime (our school platform) in year 5 compared with students at the same 20 schools also subscribed to Atom Nucleus (the home platform) for additional practice.

This is interesting because:

  • it shows the average student scores for the most capable students on Atom Learning; and
  • it demonstrates the impact Atom Nucleus can have over a relatively short period of time and especially in Reasoning.
SubjectPrime vs. Prime & NucleusAverage Student ScorePercentage increase in first 6 months
EnglishPrime6037
EnglishPrime & Nucleus7165
MathsPrime6623
MathsPrime & Nucleus7975
Verbal ReasoningPrime5440
Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus7288
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime4928
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus63100

Atom Nucleus also allows you to create custom practices for your child. If you have identified an area you want to focus on, you can easily create a custom practice in that topic here:

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Interview Preparation

How Can I Help My Child Prepare For Their Senior School Entrance Interview?

In most cases, the interviewer will have access to your child’s exam score, the reference letter from your child’s current Head as well as their latest academic reports.

Interviews will typically last 15 - 20 minutes and your child should be prepared for open-ended questions, mental maths, various stimulus material (a poem, an advert, an article, an image etc).

We asked a group of leading senior school Heads how they would describe successful candidates and they gave us the following three key responses:

  • ‘Natural’
  • ‘Interested’; and
  • ‘Able to develop their responses fully.’

It is essential that your child can talk enthusiastically about their hobbies, academic interests and current affairs.

In group activities your child will need to contribute, but not dominate!

Our top tip: read, read, read!

Preparation Methods To Adopt Straight Away

Talk To Your Child

We find that confident, prepared children do well in interviews. In order to help your child’s confidence, we recommend spending a little time every day talking with your child about their interests. A good senior school interview should feel like a conversation and gently encouraging your child to explain their opinions and justify their explanations will make the interview process much easier for them.

Some children may find noticeable preparation stressful so we recommend talking with them while they are engaged with another activity such as the school commute or during their meal-times. This will help them build key communication skills that will benefit them far beyond their senior school interview.

Your child should also be encouraged to take new information on-board and consider how it affects their opinion. The interviewer will be looking for a child who will be able to learn in the school environment and benefit from joining the school.

Techniques to Use to Shine at Interview

How To Debate/Explain Your Opinion

This is the method we recommend explaining to your child as a technique to use in the interview to ensure they answer with clarity and confidence.

P - Pause and Breathe

A - Analyse the Question

R - Reason your response (in your head)

E - Explain!

Be prepared to justify your opinion, and also be asked the 3W questions that matter in interview (Who, When, & Why).

The Best Way to Tell Your Story

Communication is key. Sometimes your child will be asked a negative question like ‘What is your least favourite subject?’.

The best way to answer a question like this is to start with a positive, then answer the question honestly, and conclude with another positive. A good mnemonic to remember this is the PNP hamburger.

All stories are built up from the ground. Telling stories before bedtime and getting your child to contribute is an excellent way to create the skills which will later make your child an engaging conversationalist.

Other Preparation

It is vital your child keeps reading. This should be wide and extend beyond your child’s school-assigned reading. It should be age-appropriate; schools do not expect your child to have read the Complete Works of Shakespeare but making sure that they have read some classic children’s books is a good start.

Keep your child up to date with current affairs. We recommend supervised reading of the news e.g. The Week Junior and engaging them in discussions that you might have with others about the news. Be prepared to explain what is happening and encourage your child to draw their own conclusions.

Why Do Senior Schools Conduct Interviews?

Over the past decade, both applications and excellent pupils applying have increased. Selective private schools increasingly rely on interviews and pre-tests to assess whether your child will thrive at the school and benefit from the educational experience they offer.

When interviews are conducted, the interviewer is looking for your child’s interests, their ability to engage with an unfamiliar adult, their ability to take new information on board and engage with it, and ultimately assess if the school is a good fit for your child as well as if your child is a good fit for the school.

Confidence in communicating with the interviewer is crucial to making an impact. Your child should be aware that they are unique and be able to add detail to their answers. The interview should become a conversation between the interviewer and your child. This is why we strongly recommend having conversations with your child about all relevant topics as this will develop the key skill needed to make an impact!

Common Senior School Interview Questions And What Your Child Should Talk About

  • What is your school like/what are you missing in school in order to be here today?
  • This is a very common opening question to set your child at their ease. Be open and honest about the subjects you are missing and whether you feel sad to be missing a favourite lesson. This often leads to questions about your child’s favourite subject.

  • Tell me about yourself/your family?
  • This is another way of putting your child at ease. They can talk about their siblings, pets, best friends, parents, wider family, etc.

  • Why do you want to come to this school?
  • Your child should try to talk about what attracted them to the school. Is it a really good school for their favourite subject, their favourite sport, the dramatic arts and/or music? Did they really enjoy it when you visited the school? They may have a previous connection with the school or interest in its history which they can talk about.

  • How do you feel about coming to a boarding school? (For children applying to a boarding school)
  • Your child should be honest about their opinion but a few options to consider are: ‘I’m really looking forward to living with my friends’, ‘I will be able to do more of a subject/activity that I enjoy’, or even ‘It seems really exciting, I’ve heard/read great stories about boarding school!’.

  • What is your favourite subject and why?
  • Your child should always tell the truth about this and try to compare two subjects that they like. If they have done any extra-curricular activities because of their interest, they should tell the interviewer about it. Children who love science may have made a volcano, or love a tv programme to do with science (this applies to all subjects).

  • What was the last book they read and/or the current book they are reading?
  • Ultimately, your child should be able to analyse if they liked or disliked the book. They should be prepared to give a brief summary but focus on what it made them feel. They may be asked if you would recommend the book to someone else and they should be able to explain their answer!

  • What extracurricular activities do you do?
  • This is where the conversations you have had with your child become really useful. Your child should be talking about their interests and explain why they find it interesting. Talking about additional activities they have done based on the original interest is a top tip! Some suggested topics are sports, drama, music, any clubs your child belongs to, and any pronounced personal interests such as a TV show or video game (as long as they can talk about it comfortably).

  • What do you think about Covid-19?/How has Covid-19 impacted you?
  • Due to current events, we believe that it is likely that your child will be asked about the impact of Covid-19, social distancing, and lockdown on their lives. The change to home-school, any changes to routine, and impact on their lives, social life, and family and friends should all be considered.

  • Your child is unique and special. Their perspective cannot be replicated or falsified and the tools we suggest should be adapted and improvised on as they develop their communication skills. Being true to themself will make your child stand out from the crowd!

Some other common questions:

These are a great inspiration for the kind of conversations to have with your child in the lead up to the interview.

  • What is your least favourite subject and why?
  • Why do you want to apply to school X? What is it about school X that attracts you?
  • What extracurricular activities/sports/music/drama do you do?
  • If you had unlimited money, what would you do with it and why?
  • Who is your favourite/least favourite character in the book you are reading?
  • What book would you recommend and why?
  • If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
  • Has anything in the news in the past few months caught your interest and why?
  • Tell me about a real interest you have (this can be any interest as mentioned above)
  • What do you want to be when you are older and why?
  • If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  • Do you think it is important to study history?
  • What is the point of going to school?
  • If there is one thing that you would really love to learn more about, what would it be and why?
  • Tell me about your happiest/saddest moment
  • Tell me about a time when you were disappointed or embarrassed.

Questions For Your Child To Ask At A School Interview

At the close of the interview, your child will be asked if they have any questions or anything else they would like to say to the interviewer.

This is the time to ask any questions about the school if they have any. It is also the time to refer back to anything your child has previously said, and add to it. Even if they have nothing that they want to say, they should take a moment to think through the conversation before saying no.

Our Top Tips For Behaviour, Dress, And Body Language

What to Wear?

For the dress code, your child’s school uniform is usually the most appropriate clothing to wear. If they are wearing their own clothes, they should be clean, neat, and not excessively eye-catching. Being comfortable is also important so they are not distracted by their clothes.

Timing

Make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare. You can take a brief walk around the outside of the Admissions building before you take your child in so they can have some fresh air. If your child is nervous, reassure them that they are amazing and you believe in them.

If you spot any unique features of the school, point them out and talk about them with your child as a little last minute sneaky preparation.

Before Your Child Goes In

When you enter the Admissions building, you and your child should greet the team with a smile and handshake.

Tips for Parents:

Ask for a glass of water from the Admissions team so that your child can have a drink if they need it.

Subtly check whether they need the loo beforehand, possibly before entering the building, and ask for directions if needed.

Once your child has gone in, make polite small talk with any other parents or staff present. The impression you make is also important to the school although your child’s interview takes precedence.

Body Language

Your child should greet the interviewer with a smile and a handshake. If you are present when they meet, let your child take the lead in greeting the teachers. The school wants to see your child independently of your support.

Once in the interview, your child should sit naturally but upright, and avoid slouching or crossing their arms (both of these are common when feeling nervous). They can place their hands in their lap, or use them while they talk depending on what they are most comfortable with. Hands should not be put near their face.

Your child should look the interviewer in the eye, consider what is being said, and then answer. If they are recalling something, they do not have to keep looking at the interviewer but they should keep their head up so that the interviewer can hear them.

Your child should try to speak slightly more slowly and louder than they would normally so that the interviewer can hear them clearly.

Once the interview has ended, your child should thank the interviewer, shake their hand again, and say goodbye.

When Your Child Comes Out

Greet the interviewer and your child. Do not ask how it went until you are with your child privately. You may now have another activity with the school or you may go straight home. Either way, take a moment to say well done to your child privately as soon as possible. Interviews are stressful and they deserve a big congratulations for completing it, no matter what the outcome.

Atom Learning’s Message For Your Child

You are unique and special and any school would be lucky to have you. We wish you the best of luck with your upcoming interview!

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Which schools are realistic?

When it comes to exam preparation, parents often want to understand how well their child is performing in relation to the level required to secure a place at their first choice school or target schools.

Before we move onto CAT scores and Atom mock test scores, an important data point is your child’s student score across English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning which can be found in your Atom Nucleus Parent Portal.

We’ve included more information towards the end of this article on student scores and ability sub-topic breakdowns, however, for useful context the below table shows the average student score pupils achieved across the top 20 most academic schools using Atom Prime (our school platform) in year 5 compared with students at the same 20 schools also subscribed to Atom Nucleus (the home platform) for additional practice.

This is interesting because:

  • it shows the average student scores for the most capable students on Atom Learning; and
  • it demonstrates the impact Atom Nucleus can have over a relatively short period of time and especially in Reasoning.
SubjectPrime vs. Prime & NucleusAverage Student ScorePercentage increase in first 6 months
EnglishPrime6037
EnglishPrime & Nucleus7165
MathsPrime6623
MathsPrime & Nucleus7975
Verbal ReasoningPrime5440
Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus7288
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime4928
Non-Verbal ReasoningPrime & Nucleus63100
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What score will my child need to get into their chosen school?

By combining knowledge from our senior schools relationships and data we’ve gathered, we are able to provide you with clear guidance on which schools are realistic based on CAT scores and Atom mock test scores. The following should act as general guidance, but for more specific advice, you can contact one of our education experts via LiveChat in the bottom right of your screen.

CAT SCORES

The Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs) are marked assessments used to monitor progress and to help your school understand your child’s attainment level with a more rounded view, including their potential and how they learn.

London Day Schools

below table shows the average CAT scores pupils achieved who were subsequently offered a conditional place to some of the top London day schools. This data was taken over a 5-year period from two leading prep schools. It is important to note that scores can fluctuate from year to year.
WestminsterSt Paul'sCity of LondonKCSDulwich
132128125127122
GodolphinSouth HampsteadChanningFrancis Holland (RP)Northwood College
129128122121116

Boarding Schools

The below table shows the average CAT scores pupils achieved who were then offered a conditional place to some of the top boarding schools. This data was taken from a 5-year average.

EtonWinchesterHarrowWycombe AbbeyCharterhouse
127123119130114

Although the entry points will vary from year to year, your child’s CAT score provides a good indication of which schools are realistic, especially when it comes to the most competitive senior schools. With this in mind, when it comes to applying for schools more generally, it is important to strike a balance between opportunity and what is achievable. If your child has a CAT score of less than 120, registering at Eton, Westminster, St Paul’s, KCS and Dulwich is likely to cause unnecessary stress and ultimately disappointment when there are a number of excellent schools that offer an environment where your child can thrive in the longer-term.

ATOM MOCK TEST SCORES

We have been able to compare Atom’s mock test results against thousands of the same pupils’ CAT scores (all anonymised). Through this we have seen that an Atom mock test result is about 6 - 8 points below the same child’s CAT test result e.g. of they’re scoring 125 in their CAT4 assessment, we’d expect to see an Atom mock test result averaging out at c.117 - 119 in their age-standardised score received in their Atom mock test summary report.

Top Tip: Use Atom’s Mock Tests to gain key insights including your child’s age-standardised score, time taken to answer each question, ability subtopic breakdown, stanine and decile ranking.

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Grammar Schools

The grammar schools assess children purely on their academic performance (click here to learn more about the grammar schools’ admissions process). The table below shows the age-standardised scores or (SAS) that children using Atom achieved who were subsequently offered a place at some of the top grammar schools last year. Please note the scores are an average of all the subjects as one score. These scores can provide you with an average target Atom SAS that is considered to be in safer territory to secure a place at your desired school.

The table above also shows the number of applicants, as you will need to bear in mind that there can be a large applicant pool for a small number of places. It is important to note that some grammar school regions take into account other factors besides the test score which will determine whether your child secures a place, for example catchment area, siblings policy, rank in population for that year (click here to refer to the grammar schools advice page).

HOW CAN I CHECK IF MY CHILD IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK?

For any of the above types of schools, if you want to know where your child sits in relation to the table of scores, you can easily do this by using Atom’s mock test area. When your child completes an Atom mock test, their result summary report will include an age-standardized score for each subject and you can use this as an indicator to work towards the target score for your desired school.

Atom Nucleus will automatically create weekly personalised targets for your child to ensure they spend enough time practicing in each of the main subjects. As your child progresses on Nucleus, they will earn badges and ALPs (Atom Learning Points). This will help them to keep track of their progress and stay motivated based on a personalised timeline working towards the date of your child’s first exam.

To easily understand your child’s progress, you will be able to see a Student Score for each of the subjects. This is a score out of 100, and it represents the percentage chance that a child has of answering an average difficulty question correctly in a particular topic. This allows you to see your child’s score improve even as they tackle more difficult questions.

As a parent, you will gain detailed insight into your child’s strengths and weaknesses using Atom’s “ability sub-topic” breakdowns in each subject. It is important to check this under your child’s statistics page and encourage them to practise the weaker topics. Atom gives you the capability to accurately target the weakest sub-sub-topics so you can take a granular diagnosis of any problem areas. You will be able to identify if there are any subtopics that may be pulling down the overall student score of a subject, for example nets and cubes in non-verbal reasoning. After identifying the area that requires more work, you can set custom practice exercises for your child to help boost their student score.

Top Tip: Make sure you plug any gaps in knowledge across all subjects by targeting the areas that need more work (i.e. dark blue bars on the left). It may be one or two sub-sub-topics pulling the overall average down!

Parents are able to set custom practices in the areas identified as in need of improvement.

Where competition is tougher, we know that those children who have more highly developed core skills across all the relevant subjects will be more likely to progress to the next level than those who have focussed solely on exam technique. Ensuring a firm understanding across all the core subjects for the entry test is important to give your child the best chance possible of success. Atom will allow your child to work through the full syllabus for each subject to help master the school curriculum knowledge from which the entry tests broadly stem from and familiarising with reasoning questions.

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