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Eton pre-test preparation

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

What is a typical Eton boy like?

The typical Etonian is confident without being arrogant, resilient, well organised, focused and a good communicator. He will appear mature beyond his years but almost always have a keen sense of humour.

What does Eton expect of an 11-year-old boy?

For boys heading for their pre-test, Eton are realistic and do not, of course, expect their skills or character to be fully developed yet. Eton states that they do not want academic robots, instead they are looking for individuals. They do not necessarily prioritise the best of the best academically, that might be more of a mantra for a school like St Paul's. However, competition is fierce so all boys should aim to be on top of their game.

What is an adaptive test?

This assessment style involves computerized testing where the level gets harder and harder the more questions that are answered. The testing is IQ-based and age is taken into account. A major aspect is concentration and, although Eton emphasise that this is a test that cannot be tutored for, focused preparation in English, Maths, Science, Verbal and Non-Verbal can help enormously. The boys need to develop their skills in understanding the question and build up a strategic approach for answering accurately. This way, the computer will give them a chance at the tougher, higher point-scoring levels and allow them to impress fully.

Is the pre-test interview important?

Yes! Every aspect of an assessment is considered and the interview can be very useful in understanding the full person. Boys usually fill out a questionnaire about themselves beforehand so that the interviewer can ask relevant questions and develop an engaging conversation. This can be a key time to shine and show off some all important character. After all, a sense of humour will be what gets him, and the friends that he makes, through boarding and the hard work the school expects. He needs to remain relaxed and appear interested and, if possible, happy. There is a great deal of preparation possible for interviews; practice answering typical questions in full sentences would be just the start. Of course, answers to questions should appear genuine and unrehearsed but this comes most naturally when there is a degree of thought behind the scenes! Most schools keep an eye open during the tour of the school as well. Usually they want to check that the child is enthusiastic about the place and the parents appear supportive.

What should you wear to the pre-test?

Most boys wear their school uniform but the important thing is to feel comfortable and confident. As the students and teachers at Eton are so formal in their outfits, nothing will appear too dressy. A tidy pair of trousers, shirt and jumper would not be too informal either. Focus on what you feel best in.

What happens if it all goes wrong on the day?

If your son finds the test tough, he will not be alone and, though important to be realistic, there may still be a happy outcome. However, if he does not get in, a philosophical approach can help: perhaps it is the end, the right school for him and a better fit will be available somewhere else. This assessment is not for the faint-hearted but presents a big, often daunting, often exciting challenge.

Go for it!

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