I have run tutorial schools in Hong Kong for twelve years now and prepare students to study in the UK This blog will be include my experiences as an educator, practical tips about entrance exams, speech festivals and interviews. There is a school for every child and this blog will help you navigate the process.
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Focus on a poem - Fire and Ice by Robert Frost : The Poetry Foundation
One of my all time favourites. A thoughtful, reflective poem about the terrible power of isolation, destructive emotion and absence of love. Understated elegance and a quiet, powerful voice amidst the shrieking and drama of our times.
Red this quietly and let the words speak for themselves.
We had a wonderful morning speaking to parents at our Aberdeen Marina Club Seminar. The audience had a multitude of excellent questions which underlined the commitment they have to finding the right school for their children.
Key points to take away were:
1: You know your child best. Listen to advice from friends and family but be prepared to make your own decision.
2: Don't be afraid of asking questions. In my experience, the best schools are ready and willing to work with parents and actively encourage your questions in the knowledge that this is a path to a close, co-operative relationship.
3: Engage your child in the preparation process.
4: Don't just focus on academic skills, cultural and communication skills are equally important. Brandon classes offer all three!
5: Understand the needs of your child. Children develop at different rates and an appropriate school will encourage and support a student so he can develop his full potential.
As our Brandon students count down to the 13+ exam (most of our girls sat the exam in Spring but we have a very determined group of Harrow candidates who will certainly do well!) I would like to offer some advice on the English paper.
The first English paper ('Literary prose') offers a prose comprehension followed by a structured writing task. Candidates have the option of writing a directed piece (speeches/magazine articles/diaries) or reflecting on literature. The majority of our students choose the first option and this advice is directed towards them:
1: Read the question carefully, underline the key words.
2: Be aware of the structure of the piece you are being asked to write. Make sure that you have the correct format in mind (e.g. if you are writing an article, have you included an introduction and conclusion?)
3: Think about the level of language you need to maintain: a diary entry can be informal language whereas a letter to a Head needs to be formal. Speeches will n…
Entry to schools used to be relative easy: register, interview, get an offer, sit Common Entrance and start in September. All has changed.
Simple: the sheer numbers of students applying to UK schools has increased dramatically and schools have elected to use pre-tests in order to identify applicants who will be able to thrive in their classrooms.
So what does the pre-test consist of?
The test is taken online and there are four sections:
Students may take breaks between sections but, once started, the test cannot be paused. A timer at the top of the screen shows the student how much time remains and there is an indicator at the bottom of the screen showing which question number the student is on and how many he/she has left to answer.
Results go straight to the school(s). One of the joys of this system is that you beleagured son/daughter will not have to sit numerous tests: one test can be …