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Preparing for an Interview

Independent School Interviews

School interviews are an important part of the 11+ entry process.

Schools are looking for students who are articulate, intellectually curious and enthusiastic.

Communication session of school psychologist and girl 9, 10 years. Child tells psychothera

What's Involved

 Interviews often include a handful of questions from each of the following categories:

  • About you

  • Extra-curricular interests

  • Academic questions

  • Brain teasers


We have included some examples of these questions below. The interviews are usually conducted by one teacher and may be conducted in person or online.


About you

  • Describe yourself in 3 words.

  • Talk for 1 minute on a topic of your choosing.

  • Why are you interested in our school?

  • What is your favourite subject?

  • If you were a headteacher, what would you change at your current school?

  • Describe a situation that you have found difficult and how did you resolve it and find a solution?


Extracurricular interests

  • What is your favourite book?

  • Tell me about your hobbies outside of school

  • Explain a current event that interests you

  • Describe a situation when you have demonstrated: good teamwork skills/ creativity/ thoughtfulness.

  • What is your biggest achievement?


Academic questions

  • Read this poem out loud and identify one literary technique

  • Give a synonym/ antonym for: unusual, exuberant, wise

  • How much greater is 1cm2 than 1mm2?

  • A cuboid has side lengths of 4cm, 3cm and 4cm. What is the volume of the cuboid?

  • What do plants need to grow?


Brain teasers

  • If I borrow a million pounds, am I a millionaire?

  • What is bravery?

  • Is there more happiness or sadness in the world?

  • What is more important, being right or being nice?

  • I have streets but no pavement. I have cities but no buildings. I have forests but no trees. I have rivers yet no water. What am I?



Before the interview, write down a list of all your achievements and use these examples in the interview

Visit the school website and write down three specific things that you like about the school (e.g. facilities, extracurricular offering, arts/science focus, school values)Use materials and resources on the school website to give you an idea of what is expected

Prepare 1-2 questions to ask the interviewer. Unprepared students may be thrown off if asked at the end of the interview ‘Do you have any questions for us?’

Conduct a mock interview with a friend, parent or tutor



Make a good first impression! When meeting the teacher, be sure to smile, shake hands and make eye contact

Body language, speed and clarity is important. Answers should be no longer than around 15-20 seconds

The interview is an opportunity to showcase your personality, curiosity and academic drive. Making a good impression involves showing interest in the school curriculum, extracurricular activities and current affairs

For brain teaser questions, consider the wording – these questions don’t have a right or wrong answer. Rather, the interviewer is testing how you think

Our team of 11+ specialists have in-depth knowledge and experience of the application process at top independent schools. We conduct mock interviews, tailored to your school choices and 11+ English/VR and Maths/NVR preparation lessons. Please get in touch for more information.

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