10 Most Common 13+ Interview Questions and Model Answers

Eleven-Plus Preparation Specialists

13+ interview preparation requires a great deal of thought about a student’s broad life experiences and goals. This article focuses on common questions.

You can find a range of tips and tutorials, as well as dedicated interview questions, in our 11+ Interview Online Course & Question Bank.

13+ Interview Questions: School Subjects

Can you discuss a project or assignment you've recently completed that you found particularly challenging and how you overcame the challenges?

When I encounter a challenging subject, my first step is to ensure I fully understand the core concepts. I do this by reading various textbooks and watching educational videos online. For example, in Mathematics, which I found initially challenging, I would watch Khan Academy videos to supplement my classroom learning. This gave me a deeper understanding of the topics, explained in a different way.

I also engage in active learning methods like group study. This allows me to discuss the subject with my peers and gain different perspectives. Moreover, I don’t shy away from asking my teachers for help when I find a topic particularly difficult. I make it a point to do extra practice problems and exercises in areas I find challenging, and gradually, I can see my improvement in understanding and problem-solving skills.

Which book have you recently read in school that had the most significant impact on you and why?

My favourite subject is History. I’m fascinated by how historical events have shaped our present world and the ways in which we can draw lessons from the past. I love reading about different civilizations and understanding their cultures, politics, and evolution. I recently read about the Roman Empire and was intrigued by its advanced architecture and the concept of Roman law that forms the basis of many modern legal systems. I also enjoy discussing historical interpretations and debating the impact of specific events or individuals. To me, studying history is like piecing together a vast, complex puzzle, one that offers deep insights into human nature and society.

Can you describe an instance where you were able to apply something you learned in a specific subject to a real-world situation?

Recently, in my Geography class, we learned about sustainability and the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling. This knowledge became quite applicable when our family decided to do some home renovation. Instead of simply throwing away the old furniture, I suggested we should donate the usable items and recycle the others. I also suggested buying some second-hand items to minimize waste and reduce the demand for new products. In this way, I could apply the concepts of sustainability that I learned in my Geography lessons to make real-world decisions that are more environmentally friendly. It gave me a sense of satisfaction to know that my academic knowledge could have practical applications and contribute to larger societal issues like environmental conservation.

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13+ Interview Questions and Answers: Hobbies and Interests

How do you think your hobbies and interests have shaped you as an individual?

My hobbies and interests have been instrumental in shaping my character and enhancing my perspective towards life. I am an avid reader and a member of a chess club, both of which have greatly influenced my thinking and problem-solving abilities. Through reading, I’ve travelled to distant lands, dived into different cultures, and understood diverse viewpoints. Each book has subtly shaped my beliefs and values, making me more empathetic and open-minded.

Chess, on the other hand, has taught me strategic thinking and patience. It has shown me that every move has consequences and has reinforced the concept that sometimes we need to make sacrifices today for a better position tomorrow. I’ve also learned that losing a game isn’t the end; instead, it’s an opportunity to learn, improve and come back stronger. Therefore, I believe my hobbies have played a crucial role in my personal growth, honing my cognitive abilities and shaping my mindset.

Can you share an achievement or experience in your extracurricular activities that you're particularly proud of?

One experience that I’m particularly proud of is when I led my school’s debating team to victory in the Inter-School Debating Competition last year. It was the first time our school had won this prestigious competition. As the team captain, I was responsible for coordinating practices, developing arguments, and providing feedback to my team members.

The topic was complex, and we faced tough competition. However, our team worked diligently, investing time in research, structuring arguments, and improving our delivery skills. On the day of the debate, although we were nervous, we put forth compelling arguments and rebutted our opponents effectively.

Winning the competition was exhilarating, but more than the victory, I was proud of our teamwork and the immense growth we all experienced. It reinforced my belief in the power of collaboration and hard work. This experience not only boosted my confidence but also enhanced my leadership and public speaking skills, lessons I carry with me today.

Who’s your favourite author?

My favourite author is JRR Tolkien – I’ve recently read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and was fascinated by them. I find it amazing how he was able to create such a complex world, but also make the books interesting for the reader, and gripping. In particular, I found the hobbits to be great guides for the reader, and found the Shire to be a beautiful place which I’d have loved to be able to visit.

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13+ Interview Questions and Answers: Personal Attributes

Can you provide an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership within a team setting?

Absolutely. A notable example of me demonstrating leadership within a team setting occurred last year during our school’s annual drama performance. I was chosen to direct our class’s short play, a role that involved leading and coordinating a diverse team of actors, set designers, and backstage helpers.

At first, it was challenging to align everyone’s ideas and manage the different personalities within the team. However, I focused on communication, inclusivity, and delegation to overcome these hurdles. I organized team meetings to discuss ideas, provided everyone with an opportunity to voice their opinions, and assigned tasks based on each member’s strengths and interests.

One significant issue we encountered was disagreements on the script. Some team members had different views about the dialogue and sequencing. Instead of imposing my own ideas, I facilitated a brainstorming session, encouraging constructive criticism and compromise. This approach not only resolved the conflict but also resulted in a richer, more engaging script.

How have you dealt with a situation where you had to make a decision that was unpopular, but you felt was the right thing to do?

I recall a situation during a group project where we had to choose between an easy topic that everyone was familiar with, and a challenging topic that would require more research but was more original and engaging. The majority of my peers preferred the easy topic, as they thought it would require less work and still yield good results.

However, I believed choosing the challenging topic was the right decision. I felt it would provide us with an opportunity to learn something new and create a more unique and insightful project. I voiced my opinion and explained the potential benefits, such as gaining deeper knowledge and standing out from other groups with our originality.

My decision wasn’t popular at first, and I faced resistance. But, I stood firm in my conviction and proposed a plan to manage the extra workload. We divided the research tasks and set up regular check-ins to monitor progress and solve issues. In the end, our group created an exceptional project, and everyone agreed that the extra effort was worth it. This experience taught me the importance of standing up for what I believe is right, even if it’s not the most popular decision.

Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond what was required of you?

I think that they would describe me as a very good student who is kind to others and an important part of the year. I put a great deal of effort into my classes, so any teacher that you asked would know me to be a hard worker. I treat everyone else with respect, both students and teachers, so they would comment on that as well. I spend my free time playing sports and taking part in different activities, so hopefully they would talk about that as well. 

If a classmate or friend was having a hard time understanding a concept that you grasped quickly, how would you help them understand it?

My greatest weakness is that sometimes I don’t divide my time up well enough. For example, if I have three lots of homework to do, I might spend a very long time on the first set, as I want to make it as good as I can. Then I will realise that I don’t have as long as I would like to do the other sets, and have to stay up late to finish them. However, this is something that I am working on, and I’ve been getting much better recently at planning my time and being organised as well.

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