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13+ Interview Questions & Answers: Soft Skills

Eleven-Plus & Common Entrance Preparation Specialists

13+ interview preparation requires a great deal of thought about a student’s broad life experiences and goals. You can find a range of tips and tutorials, as well as dedicated interview questions, in our joint 11+ and 13+ Interview Online Course & Question Bank. 

13+ Interview Questions and Answers: Soft Skills

What would you do if you had to give a presentation, and one of the other students wasn’t doing their share of it?

I would first approach the other student, and ask them if they were happy to speak to me quickly. Then I would politely ask them if everything was OK, and if there was a reason why they hadn’t been doing the presentation work. It might be that there was a particular reason, and I could help them by being empathetic. If not, then I would explain that I thought it important that they add more, as this will help them and also help me and the others doing the presentation. If they still didn’t input, then I would speak to a teacher.

One of your classmates says that they’ve been ill, and doesn’t come to school for three days. However, you then see pictures of them at a beach on social media. What would you do?

I would message them and ask them for clarification – after all, the photos could be from some time ago. However, if this was not the case, then I would explain that it’s very poor behaviour to miss school by saying you’re ill, when in reality you’re on holiday. However, this could also be the parents encouraging this or even being the cause of the behaviour. Therefore this is quite a complex issue, as I wouldn’t want to interfere with their family. I would therefore speak to a teacher in private and ask how best to proceed.

What would you do if you caught another pupil smoking on school grounds?

This is clearly against school rules, and also quite possibly illegal. In reality, this is of course a difficult situation, as reporting them would likely cause issues with other pupils. However, I would ask them to stop, and explain that I don’t want to report them, but that I would feel I have to if they keep smoking on school grounds. If they stopped, and apologised, then I would speak to a teacher about what I had seen, so long as they let me do so without revealing who the other students were, so that I could better understand how to proceed without endangering school rules. If they did not stop, then I would have to report their behaviour.

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13+ Interview Soft Skills Questions and Answers: Motivation and Personal Characteristics

Is it ever acceptable to lie?

I don’t think that lying is acceptable. We should always tell the truth and be honest with others – this will ensure that they don’t feel deceived, and that they can trust us. Of course, it’s also the morally right thing to do. However, there might be times when a lie could be the compassionate thing, although this would be rare. For example, if someone was severely injured and asked how bad it was, you might give a slightly false answer to keep them calm whilst you found help. These situations would be rare and here the goal is not to be mean or truly dishonest.

What characteristics do you think are important in friends?

I think good friends must be ready to support each other. They should be willing to listen when their friends come to them with problems or looking for help. They should be honest and not lie to one another, as we should be able to trust our friends and what they say and do. I think a good friend should be able to make us laugh – so that means that they should have a positive attitude, and be able to take things in their stride.

What do you want to be when you’re older?

I don’t know exactly what I want to be when I’m older, but I want to have a job that is exciting and requires hard work and intelligence. At the moment, I’m interested in either becoming a doctor, or perhaps going into the military and becoming an officer. I really want to work hard to ensure that I can do something that I find interesting, and where I feel like I’m having a positive effect on people around me. I’ve also considered becoming a vet, as I love the animals and the countryside, and also find science to be really interesting – I think over time I will understand which job is best suited to me.

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13+ Interview Soft Skills Questions and Answers: Attributes and Volunteering

What is your greatest strength?

I believe that my greatest strength is my willingness to try new things, and to dedicate myself to them. It’s meant that I’m always happy to take on new challenges, even when others are afraid or holding back. Crucially, my dedication means that I make sure to make a success of things as well – for example, less than a year ago I decided to start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – and I am already going to be doing my first competition in a month’s time. This same attitude has seen me beginning learning the drums and already reach grade 5, and also begin climbing three years ago and I am now starting to find the sport very rewarding. 

What ability of yours will help our school? How will you add to our community?

I believe that I will be able to help the school because I’m an all-rounder. I don’t think I have one particular ability, rather I think I have a range of different ways that I’ll add to my year and to the school. I work hard and get very good grades, which will hopefully add to the high academic standards I know that the school prides itself on, and I’m also always ready to help other students with their work as well. Outside of class, I hope to be an active part of the rugby and athletics teams – I play in the A team at my prep school, and want to be in the As here too. I hope to be in the first XV by the end of school, and am willing to work hard to represent the school.

What have you done to help others?

I make sure to help others as much as I can. As well as bicycling 12 hours for charity with my father recently, where I managed to raise £400 for Help for Heroes, I also regularly make sure to donate old clothes and items to charity, as this way they are not wasted. I hope to be able to do more charity work as I get older and can do it more independently. In school, I make sure to help others whenever I can as well – I’m a prefect, which means that I look out for others and give them support. In particular, I’ve helped a few new students who were struggling in their first year of prep school, and taken them under my wing to make sure that they get used to school and do well. 

Do you play any solo sports?

Yes, I enjoy solo sports as well as team sports. I find that solo sports give me time to myself where I can really push myself, and also focus on something entirely. They offer a great contrast to the team sports that I play. In particular, I enjoy combat sports like BJJ and boxing, climbing, and athletics. Each is a different challenge, but each involves challenging yourself as much as competing against anyone else. I believe that they help one to become more resilient, and help one to be independent as well. 

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