The Perse School Interview Questions and Key Information

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Overall Guide to The Perse School

The Perse School is Cambridge’s oldest surviving secondary school, having been founded in 1615 by Dr Stephen Perse. He was a theologian and then a tutor of Medicine, and in turn a practising physician. He made sufficient money to found the school, and it grew in time to become a leading school in the UK. In the period from 1945-1976 it was a Direct Grant school, with 40% of pupils offered free places. After this time, and with the withdrawal of this scheme, the school became fully independent. In 1995 the sixth form began to accept girls, and the school would go on to become fully co-educational in 2012. In 2015-2016 the Perse School celebrated its 400th anniversary. It states that it values ‘endeavour, intellectual curiosity and scholarship, breadth and balance and one another and the environment.’ Additionally, it outlines that it aims to ‘Promote academic excellence through a challenging curriculum, outstanding teaching, intellectual curiosity and scholarship.’

The school has 27 acres of outdoor space – plenty for pupils to enjoy – yet is equally very conveniently located, just half a mile from the centre of Cambridge. It has a diverse student body with 10% of pupils receiving bursaries of some form – the school is aiming to double that by the year 2025.

The Perse School Ranking & Results

The Perse School has an exceptional academic record. In 2020, 97% of GCSEs were graded A* or A, and 65% of grades were A*. An incredible 21 leavers went to Cambridge, and 17 to Oxford.

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The Perse School Curriculum

Until Years 10 and 11, pupils study a set of compulsory subjects, including three separate sciences and one modern foreign language. In GCE years, many pupils will add to their GCSEs with additional fast-track subjects or other certifications. These include maths, drama, computer science, music, additional modern languages, ancient history, 3D art and ICT.

Subjects available to students at A Level include:

Ancient History
Computer Science
Design and Technology
English and Drama
Languages – other
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion

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What is the admission process at The Perse School?

The Perse School entrance assessment involves both a test and an informal interview with a teacher. Additionally, the school requires a school reference and copies of school reports. In the test will be Maths, English, and verbal reasoning. There is a range of sample papers available on the school site. All those that take the assessment will be notified of the outcome in early February.

What kind of questions are asked at interview at The Perse School?

What is the factorial of 6?
What would your mean score be if you got 75% in one exam and 85% in the other?
If you flip an unbiased coin four times in a row, what is the probability of getting heads, tails, heads, tails?
What is the perimeter of a rectangle of area 40m2, that has one side of length 4m?
What do you get if you multiply a negative number by a negative number?
You buy a sweatshirt and a pair of shoes for £150. The shoes cost £100 more than the sweatshirt. How much does each item cost?
Can you think of two different words that are spelled the same? For example, ‘tie’ can mean to knot something, or an item of clothing.
Can you think of three adjectives that give a gloomy or depressing atmosphere, and then three that give a positive and bright atmosphere?
Can you think of any other languages that you know about that have affected the English language?
Can you give me three examples of different pronouns?

Situational Judgement
How would you deal with seeing someone getting bullied at school?
How would you make a difficult decision? What steps would you take?
What would you do if you tried out for a team and didn’t get into it?

If you had unlimited amounts of money, what would you change in the world?
Can you quickly explain the rules of your favourite sport?

Brain Teasers
How would you escape a desert island, if you were left there by yourself and with no equipment?
Why do you think that some objects are so important to us?

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