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School Questions


Questions on school and the schooling system will form a vital part of the interview at 11+. These questions can cover everything from your own experiences at school so far, to your thoughts on what makes a great school, to your motivation for wanting to attend the school that you’re interviewing at. You’ll need to show a sensible, mature approach that advertises you as a great choice for the school, and as someone that will fit in well with the school and its ethos.

Dos and Don’ts

Remember throughout that you are pitching yourself as an understanding and responsible future member of the school community. The following is a list of dos and don’ts when answering questions on your school or the school that you’re applying to.

Do provide clear answers on your personal experiences that paint you and your school in a positive light.
Do discuss your actual favourite subject if asked to discuss one subject – don’t try to discuss something else simply because you think it might sound better!
Do think about the wider school community and both how you will play part of it, and how you might be supported by it.
Do think about different parts of school that you enjoy, both within the curriculum and extracurricular.
Do draw a broad-brush picture of your school, including sports, music, friends, and lessons.

Don’t give answers that could make you seem arrogant, like explaining that your prep school is ‘leading’ or particularly expensive or well-seen (teachers impressed by this kind of thing will have seen this in your file anyway).
Don’t give overly specific answers when asked what kind of lessons you enjoy and which you don’t – try instead to focus on general kinds of content that you enjoy learning, or ways in which you enjoy learning.
Don’t paint your current school in a negative light.
Don’t boast about your current school, rather focus on its positives in a way that doesn’t come across as arrogant.
Don’t directly compare the school you are applying to to your current one (e.g. don’t say ‘this school is better than my old one because…’
Don’t rely on others – e.g. avoid saying that you’re drawn to the school just because your sister goes there.
Don’t give facetious or sarcastic answers – e.g. avoid saying ‘my school is OK, although it would be better if they didn’t give us any homework.’
Don’t list positives or negatives of your school or the one that you are applying to without reflecting on each and explaining your thoughts.

What the interviewer wants to know

The interviewer wants to know that you understand both what you had at your old school, and what you were missing. They want to know that you are a good learner, and that you will be able to focus your energies in your subjects. They want to know that you are ready to give back to the school, and that you will be an active part of the school community. They want to know that you will look after other pupils and care about them.

An example question and answer

What do you like about our school in particular?

I like the range of different focuses – the school is noted for being excellent at sports, music, and of course achieving very high grades. I enjoy all of music, sports and studying, so I want a school that allows one to excel in each area. From my brother, I’ve learnt a lot about the school and its culture – I know that the teachers spend a lot of time helping pupils, that pupils and teachers treat one another with respect, and that the school is progressive and forward thinking. In particular, I know that the football and rugby teams are excellent, and that they play on new pitches, with a new pavilion as well. I’m very excited to have the chance to play there!

Previous questions

What’s your current school like?
What makes a good school?
What makes a good student?
Which school subject do you think is most important?
What makes a good teacher?
What are the most important facilities in a school?
What is the main point of going to school?
How do you make sure that you do your homework well?
What’s your favourite lesson?
If you were made head teacher of your school, what changes would you make?
What makes you a good fit for our school?
What subjects do you find difficult?
What piece of school work are you most proud of?
What makes you want to attend a boarding school?

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