Tips on preparing for school admission interviews

Helping your child prepare for school interviews can help to keep nerves at bay. Picture: Getty Imag

Helping your child prepare for school interviews can help to keep nerves at bay. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Interviews are part of nearly every private school admissions process and they are usually more nerve-wracking for the parents than the child.

Experts agree coaching a child for an interview is tricky. The Good Schools Guide says: "Some pre-preps and prep schools provide mock interviews, some will carefully guide children on what books or hobbies that might show to best advantage, but most interviewers say they always know when a child has been coached, and honesty - at least in theory - is the quality they're looking for."

So it's best to keep things simple and concentrate your efforts as a parent on keeping your children relaxed to stave off any nerves.

If your child is nervous, practice breathing exercises and try to talk to them, play with them and read with them as much as possible beforehand. Explain to them that eye contact is important, as is answering the interview questions carefully and honestly.

You may want to practice interview questions and answers beforehand, but try to avoid rehersing them too much. As the Independent Education Consultants advise: "Practice the art of conversation. Question responses which give one sentence answers will appear 'rehearsed' and will not give as good an impression as an interactive dialogue which results from a question."

Being put on the spot can be nerve-wracking, especially for a young child, so it's worth rehearsing these situations before the interview. It can also help to encourage your child to develop and express opinions by asking them what they like and dislike about certain things and why.

The interview is also an opportunity for the head teacher to see if a child is suited to the school and also to ensure they take in a cross-section of children.

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School admission interview questions:

- Can you tell me about your current school?

- Is there anything about it that you dislike?

- Tell me about what happens during a usual school day?

- Describe a situation that you found difficult and tell me about how you found a solution

- What is your favourite hobby and why?

- If you had a couple of hours of free time, what would you do?

- It's also a good idea to make sure you are aware of current news stories, including in the UK and worldwide. Form an opinion and think about why you have formed it.