The Wandsworth Test 2016

Finnian is a tutor with Owl Tutors

Finnian

Owl Tutor

February 2nd, 2016

The Wandsworth Test 2016

Every year in late November or early December, thousands of students in London sit the Wandsworth Test, a procedure designed to select students for schools in the borough. This exam is designed to streamline the process for applying to Wandsworth schools. Although no school in the borough is fully selective, some do hold back a significant portion of their places for students scoring the highest grades on the test. With required pass marks for top schools like Graveney regularly exceeding 95%, it is vital for parents to know and understand what will be expected from their child.


Wandsworth Test structure and timings

The test consists of two sections, with the first part looking at non-verbal reasoning, and the second at verbal reasoning. These kind of questions are very common in selective school tests, and to some extent reflect the questioning technique IQ tests- i.e., content which you cannot prepare for. Having said that, the structure and questioning type is certainly something which you can prepare your child for. Regular practice for a year or so before sitting the test will make your child much more aware of what they are expected to be doing, and how to do it. What makes the Wandsworth Test especially tricky is the pace and timing. Students will need to move on at the pace set by the teacher reading the test out. There is little to no opportunity to go back and check answers during the first part of the test, so your child will need to be confident and fully briefed before the day. Schools do allow some practice time on the day of the test.

Who makes the Wandsworth Test?

Content is written and prepared by GL Assessment, an outside firm with expert knowledge in the designing and scoring of educational tests. As mentioned before, content is divided (almost) equally between non-verbal and verbal reasoning. You cannot train your child how to answer the questions regarding specific content, but you can train to recognise likely question formats and structures. There are common types of questioning used, and with some practice your child will become much more adept in recognising what they are being asked to do- no mean feat for a ten year old! GL Assessment sell two books (one for each questioning type) which you can purchase and use to help your child should you wish. Students record their answers on an answer script, marking off their chosen answer with a pencil. This script is then marked by a special computer. Your child’s school will carefully explain this all to your child before and on the day.

Wandsworth Test Hints and Tips

  1. Speed

The structure of the non-verbal questioning is teacher-led, with the whole class moving on to sections at the same pace. As a result, being able to accurately answer questions at speed is essential if your child is to succeed. There is very little time available to go back and check through answers. The second part of the test is more open, and so “checking” skills (being able to go back and evaluate their own work) make a big difference here. Again, both of these skills are rooted more in confidence than academic ability, meaning that it is essential your child is well-briefed and practiced before sitting the test.

2. Understanding pass marks and how they are used

This test is used together with the Wandsworth school application form, where parents list up to 6 choices for their preferred school, in order. Schools in the borough all have their own selection criteria, where they rank applicants against stated preferences. Typically these will favour children in this order: those who are in foster care or adopted, siblings, those with special needs, by score on the Wandsworth Test (only for a set number of the available places), and then by geographical proximity (now measured by straight line distance from the student’s house to the centre of the school). The centralisation of the system means that no child will be offered more than one school place, and Wandsworth council does state that all children living in the borough will be offered a place at a school in the borough.

How Wandsworth Council uses the Wandsworth Test to allocate school places

Not all Wandsworth schools award places for scores on the test, and no school selects just by test scores. As a result, pass marks for successful school placements are extremely high: typically over 95%. This score varies year-on-year, depending on the scores of all children and the number of places available that year (this number does change). The available information indicates that scores take students age into account, i.e. those born in August (and therefore with almost a year’s less time to develop) are given some extra credit. The whole process is carefully designed to keep your child’s scores anonymous to everyone bar Wandsworth Council. Schools cannot find out where they have been ranked on the form. Once all schools have replied to the council specifying whether they will or won’t offer a place, your child will be offered a place at the highest placed school on the form. (e.g., if the schools you ranked 1st and 2nd both reply to Wandsworth council offering a place, you will only be offered a place at the 1st school).

How can you help your child pass the Wandsworth test?

It is highly advisable to start early, giving your child time to get used to both the format of the exam and the type of questions used. As mentioned above, GL Assessment sell books of practice multiple-choice questions in a similar format to those used in the test. We would recommend starting roughly a year before, with perhaps weekly sessions looking at both Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Perhaps the most useful thing you can do is to ensure that your child is reading as much as possible, at the appropriate difficulty level. Verbal Reasoning exams are essentially testing vocabulary sizeand skills in word manipulation (anagrams, puzzles and so forth). Another benefit of starting early is that you will be able to identify whether your child’s strengths and areas for improvement, and from this whether they should be going for one of the 95%+ places. Do remember that not all schools award places on the basis of the Wandsworth test, and that not all places in any school are given on a selective basis. It may well be that your child’s needs will be best met in a non-selective school. By giving your child time to practice questions before the day they will be more confident and ready for the test, regardless of whether they are going for a selective place. Furthermore, by having an early positive experience of feeling confident and ready for an examination they will be far better placed when GCSEs and A-Levels roll around. Although it isn’t essential, an experienced tutor will definitely help in all of this. Having someone who is aware of common misconceptions and how to address these will make sure that your child is as ready as they can be for the test. Here at Owl Tutors we have a wealth of tutors available who are perfectly placed to do just this. Based in Clapham, we only hire qualified teachers with relevant classroom experience and excellent records.

What is the Wandsworth Test?

Every year in late November or early December, thousands of students in London sit the Wandsworth Test, a procedure designed to select students for schools in the borough. This exam is designed to streamline the process for applying to Wandsworth schools. Although no school in the borough is fully selective, some do hold back a significant portion of their places for students scoring the highest grades on the test. With required pass marks for top schools like Graveney regularly exceeding 95%, it is vital for parents to know and understand what will be expected from their child.

Wandsworth Test structure and timings

The test consists of two sections, with the first part looking at non-verbal reasoning, and the second at verbal reasoning. These kind of questions are very common in selective school tests, and to some extent reflect the questioning technique IQ tests- i.e., content which you cannot prepare for. Having said that, the structure and questioning type is certainly something which you can prepare your child for. Regular practice for a year or so before sitting the test will make your child much more aware of what they are expected to be doing, and how to do it. What makes the Wandsworth Test especially tricky is the pace and timing. Students will need to move on at the pace set by the teacher reading the test out. There is little to no opportunity to go back and check answers during the first part of the test, so your child will need to be confident and fully briefed before the day. Schools do allow some practice time on the day of the test.

Who makes the Wandsworth Test?

Content is written and prepared by GL Assessment, an outside firm with expert knowledge in the designing and scoring of educational tests. As mentioned before, content is divided (almost) equally between non-verbal and verbal reasoning. You cannot train your child how to answer the questions regarding specific content, but you can train to recognise likely question formats and structures. There are common types of questioning used, and with some practice your child will become much more adept in recognising what they are being asked to do- no mean feat for a ten year old! GL Assessment sell two books (one for each questioning type) which you can purchase and use to help your child should you wish. Students record their answers on an answer script, marking off their chosen answer with a pencil. This script is then marked by a special computer. Your child’s school will carefully explain this all to your child before and on the day.

Wandsworth Test hints and tips

1. Speed

The structure of the non-verbal questioning is teacher-led, with the whole class moving on to sections at the same pace. As a result, being able to accurately answer questions at speed is essential if your child is to succeed. There is very little time available to go back and check through answers. The second part of the test is more open, and so “checking” skills (being able to go back and evaluate their own work) make a big difference here. Again, both of these skills are rooted more in confidence than academic ability, meaning that it is essential your child is well-briefed and practiced before sitting the test.

2. Understanding pass marks and how they are used 

This test is used together with the Wandsworth school application form, where parents list up to 6 choices for their preferred school, in order. Schools in the borough all have their own selection criteria, where they rank applicants against stated preferences. Typically these will favour children in this order: those who are in foster care or adopted, siblings, those with special needs, by score on the Wandsworth Test (only for a set number of the available places), and then by geographical proximity (now measured by straight line distance from the student’s house to the centre of the school). The centralisation of the system means that no child will be offered more than one school place, and Wandsworth council does state that all children living in the borough will be offered a place at a school in the borough.

How Wandsworth Council uses the Wandsworth Test to allocate school places

Not all Wandsworth schools award places for scores on the test, and no school selects just by test scores. As a result, pass marks for successful school placements are extremely high: typically over 95%. This score varies year-on-year, depending on the scores of all children and the number of places available that year (this number does change). The available information indicates that scores take students age into account, i.e. those born in August (and therefore with almost a year’s less time to develop) are given some extra credit. The whole process is carefully designed to keep your child’s scores anonymous to everyone bar Wandsworth Council. Schools cannot find out where they have been ranked on the form. Once all schools have replied to the council specifying whether they will or won’t offer a place, your child will be offered a place at the highest placed school on the form. (e.g., if the schools you ranked 1st and 2nd both reply to Wandsworth council offering a place, you will only be offered a place at the 1st school).

How you can help your child pass the Wandsworth Test?

It is highly advisable to start early, giving your child time to get used to both the format of the exam and the type of questions used. As mentioned above, GL Assessment sell books of practice multiple-choice questions in a similar format to those used in the test. We would recommend starting roughly a year before, with perhaps weekly sessions looking at both Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Perhaps the most useful thing you can do is to ensure that your child is reading as much as possible, at the appropriate difficulty level. Verbal Reasoning exams are essentially testing vocabulary sizeand skills in word manipulation (anagrams, puzzles and so forth). Another benefit of starting early is that you will be able to identify whether your child’s strengths and areas for improvement, and from this whether they should be going for one of the 95%+ places. Do remember that not all schools award places on the basis of the Wandsworth test, and that not all places in any school are given on a selective basis. It may well be that your child’s needs will be best met in a non-selective school. By giving your child time to practice questions before the day they will be more confident and ready for the test, regardless of whether they are going for a selective place. Furthermore, by having an early positive experience of feeling confident and ready for an examination they will be far better placed when GCSEs and A-Levels roll around. Although it isn’t essential, an experienced tutor will definitely help in all of this. Having someone who is aware of common misconceptions and how to address these will make sure that your child is as ready as they can be for the test. Here at Owl Tutors we have a wealth of tutors available who are perfectly placed to do just this. Based in Clapham, we only hire qualified teachers with relevant classroom experience and excellent records.


Finnian is a tutor with Owl Tutors

More about Finnian

Finnian qualified as a teacher in Primary education in 2000, and now works as a tutor with Owl Tutors.

Finnian is our most experienced school entrance tutor. He is a highly skilled and knowledgeable English and mathematics teacher, with two decades in the classroom and over a decade tutoring. Finnian previously spent substantial time in the world of business, successfully running his own companies in London and New York, before a desire to teach led him to four years of study to become a primary teacher.