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Entrance test taking tips

AMC13 0123 French 6245Many Independent Schools require your children to take entrance examinations as part of the admissions process for high school. These exams are not the only aspect that schools consider when making their acceptance decisions, but they do play an important role in the process. As such, what should you do to help prepare your children for these exams?

Entrance exams are generally based on the bank of knowledge that your child should have at his/her age. As a result, preparation for content is something that actually should be occurring on a daily basis when your child attends school. While your child should be familiar with the content of the exams, he/she may not be accustomed to writing standardized tests that have specifically timed questions, or he/she may not be accustomed to writing exams in a room with 25 other students whom they don’t know. It is for these reasons that some of the best techniques to prepare for the exam are:

  • Practice giving your child questions and a specific time for them to find the answer. These questions may include word problems in math from their textbooks, a series of questions on basic operations (10 addition questions, 10 multiplication questions, etc).
  • Give your children short texts to read (in either or both English and French) and then ask them questions. Have them write the answers with as much detail as possible.
  • Practice some creative writing with your children. Give them some interesting topics and ask them to write for a specific length of time.

In all cases, review the answers with your children and remain calm. Indeed, one of the best things to do to prepare for the exam is to NOT heighten your child’s anxiety level about the exam. Remember, this is only one part of a larger process.

Many schools have individual interviews and separate French placement tests. It is best to speak with the Admissions Officer of the school(s) to which you are applying to get their individual admission process requirements. These may include details of when the exam takes place, what to bring to the exam, length of exam, student-for-a day activities, and application deadlines, among other things.

Seven independent schools in Montreal combine to offer a Common Admissions Test (CAT) for incoming Grade 7 students. This Common Admissions test will take place at Marianopolis College in October and registration is completed at The schools that share these exam results are: The Study, St. George’s, Selwyn House, ECS, Herzliah, LCC and Bialik.

by Antonia Zannis, B.Ed., M.Ed.
Deputy Head of School, The Study


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