The Interview

The little agency that gets BIG results.

Whilst academic excellence is essential for sitting the entrance examinations, the interview stage is increasingly becoming the most important part of the application process. It is here that a child can really stand out beyond a maths question or an A grade. Some schools really struggle to choose 100 or so students from 400+ academically excellent applicants; the interview is a great help in making these decisions.

Interview preparation is the cornerstone of Nightingale Tutors’ academic programme of support that runs alongside your child’s tuition. Our tutors are specifically selected for their experience and understanding of the interview stage, at the schools your child is sitting for and will work incredibly hard to prepare them. Below are a few key bits of advice from our team:

Most importantly, interviews should be conversations; children that come across too over-prepared will not leave a lasting impression. Your child must be able to talk, not recite pre-rehearsed statements.

Interviewers will often ask questions about current affairs; you should ask your child their opinion on things you hear on the radio together, promoting a 2-way conversation, rather than telling them your opinion.

The interview stage is increasingly becoming the most important part of the application process

Schools want passionate children; those who can really talk about the things that excite and inspire them. Your child can’t be passionate about everything and that isn’t a problem. In fact, children that prepare things they think the school want to hear often come across rehearsed.

A previous student of ours once spoke about clouds in his interview at a very prestigious London school for nearly thirty minutes. They loved his enthusiasm and offered a place. Three years on he is excelling in science; the school saw a passion in him that they believed could be transferable and they were right!

Questions will be purposefully open-ended to spark lateral thinking and test how the child expresses themselves. At Nightingale Tutors we have logged feedback from previous students to create a database of past interview questions to help prepare our current pupils. For example:

  • How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?
  • When you open the fridge door, the light comes on and we assume it goes off when we close the door. How would you test that?
  • How would you describe the colour yellow to a blind person?
  • If you met the Prime Minister what advice would you give him?
  • Is there such a thing as good and bad people?
  • What would you do if you were Prime Minister for the day?

Schools want passionate children; those who can really talk about the things that excite and inspire them.

There will often be a group assessment where candidates might be asked to “plan a survival trip.” The group will be given a selection of items and be asked to collectively choose what to take with them and what to leave behind. Again, there will be no right or wrong answers as these assessments want to see your child’s ability to work well in a team, how they listen to their peers, follow instructions carefully and argue logically for their own choices. The key is confidence and consistency; Nightingale tutors will coach your child to shine in these tasks, by building their confidence through consistent weekly lessons.

We would advise you to only bring a portfolio if asked. In our experience, if the child does bring something with them and isn’t asked about it, this can really throw them.

It’s not just about training your child to be an eloquent conversationalist. Nightingale Tutors will work slowly to build your child’s confidence and steady any anxiety they may have over the big day.

We also recommend your child get a taste of what it’s like to attend their chosen school, as well as an opportunity to meet staff and students, by attending an Open Day event. They’ll be much better prepared for their interview and feel more confident as a result of this visit.

We take your child’s preparation for the interview stages incredibly seriously and work hard to make them feel prepared, confident & relaxed. Nightingale Tutors even offers short courses and workshops from our classroom space on the subject. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any further questions regarding the process, we’d be happy to help.


You may find our guide on how to choose a tutor helpful.

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