11 Plus Independent School Interview Questions



After passing the 11 Plus exam, your child may be asked to attend an interview at their independent school of choice. Securing an independent school interview doesn’t guarantee entry and so you’ll need to take the time to help your child prepare.


In this post, we look at some ways you can help your child do well in the interview as well as the most common independent school interview questions.


The Purpose of the 11 Plus Interview


Before practising for the interview, it’s important to understand why your child is being interviewed and what the school is looking for from your child. Of course, every independent school is different, but the principal reasons for interview are the same.


First of all, the school wants to asses if your child is a suitable match for them. They want to know that your child will fit in academically and socially and displays the types of behaviours that the school expects from its pupils.


They also want to know that your child is committed to studying and participating in extra-curricular activities. Similarly, the school needs to know that it’s able to provide your child with the education they need and provide them with support throughout their school career.


Independent School Interview Tips


Girl studying for an exam in school


These are our general interview tips for independent schools. We would advise that parents and children research the school before the big day, so that you both have a good background knowledge of the school, including its achievements, subjects, activities and facilities.


Get a Good Night’s Sleep


This one goes without saying, but it’s important that your child is fresh and alert on the morning of their interview. It can help to keep your child calm the night before so that they feel relaxed and prepared the following day.


Don’t Worry About Nerves


Every adult knows about nerves before an interview, but what really helps is knowing that you’re prepared for every eventuality. Explain to your child that being a little nervous is actually a good thing as it shows that you care about the outcome and are getting prepared.


Dress Appropriately


It’s important that you and your child make a good first impression at the interview, so dress for the occasion. Try to strike a balance between formal and smart with your child’s without going over the top.


Arrive in Plenty of Time


Turning up seconds before the interview (or worse, late) and being flustered is far from ideal. Make sure that travel arrangements are already in place and that you’ve accounted for potential delays in traffic or public transport.


Remove All Distractions Beforehand


Before you enter the interview room with your child, make sure that you and your child’s mobile phone are switched off. It’s also a good idea to make sure that watches don’t beep and all other electronic equipment is left at home.


Encourage Your Child to be Honest


There’s no point in asking your child to pretend. Children find it far easier to tell the truth about their education and interests than to fabricate stories. Explain to your child that it’s okay to say that they don’t know, or that they don’t understand the question. The interviewer will be aware that your child won’t have any prior experience in independent school interviews.


Independent School Interview Questions


Notepad and textbook on table


As we mentioned before, every school will ask different questions. However, there are similarities in the types of questions that will be asked. We’ve highlighted some of the most common 11 Plus interview questions below.


Why are you interested in our school?


Here, the interview wants to know that firstly, your child knows a bit about the school, and secondly, that they’ll be a good fit. A good answer might include a little bit about the school’s history or achievements and a few personal reasons that relate to studying or future career aspirations.


Tell me about your current school…


This question gives your child the opportunity to talk positively about their time at school and their achievements.


Tell me about a current event that interests you…


Schools ask this question to gauge your child’s awareness of world events. Although they’re not expected to talk about current issues in great depth, it helps to have an example prepared beforehand.


What do you like to read outside of school?


This question provides the school with a good indication of how keen your child is to study outside of school and what reading level they are at.


What hobbies or interests do you have outside of school?


This question provides the opportunity to talk about the types of extra-curricular activities the school has to offer. The interviewer wants to know that your child is a good match academically and socially.


In short, it’s important to research the school before your child’s 11 Plus interview. Try to have a discussion with your child prior to interview so they have a framework in which to think about certain common questions. Let your child know that if they’re asked a question that they don’t know the answer to, they should keep calm and remember that questions can often be open ended with no specific right or wrong answer.



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