Children at the Dragon School receive a first rate, multi-faceted, creative and stimulating education, which helps with their cognitive development – one of the main areas tested by senior schools. In addition to the exceptional education we offer, the Dragon strives to provide stimulating and accessible preparation for pupils sitting pre-tests, attending assessment days and having interviews, in order to achieve a place in their senior school of choice.

Whilst most senior schools do not wish for pupils to be prepared for the pre-tests, it is clear that performance in these tests is enhanced with practice and familiarisation of the types of questions the pupils may face. To this end, pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 receive Reasoning lessons to provide this exposure and to prepare them for tests they will have at some point in their Dragon career.

The teaching programme is divided into the main topics of Verbal Reasoning & Non-Verbal Reasoning and these are covered in some depth, supported with weekly preps. Also within the curriculum, we look at solving puzzles, group work and general oral ability to explain and debate, as well as providing many opportunities to work online, given the online nature of many of these pre-tests. The department head works with the English and Maths department to ensure that these subject elements of pre-tests are covered in their lessons. In addition, more targeted pre-test preparation is provided in the half-term before a test, during an activity or after school club.

With regards interviews, we are fortunate to have ‘Oppidan Education’ come into school to run an interview workshop with all the C Block pupils. Oppidan focus on pupil mentoring and interview preparation and they provide the school with detailed feedback on how best we can support them with further practice should it be deemed necessary.

In terms of assessment, short assessments are carried out in lessons throughout the year. In addition to this, Years 4, 5, 6 and 7 and any new pupils that join at other times taking online Cognitive Ability Tests using GL Assessments CAT4 testing system. This provides the school with CAT scores which we can use to support tracking data and to aid Future Schools advice, but also provides the pupils with exposure to online tests.

Preparing pupils allows them to feel equipped to face these challenging pre-tests, to help reduce anxiety and give pupils more confidence. However, we are carefully-balanced in our approach, as over-preparation can lead to stress. Developing passions and interests outside of the classroom really helps here!
Therese Luke, Head of Reasoning & Pre-Test Preparation