teacher shaking child's hand


Eleven Plus Interview Tips

If your child has been successful in the 11+ entrance exam, they will be invited to interview. Read on to learn my top eleven plus interview tips!

The interview process is designed to discover more about your child and what really interests them. Interviewers want the children to succeed, but also want to ensure that your child is the best fit for their school and vice versa. The best interviews are lively conversations where the interviewer is intrigued by your child’s opinions and where your child offers them without hesitation.

If you have just read the above paragraph and thought, “He/She’ll never be offered a place!” then please read on!




Bright, articulate, confident and well-mannered children

Enthusiasm – this is one of the most important qualities to show at an interview. Your child needs to think about what they enjoy doing and speak clearly passionately about it.

An enjoyment of learning – your child should talk enthusiastically about what they like in lessons.

Self-motivated and involved – schools look for children who will add to school life by taking part in drama, sports, music, debating competitions or whatever your child might have as special interests. Your child should talk with enthusiasm about what their interests/hobbies are.

Schools want to know that your child will get homework done. For example, having Grade 3 Piano demonstrates that your child has persevered with something, and therefore has a higher chance of completing their work.

Team players. Being part of a team shows that your child  has the ability to work with other people. Your child should talk enthusiastically about any team sports they are involved in.

People who are aware of current affairs. Your child does not have to be an expert but should demonstrate some knowledge about what is happening in the news.


The key thing to remember is that schools are looking for children they can teach, rather than children with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the world. If your child does not know the answer to a question, they should be honest and say they don’t know and the interviewer will just move on to the next question. Even a very shy child will come out of his or her shell if they are asked about their family, pets, hobbies and interests.

Some schools provide a questionnaire about hobbies and interests for the child to complete before the interview, which provides a talking point.




Your child will probably be asked why they want to attend this particular school, what they liked on the open day, etc. For this type of question, make sure your child is prepared and has looked at the website and picked out some of the clubs or activities that interest them.

Some children may like to make a mind map or list of their likes, dislikes and hobbies to look at before the interview. However, it is important for your child to come across as being prepared for an interview and not over-rehearsed: teachers can spot this a mile off!




Please share this section with your child! These top eleven plus interview tips will help your child succeed.

First Impressions Count!

  •   Dress smartly
  •   Look the interviewer in the eye and smile
  •   Don’t hunch or slouch when you sit down – sitting up and forwards is a natural thing to do and makes a good impression. it indicates you are interested and keen to do well
  •   Be positive and enthusiastic


 During the Interview

  •   Be enthusiastic, interested and confident
  •   Be yourself
  •   Provide answers with a good level of detail – try and avoid one word answers!
  •   Avoid slang talk and the word ‘like’ as far as possible
  •   Answer questions carefully and honestly – don’t be afraid to take your time and remember there are often no wrong or  right answers. If you don’t know the answer then it      is fine to say so.
  •   Be yourself
  •   Look your interviewer in the eye when answering questions
  •   Try not to fidget – tapping your feet, fiddling, slouching, staring at the ground or out the window will not make a good impression and will suggest that you are bored and         disinterested, not paying attention or uncomfortable.
  •   Be yourself!!!


At the end of the Interview

  •   Smile
  •   Make eye contact
  •   Polite ‘thank you for the opportunity to come and meet you / see you’ or similar



Many schools show a picture as a starting point for discussion. 

For example:

  • Can you describe the picture?
  • Do you like it and why?
  • How are the people in the picture feeling?

There are no right or wrong answers to these types of questions. They are just looking for a child who can express their feelings and speak, clearly, intelligently and coherently.

It is not unusual for a child to be asked to read a short passage for discussion, or to be given a maths problem to solve. Again, schools are looking for how a child approaches a problem and what their thought processes are. Giving a wrong answer does not necessarily mean a poor interview.

Your child will often be asked whether they enjoy reading and which book they would recommend. Ensure that your child is able to talk about the genre of the book (historical? science? mystery? adventure?), what their favourite part of the novel was and why, and whether they would recommend it.

Some schools will interview in groups. These sessions usually involve a problem-solving exercise where the children are put into teams and asked to complete a series of tasks.

Remind your child to make eye contact, smile and give a firm handshake at the beginning and at the end of the interview. Your child can practise this with you!