Pre-Test Preparation

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All pupils in Years 5 and 6 follow a programme in Thinking Skills and Pre-Test Preparation. Pre-Test Preparation lessons are designed to help pupils to become familiar with the types of questions they will encounter in their pre-tests to senior schools. They are also useful across the curriculum as they teach and develop study skills.

This preparation is through two specific means: reasoning exercises - verbal, non-verbal and quantitative - and problem solving activities, such as games and puzzles. Reasoning is initially taught through books before moving to online platforms which simulate the Pre-Test.

Pupils in Year 7 and 8 have study skills sessions in the autumn and summer terms. These are delivered by an outside agency and cover study skills and revision practice.

Resources to help your children develop their cognitive skills through Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning in preparation for the online pre-tests are as follows:

1. Planet BOFA: - All pupils in Years 5, 6 and 7 have log in details and use this resource in school, which can also be accessed from home. This website provides progress reports and next steps to pupils via their school email.

2. Keystone Tests: - All pupils in Years 5, 6 and 7 have log in details and use this resource in school, which can also be accessed from home. This website provides diagnostic tests in Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and Maths and tracks individual progress, offering tutorials to provide extra support for any weaker areas.

3. Atom Learning: - Mainly in Year 6, we use Atom Learning's School Platform, Atom Prime, for some lessons and homework. Atom Learning is a personalised online learning platform, combining high quality teacher-written content with an adaptive algorithm tailored to your child. Content on the Atom Prime platform is mapped to the National Curriculum and the ISEB syllabus. Atom Learning also has an optional home learning platform, Nucleus, for which more information can be found here.

4. ISEB Common Pre-Test: A familiarisation test is available, which can be accessed via the following link: Please be aware, however, that the actual test has no facility for the children to go back and review any answer once they have made their selection.


Whilst we are moving towards online practices and assessment in order to prepare pupils for the online nature of the pre-test, there also remains scope to use paper tests. Some useful books include:

1. Learning Together: - All pupils in Year 5 use the Step by Step books to introduce the concepts included in Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning. There are sets of work books in these series. If you visit the site you will see a comprehensive range of follow on books which continue to develop these skills.

2. ‘How to Do Verbal Reasoning: a Step by Step Guide’ and ‘How to do Non-Verbal Reasoning: a Step by Step Guide’ published by Galore Park.  

3. Bond Reasoning Papers –these are widely available in shops, such as WH Smith, and also can be ordered online from Amazon. It is worth noting that Planet BOFA was created by one of the authors who put together the Bond series of books and there may be some overlap of questions as a result.

Click here for Guidance Notes to Parents helping to prepare children for Pre-Assessment Tests