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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

British Public School Academic Scholarship Exams Explained

What does the word 'Scholarship' mean to you? To earn a scholarship at UK's most prestigious schools is a significant achievement. Each school sets their own exams and therefore it is not standardised. Competition is fierce and only the very few will be awarded. The scholarship exam at many schools such as Eton College, Tonbridge School or Westminster School, is also a means of entering the school. If the candidate has performed well but not enough for a scholarship, a place at the school can be awarded. This will mean the student will not have to do the Common Entrance Examinations.
What does the Scholarship exam test? (at 13+)
Surprisingly scholarship exams have one thing in common. It does not test 'how much' the student knows but it tests 'how the student thinks'. Candidates must answer some very challenging questions. Prep schools DO prepare students for these exams but mainly on the technique side of things. The exams are based on the Common Entrance syllabus so a student will know the topics but there are questions that make one think.
Past papers are available on request from the schools concerned.
Exams are usually held in April/May and when the results are out, the school ranks successful scholars and the top scholar (1st) is also awarded with a higher bursary than others. Rankings also appear on newspapers as very famous schools' Scholarship exams are very significant.
Other students that were not awarded a Scholarship may be given a place at the school and the rest will need to go through the Common Entrance exams like others.
This is only the academic scholarship but many schools offer sport, art, music, drama and technology scholarships.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Importance of GCSEs

So what is this exam that everyone is talking about?
You may be thinking that GCSEs do not matter as you need A-levels to go to university. If you thinking this, you are horribly wrong. In my opinion GCSEs matter just as much as A-levels. If you think about it, when you apply to universities, the admissions only have your A-level predictions, As-level results and your GCSEs. When you look at Oxford and Cambridge's website, they do not even mention the importance of GCSEs for candidates.
This is not written in stone but it is generally believed that if you come from a average/poor performing state-run school, you will be expected to have a majority of A grades. However if you attend a top public school, you WILL need to have a least 6 A*s. This is not a definite requirement but even schools will discourage you to apply if you do not have 6A*s. This is because universities KNOW that you have had an excellent education and yet if you cannot get good grades, this shows you cannot work to your full potential.
Other universities only require a candidate to have around 6 B grades. Many students make a mistake by not working hard enough for their GCSEs and then start to work very hard for A-levels. This would be too late to even consider top universities.
You have been warned!
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