Kent Test Preparation

Posted: 15th September 2023

girl at the table

How St Lawrence prepare Junior School Pupils to take the Kent Test

St Lawrence College Junior School takes a comprehensive approach to preparing our pupils for the Kent Test, recognising the significance, for some, of this assessment in their educational journey. We find a number of our families are looking for their child to take the Kent Test to support their scholarship application to our Senior School or to gain a place at a local Grammar School. Over the last seven years we have gained a success rate of around 60% of those that take the test being assessed of Grammar School standard. Here’s how we ensure they are well-prepared:

Curriculum Alignment: The curriculum for English and Mathematics is aligned with the Kent Test requirements, ensuring pupils have excellent comprehension skills, a wide vocabulary and the confidence to solve numerical problems. Our curriculum is further enhanced by our bespoke Thinking and Learning Skills (TLS) programme of lessons which includes building familiarity with solving verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions blended with problems solving, puzzles and an understanding of metacognition.

Specialised Preparation: Problem solving is built into the timetable from Year 3, this builds up towards Year 5 when we also offer our code breaker Spy Club sessions on Saturday mornings and for that final preparation our rising Year 6 are invited into school towards the end of the summer holiday for an extra four mornings of revision. During these sessions we familiarise pupils with the format and content of the Kent Test. Children work through practice tests and exercises, which enables them to become more comfortable with the test structure and build their technique and resilience to work at pace. Our specialised sessions including tutoring to build time management and question strategy skill. The day before the actual test we complete a mock Kent Test with the children so that they are familiar with the exam room and fully understand the process. We have found this is particularly good at reducing anxiety, allowing children to perform to their best.

Pupil Tracking: Regular standardised testing throughout the school, from pre-Prep upwards, enables us to closely track each child’s progress. Year on year we work towards our Year 6 Junior School cohort to be at least 12 months ahead of their chronological age. All standardised scores are shared with parents to ensure they know how their child is progressing against national averages.

Individualised Support: We have ‘quality first teaching’ in all classrooms, for some pupils this is enhanced for Wave Two where they may require further assessments and adjustments for learning including small group booster sessions. Pupils with a diagnosed learning barrier, such as dyslexia may move to Wave Three interventions whereby parents fund 1:1 tuition within the school day with a specialist tutor.

Emphasis on Critical Thinking: The Kent Test often includes questions that assess critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Our enriched STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) builds these qualities within pupils with a range of tasks where they are required to solve problems as a team through gathering evidence and discovering resources to work independently.

Parental Involvement: We engage parents in the preparation process, providing guidance on how they can support their children’s studies at home. A strong partnership between school and home is crucial for a pupil’s success.

Positive Learning Environment: St Lawrence College creates a positive and supportive learning environment where pupils feel encouraged to ask questions, seek help, and take ownership of their learning.

By combining these strategies and resources, we equip our pupils with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to excel in the Kent Test and beyond. Our goal is not just to prepare them for this assessment but to empower them with a strong educational foundation for a successful future.


What is the Kent Test?

The Kent Test comprises two distinct sections.

Paper one: Lasting one hour, assesses English and Mathematics through multiple-choice questions. Each section includes a five-minute practice exercise followed by a 25-minute test. The English component focuses on reading comprehension and literacy skills.

Paper two: Also one hour in duration, concentrates on Reasoning. It encompasses multiple-choice questions, both verbal and non-verbal. The non-verbal reasoning section is divided into four parts, each administered and timed separately, at least one of these sections will be on spatial reasoning.

In addition to these assessments, children are required to complete a 40-minute writing task, which includes 10 minutes for planning. This written task is only evaluated in borderline cases, where it is considered alongside your child’s current schoolwork and other information about their academic achievements to determine their suitability for a grammar-school education.

We advise parents on the likely outcome for their child if entering the Kent Test. The decision whether to enter rests with parents. The Kent Test is designed to select a narrow band of pupils who are uniform in their strength in English, Maths and reasoning. This approximates to the top 25% academically.

To apply for St Lawrence College please visit our Admissions page.

Categories: Prep Prep-Prep